clayFragment extracted from the "Mini encyclopedia of Romanian naturist medicine” by yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru

Clay has nothing to do with a vegetable or a fruit, unless someone shapes it like this. However, just as vegetables, it supports and enriches health. It contains many minerals and oligo-elements and has numerous qualities.

This very old therapeutic method is indeed of a rare power. We can say in fact that it is too famous, therefore it became vulgarized. In the literature in the past centuries, we may find astonishing examples of healing regarding to numerous conditions, some of them being often severe.

Clay seems to have almost all qualities: it helps a lot in physical regeneration, and this is because of its oligo-elements. Clay's composition explaina alone its remineralizing qualities, as well as the balancing and anti-toxic action. All these properties have been known since ancient times.

Regardin clay, many of the ancient scripts were lost over time. We know, however, that Egyptians have used it for mummifying cadavers (see here the antiseptic properties of clay).
When we take ad literam quotes from ancient texts, clay seems to have been endowed, in old times, with certain virtues that are not anymore mentioned nowadays. Indeed, now we don't take in consideration to treat certain tumors or bone deformities with putting there some patches of clay, which is used only as a supporting therapy. Still, certain populations, because of many lacks of other means, are still using even noawadays clay baths and patches and obtaining fantastic results.

It is possible that when applied to bone injuries, clay patches or baths may no longer have the same efficiency nowadays like in the past. This may be due to habit (tradition) over generations or to psychological influences which have arisen in certain human groups. Also, the biological characteristics of our contemporaries are, certainly, somewhat different from those of the man that was living two or three thousands of years ago. Thus, about half a century ago, people have found that the normal percentage of cholesterolemy (the concentration of cholesterol in the blood) was within the scale of 1,80g/l to 2,20 g/l blood. Currently, many authors believe that it has raised to 2,40-2,50 g/l blood.

Thus, the response to this kind of treatment may modify acording to physiological conditions of the period of time when it's applied. This may be very well one of the possible explanations for certain often criticized therapeutical means. The new medication makes the connection to the old ones, that have become inactive in time.

In Indochina, within the time frame from 1950's and 1953's, many doctors have noticed that certain drugs were ineffective on wounded French people, but they were meanwhile proven to be very effective when administrated to the Vietnamese.
It seems that the habit of using natural medicines is commonly limited by time. Still, for many contemporaries, due to the long forgetfullness over time, the treatment with clay would play the role of a "new" great therapy.
The Greek doctor Dioscoride was stating that clay has a tremendous force. Pliny, the elder, Galen and Avicenna have also spoken extensively in their writings about it.

Louis the XIVth has gladly used clay because of his strong appetite that has sometimes caused him health troubles. Literature mentioned that anal cracks, hemorrhoids and other impairment of the Sun King “plethora”. Was this then the reason for which, according to Saint-Simon, Louis the XIV th has been known for using pretty much of this kind of dust?
In "Sciences et Voyages", one can read something very interesting and signed by M.M. Deribéré and A. Esme: "Marco Polo reported that pilgrims who went to the Holy City of Niabar were often sick with fever every three days, and they would heal by absorbing a bit of the red ground from that specific place, not far from the city."
Kuhn (from Leipzig), Strumpf, Just, Kneipp have had a big contribution to the ''rehabilitation'' of clay therapy. Professor Strumpf, from the University of Berlin, has prescribed clay in 1903, to numerous sick people, for Asian fever and he put together all his results in his famous book, speaking a lot of this method.

During the war, from 1914's to1918's, a small amount of clay used to be added to the mustard destined for some French regiments. Contrary to other units, these regiments were not decimated by dysentery. Russian troops as well have used  clay internally. This method is commonly found in various forms throughout many countryside areas. There are countries where patients continue to treat themselves by swallowing clay, especially in Africa, South America and in India, where for example even Gandhi was recommending it.

The geography of some countries offers the possiblity to have the a clay which is enriched with various mineral salts and metals, such as iron and calcium. In Indochina, the inhabitants even use to agitate river waters before drinking out of it. First explanation for this gesture would be that clear water hides in it "the spirit of evil". By agitating the water, the one who wanted to ease his thirst would get rid of it. The true explanation is totally different and much simpler. It is, without doubt, an act of public health, whose origins has been forgotten over times. The ancestors of the Vietnamese probably have used to drink clay water, being more aware of its disinfectant and energizing virtues.

Dr. Keller – Hoerschelmann was performing clay treatments in his hospitable and declared in his turn that "the internal use of clay for pleurisy, peritonitis, inflammation of the lower abdomen, catarrh of the bladder, appendicitis, gallstones, intestinal worms, cancers, ulcers, pleurisy, etc is surprisingly effective."
It was afterwards assumed that the current use of salt and mineral waters is actually nothing more than a disguised and more refined form of simple clay ingestion.

Regarding the external use of clay, the animals who know out of instinct which are the plants necessary to their healing, bathe instinctively in the morass of clay when they are injured or sick.
People have also used clay in this way since remote times. Such descriptions are many in medical literature. "The sludge of the cutlers" which was nothing else but clay, was used until recently in France on burns. Currently we have the similar action of kaolin, alumina silicate. Clay is composed, to a large extent, of this latter product.

Heir of a long tradition, vicar Kneipp currently used a mixture of clay and vinegar for making cataplasms and plasters. In Germany and Switzerland, certain physiologists apply a warm clay plaster on patients’ thoraxes, which has to be kept for several hours and sometimes over night.

The properties of clays

Clay is antiseptic and, like other natural antiseptics (aromatic essences for example) it does not have the usual inconvenience of certain chemical antiseptics, which are killing the microbes, but at the same time are destroying all cells that constitute our bodies tissues.
Alexis Carrel often spoke about the "intelligence of nature”. Clay is certainly endowed with it, but this intelligence, as he wrote, still remained without a ''grounding'' explanation by means of our current way of reasoning.

For its bactericidal properties, clay has been used effectively in many infectious issues: enteritis, colitis, colibacilosis, lung or parasitic diseases (intestinal parasites). A purulent plague treated with clay heals amazingly quickly. Pus is removed and tissues recover. Just like cabbage, clay  collects pus - in internal and both external use - and, in fact, it disinfects and cleans the whole body.

Prof. Laborde, from the Faculty of Pharmacy in Strasbourg, has made a report in 1928, showing that curative clay is sterile, i.e. devoid of microbial germs. It seems, on the other hand, that clay has a radioactivity, as perhaps all bodies have. Its concentration would be, by different areas, from 0,3 to 1,25 Mache unit.
Together with its antiseptic and healing properties, clay is a remarkable absorber: 5 g are enough to discolor 10cm3 of a methylene blue solution of 0.1%. It also absorbs bad smells (disinfection of bedpans and night pots). Its absorbent power explains the preservation of eggs, according to Extreme Oriental methods and also its ability to remove the unpleasant smell of some medicinal oils and certain fats that compete with butter. Clay has antitoxic properties as well.
In industry, clay is used to discolor vegetal or mineral oils. Clay has degreasing and discoloring properties (Romans use to soak laundry in clay water).


Clay contains: silica 49,10%, alumina 14,61%, iron oxides 5,65%, lime 4,44%, magnesium 4,24%, alkali oxides 3,08%, titanic anhydride 0,74%, moisture 7,40%, loss at fire 10,85%.
Due to its high silicon content, clay is recommended for many diseases, particularly for arteriosclerosis, tuberculosis, premature ageing and multiple degenerative states. The presence of magnesium, iron, and calcium point to its role in curing asthenia, demineralization, cancerous states and anemia.

How to use it

Internally: clay for internal use has to be fat, finely sifted, with no sand in it, not boiled and not mixed with other medicinal products. There exists green, white, yellow, red type of clays. We can find out which is best for each case. Anyway, clay from the area where we live is best for us.
Usually, the daily dose is a teaspoon added to 3/4 cup of water (1/2 teaspoon for children under 12 years old). It is very good if we start by drinking only clay water for 4 or 5 days. For certain diseases, such as dysentery, gastrointestinal disorders, anemia, tuberculosis, we may take 2-3 teaspoons of clay daily.
For internal cure, it is good to firstly use "clay water", which is obtained from mixing clay with water (if possible spring water) - to be prepared in the previous evening. The next day we drink it, on empty stomach, and only the clear water. We repeat this for 8 days in a row. This purifies the blood and prepares the body to get in a second stage (after 8 days of rest): “clay-milk". We put one teaspoon of clay in 3/4 cup of water, leave it over night and the next morning, we sip it after we mix it (into the glass). We can also drink the clay water before we go to bed or even half an hour before one of the main meals.

If constipation appears, we will reduce the dose of clay, while increasing the amount of water and ingesting the content in 2 or 3 rounds, during the day (half an hour before meals). If constipation persists, we have to cease the clay ingestions for 10 to 15 days.
For children, who obviously cannot swallow a clay solution alone, we will prepare some small clay balls with aromatic water (water in which we left pine buds, eucalyptus, thyme, mint to macerate). They will suck these little balls and they will get the same benefits.

You may as well suck these little pieces of clay in case of gingivitis, stomatitis, pioree alveolara, angina, catarrh.

The first clay cure is to last for 3 weeks. Then we will resume it for 10 days per month or every other week. Clay cure is incompatible with a diet rich in oils and fats; it is indicated to drink clean water or juices, sufficient quantities, between meals.

The absorbent power of clay helps neutralize the unpleasant taste of certain waters.
Clay cure is counter indicated in chronic constipations, tendencies towards intestinal occlusions and hernias. In cases of hypertension, it should be used with caution.

Externally: preparation of clay toothpaste is very simple: put the clay into a glass, wood, porcelain, or faience container (never a metal or a plastic container!) and mix, while adding water, until we obtain a dense paste, a little softer than the plasticine. It is recommended to cover the clay with water and to leave it for a few hours until you obtain a homogenous mush. Efficiency will increase if we add some plant macerates or a few drops of different natural tinctures. We will make thick poultices out of it (as indicated) of 1.5-2 cm long and of a size that would slightly exceed the body side we treat.

Poultices (patches) will be applied, as appropriate, either cold, lukewarm or warm:
- cold - on inflamed areas or on the lower side of the abdomen; in this case we have to renew them as soon as they heat up (after 15, 20 or 30 minutes, in general); should the sensation of cold persist, we have to  replace the poultice with a lukewarm one;
- lukewarm or warm - on the liver area, on the kidneys, bladder, bones; the poultice will be applied directly to the skin, if necessary through a gauze.
Certain diseases (cardiac disorders, bruises, varicose veins) are treated, at least initially, by applying compresses and then poultices.

Poultices and patches will be fixed, according to regions treated, with a bind, a flannel band or a T-shaped bandage (for the perineum). For a plaster on the neck, an immobilization band is fixed around the forehead, not the neck.
The period of application varies, depending on circumstances, from one to two-three hours, sometimes over night. If unpleasant sensations occur (cold, pain), remove the poultice and do not renew it until after 12 or 24 hours. If the poultice dries too quickly, it will be replaced with a fresh one.

After removing the patch or poultice, any adherents remaining on the skin are to be removed by simply washing them with cold or lukewarm water. The pace of applications varies according to patient condition and reactions:
- abscesses, various suppurations: renew the patches every half an hour, then every one hour and a half, day and night if necessary; during the night you may replace the patch with a compress with clay water, which will be renewed once or twice;
- lumbar regions, lower abdomen, the liver area: applications can stir more or less intense reactions; Therefore, we will limit applications to a poultice a day, kept for two to four hours; we can sometimes leave the patch over night.
We will not make more than one application at a time. If the patches will be indicated for several areas (the lower part of the abdomen and the lung area, for example), we have to maintain an interval of two to four hours between the various applications.
Women are not supposed to apply clay on their body during their menstrual period.

After usage it is necessary to dispose of the clay, for it is impregnated with toxins.

Also wash the used bandages.

Any external treatment with clay must be preceded or accompanied by an internal phyto-therapeutic purification treatment, lime juice, natural laxatives, clay and non toxic balanced food.
Once the clay cure has started, it must not be interrupted - only in exceptional cases. It may trigger a serie of processes (drainage, revitalizing) and stopping them might be harmful. At first, as with other numerous active cures, we may be able to see a worsening-like of the apparent condition (increase of any atone wound, ulcer, temporary return of rheumatic pain).

We have to always begin with thinner poultice (1/2 cm), a little stretched, for one to two hours. Progressively, we will use 1-2 cm thick patches of a bigger size and of longer implementation periods. All these, provided that they are well accepted.

Another way to use clay is as follows: take clay loam and fat loam (white clay), of great depth origin. The clay is kept in the sun in order to load it with the subtle beneficent energies. Then, after it dries either in the sun, or in the oven or even on the stove (moderate temperature!), crush it good and mix it with water or vinegar, or with a macerate of mare's tail (Hippuris vulgaris) or hoary cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea). When it gets to the consistency of a liniment, smear it on a cloth and place it whilst warm on the painful side, chest, back, abdomen, knees. Leave it there until it dries, and then change it. In addition to compresses and plasters, clay can be efficiently used in powder form, like French chalk, both for infants, children and adults. The effect of powdering the wounds with clay has an antiseptic healing action. As well as for cracks, eczema, furunculosis, abscesses, ulcers, some cases of erythema. Plagues can be washed with a liquid solution of clay, plus a few drops of lemon. The clay poultices are indicated in cases of migraine, neuralgia, and dental disorders.

Beauty masks very often contain clay. It is simpler, more economical and more effective to use clay powder and to make a paste with half water and half cucumber, tomato or grape juice. This paste will be stretched in a thin layer all over face and left until it dries: fifteen minutes to half an hour. It will be removed with lukewarm water. This process, done once a week, has only advantages. It treats acnee, facial issues, cuperoze and wrinkles. Clay powder, mixed with olive oil, produces a cream effective in all the cases listed above.

On the other hand, clay can also be used in vaginal douches, in doses of 3-4 tablespoons to one litre of water, lightly heated (leucorrhea, metritis, vaginitis, colitis, rectite, intestinal parasite).

For patients who were prescribed mud baths, who do not have the time or means to go to a specialized thermal resort, here is the way they can benefit from this therapeutic method: prepare a mush of clays in sufficient quantity to fill a bathtub. The bath can be used multiple times. It will be enough to add each time, a sufficient quantity of warm water. The duration of these baths will be from 5-10 minutes at first, to 15-20 minutes later on. The baths will be taken every two days, or twice a week, for a whole month. Repeat if necessary after a break of 3 to 5 weeks. They are indicated both in cases of treating rheumatic or bone diseases and anemia. Local baths will be done in the case of hand or leg rheumatism. As much as possible, seawater or water in which we add sea salt is most preferable.

December 2011


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