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All About Clay

The use of medicinal clay in folk medicine goes back to prehistoric times. The first recorded use of medicinal clay goes back to ancient Mesopotamia. Indigenous peoples around the world still widely use clay.

Today, a wide variety of clays are used for healing medicinal purposes. CLAYS are a fantastic medium for hydrosols and essential oils. They can be applied as compresses, facial masks, baths, skin and wound care, as well as used internally.

clay colors 2 FotorClays are distinguished by their color, which is also the indicator for their structure and activity.

Green French Clay is best reserved for overactive, oily skin types. It is a strong absorbent and is used primarily for drainage, where it reduces swelling, and in topical compresses for sore joints, muscles and arthritis. Green clay is also effective for purifying and detoxing treatments.

Red Clay is also known as Rhassoul Clay. It has been used for centuries in spa applications, such as the body wraps used in Turkish bath houses. The red color resulting from its high iron content, deep cleansing, soothes rough skin and is recommended for aging skin.

Pink Kaolin Clay is perfect for general cosmetic use, offering a combination of gentleness and deep cleansing. Note: Red and Pink masks will appear to leave a light red stain behind as you first rinse them off; do not be alarmed, as it does fade almost immediately.

White Kaolin Clay is very useful for skin repair, cleansing, and toning, it is also gentle enough for sensitive and dry skin. A very mild clay that is good as a thickening agent and does not draw oils from the skin.

Fullers Earth Clay is well known for its ability to "soak up" oils, making this one of the best clays for those who have extra oily skin types. In addition, this clay is often used in facial "bleaching" masks as it holds a natural skin lightening effect that comes from its components of mineral. This is a good choice for those that have blemishes, light age spotting, or prone to acne.

Green Clay MaskFacial Mask

* 2 teaspoons clay of your choice.
* 3 teaspoons hydrosol of your choice.  
Hydrosol Recommendations: German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) OR Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum).
* 1-2 drops essential oil. 
Essential Oil Recommendations: Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) OR Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum).

Mix the ingredients together in a glass bowl. Apply a thin layer of the clay mask on your face. You can also apply it to your neck and upper chest.

Since clays are only active when wet, you can determine the intensity of activity by varying the thickness.
To reduce the intensity of action, shorten the duration of treatment or decrease the thickness of the clay. To increase the intensity of action, apply a thicker layer of clay or lengthen the duration. Most masks are between 1/16 and 1/4-inch-thick, but even a very fine layer of clay can be effective. Clay poultices, on the other hand, which are used on smaller areas for healing underlying tissues and organs, are usually 1 inch thick.

  • For normal skin allow the mask to dry. For delicate skin, let it dry for only 5-10 minutes. As the clay dries it is pulling out toxins and impurities.
  • Rinse off the mask with warm water. Gently rub with a wet wash cloth to remove it.
  • After you rinse the mask off, your skin may look slightly red, which is normal and will disappear in about 30 minutes.
  • Finish the facial routine with a hydrosol spray and facial serum.

Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash. The American Indians were evidently the first to use bentonite for its adsorptive properties. According to one Indian legend, a deposit of natural clay of miraculous medicinal qualities was used by the medicine men in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming and Montana. They called this clay "ee-wah-kee," meaning "the mud that heals. The name comes from the largest known deposit of Bentonite Clay located in Fort Benton, Wyoming. It is highly absorbent and is regularly used in the cosmetics industry to add texture and volume to facial masks. 

This clay is unique due to its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. It is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals. The reason why it is so effective is its inert property – it cannot be absorbed by the body. It is a substance that naturally absorbs toxins, yet does not get absorbed itself. Bentonite is hard to work into a smooth paste on its own, but is wonderful when combined with green clay. 

Internal cleansing - Mix 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay in 4oz. of warm water. Mix well and drink.
You can gradually work your way up to 2 or 3 teaspoons, but be sure to speak with your doctor while increasing your intake if you are experiencing digestive issues. Don't take 2 hours before or after medications, and wait an hour after taking bentonite clay to eat. Make sure to drink plenty of pure water throughout the day. When Bentonite clay passes through your colon, it absorbs any toxins it finds and then simply passes through and is released. Internal use is only recommended during a short cleanse or 1-2 times a week. 

Recommended Suppliers:
Starwest Botanicals
Redmond
(Food grade bentonite)
Mountain Rose Herbs 

Uses of Medicinal Plants
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

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