How to Do a Clay Pack

How to do a clay packThis article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Gerson Institute’s quarterly newsletter, the Healing News.

Clay might provide us with the earliest example of using the earth’s resources to solve medical problems. When placed on the skin, clay draws out toxins to the outside surface of the clay (adsorption). These toxins then enter into the clay and sit in between its layers (absorption).

Therapeutic clay belongs to the smectite series; it is a type of clay that swells in water. One of the clays in this series is called Montmorillonite, a type of clay named after the Montmorillon region in France. Montmorillonite clay is extremely fine-grained and thin layered and contains a large surface area. Colors range from white to pale green to yellow-brown or red. For maximum effect, therapeutic clay should be virgin and untreated. You can find clay here.
Terramin Clay

Many Gerson patients use clay to help alleviate symptoms they experience while detoxifying or during healing reactions. Clay can also be used by non-patients to address a variety of conditions. Clay can also be very helpful for skin irritation, which we wrote about in a previous blog post: 8 Natural Remedies for Itchy and Irritated Skin

Internal Use

For diarrhea, a patient can take ¼ tsp. of clay with 1/8 tsp. of potassium gluconate in peppermint tea every 4 hours. Clay can also be taken internally for food poisoning, viral gastroenteritis or stomach pains.

External Use

Clay can be mixed with water into a paste and placed onto cloth to make a “clay pack” (poultice). The pack is then placed on the skin. Clay can be placed over a tumor, but not on top of an open lesion. See instructions below.

Clay packs can be administered twice a day for 2-3 hours (until the pack is dried out) to:

  • Calm hot inflammatory pain in joints
  • Reduce swelling and fluid retention
  • Reduce tumor inflammation
  • Alleviate congestion or spasms in the liver and gallbladder
  • Draw out toxicity, when placed over the liver

Clay, applied topically, can also:

  • Alleviate headaches
  • Draw out toxins from spider/insect bites
  • Heal boils, pimples, warts and skin rashes
  • Remove glass or splinters embedded in the skin
  • Soothe sprained ankles
  • Stimulate peristalsis in the colon
  • Alleviate toothaches
  • Soothe infected gums

How to Prepare And Apply a Clay Pack

    1. Put the powdered clay in a glass dish, then mix in a little warm water at a time, until the mixture has formed a paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter. Use a wooden spoon, not a metal instrument. The amount of clay you will need will vary according to the size of the area of skin you plan to apply it to. You will want to prepare enough to apply the clay in a thickness of about 1/8 inch.

Add water to the clay until it reaches a peanut butter-like consistency

    1. Use a wooden spoon to spread the warm clay onto a piece of clean, natural porous cloth large enough to cover the area being treated. Muslin, cotton, flannel or wool make goos cloths for clay packs. If you are applying the clay pack to a large area of the body (e.g., the abdomen), you can cut up and use a disposable “incontinent” pad for this purpose.

Spread the clay onto a clean piece of cloth

    1. Lay the prepared clay poultice directly on top of the skin, with the clay touching the skin. If you are worried about the clay making a mess of your clothes or bedding, you can apply plastic wrap over top of the fabric.

Apply the clay pack to the skin

  1. Tape the cloth in place; a light bandaging tape works well.
  2. Leave the pack on until the clay is dry, approximately 4 hours. If you apply the pack in the evening, you can leave it on overnight. If the clay is very moist or well-sealed, it may not dry completely.
  3. Peel the cloth and dry clay off of the skin. Wash off any extra clay residue on the skin with a damp cloth.
  4. Discard the used clay. You may wish to wear gloves while removing the clay, as it will be full of toxins and this can minimize the possibility of reabsorbing any toxins.

Terramin clay, available in the Gerson store

We recently started carrying Terramin clay in our online store, as part of our ongoing efforts to include more products that meet the ongoing needs of Gerson patients. The clay is mined in southern California in the Colorado River Delta basin, and is perfect for both internal and external use; check it out here.

For a little further reading on the manifold uses of healing clay, we recommend reading a book called The Clay Cure which contains lots of great information on the topic.


Healing News

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Gerson Institute’s quarterly newsletter, Healing News. Healing News goes out to all Gerson patients and donors.

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You’ll receive valuable health information you can share with friends and family. Plus, your contribution will make it possible for the Institute to help Gerson patients with programs like our Juicer Loaner program.

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Have you ever tried a clay pack? Or used clay for any other purposes?



2 Responses to “How to Do a Clay Pack”
  1. Heidi Lipes says:

    Yes, I have used this Terramin clay since I did the Gerson Therapy in 2011. It is excellent, and my favorite clay choice for internal and external use, to date. I have tried different clays, this one being the most palatable for internal use, for sure. I also continue to use it in peppermint tea, with oat water whenever I feel unwell. It makes an excellent face mask, moistened with warmed rose water. The face feels really clean afterward, and looks very rejuvenated. When I had more severe skin issues, during healing reactions, I found applying the clay to the body very beneficial and soothing.

  2. astreia says:

    I love using clay to detox and heal my skin. But this is the first time I have heard of Terramin clay. I would love to try it. I have in the past used primarily red clay or dead sea clay. When I was younger, I used to go to a salon for body wraps, but they have become much more expensive. I am interested in the idea of using clay internally, in peppermint tea; that would help me in my ongoing quest to resolve digestive problems. I cannot afford to buy it immediately, but I am keeping it on my “wish list” until I can…


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