Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite clay, has been used by humans for thousands of years. It is named after Fort Benton, Wyoming, where some of the largest deposits of clay are located, and the Montmorillon region in France where it was first found. It has been used as a therapy to treat diarrhea and other digestive complaints. It’s also been shown to reduce high levels of lead, cadmium, and copper sometimes found in blood. Bentonite clay can be used in mud packs, mud baths, as oral detoxification support, or topically to soothe skin.
Animal studies have found bentonite clay acts like a detoxifier, especially when used internally. It can bind with aflatoxins, poisonous chemicals that can lead to a future cancer diagnosis. These toxins are caused by certain species of mold. Bentonite clay has been shown to reduce the quantity of aflatoxins in rabbits and rats. The clay can also lower organochlorine pesticides, additional proof of its capacity for detoxification. To find support for this theory, cows were poisoned with Lantana Camara. The results showed one experimental calf out of six using bentonite clay died. This was a huge improvement from the control group of cows using activated charcoal, which lost five out of six calves during the study. Bentonite clay has many external uses as well.
Topically, bentonite clay has been used to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of poison ivy and poison oak. It also has been used in sunblock to protect the skin from excessive amounts of sunlight. If using bentonite clay internally, small amounts are recommended for short periods of time. Animal studies have shown it may interfere with electrolyte balance and calcium absorption in large doses. This is why it is always recommended to consult your healthcare practitioner before using bentonite clay internally.
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Gomes, Celso de Sousa Figueiredo. (2018). “Healing and Edible Clays: A Review of Basic Concepts, Benefits and Risks.” Environmental Geochemistry and Health; 40(5); 1739-1765. doi:10.1007/s10653-016-9903-4
Moosavi, Maryam. (2017). “Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review.” Iranian Journal of Public Health, 46(9); 1176-1183