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Bentonite Clay and Psyllium Husks

Bentonite clay and powder

What is Bentonite clay?

Bentonite clay is a naturally-occurring volcanic ash named after Fort Benton, Wyoming where the clay was first identified. Bentonite is the commercial name for ‘montmorillonite’ clay which, in turn, was named after the French city of Montmorillon where the medicinal properties of the active mineral in these medicinal clays were first identified.

Technically, bentonite clay it is an absorbent phyllosilicate formed from weathering volcanic ash and there are at least 200 different varieties. You may know sodium calcium bentonite better as Fuller’s earth and many of the bentonite clays are naturally high in aluminium.

Bentonite clay has many application in industry and is also used in some creams, lotions, medications and personal care products in addition to the uses outlined below.


The properties of bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is composed of microscopic rectangular platelets which have a large surface area to volume ratio. These platelets carry negative electrical charges on their flat surfaces and positive charges on their edges. The bentonite clay both generates and maintains a very strong electromagnetic field and and the negative charge and large surface area to volume ratio mean that is can attract and bind positively charged particles including toxic metals, pathogenic viruses, herbicides and pesticides. The bentonite clay platelets actually swell and stretch to open up like a sponge binding several times their weight in these toxins and pathogens.


The history of the therapeutic use of bentonite clay

Bentonite clay has been used for millenia both internally and externally to cleanse the body. Its use has been embraced by naturopaths in the last century or so, but it was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans and many indigenous peoples around the world including Native Americans. Even animals appear to intuit the healing properties of bentonite clay as they both consume it and wallow in it!


Internal use of bentonite clay

Bentonite clay can be used internally either to bind the stool if experiencing diarrhoea and also paradoxically as a laxative to help regulate bowel function if suffering from constipation. Drinking adequate quantities of water whilst using bentonite clay internally is important. When consumed the clay itself is inert and passes through the body unchanged. However, the bentonite clay binds the toxins excreted in the bile along with parasites, yeasts and other inhabitants of the digestive system for elimination in the faeces.


Bentonite clay baths

Regular immersion in a hot bath with a few teaspoons of bentonite clay added opens the pores and enables the clay to draw toxins out through the large surface area of the skin. Different formulations containing herbs specific to toxic metals and environmental toxins are available. You may notice that the bentonite clay changes colour or that dark sediment settles at the bottom of the bath after use and these are both signs that the clay has extracted impurities and toxins.

Read the instructions because some clays may potentially block your drains and so a drain filter may also be required. Alternatively you may need to empty the contents of the bath into the toilet.

Some people may experience a drawing sensation, tiredness, a slight nausea, feelings of physical or emotional relief or `lightness' after the bentonite clay bath. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or are taking prescription medications consult a suitably trained health professional first.

Bentonite clay foot baths take longer to be effective but offer a gentle alternative if your health is very compromised and can be done regularly throughout treatment every few days.


Psyllium seed husks

Psyllium is the husk of the seed of ispaghula, a plant native to India and Pakistan. The powdered husks usually need to be mixed with water or juice before consumption. The psyllium seeds are soluble in water and swell when wet but are indigestible to humans for which reason they act as a source of fibre. Like bentonite clay, psyllium husks can be used to regulate and normalise bowel function. When taken internally, the psyllium husks also help to absorb toxins, regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, act as a gentle internal ‘broom’ cleaning the walls of the digestive tract and provide bulk to aid propulsion and effective elimination of the stool.


Further resources

Click the appropriate link to view a list of suppliers of both bentonite clay and psyllium husks either in the UK or the US and to order go to the Supplements page.

You might also be interested in the following: 

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For a comprehensive approach to detoxification and diet refer to The Natural Recovery Plan book

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Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 of The Importance of Fibre

Clays for Healing and other podcasts listed under Supplements and Nutrition in the Audio Hub

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Fibromyalgia and Reducing the Toxin Load

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Or for all media use the Search facility at the top of the page


Bentonite clay and psyllium husks: Article summary

This article looks at the special properties of bentonite clay that make it suitable for both internal and external use (in clay baths) as a detoxifying agent. The properties of psyllium husks as an additional source of fibre to absorb toxins in the intestine are also examined. The benefits of combining both bentonite clay and psyllium husks to cleanse the bowel and draw toxins from the body are discussed.


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The Natural Recovery Plan Ezine February 2010 Issue 2. Copyright Alison Adams 2010. All rights reserved
Dr Alison Adams Dentist, Naturopath, Author and Online Health Coach

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