Clay may 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 is a type of clay that swells in water and belongs to the smectite series. The smectite series includes Montmorillonite clay, a type of clay named after the Montmorillon region in France. Montmorillonite clay is extremely fine-grained, 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. Find clay here.
Clay can be used as a natural remedy for skin irritation and addressing a variety of conditions. Gerson patients use clay to help alleviate symptoms they experience while detoxifying or during healing reactions.
For diarrhea, Gerson patients take ¼ teaspoon of clay with 1/8 teaspoon of potassium gluconate in peppermint tea every 4 hours. Clay can also be taken internally for food poisoning, viral gastroenteritis or stomach pains.
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.
2. 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. Cheese cloth, muslin, cotton, flannel or wool make good 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.
3. 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.
4. Tape the cloth in place; a light bandaging tape works well.
5. 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.
6. Peel the cloth and dry clay off of the skin. Wash off any extra clay residue on the skin with a damp cloth.
7. 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.
Bentonite Montmorillonite clay mined in Germany can be found on the Gerson Institute’s online shop; perfect for both internal and external use.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of the Gerson Institute’s quarterly newsletter, the Healing News.
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