Edible Clay • What are the benefits?

Montmorillonite Clay (also called Bentonite) is the primary type of edible clay promoted as healthful. Edible clays are similar to diatomaceous earth for application, but the sources are entirely different. DE is made up of diatoms and edible clay comes from volcanic ash. DE is less expensive.

Edible Clay - Image of an erupting volcano

Edible clays are said to be excellent cleansers and are widely used for detoxification. The array of minerals available in edible clays will depend on the source but can include:

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Silica
  • Zinc

The uses of DE and Edible clay are similar, as well as the claimed benefits. The primary differences are that clay does not kill bugs, is not abrasive, does not dry out skin, is more apt to cause constipation and does a better job of treating bug bites. You can find a side-by-side comparison here: https://www.diatomaceousearth.com/difference-between-de-and-bentonite-clay/

The NCBI published an evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agents. The findings are not simple. Some clays worked as bacterial agents and some did not. A little bit of clay ingestion can be good mineral supplementation and too much will cause a deficiency. One clay that has been used for detoxification and as a countermeasure to bacteria and viruses is Kaolinite.  Kaolinite was once an ingredient in a well-known, branded treatment for digestive disorders, although the company has changed the ingredients. The general conclusion is that clay holds a lot of promise as an antibacterial agent, both internally and externally. For the full article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904249/

There is an interesting article on enviromedica.com for a little history lesson about the history of clay consumption.  https://www.enviromedica.com/eating-clay.