Clay, The Universal Medicine

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February 7, 2021


Clay is a material made up of several minerals, mainly silica and aluminum (clays are also called aluminum silicates). They are also made of many other minerals in smaller amounts, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, etc.
Clay is made of very fine particles of less than 2 microns, it is part of the phyllosilicate family: minerals with a flaky structure.
There are mainly 2 types of clay structures: the « 3 layers » structure, a layer of aluminum in between 2 layers of silica (these are smectites and generally green-colored clays) and the « 2 layers » structure: one of silica and one of aluminum (the kaolinites).
It is this layered structure that gives clay its strong absorbent and adsorbent power.

Clays were formed by the erosion of silicate rocks or volcanic ash. Clay makes up 15% of the earth’s crust, which means that clay can be found almost anywhere there is (or was) water. Clays are therefore rocks broken up into billions of small flat particles.
They can have different colors depending on the minerals they are made of and more specifically depending on the type of iron oxide found into them. A concentration of Fe3 + iron will give a red, orange or yellow color, whereas a concentration of Fe2 + will give a green or blue color.
A white color is due to strong dissolution, it is a clay poor in minerals. This is the case of kaolinite.

Clays are « absorbent » and « adsorbent ». « Absorbent » means that they absorb liquids, like a sponge. « Adsorbent » means that they attract certain substances like a magnet, through ionic polarization.

The surfaces of clay sheets are mainly composed of negative ions, which therefore attract positively charged substances.
Mineral salts carrying positive charges (Ca, Mg, K, Na, NH4, Fe, Mn, Cr, Ti, Al, Ba, Sr …) are attached to negative clay ions. When clay enters the stomach, mineral salts are released so clay negative ions can fix instead the hydrochloric acid hydrogen ions in the stomach (which provides relief for people with stomach ulcers), then clay releases these H+ ions further into the intestine, where it binds with other positive ions.



This is a group that includes montmorillonite and bentonite. Smectites are composed of a layer of alumina between 2 layers of silica. Smectites are generally green in color.

1 gram of smectite can cover 100 m² of intestine. If we separate and spread all the sheets next to each other, 1 gram can cover 845 m².

  • Montmorillonite : Montmorillonite gets its name from the village Montmorillon in France, where it was discovered. It is rich in magnesium and contains about 50 to 60% silica. Montmorillonite has a cation exchange capacity of 100 meq / 100 g. It can adsorb inorganic cations like caesium and also organic cations like diquat and paraquat herbicides, viruses and proteins.
  • Bentonite: bentonite is in fact the other name given, mainly by English speakers, to montmorillonite. Bentonite is mainly composed of montmorillonite, as well as other minerals such as feldspar, biotite, kaolinite, illite etc.
    It was called after Fort Benton in the United States, where large deposits of bentonite where discovered.
    Calcium bentonite is mostly used for body care, both internally and externally, while sodium bentonite is used mainly by industry as fillers, for roads and other constructions, as sodium bentonite swells up to 20 times its volume when mixed with water. Sodium bentonite has a greater absorption capacity but a lower adsorption capacity than calcium bentonite. Also, sodium bentonite has a much higher PH than calcium bentonite, which makes it too aggressive for external use, since the skin has a slightly acidic PH. Sodium bentonite taken internally can constipate since it absorbs a lot of water.


The name comes from the Chinese « Gaoling », which means « high hills », from the name of a hill located in Jingdezhen, China, where the manufacture of porcelain of which this mineral species is the raw material, was discovered. Its main component is kaolinite and often contains quartz, mica, feldspar, illite and montmorillonite.

It consists of only two layers: one layer of silica and one of alumina. The cation exchange capacity of kaolinite is much less than that of montmorillonite: it is 2 to 10 meq / 100 g. Its total surface is only 10 to 30 m² per gram.

It is usually white, cream, yellow, or red if loaded with iron oxide. It can be green if it contains organic matter. White clay is a very washed out clay, poor in minerals. It has neutral PH which makes it a very soft clay. It is not very absorbent.


Named after Illinois in the USA, where it was discovered.
It is a mineral species that can be described as an intermediate between smectites and kaolinites.

The total area of an illite is 100 to 175 m² per 1 gram.

Illite contains a lot of potassium and magnesium, but these ions are not easily exchanged due to its structure.

Illite reacts with organic and inorganic ions and has an exchange capacity of 10 to 40 meq / 100 g, which places it between montmorillonite and kaolinite.


The name comes from Attapulgus in Georgia, USA, and Palygorsk, a province of Russia. Their fibers are 1 to 3 microns long.

Palygorskite and attapulgite are synonymous terms for the same hydrous mineral of magnesium aluminum silicate.
Sepiolite is almost structurally and chemically identical to palygorskite. However, the aluminum in sepiolite has been significantly substituted with magnesium.
Structurally, these clays are formed by an alternation of blocks and tunnels. Each structural block is composed of two silica sheets sandwiching a central sheet of magnesium oxide-hydroxide.
This particular configuration of elongated hollow bricks, specific to its crystalline arrangement, gives it a very large surface area of 394 m² / g.

White or cream in color, these clays have a high absorption capacity. The cation exchange capacity is between 10 and 50 meq / 100 g. Sepiolite can absorb up to 200% of its weight in water.

These clays were used in the 18th and 19th centuries for making pipes and porcelain and as fuller’s earth for cleaning wool.
They are currently mainly used to make cat litter, floor cleaning products and as a carrier for pesticides and herbicides.


It is said in the Bible and the Koran that man was made of clay.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus created man with the potter’s clay.

Humans might have always consumed clays: the wear of the premolars of the first dentition of Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis is in every way superimposable on that of the current geophagous children.

Babylon, ancient Egypt, the Greeks and Romans used clay for healing.

In Egypt, during the time of the Pharaohs, the pharmacopoeia included Nubian clay.
The Ebers papyrus (1,600 BC, a copy of a document from 2,500 BC) describes treatments using clays, particularly to treat gastric acidity. The Egyptians also used clay for mummification (antiseptic properties).

For the treatment of fractures, the ancient Greeks used clay poultices.
In Greco-Roman mythology, Hephaestus (Vulcan), kicked out of Olympus by Zeus, fell on the island of Lemnos and fractured a limb which he healed with clay.

Jesus used clay to heal deformities and a blind man:
« When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. »

Dioscorides, in his book Materia Medica, recommended clay for bloody vomiting, as an antidote for poisonous animal bites and stings, and, together with vinegar, to stop swelling and purulent discharge.

Pliny the Elder referred to clay as the second most important element in the pharmacopoeia after cinnabar. He recommended the ingestion of volcanic clay for stomach and bowel ailments, for neutralizing poisons as well as externally for bleeding, snakebites, tearing and for skin beauty.

Galen brought back from the island of Lemnos 20,000 medallions of « terra sigillata », a clay famous in the ancient world, considered a panacea. He used them successfully to treat diseases of the stomach and intestines and also for malaria. The fame of the Sigillata clay persisted in Europe until the 19th century.
Marco Polo also observed the anti-malarial effect of clay on Muslim pilgrims.

Avicenna described twelve types of clays in his book Qânün (The Canon) and Averroes also classified the different clays of therapeutic interest.

In the 12th century, in Europe, the Lapidaries were written, specializing in treatments with minerals.

During an epidemic of pulmonary plague in 1348, the medical faculty of Paris wrote a treatise on prophylaxis in which the Armenian bowl (ferruginous clay) and sigillata were indicated.

At the end of the 16th century, the dean of the faculty of medicine of Montpellier (the most famous university in Europe at the time) wrote to the king of France Henri 4, to ask him to consider the exploitation of clay quarries in the region of Blois.
At that time, monarchs ingested clays every day, in order to prevent possible poisoning attempts.

Louis the 14th, who had anal fissures and hemorrhoids, regularly consumed clays.

A French botanical and pharmaceutical dictionary from the beginning of the 18th century indicates that “Clays main use is for malignant fever, plague, diarrhea, dysentery, bites of poisonous animals, hemorrhages, gonorrhea, vaginal discharge and vomiting. It is also used externally to stop the blood, to dry out wounds, to cleanse poisoned wounds and bites of poisonous animals, to purify and consolidate chancery and malignant ulcers (…) the experience has shows that given raw as it comes out of the mine, it cured epilepsy ”.

Ghandi recommended the use of clay.

It appears that during World War I clay was added to the mustard of the Russian military ration, which allowed these regiments to not suffer dysentery.

Jean Valnet believes that our current use of salt and mineral waters is ultimately just a disguised and more refined form of the simple ingestion of soil.


Animals instinctively bathe in clay and eat clay. Geophagy has been observed in reptiles, birds and many species of mammals, including primates and humans.

Only strict carnivores seem to be exempt from this behavior. In the Amazon jungle, all animals eat clay except the jaguar. On the other hand in Europe, wolves, foxes and dogs eat it readily.

Animals, like humans, choose the clay they consume carefully. Elephants of the tropical rainforests of Central Africa only consume clay of very specific places, same for elephants in Indonesia which, among 5 or 6 clay deposits in their habitat area, only choose one. Humans too travel for miles to harvest clay they like.

The choice of animals is often used as a clue for humans. Gypsies have called clay « soil of the fox »: convinced that this animal is the most intelligent of the wild fauna, they follow it to discover the most interesting deposits.

A veterinarian has been able to demonstrate that rats to which clays were offered ad libitum in addition to their diet, after a first period of intense consumption of these products (up to 30% of their food on the first day), stabilize and sustain their intake at 5% by weight of what they consume after a week, despite an abundant diet and whatever the diet is.
Surprisingly, this consumption continues long term: The experiment lasted 28 days, which for a human would equate to a period of two to three years! The amounts ingested, 1 to two grams per day per animal, equals, according to the study author, to a daily intake of 150 to 350 grams for a 70 kg adult.

Why do animals consume clays? And why in such proportions? The synthesis of the various publications on the subject makes it possible to formulate five hypotheses:

  1. solve digestive problems
  2. supplement with minerals
  3. get a feeling of fullness in the event of famine
  4. fight against intestinal parasites
  5. remove toxins from the diet.

Macaw parrots, in the heart of the Amazon, fly several kilometers to consume clay at certain times of the year, when they feed on many fruits and seeds that are still green, heavily loaded with alkaloids and other toxins. Thanks to clays, macaws can consume these foods despite these bitter and even deadly poisons.

Wild, geophagous Rhesus macaques, despite a high parasite load in their intestines, do not develop symptoms such as diarrhea or weakness, unlike macaques kept in zoos which do not have access to clays.

The addition of clay to the ration of farm animals significantly reduces mortality, especially in rabbits, a very fragile animal.
Piglet mortality decreases by 53% with the addition of zeolites.


Clay remineralizes, rebalances the body and is antitoxic.

You need to buy a clay that was sun dried, filtered and ventilated: ventilation separates sand from clay (clay is lighter than sand).

Dried clay baked in ovens loses its potency.

Clay has, as we have seen, absorption and adsorption properties. Absorption is the clay’s ability to absorb liquids like a sponge, adsorption is the cation exchange capacity. It is these absorption properties, but above all adsorption properties that give clay its detoxifying properties. Because clay is mainly negatively charged, it adsorbs positively charged toxins.

As we have seen, the ionization of clay is measured indirectly by the Cationic Exchange Capacity (C.E.C.), measured in meq / 100g, which varies greatly from one mineral species to another: CEC from 1 to 10 mEq / 100 grams for kaolinite, CEC from 10 to 40 mEq / 100 grams for illite, CEC from 80 to 150 mEq / 100 grams for smectites.

But the properties of clay go even further than the simple power of absorption and adsorption. Researches also focus on the role of clays as energy capacitors: charges carried by the superimposed sheets are very close but do not touch each other. It seems that clays act like enzymes, orienting molecules, facilitating their encounters while imposing a particular « 3D » shape (stereochemistry) onto them, in a role of biocatalysts.

Professor Rautureau said: « Clays are above all materials that adapt to their environment ».

Jade Allègre says that clay is « alive », which is why it can differentiates the good from the bad in the body: « By an unexplained phenomenon, it seems that clay has an extraordinary affinity for all that is foreign to the body and / or toxic: it literally cannot stand the presence of the slightest impurity and will not stop cleaning everything. « 


Internally, clay forms an adherent and lasting gel on the digestive wall. It is estimated that 1 gram of smectite can cover 100 square meters of intestine. 3 grams can easily cover the entire small intestine, like a protective bandage, and will also absorb certain molecules or bacteria, inhibiting them by isolating them from their environment. The antibiotic function of clay is not because clay kills bacteria, but because bacteria are absorbed and then flushed out of the body. Sometimes bacteria are not virulent on their own but through the toxins they secrete. This is the case with the cholera vibrio. Antibiotics are useless, while clays easily binds with the toxin and remove it from drinking water and also heal the sick. They were used successfully during the last major epidemic in Europe.

Clays are also effective against viruses.

To clean water contaminated with germs, in a glass, simply cover the surface of the water with a thin layer of green clay powder. As soon as it falls to the bottom, the water is drinkable.

Studies show that clay is effective against gram negative bacteria (like Escherichia Coli) but less effective against gram positive bacteria or fungal infections, but it absorbs mycotoxins.

An experiment carried out at the Mitry-Mory Microbiological Research Institute, demonstrated that 25 grams of illite clay could eliminate from half a liter of water seeded with 100 million germs per milliliter: 92.6% of Escherichia coli, 87.3% of Enterococcus hirae (10% of nosocomial infections), 99.7% of Staphylococcus aureus and 95.5% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (pyocyanic).

Study shows that colloidal silver mixed with bentonite makes a very effective antibacterial. Colloidal silver only works in direct contact with pathogens, whereas clay acts like a magnet at a distance: bentonite can therefore carry colloidal silver further by ion exchange. In some cases where clay does not seem to have an effect, adding colloidal silver can increase its potency.

In an experiment to create inorganic antibacterial materials, the native ions in clay were replaced with known antibacterial ions, such as silver, copper and zinc. When using these clays therapeutically, the absorbed ions are gradually released for long term efficacy.


Clay can be considered as a grid, on which are fixed iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, etc. When it enters the stomach, it releases these minerals to capture hydrogen ions (H +) from gastric juices. It has the double benefit of supplying trace elements to the body and to provide relief from heartburn.

A smectite clay can bind directly to excess pancreatic trypsin.

Regarding the protection of the stomachale mucosa, kaolinite clay would be more effective than smectite clays. On the other hand, smectites reduce the adhesion of H. Pylori, often associated with stomach ulcers.
Clay, when in the intestines, bind again with positive ions.


It seems that clay has the property of stimulating the radioactivity of the body to which it is applied if it is deficient, or of absorbing that in excess. On an organism which has undergone radiations from radium or another intensely radioactive source, the radioactivity with which it is still impregnated is exalted, then absorbed. Clay could thus protect the organism affected by ionizing radiation.

Certain molecules, such as radioactive caesium, become embedded in the structure of clay sometimes irreversibly, which is very interesting for protecting against radioactive contamination.

In Norway, it has been shown that adding 2 grams of bentonite clay per kilogram of weight to the daily ration of cows can reduce the concentration of radionuclides in their milk by ten folds.
In Italy, researchers made ewes consume soil artificially loaded with caesium-137: they were able to demonstrate that the clay particles retained the radionuclides throughout the course in the animal’s body, then evacuated them without the animal being contaminated.

In another study, rats given caesium by injection and orally (10% of their diet) were able to double the elimination of the contaminant through their stool, using clays.

Cows, sheep and reindeer, benefiting from the addition of 500 mg of bentonite per kilogram of weight in their food intake, showed a 50% reduction in caesium in their milk and meat. Adding 2 grams per kilogram of weight resulted in an 80% reduction.


Clay absorbs heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides. Clay is very effective in detoxifying paraquat, an extremely toxic herbicide. Clay, while remaining in the digestive tract, binds with the poison even when it has already passed into the blood, by a phenomenon called intestinal dialysis. The same efficacy has been demonstrated for arsenic as well as for strychnine.

A study concluded that « saturating montmorillonite with various cations increased glyphosate adsorption in the order Na+ < Ca2+ < Mg2+ < Cu2+ < Fe3+ »

A study has shown that bentonite clay mixed with magnesium chloride helps filter fluoride from tap water.

Ingestion of clay reduces the bioavailability of alkaloids, as well as that of tannins, which block the digestion of proteins.

Clay absorbs lead. In one study, pigs were supplemented for 100 days with montmorillonite, which reduced the level of lead in their blood, brain, liver, bones, kidneys and hair.

In another study, montmorillonite supplementation stopped the oxidative damage of cadmium in the liver and kidneys.

Too much copper intake in food can be reduced by taking bentonite.

Alumina silicates are very effective for binding with mercury. In 1581, a highway robber agreed, in exchange for his life, to participate in an experiment organized by doctors: before a bailiff he had to consume 6.4 grams of mercury chloride – three times the lethal dose – followed by 4.3 grams of clay diluted in wine. Although he was « greatly upset and tormented, » he recovered.


Clay for kidney problems: Creatinine is an indicator of kidney health: when levels of creatinine in the blood are high, it indicates kidney weakness. Creatinine travels from the blood vessels to the intestines where it can be reabsorbed in the body. Montmorillonite lowers creatinine levels in the blood by absorbing creatinine in the intestine, that is excreted faster.

Gout: Urea is the main metabolite derived from the turnover of dietary proteins and tissue proteins. As kidney function decreases, the level of BUN (blood urea nitrogen) increases. Bentonite has been shown to promote the diffusion of urea from the blood vessel to the intestine and inhibit the absorption of urea in the intestine.


Clay taken orally treats viral and bacterial infectionsfood allergies, colitisfood poisoning. Smectites have been shown to be effective in reducing the hydrogen emitted during colonic fermentation, and therefore reducing gas and intestinal bloating.

Jade Allègre tells us that “Uzalla clays are the subject of nineteen specific preparations by local healers, eight of which are intended for pregnant women, and the other eleven for stomach ailments and dysentery, six of these clays have salt added to them. « 

Dr. Weston Price, in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, wrote:
« It is also of interest that among this group in the Andes, among those in central Africa, and among the Aborigines of Australia, each knapsack contained a ball of clay, a little of which was dissolved in water. Into this they dipped their morsels of food while eating. Their explanation was to prevent « sick stomach. » This is the medicine that is used by the native in these countries for combating dysentery and food infections. It is the treatment that was given me when I developed dysentery infection in central Africa while making studies there. The English doctor in Nairobi whom I called in said he would give me the native treatment of a suspension of clay. It proved very effective. 
In the course of an expedition to Lake Titicaca, South America, an interesting observation was made in regard to the diet of the Quetchus Indians on the Capachica Peninsula near Puno. These people are almost certainly descendants of the Incas and at the present time live very primitively. They exist largely on a vegetable diet of which potatoes form an important part. Immediately, before being eaten, the potatoes are dipped into an aqueous suspension of clay, a procedure which is said to prevent « souring of the stomach.« 
Dr. Code has apparently discovered that histamine is the actual product responsible for the symptoms of the various allergies. Its excess accumulation in the blood is the actual cause of the symptoms whether expressed as asthma, hay fever or skin eruptions such as produced by pollens, various foods, dust and other sensitizing agents. He has shown that the eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, are the source of excess histamine in the blood. It is accordingly indicated that the primitive treatment by the use of kaolin, aluminum silicate, as an adsorbent was used directly for controlling such symptoms. It is now further indicated that this treatment can be helpful for the prevention of modern allergies. Previous investigations have shown that histamine is produced in the alimentary tract as a putrefaction product of proteins by the action of certain micro-organisms of the colon group. » 


Although clay absorbs many organic and inorganic materials in the digestive system, clay has been shown to not affect mineral metabolism and absorption.

Experiments on rats showed that the consumption of kaolinite clays increases the enzymatic capacity of pancreatic lipase, and the production of apolipoprotein A-I, resulting in increased lipid absorption.
The consumption of clays by rats also leads to the overexpression of apolipoprotein A-IV, a satiety factor, and allows a 7% drop in food intake for identical growth.
The slowing down of transit, increasing the contact time of the food ration with the enterocytes, also makes it possible to increase the assimilation of nutrients.
The absorption of intestinal gas allows decompression in the digestive system, followed by a slower transit.

Intra-gastric administration of bentonite to rats for 28 days resulted in overproduction of yeasts in the intestine. Bentonite is believed to help the absorption of nutrients by increasing the activity of the intestinal flora.

Doctor Jean Valnet recommends clay for arteriosclerosis, tuberculosis, aging, multiple degenerative states because of its high silica content.

Likewise, Valnet indicates clay for asthenia, demineralization, cancerous conditions and anemia due to its richness in magnesium, iron and calcium.

Researchers have shown that the colloidal form of minerals can be absorbed by living organisms, unlike the neutral amorphous or crystalline form. When in suspension, clays are colloids, which allow the absorption of the minerals that constitute them.

As we have seen, the positively charged ions of certain minerals like magnesium, iron or calcium in clay are released into the body when they are ingested.

Studies show that the iron in smectite clays can be partially assimilated by the body, since ingestion of these minerals increases the consumer’s blood iron content.

The cation exchange with the release of minerals in the intestine seem to also be beneficial for our microbiome which might be able to use them.

Long-term ingestion of clays has been shown to be safe.
Clays can be consumed by pregnant women, they are actually the main consumers of clay, with children, in cultures where geophagy is common.
The period of breastfeeding would seem favorable to the taking of clays, insofar as they could help to purify the body of the mother of many toxicants, which would no longer risk being eliminated by the mother’s milk, an emunctory preferential in mammals.

In veterinary medicine, when animals have to change diet, clays are used routinely. Supplementation of clay could perhaps also help our human babies during weaning, and help them to adapt smoothly to newly encountered germs, as well as to contaminants in our environment.

Some primates, including humans, prefer clay worked by insects or birds to soil clays, for example the clays of termite mounds or those of leaf-cutting ants. Same for chimpanzees in Gabon, who not only choose the soil reworked by insects, but also particularly seek those which have been doubly reworked, the larva of a Homoptera, Muansa clypealis (a cicada), having taken them of termite mounds. This work carried out on clays by insects results in a greatly increased concentration of minerals. Thus, in the present case, the phosphorus content is multiplied by a factor of eight. Traditional human populations make identical choices. African villagers still prefer clay from termite mounds to clay from the soil. This clay can contain four times more magnesium, six times more calcium, and eight times more manganese than soil clay. In Sierra Leone, pregnant women take the trouble to tediously collect tiny wasp nests from the top of walls, at the risk of suffering their very painful stings.
They feel the urgent need to add them to the consumption of soil clays and that of termite nests, which are much easier to harvest. Clays of wasp nests are particularly rich in zinc, an essential element for … the growth of the fetus! Reworked by insects, clays contain many useful, even essential elements, such as copper, zinc, cobalt, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, selenium, molybdenum, vanadium. Not only are they much richer in these elements than soil clays, but they are also in a much more digestible form.

Clays are also used for preserving food. They absorb liquids and keep food dry, resistant to mold. They also have an anti-clumping effect.

Clay also potentiates certain phytochemicals: it has been shown that when chimpanzees ingest soils containing kaolinite at the same time as the leaves of a tree of the mahogany family, Trichilia rubescens, it has the effect of to potentiate the antimalarial molecules that they contain, ineffective if they were consumed without this addition.


Used externally, clay can remove infection from the body: hydrated clay creates a subtle but powerful electromagnetic field, which adsorbs toxins through the skin, and also, by an effect that is not fully understood, stimulates the body’s own natural defenses in the treated area.

Thick (2 cm) and wide applications can extract splinters, venom, deep infections and even unabsorbed surgical threads!

Clay is hemostatic: alumina heals tissues. It is very effective in healing skin lesions and ulcers.

Clay is effective for skin dermatitis caused by poisonous plants such as poison ivy.
For « diaper dermatitis » in babies, clay works better and faster than calendula.

For skin care, you need to choose the type of clay according to your skin type:

Kaolinite is indicated for sensitive skin. Its pH is close to the natural pH of the skin. It is not very absorbent which means that it does not dry out the skin, it cleanses it gently. Kaolinite whitens the teeth. Kaolinite treats diarrhea and ulcers by forming like a bandage, a protective layer on the mucosal lining, not by adsorption since it has low adsorbing properties. Kaolinite does not have a great nutritional value since it is poor in minerals. It is usually white or light in color but may have other colors depending on its iron oxide content.

Bentonite / montmorillonite is very absorbant, it is the best clay for oily and acne-prone skin: it is more absorbant and drying.
Although no studies have been done regarding the benefits on hair, bentonite has been shown to accelerate the growth of wool in sheep.

Illite is very absorbent, but less than smectites. It is the clay intermediate between smectites (montmorillonite, bentonite) and kaolinite.
It is indicated in the care of regular or oily skin.


It is important to choose quality clays, sun dried, filtered and ventilated, without additives, preferably stored in paper or cardboard or glass or porcelain containers, not in plastic or metal containers.

You should choose a clay from the region where you live, which acts more in « sympathy » than clays from faraway countries.


Raymond Dextreit recommends an average daily dose of one teaspoon, half a teaspoon for children up to 10 years old.

For gut issues, 2 to 3 teaspoons per day. Mix clay in water several hours before taking it, or even better, let it sit overnight. Do not use metal utensils which could disturb the electromagnetic balance of the clay.

Take clay in the morning when you wake up or at bedtime, or 1 hour to 30 minutes before a meal. In case of constipation, dilute with more water and spread it through the day, between meals.

If it causes nausea, make pellets with a little water the size of peas and dry them. Swallow these pellets in place of powdered clay. You can also suck them like candy. In case of colds or sore throats, inflamed gums, you can suck clay pellets too.

Babies will be given a teaspoonful of clay water before 3 breast feed each day.

You can take clay for 3 weeks, then stop for a week, then you can continue for months, stopping for a week after each month.

Jade Allègre generally recommends the use of 3-layer clay species which are more powerful: montmorillonite, bentonite and illites.

Jade Allègre, from her experience, recommends larger doses: 300 mg / kg of 3-layer clay powder, in a glass of water, which are 18 grams, or a large tablespoon for a 60 kg adult.

For diarrhea or gastroenteritis, this dose should be taken 3 times a day for 3 to 4 days, or until complete recovery.

Infant reflux: a teaspoon in 20 ml of water. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then stir and present it to the baby’s lips, carefully observing its reactions. After a moment of surprise, it will accept the mixture. Give clay after each meal, until it no longer wishes to continue.

I.B.S, Crohn’s: 1 tablespoon of clay in a glass of water, 3 times a day: reduces pain and normalizes stools.

Pinworm infection: for children: take one to 2 teaspoons in a glass of water at bedtime, let it sit for 10 minutes then mix and drink. For adults: 1 to 2 tablespoons.

Cholera: On an empty stomach, 70 to 100 grams in 250 ml of water for adults, 30 grams for children, drink over 20 to 30 minutes. Take again every 3 hours keep fasting for 24 hours.

Jade Allègre wrote: “During epidemics in Mali, our correspondents recommended that healthy people take a teaspoon of clay in a glass of water twice a day, in order to protect themselves from contamination. No sick person was to be deplored among those who followed this advice ”.
Clay stops the vibrio from multiplying.

For chemical poisoning, large doses are needed and that is why you need to choose a type of clay that does not swell, so it won’t cause obstruction: choose attapulgite or zeolite rather than smectites. Activated charcoal is also ideal.

For adults: Attapulgite or white clay kaolinite-type: 1g per kilo, all at once or divided into 4 doses, 1 dose per hour. Then 12.5g every hour. The adsorbent dose / toxicant dose ratio should be 10: 1.

In children, the usual recommended dose of one gram per kilogram may be insufficient. Rather, administer 10 to 20 grams in children weighing less than 10 kg, 20 grams in children weighing 10 to 15 kg, 20 to 30 grams in children weighing 15 to 20 kg, 30 to 50 grams for children of more than 20 kg.

2 to 3 tablespoons 2 to 3 times a day at a minimum distance of 2 hours from any other medication, 4 hours if possible.
Prevention: 1 tablespoon twice a day.

Travelers’ diarrhea:
300 milligrams of green clay powder per kilogram of the patient’s weight, in a glass of water: let the powder fall to the bottom, without stirring, and wait 10 minutes. After this time, mix with a food-grade plastic or natural wood spoon (no metal, no painted, treated, and / or varnished wood), and drink it all. This dosage is to be repeated if the diarrhea continues.

In an emergency situation to decontaminate contaminated water:
Get a flask with a glass ceramic interior (contact of alumina silicates with metal should be avoided). Fill with contaminated water, filtering through several layers of fabric if there are particles in suspension or if parasites (eggs) are suspected, then add a block of green clay (clay « pebbles ») the size of the flask’s neck. Let it sit for 10 minutes before the first ingestion, and then stir systematically before drinking.
Make a new preparation every 24 hours.

For a plastic bottle, put a clay pebble the size of the neck for 1 liter of water, or 4 tablespoons of a « three-layers » clay. (smectites, illites).

For prophylaxis: 1 teaspoon of green clay in water, that you let sit at least ten minutes, preferably 12 hours. Drink first thing in the morning or at bedtime if you are predisposed to constipation. Half dose for children under 6 years old.


Valnet recommends 1/2 to 2 cm thick poultices, slightly larger than the area being treated. Cold on feverish areas, inflamed areas or on the lower abdomen, to renew when they become warm.
Poultices should be warm on the liver, kidneys, bladder, bones. To let sit 1 to 3 hours, sometimes overnight.

R. Dextreit:

Abscess, boil, tumor: in a pot, 2 teaspoons of unrefined sea salt in the amount of water just needed to dissolve it. Put on the heat, stir with a wooden spoon. Add clay powder to give the consistency of ointment, then apply while hot. Leave the poultice on all day and then make a new one in the evening, to keep overnight. When pus starts coming out, only apply cold clay poultices during the day and keep applying for a few nights the salt-clay poultices

Oily hair: Make a paste with clay, apply it as you would with a shampoo, leave on for half an hour then rinse.

Jade Allègre reports the experience of a doctor in Africa regarding external application of clay: « It is not the amount that makes the product effective, it is an observation that I made. It is not worth making a huge poultice, even if it is a small amount with a width of 5 cm and a length of 10 cm, it can have the same effects as a dimension of 20 to 25 cm. Maybe regarding thickness, yes, there is a difference: if it is a boil or a wound, it is not the same as when it is a case of rheumatism. I make the poultice thicker according to the physical constitution of the person. For example for someone who is fat, for the healing effect to go all the way, touch the bone, I think it takes a thicker amount, 1 cm, and if it is a child , I do not use a thick layer because I have noticed that it reacts much faster with young people, children, than with adults. Maybe they have a much healthier body, a lot more natural than adults, so that’s the criterion I’m taking into consideration: the age of the patient and his physical constitution. « 


Clay is very well tolerated and generally non-toxic, at all ages.

Do not inhale and do not use in case of intestinal obstruction. Some clays can induce constipation on predisposed people. This problem is reduced when ingested at bedtime.

In case of large quantities to be absorbed, choose a clay that does not swell, such as attapulgites, zeolites or choose activated charcoal.

Studies have shown that clays are not dangerous to animals if the amount of clay absorbed does not exceed 50% of the food intake.

Jade Allègre witnessed people in Africa eating up to 3/4 kilo of clay PER DAY, every day for several weeks, with no side effects. Unlike people might think, clay does not cause issues even when taken in large quantities.

Professor Gallot, gastroenterologist at the Rothschild hospital in Paris, fed a group of one hundred rats for a year (a period of 30 to 40 years on a human scale) with a diet composed of 1/3 of clay to prove liver toxicity.
Regular anatomo-pathological examinations on sacrificed animals and probes on live animals did not show any modification or a fortiori no lesion of the liver.

There has been 1 reported case of hypokalaemia in a 3-year-old child who had been treated orally and rectally with bentonite by her parents.


A smectite clay will be much more likely to be polluted before extraction, because its strong capacity of attraction will make it a trap for contaminants: it can be loaded with radioactive pollutants, heavy metals, or oil. At least 50 cm of clay must be removed from the surface if you want to harvest your own clay.
Distributors are required to do make analysis of their clay on a regular basis.

Assessing the risk of contamination from clay is difficult. In the case of lead, for example, IVBA (In Vitro Bio Accessibility tests) procedures have shown that lead, dissolved in the stomach, tends to precipitate in the intestine when the pH rises, or to bind to solid particles present in the intestinal lumen. Consequently, the fraction which can be truly assimilated is greatly reduced, being limited to 7 to 29% of the fraction ingested.

Another study shows that lead in soil is less bioaccessible than lead in food.

Can aluminum in clay get absorbed when ingested?

In pharmacies, clays included in drugs have to prove their non-toxicity. For example, the Ipsen laboratory, distributor of Smecta, administered 200mg / kg and 2g / kg of smectite to rats and dogs for 6 months: no functional or organic sign of toxicity could be revealed.

Clays are made of a crystal lattice, to which elements such as calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium adhere.
It is necessary to differentiate the structure of this network, silicate and alumina, from the cations placed on the surface. The network is solid, our body would have to produce a temperature of around one hundred degrees celcius for this structure to begin to collapse and release aluminum. What about the resistance of this network to acidity? Even in dogs, whose stomach pH is much more acidic than ours, it seems that clay remains intact during the digestion, since toxicological studies have been able to establish that at a dose of 2.250 grams per kilo per day for one year – a considerable dose equivalent to ingesting more than half a bag of powdered clay per day for a human! – no increase in the level of alumina in the blood could be observed (expertise carried out by the toxicology laboratory at Fernand-Widal hospital, in Paris).

The Maisons-Alfort veterinary school in France confirms that sled dogs, which receive substantial doses of clay before or during competitions, to prevent or cure stress syndrome – diarrhea – dehydration, show no signs of aluminum overload.

In fact, it is precisely because the aluminum in clays does not loosen from the lattice (clay leaves the intestines intact) that these minerals are so effective to heal the stomach and the intestines. Indeed, the covering power of clays allows it to cover the mucous membrane – one gram of smectite can spread over a hundred square meters – and the alumina of the network can thus remain in direct contact with the digestive wall for a few hours and heal it.

In one study, 6 human volunteers ingested the usual dose of 6 to 9 grams per day for a month. The only control criterion was the unmodified aluminum level.


Clays should not be used internally in case of kidney failure. In this case, fluoride overloads could be possible, and potassium overloads could be observed.


The main problem with therapy with clays is that it is generally preferable to ingest them away from other drugs.
No interference was observed with phenylbutazone, aspirin, and diclofenac, but on the other hand a modification of the kinetics with cortisone, rifampicin, and diazepam was observed. The action of propanolol is annihilated.
It is best to recommend that the patient take the other medications before taking clay – half an hour is sufficient when taking on an empty stomach. If other medications are taken after clays, a minimum interval of two hours (four hours for quinolone antibiotics) is prefered.


When applied externally on an open wound, the powerful binding capacity of smectites can burst red blood cells by changing their surface tension, or inhibit white blood cells by excessive « sticking ». On the other hand, an illite clay can give better results.


In conclusion, clays are anti-toxic, remineralizing and balancing materials, used by all cultures of the world for thousands of years, to treat many conditions, especially intestinal diseases and skin conditions.

Clay is inexpensive, easily accessible and effective. Everyone should always have a bag of clay at home, to treat common light injuries and intestinal discomfort, as well as more serious emergencies such as poisoning, where clay, when taken as soon as possible, can save lives.


Raymond Dextreit – L’argile qui guérit

Jean Valnet – Se soigner par les légumes, les fruits et les céréales

Weston A. Price – Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

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