Last month, I told you about the importance of your gastrointestinal tract to your overall health, and then shared with you effective solutions for maintaining healthy gut function. Now I'm going to share another powerful way that you can improve the health of your gut.
Be forewarned, however, for what I'm going to recommend at first probably won't appeal to you. That's because it involves eating clay.
That's right - clay! Bear with me and you'll see why I'm making such a seemingly outlandish suggestion.
An Ancient Healing Remedy
Although the idea of eating clay may not strike you as appealing, certain types of clay have been used for centuries because of the health benefits they provide. One type of clay in particular, known as smectite, is prized by over 200 cultures around the world because of its healing properties. In addition, many native (indigenous) healing traditions recommend eating a small amount of clay (approximately one teaspoon) once a day to help maintain good health. The practice of eating clay even has a medical name - geophagy. The practice of eating clay can also be observed among animals, many of which can be found rolling licking clay and around in clay beds when they are sick.
Perhaps the earliest recorded mention of clay as a healing remedy can be found in the ancient texts of Ayurvedic medicine, the healing tradition of India that originated approximately 5,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, healers recommended that clay be consumed for purification. Clay was also used in the process of mummification in the belief that it would enable deceased pharaohs to enter into the next world in a state of health and purity.
Here in the West, the use of clay as a medicinal agent was recorded by Pliny the Elder nearly 2,000 years ago. Pliny the Elder was acclaimed as the greatest healer in the Roman Empire, and he included an entire chapter on the healing properties of clay in his famous book Natural History. A few decades later, the famed Roman physician Dioscorides also wrote about clay's health benefits in his five-volume text De Materia Medica, the first complete pharmacopoeia ever written in the Western world. More than a century later, clay was also acclaimed as a healing agent by the famous Greek physician Galen. In subsequent centuries, many noted healers continued to recommend clay for its health benefits, including Avicenna, who lived one thousand years ago and is considered the greatest physician of his healer.
In the 17th century, clay again came to be widely used among German healers, thanks in large part to the research and medical practice of the Bavarian priest Sebastian Kniepp, one of the founding fathers of naturopathic medicine. Because of Kniepp's writings about clay German physicians used it in the early 20th century to successfully treat Asiatic cholera, an infectious disease of the small intestine. During World War One, French, German, and Russian soldiers were give clay as part of their food ration kits to help prevent and treat various conditions such as diarrhea, dysentery, food poisoning, and wound infections, all of which were rampant during the war.
Clay Can Help Keep Your Gastrointestinal Tract Healthy
Smectite and other healing clays can help to improve and maintain the health of your gastrointestinal tract due to two equally important properties that such forms of clay possess. These properties are adsorption and absorption.
Adsorption refers to the process by which clay attracts other substances and causes them to stick to its surface. This is an especially useful property as far as your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is concerned because of the many toxins that circulate within it. After healing clay is ingested and enters into the GI tract, it rapidly attracts such toxins because clay particles carry a negative electrical charge, while the toxins carry a positive charge. The end result is similar to what happens when a magnet is passed over metal filings, with the toxins sticking to the surface of the clay particles. Once there, they pass out of the body with the clay as it is eliminated from the body. (This happens because clay cannot be digested by the body. After it is ingested, your body will eliminate it, but not before it uses its abilities of adsorption to attract the toxins.)
Clay's property of adsorption is well known to winemakers and brewers of beer and cider, who add small amounts of clay to the beverages they produce in order to attract and remove positively charged impurities before they ship their brews to market.
The other important property of healing clay is absorption. Just as a paper towel absorbs water, clay, once it enters into the GI tract, is able to absorb additional toxins that are not attracted to its surface through adsorption. Though the absorption process is much slower than that of adsorption, it enables clay to eliminate whatever toxins are not neutralized by adsorption.
As clay absorbs such toxins, they are pulled inside the clay's surface, causing the clay to expand. Because of the expansion, clay particles are able to absorb toxins that are much greater in size then the clay particles themselves.
The adsorbent and adsorbent properties of healing clay make it an excellent natural agent for safely and effectively purifying your gastrointestinal tract. In fact, research has found that healing clay has other benefits besides neutralizing and eliminating toxins in the GI tract, including heavy metals and environmental chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides that are often found in commercially grown foods. Researchers have discovered that clay also is capable of absorbing and neutralizes various types of viruses and parasites that are often found in the GI tract. As a result, by eating small amounts of clay on a regular basis, you can also boosts your body's immune functions.
Other Health Benefits of Healing Clay
In addition to its abilities to purify the GI tract, healing clay offers other health benefits. In the many cultures around the world in which clay is used, both internally and externally, it has been shown to protect against and improve a wide range of health conditions. Besides gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis, food poisoning, and hemorrhoids, other conditions that clay offers benefits for include allergies, anemia, arthritis, bad breath, chronic fatigue, gum disease, hay fever, headache, liver disease, menstrual problems, nausea, prostate problems, skin conditions, and ulcers. In many indigenous cultures, eating clay is also recommended for expectant mothers to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
One other important health benefit that clay has is as a protector of the cardiovascular system. That's because healing clay contains a rich supply of enzymes known as diastases, which act to enrich the oxygen supply of blood while at the same time ridding the bloodstream of impurities. In addition, because of clay's negative charge, clay particles are able to neutralize dangerous free radicals that could otherwise cause damage to heart cells.
The ability of clay to help protect healthy heart function has also been recognized for many centuries, dating back to ancient Persia and Arabia. In both of those ancient cultures, healers instructed people to eat small amounts of clay each day in order to keep their hearts strong and healthy.
How To Easily Get the Benefits That Healing Clay Provides
In ancient times, people around the world obtained the health benefits of clay by eating it from the ground. This is a practice that continues to this day among various indigenous peoples. Fortunately, you do not have to search the ground for clay in order to obtain its benefits. All you have to do is head to your local health food store. There you will find a clay product known as bentonite, an ideal form of healing clay that you can safely use on a daily basis. Bentonite is a member of the smectite class of healing clays, and the bentonite formulas available at your local health food store come in a thick liquid form, making them easy to ingest. To benefit from bentonite, all you have to do is use it according to the directions you will find on the product label.
So there you have it - another effective health remedy you can use to keep your GI tract pure and healthy. All you have to do is get over whatever feelings of resistance you may have and try it.