What is Bentonite Clay and How Does it Work?
Bentonite clay, also known as montmorillonite, aztec clay, or indian healing clay, has been used for thousands of years across the world to treat, prevent and even cure many illnesses and ailments. Bentonite clay is volcanic ash that has aged in the presence of water. When water activates the bentonite clay, it produces a strong negative electromagnetic charge within our bodies that attracts heavy metals and toxins. Most toxins, including heavy metals and aluminum, have a positive charge, therefore the negative charge of the bentonite clay attracts heavy metals and toxins, binds to them, and flushes them out of your body. Even animals will seek out the clay in the wild when they feel ill and will consume it as well as roll in it. Most bentonite clay comes from the United States and France, but is found all over the world.
What Types of Bentonite Clay Are There?
There are four types of bentonite clay, with two of them being the most common, simply due to the larger supply. The four types of bentonite clay are: sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium with the sodium and calcium being the most common. The different types of bentonite clay are determined by which of the four ions it contains the most of: sodium, calcium, magnesium, or potassium. It really boils down to which ions were trapped in the highest levels within the clay. Bentonite clay should always be a grey/cream color, never pure white nor bordering on pure white. If it is white or almost white, it is considered suspect.
Note: Never use metal to mix bentonite clay as it will absorb the metals into the clay. As we already know, many metals are a toxin. Always use glass, wood or plastic. Using plastic is a last resort considering it too can leak into the clay, but it is often suggested.
What is Bentonite Clay Used For?
Bentonite clay has a wide variety of health benefits and can be used in many different ways depending on what you are aiming for. It is most commonly used for:
Detoxing- As we explained above, bentonite clay’s negative charge attracts heavy metals and toxins within the body that have positive charges, thus trapping them and flushing them out of your body. The sodium bentonite clay is often deemed the best choice for detoxing purposes as it has a stronger negative charge and is able to remove the most toxins. The best way to do this is through a detox bath. Please read our article The Most Effective Natural Detox Bath Recipes to learn all about detox baths and to get the best recipes!
Note: Bentonite clay contains aluminum, simply because it comes out of the ground and attracts toxins. Although this is true, the aluminum is expelled during the process as it remains trapped within the clay. Many people are leery of bentonite clay because of the aluminum, but we are reassured by many doctors that it cannot remain in the body. Most things that come out of the ground contain known toxins including aluminum, so this isn’t anything new. At least the bentonite clay prevents it from doing damage to our bodies!
- Remineralizing the Body- Bentonite clay is naturally high in many minerals including: calcium, magnesium, silica, copper, sodium, iron and potassium, just to name a few. As it draws out toxins, it allows your body to absorb these important minerals. Calcium bentonite clay has a reputation of being more effective at remineralizing the body with calcium and silica.
- Alkalizing the Body- Bentonite clay changes our bodies PH in a positive way by increasing our bodies alkalinity. The less healthy our diets are, the higher the bodies acidic levels will be. As you probably know, acidic diets will slow our digestion as well which only leads to more toxic build up within us. Diseases and illnesses flourish in acidic environments and this is especially true in the case of cancer. The higher the alkalinity, the less chances diseases can invade and our digestive systems will run much smoother.
- Improving Digestion- As we mentioned above, bentonite clay is amazing for the digestive system. Not only does it raise the alkalinity levels within us to help aid in proper digestion, but it also promotes good gut bacteria, aka probiotics, and decreases the amount of bad gut bacteria. It is said it kills viruses in the gut including Rotavirus.
Many people use it to treat constipation, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and nausea by ingesting the clay. People typically consume anywhere between 1/2-1 tsp. a day mixed in a glass of water. It is extremely important to drink plenty of water before, during and after this process to ensure the clay along with the toxins are flushed out of the body.
Note: Although bentonite clay has been used via ingestion for thousands of years, many doctors claim it can be unsafe. We recommend researching this further and consulting with your doctor first.
- Allowing More Oxygen to Your Cells- Bentonite clay naturally draws hydrogen out of our cells and replaces it with oxygen. Not only will you feel better, you’ll feel much more energized and your body can repair itself from illnesses and hard workouts much quicker and more efficiently. This includes aiding in muscle recovery as well. Many studies have also concluded that flooding the body with oxygen will kill cancer cells as well as make it difficult for cancer to grow in the first place. Ever heard of hyperbaric chambers? They too flood the body with oxygen.
- Increasing Immunity- Between it’s effects on the digestive system, our cells and our skin, it’s no wonder it’s great for boosting the immune system. Not only will it detox our bodies, but it adds essential minerals, fights viruses and bacteria in the gut and on our skin, reduces inflammation and so much more. How could this not boost our immunity?
- Reducing Inflammation- As we already mentioned, bentonite clay is great for reducing inflammation inside our bodies. It is also great for reducing skin inflammation caused by bug bites, scrapes, acne and many others. For scrapes and bug bites, you’ll want a concentrated mixture to apply topically. Cover it with a band-aid and let sit for 2 hours before rinsing it off.
- Face Masks- Bentonite clay face masks are amazing at unclogging pores, removing toxins, treating acne, blemishes, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, relieves redness, and is great for increasing blood flow to speed up the healing of damaged skin. No matter what type of skin you have, you will most likely benefit greatly from using bentonite clay masks. The mask can be used 1-2 times a week and should be left on for a minimum of 20 minutes. It will feel tight and maybe even a little itchy, but this is normal and means it’s working! You can use bentonite clay anywhere on the skin to treat these issues as well as poison ivy, allergic reactions to lotions and other skin care products and more.
- Antibiotic on the Skin- Bentonite clay is known to act as an antibiotic when applied on the skin. Simply mix the clay with water as usual and apply. Rinse well afterwards.
- Deodorant- Many natural deodorants contain bentonite clay and you can even make your own at home.
- Neutralizing Fluoride in Your Bath Water- As you probably know, fluoride is a toxic chemical and therefore should be removed from your bath water before you soak. You can use baking soda or vitamin c powder to neutralize the chlorine. To learn all about neutralizing your bath water, we recommend that you read our article Natural Ways to Neutralize Chlorine and Reduce Other Toxins in Your Bath Water.
- Removing Radiation From Your Body- This is achieved in the same way bentonite clay pulls all other toxins out of our bodies! This is amazing!
- Fruit and Vegetable Rinse- Simply mix 1/4 C of bentonite clay and 1 quart of room temperature purified water in a non-metal bowl. Soak your fruits and vegetables for 10 minutes, rinse well and dry.
- Improving Teeth and Gums- Many people simply mix it in their toothpaste or use it as a daily mouth rinse to kill bacteria that cause tooth and gum decay. You can mix the bentonite clay in water, gargle for 30 seconds to 1 minute, spit, and rinse well.
- Baby Powder Alternative- Baby powders are known to be extremely toxic sadly, therefore we are really happy that bentonite clay can be used instead. Simply apply the dry clay directly, allow it to sit for several minutes, wipe or rinse away.
- Great for Pets too!- Bentonite clay can help relieve nausea and vomiting in pets. Simply add 1/4 C or less to their water and mix well until dissolved. They won’t even taste it and it will help detox your pets too!
- Chickenpox- Not only can it fight of Rotavirus, but it can help treat Chickenpox as well as speed up the process. Apply to the skin as directed above.
- Detoxing the Hair- Bentonite clay is amazing for detoxing the hair all while adding plenty of shine and volume. People with fine or naturally oily hair tend to love it as it leaves the hair very clean. Many people with coarse and frizzy hair say it helps tame their hair, so we’re not sure which hair type it’s best for! From what we see, it sounds great for all hair types in one way or another. Either way, it will greatly benefit you health wise.
Typically you want to mix the bentonite clay with an herbal tea (or water), apple cider vinegar and essential oils to get the most out of it. Different herbal teas work best depending on your hair color, so do make sure you aren’t using one that will alter your hair color. Below is the recipe we find most often and seems to get the best feedback.
1 C Herbal Tea or Water
1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 C Bentonite Clay
10 drops Essential oils (look for ones that are the best for hair such as Lavender)
Brew the tea and let cool slightly. Remove all herbs. Pour the tea or water in a food processor or non-metal bowl and mix in the apple cider vinegar. Slowly add 1 T of bentonite clay at a time until mixture is smooth like yogurt. Add essential oils and mix in. This mixture can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 week.
Now that you have made your hair detox here is how you use it: Wet hair with warm water slowly massage the mixture into your hair beginning at the roots and working your way down to the ends until hair is completely covered. Leave the bentonite hair detox mixture in your hair anywhere from 5-20 minutes, but do not allow it to dry in your hair or it is really difficult to remove and can cause breakage when trying to get it out. Rinse with warm water followed by cool water or use warm water and follow-up with 1 c of herbal tea with 1 T apple cider vinegar mixed in. Viola! Your hair thanks you!
With this many health benefits and uses, we cannot imagine life without Bentonite Clay. Not only is it an amazing detoxing agent, but it is overall one of nature’s best remedies. Please share your experiences with bentonite clay and let us know if we missed any of its amazing uses. The Herb Forest thanks you all and we hope you enjoyed our article.