TREATMENTS WITH CLAY
Clay is one of the oldest treatments that mankind has available and it effectively
and naturally treats many disorders, yet the virtues of this magic powder are
handed down like beauty secrets.
Depending on the minerals contained in the clay (iron, silica, calcium, magnesium), the colour and the properties of it can vary. Clay can absorb unpleasant odours, catch germs and bacteria, numb pain, provide energy or simply purify the skin and make it smooth. It can even restore a disabled body, combat aging, stress and tiredness and sooth dermatitis, rheumatic disorders and other problems. In fact, clay carries out important functions for the human body because its chemical composition ensures that this mineral substance has truly unique, therapeutic properties.
The properties of clay
Clay has been used since ancient times in the field of bodily hygiene, cosmetics and natural remedies for a large number of problems thanks to the important actions it is able to carry out on our health and well-being. Some explanations of these actions follow:
- Antiseptic and bactericide: clay is a sterile complex that is able to work against the actions of bacteria, creating an environment that is hostile towards bacterial proliferation without causing any harm to the body and without inhibiting cell reproduction. It is good for removing intestinal parasites and for numerous other infective forms, such as colitis, enteritis, pulmonary diseases and sores filled with pus;
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic: thanks to its ability to absorb heat, clay soothes inflammations. It is useful for burns, sprains and bruises. It can also absorb pain;
- Remineralising: the fineness of the grains is what allows for the freeing and assimilation of the minerals that clay is made up of, and this remineralises the body. Clay is good for treating joint problems, fractures, osteoporosis and anaemia;
- Absorbent and anti-toxic: the micromolecular make-up of clay means that it can absorb large quantities of water, gas, toxins and poison, especially because of its ionic exchange capacity which, through an osmotic process, lets it extract hydrosoluble toxins and, at the same time, infuse tissues with lots of minerals. Clay is good for treating a bloated stomach and poisoning from toxic substances. It can also treat water retention by absorb fluids and metabolic waste products;
- Scarring: clay stimulates the coagulation of blood and accelerates the regenerative processes of tissues (when aluminium is present);
- Alkalinising: the large quantity of base elements make the body alkaline;
- Energising: the complex of mineral systems regenerates bodily functions and provides energy. The high content of calcium, for example, fortifies elastic tissues, whilst magnesium can help to improve mental or muscle fatigue.
Why it is good
Clay can be used internally and externally, carrying out remineralising, anti-toxic, rebalancing and absorbing actions thanks to it particular ionic exchange capability which, through an osmotic process, lets it extract hydrosoluble toxins and, at the same time, infuse tissues with lots of minerals. It is a strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory, alkalising and disinfecting remedy, and as a result of its ability to produce small doses of electromagnetic energy, which is obtained during sun, air and water exposure, it regenerates and reawakens energetic potential, acting as a catalyser of biological processes. Lots of silica in clay makes it particularly good for anaemia, chronic fatigue and poor immune defences.
Types of clay
The clay that is currently available in shops and is used for therapeutic means is categorised according to its colour. The different colours (green, white, red, yellow, grey, blue and beige) depend on the chemical make-up, the age of the clay itself and the locations of the deposits.
Green clay This is approximately 50% silica and 14% aluminium and it is slightly alkaline. It has very strong anti-inflammatory properties and, if used externally, it is highly absorbent which makes it particularly suitable for treating acne and eczema. If used internally, it has a detoxifying function.
White clay This is mainly used in cosmetics and it has a high percentage of silica (around
48%) and aluminium (around 36% or more) which is what makes it white. White clay
is also called kaolin, a name which comes from the Chinese region Kao-Ling where the first clay deposits
were found. It is the finest of all the types of clay and it is good for internal
use because it can work against fermentations and intestinal intoxications. Contrarily
to green clay, which can cause constipation, it can regulate bowel movements.
When used in internally, kaolin can absorb bacteria and viruses that are present in the digestion system, absorb gases and toxins and it is useful for cases of bloating or food poisoning. It plays the role of a gastric protector, relieves pain from acidity, heart burn and ulcers and regulates acidity and pH. It is also good for healing wounds, reducing inflammation and protecting mucus.
If used externally, white clay can be applied in the form of a beauty or general anti-wrinkle mask on the whole body since it does not contain iron, or if it does, it is in very small quantities. White clay purifies the skin and closes dilated pores and it can be used for dry and peeling skin, especially on the heels. Furthermore, it is very useful for exfoliation since it carries out a micro-exfoliating action, renewing cells and remineralising the epidermis. Kaolin is the gentlest of the clays, therefore it can be used on very sensitive, dry and mature skin and for lifeless hair, and its healing and antiseptic virtues make it very precious for treating irritated skin. It is non-allergenic and is suitable for babies too and can be gargled to treat gum infections or a sore throat.
Red clay Rich in iron and low in aluminium, the red colour is caused by the presence of
red iron (trivalent). This clay (anthracite) was used by ancient Romans to treat
joint pains, as medication for horse wounds and for washing to protect oneself
from infections and disease. Today it is used a lot in cosmetics, in masks and
creams. and its inflammatory property is very good for treating for skin that
inflames or gets red very easily. If you suffer from inflamed gums, for example,
all you need to do is cover your toothbrush with red clay, gently brush the gums
with it and then thoroughly rinse your mouth out.
Red clay is also recommended for sensitive and delicate skin with dermatitis problems and, since it is very absorbent, it is recommended for skin irritations and for relieving pains caused by twists and traumas. You should use red clay on contusions, hematomas, bruises and muscle pains because it reduces swelling and relieves pain in the affected areas. It can also treat abscesses and boils and is beneficial for those suffering from headaches, migraines and gout, and it is recommended for stimulating blood circulation.
Yellow clay (illite) The yellow colour of this clay is caused by the presence of iron and copper. It can be applied to the neck, back and spine if suffering from pains in these areas. It is very refreshing and can be used together with red clay for a more comprehensive function. When mixed with green clay, to treat bone problems, relieve pain and when suffering from acute fatigue, it repairs muscles and ligaments and keeps the internal organs clean.
Grey clay Also known as Luvos or German clay (because it was discovered in Germany during the last century), this clay is grey because of the high percentage of silica (around 60%). Grey clay is recommended for internal use to cure stomach acid problems and intestinal inflammation. It also helps to drain excess fluid, it carries out an important alkalinising function and it has a high cationic exchange capability. This clay is also very absorbent, possibly even more so than green clay when used internally. Since it is 60% silica and 20% aluminium, this product carries out very good anti-inflammatory and anti-acid actions and it can be used on all skin types.
How to use it
Clay can be used internally and or applied externally in the form of a poultice, dressing, rub, ointment, powder, mask or the patient can take a clay bath, and the consistency of the clay can be coarse, thin or ventilated. Coarse clay is only used locally in baths, footbaths or large poultices or dressings, whilst fine clay is used for normal sized bandages, rubs, irrigations, aesthetic treatments, poultices and dressings. Ventilated clay is the finest and it is used internally. Local application of clay can be improved by adding essential oils to it, chosen according to the problem being treated or aesthetic treatment being performed.
A clay drink can be prepared at night and drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fill ¾ of the glass with cold water and add a level tablespoon of clay. Mix with a wooden spoon for some time then leave it to stand and cover the top of the glass with a gauze. For the first few times, it is recommended that you only drink (sip) the top part, which looks like dirty water, and not the residues at the bottom. This treatment should be carried out for 1 month to combat stomach acid, intoxication and anaemia. Green ventilated clay regulates intestinal function, however, it is best to get recommendations about types, doses and methods of use from a professional herbal doctor.
Clay has been dried to make pills and sticks since ancient times and this method is still in use in countries such as India, China and countries in South America, and it is good for those who prefer to suck on clay rather than drink it.
White or green clay tablets are easy to find in shops and essential oils are often added to them to improve the flavour. Up to 3 tablets can be taken a day for a maximum of 1 month. They are good for people who suffer from a bloated stomach, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation.
Poultices should be prepared in terracotta, wood or glass containers and mixed using a wooden spoon, and never a metal spoon.
Dressing Pour fine green clay into a terracotta, wooden or glass container and pour in
mineral water until all the clay is covered. Leave to stand for about 1 hour and
then add 10 drops of essential oil (the amount of clay and essential oil varies
according to the size of the area that will be treated) and mix with a wooden
spoon. Spread the mixture on a cloth (a thick gauze or linen), apply to the necessary
area and leave to work for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 2 hours or so maximum.
This wrap should be fixed in place with another gauze.
- Circulatory problems: apply a cold dressing to the legs together with anti-inflammatory and beneficial essences to improve elasticity and tone of the blood vessels; for instance, 4 drops of cypress, 3 of geranium and 5 of lemon.
- Intestinal colic, spasms and cramps: apply a hot dressing (the clay should be heated using the bain-marie method) to the stomach for approximately 30 minutes (not after eating) together with 3 drops of Roman camomile, 2 drops of lavender, 2 of lemon balm and 3 of fennel.
Poultice Diversely from dressings, poultices are applied directly to the skin, therefore
more coarse clay can be used, especially if the area to be treated is quite large.
- For cellulite: apply a poultice to the legs and buttocks together with: 5 drops of lemon juice, 4 drops of lemon grass and 2 drops of oregano if the cellulite is edematous (painful to touch and swollen); 6 drops of bitter orange, 2 of ginger and 2 of cedar wood if it is hard (in this case, changes to the shape of the body will not have occurred, but the skin will look thicker); or 4 drops of geranium, 4 of cypress and 3 of rosemary if there are problems with blood circulation.
- For insomnia: apply a hot poultice to the spine and nape of the neck together with 4 drops of bitter orange, 3 of Roman camomile and 4 of lavender.
Bands and bandages
Immerge loosely woven bands and bandages (the size of which should be appropriate for the size of the area to be treated) into the already prepared and suitably diluted mixture and then wrap them around the problematic areas. This method is usually done to treat large areas and for aesthetic means.
Stick a gauze to the problematic area that has previously been immersed in a rather watery clay solution with 6-8 drops of essential oil in it.
- For a temperature: apply a cold band with 2 drops of Bergamot, 1 drop of mint and 1 of eucalyptus to the forehead and head until the temperature goes down.
These are baths of clay dissolved in water which you can immerge yourself in either completely or partially (only the feet, hands or up to the waist). It is not a good idea to use your normal bathtub when taking a clay bath however because the clay could block the tubes, therefore it is better to use an old washtub.
Add half a kilogram of fine or coarse green clay to the water and around 10 drops of essential oil.
- For rheumatisms: add 8 drops of juniper and 2 of laurel to the bath.
- For physical fatigue: add 7 drops of rosemary, 2 of summer savory and 2 of thyme.
Clay baths are tiring so they should not last longer than 15-20 minutes and they should not be taken every day.
Add essential oils and aromatic substances to the clay to make ointments for medical and aesthetic purposes. Use very fine, ventilated clay; green for healing purposes and white for cosmetic purposes.
Mix white clay (about three heaped spoonfuls) with a teaspoon of vegetable oil (almond, wheat germ or jojoba oil) and 3-4 drops of essence, chosen according to the skin type. Fine green clay is recommended for more greasy skin.
- For greasy skin: add 1 drop of lemon and 2 of lavender.
- For dry skin: add wheat germ oil, 1 drop of sweet orange and 2 of sandalwood.
If you use red clay, you can create a mask that is good for red skin. Mix the clay with warm water, perhaps even floral water, and apply to the face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse. Finish by applying an astringent water (such as, geranium hydrolat, orange flower of sandalwood water).
Ventilated clay powder is used by sprinkling it over the area to be treated as if it was talcum powder. It is excellent for treating sores, wounds, eczema and red areas of the skin as it carries out disinfecting and antibacterial functions and, at the same time, encourages the reconstruction of injured tissues. Do not hesitate to use this method because clay is free of microgerms.
Dissolve a spoonful of ventilated clay and leave to stand for 2 hours. Before use, shake the liquid thoroughly and do not rinse your mouth out after use. This method treats mouth and gum disease.
You can buy bags of ventilated clay at homeopathic or herbal pharmacies at a cost equal to €10/kg, whilst packets of 100 tablets cost around €5.00.