I have made the comment a number of times about doing a discussion on clay. This is sort of out there because none of the companies doing essential oils, that most are familiar with, does anything with clay.
Clay is used in a wide range of industrial applications,healthcare products, and herbal applications. In many aspects clay is a very useful item. When used in Herbal or Natural Product applications it is used both internally as will as externally. Now don't get me wrong, I am not telling you to use it internally, I am simply discussing what some people do with it. Got that straight? Good!
Clay is simply volcanic ash. There are many different settings where it can be found and depending on the settings, you will find various types of clay. Also, there are different colors of clay. This is generally attributed to the dominate mineral content of the clay itself. Red Clay usually has a high Iron content. White clay usually has a high calcium content, Grey clay usually has a higher sodium content than calcium content, although both types of clay contains calcium and sodium, it is just the content of each that designates how it is labeled. Note that I say usually because quite a few variables occur so a hard and fast rule does not always apply.
Most of you are very pro organic and clay will play a very important role in the quality of organic production. Usually one will see the black part of the soil that contains the bio degraded material as being the everything in the organic production. That black mulch generally contains some enzymes, some vitamins and usually not a lot of minerals. The mineral content of the black mulch is generally limited to what minerals were not used up in the plant matter of the black mulch. So minerals must be added to make a quality organic mix. Many times this is done by using a mineral clay. Clay is where the minerals bind to and are held for use in the soil on a timed released basis. If the minerals are added directly to the organic matter/mulch, then the water will usually leach the minerals out faster than they are used by the plant. So clay is a very good medium to hold the minerals and essentially time release them for the plant's use.
However, many times there is too much clay and the clay just binds together into a solid mass. When this happens you end up with a situation where oxygen cannot get to the roots and water cannot get through the clay to leach the minerals from the clay for use by the plant. This is where sand is necessary to break up the clay and to keep it from clumping. So when you get a good ratio of Sand, Clay and Organic Mulch you end up with a winning team for your plants.
Now on to clay being applied to a biological entity.
Generally there are two types of clay that are approved for wide spread use for biological entity use. The 2 are Sodium Bentonite (aka Western Clay) and Calcium Bentonite (aka Southern Bentonite). I realize that some people claim that the Calcium is more absorbent, while others claim that the Sodium is more absorbent. Industrial engineers use both types of clay in industrial applications. The one they use depends on what they are trying to accomplish. According to official engineering material, the Sodium Bentonite type clay will absorb and swell to 15 times its original weight/size. Where as the Calcium Benonite type clay will absorb only 2 times its original size/weight. I mention these 2 characteristics because it is important to herbal applications where certain uses are called for in various protocols of use. Clay, by its nature, consists of Negatively Charged Ions. This is important to know because most pathogens, infections, etc., consists of Positively Charged Ions. The Positive Ions are attracted to the Negative Charged Ions. So in medical applications of internal use of clay, this means a situation where the bad stuff is attracted to and attaches to the clay particles and then passed outside of the body through the waste elimination process.
Next in the process of this we look at the external use of clay. Typically this is done by using the clay as part of a poultice. In this type of application one would apply the Essential Oil and/or Herbal combination to the affected area, sprinkle clay over it then cover with a covering such as a bandage. Many people have reported that using clay has shown remarkable results over not using clay when used in these type of solutions. See the above paragraph to help in understanding the process more clearly. Plus, since the clay contains minerals, they tend to leach off on to the affected area and the belief is that it helps in the recovery process.
A a side note, many, many food products contain clay as an inert ingredient or will list some magical or relatively unknown name so as to comply with labeling laws. Sometimes I wonder if that is the ingredient that actually makes the product work. So in reality they should list the clay as the active ingredient and anything or everything else as the inert ingredient. lol. But that is just my uneducated, folk medicine opinion.
I hope that you can see the various roles of clay and how the minerals are an active part of the whole clay, sand, organic process in plant growth and the roles that clay plays in human health and nutrition. I hope we can have this simple product as an offering down the road, I am working on it. I actually have a product that I make with clay for my tooth paste. I love it and won't use anything else. But at this point I don't know if I would be on the right side of the fence if I gave you the formula. So I will check on that and let you know if I can or not. It is actually a product in the R & D phase, so that is why I said what I did about the formula. The final decision on this or the other one (an EO tooth drop). will come about down the road before long.
Anyway, there you have the generalized discussion on Clay and a few various finer points to the clay deal. Again, as always, thank you for your time and interest.
Written by Kent King.