In the form of masks, creams or scrubs, clay is particularly known for its disinfecting, fortifying and purifying properties on the skin and hair. However, these are not its only functions. Clay can also be used to heal and soothe certain diseases in children and adults. We take stock with Faiza Soummar.
What is clay?
Terrestrial clay comes from the erosion of source rocks. This phenomenon then gives a natural rock material composed mainly of silica. Clay has many properties. It is very rich in mineral salts, trace elements, iron, zinc and potassium… This material also has various functions. For decades, clay has been used in pottery and for beauty treatments. In ancient times it was also used to treat wounds and infections. The Egyptians, for example, used it to protect the structure of the body during mummifications. Even today, it is used in natural medicine to treat many ailments.
What are the different types of clay?
Clay comes in different shapes, materials and colors. You can find it in two textures: phyllite (flaky) or fibrous. According to its composition clay can have different colors : green, red, yellow, white, blue, pink or purple. Each of them has very specific benefits and properties. However, our naturopath, Faiza Soummar, recalls that: “only a few have a therapeutic specificity thanks to their particular physico-chemical properties. They are called kaolinite, illites, smectite. Green clay is the most used because it has the most active ingredients. »
What are the benefits of clay on adults?
In terms of cosmetics and beauty care, clay is popular for its exfoliating, remineralizing and cleansing effects. For example, green clay is frequently used for absorb excess sebum on the skin and to overcome dandruff. The white, is rather used to eliminate toxins, gently cleanse the skin and revitalize dry and damaged hair.
In the field of health, clay can also be complementary to medication. It applies either in external poultice (clay paste) or internally in the form of drinkable solutions, such as clay water.
“In adults, clay can treat all types of infections. This can range from abscess, to colitis, passing dysentery. For example when traveling, it is very useful to have green clay, since it cures all digestive problems. Clay also optimizes healing (Editor’s note: if your skin is damaged, it is best not to use it daily in the long term) and that makes the traces disappear. In a completely different register, this also contributes to the softening of corns on the feet. Clay can help and support healing in many situations. In natural medicine, green clays such as illite and montmorillonite are mainly used to treat digestive disorders,” explains Faiza Soummar.
What are the virtues of clay on the baby?
Just as for adults, clay can relieve certain pains in children: “Clay can be used internally for babies who have diarrhea or gastroesophageal reflux. This frequently happens in very young children whose digestive system is immature. In older children (Editor’s note: from 4-5 years old), the clay would treat pinworms (small white worms). However, our naturopath strongly recommends to be careful: ” For infants and young children, the preferred form will be clay water internally.”
Although some mothers have been able to soothe or treat their children’s ear infections with a clay poultice, as a precaution and due to a lack of studies on the subject, our specialist advises against the poultice on babies between 0 and 3 years old.
Adults have more leeway with regard to the use of clay: “(…) Depending on the needs, we can offer clay internally associate with plants, or clay water for example. (…) We recommend drinking the whole clay because it will fight against bacteria and viruses. She will lock them up and evacuate them through the stool. Externally, poultices or even balls to suck. Everything is possible. “Specifies the specialist.
However, Faiza Soummar warns of the contraindications linked to its consumption. In fact, the clay cannot be taken in the event of severe renal insufficiency, a history of intestinal obstruction, severe constipation or at the same time as other medical treatments: “You must allow 4 hours to pass after taking clay before ingesting medication. On the other hand, if the drugs are taken on an empty stomach, it is enough to wait 30 minutes before taking the clay. She details.
Depending on the child’s age, usage practices differ: “For the baby, we will mainly use clay water. Prepare 1 level teaspoon of clay in 20 ml of water and leave to rest for 10 minutes. (…) Above all, we do not give the whole dough to babies! If the infant suffers from gastroesophageal reflux, he can be given a few spoonfuls a day, often before feeding or before the bottle. Thus, the clay acts as a plaster and thanks to its properties very rich in silica and magnesium, it will limit reflux. In general, white clay is preferred, which is known to be softer, or superfine ventilated illite green clay. Indicates the naturopath.
For children ages 4 and up, she recommends “preparing small flavored sucking clay balls with menthol flavors in case of colitis, stomach pain or digestive disorders. Or opt for the poultice. To do this, you have to mix clay powder and water to obtain a paste. Then spread it on the place concerned. It is very effective to work the pains of belly. After a few minutes, it takes effect.
In order not to disturb the chemical reactions of the clay, it is necessary to respect a specific preparation process: “It is important to know that the clay is negatively charged. It therefore attracts positive electro particles to its surface, in particular impurities and toxins. For this to happen it must be submerged in water. This is why this preparation must be done with a wooden or plastic spoon, the use of a metal spoon would cancel this specific reaction.
For Faiza, each individual has a different reaction to clay. To choose the most suitable one, she advises experimenting with several and selecting the one that best suits: “It is also necessary to experiment with clay to understand the extent of its action on the body both internally only externally.
In addition, she recommends getting it in an organic store: “We must favor ultra-ventilated green illite clay. It’s very fine clay that you can drink. For poultices, you can take thicker clay. For babies, prefer illite ventilated superfine green clay.
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