Living Nature for your Health & Beauty

Back to list of articles

Claytherapy: The therapeutic virtue of clay

By Marie A. Boularand, Certified Naturopath


The healing power of clay has always been recognized for centuries throughout all civilizations around the world. Egyptians knew of its antiseptic properties by using it for mummification. Greeks widely used clay to heal wounds or broken legs by making clay plasters around the injuries. Romans and Arabs are also reported to have used clay in their medicines.

With the ascension of medical and scientific thought, the therapeutic use of clay on humans was left out. However, it strongly remained a popular remedy used on animals especially horses. It wasn’t until the 19th century that clay began to reclaim its ancient status, thanks largely to the work of German naturopaths.

For the last 2 decades , claytherapy has become quite popular in France, especially since numerous scientific and clinical researches have been conducted and have validated the undoubtly therapeutic benefits of clay. Since then, progressive French hospitals has introduced clay – especially the green illite clay – as part of their daily treatments that they offer to patients with pathologies that have failed to conventional treatments. More recently in the United States, NASA scientists have shown a high interest in the healing properties of clay.


Just like humans, clay needs sun, fresh air and water. The more clay is exposed to the natural sunlight, outside air and rainwater, the more powerful it becomes. Most of the therapeutic value of clay is negated by artificial heat, washing it, disinfecting it, ionizing it or adding artificial substances – like additives, preservatives, colors, fragrance, etc. Active living clay should be raw (virgin) and sun-dried to fully benefit from its healing power.


Because we have a living substance, comes naturally with it the healing intelligence that only nature provides. As a matter of fact, living clay is able to recognize sick tissues, dead cells, toxines and unfriendly germs. Clay will stick to these undesirable, unhealthy and dangerous substances, neutralize them and desintegrate them to finally transport them out of the body. None of the modern drugs can actually target so precisely without damaging healthy tissues nearby. Contrary to drugs, clay does not harm healthy cells or friendly hosts; It will actually increase their vitality and rejuvenate them. This is one of the reasons why it is important that you choose a living clay instead of a "dead" one, which can be more harmful than beneficial.

Not only does clay assist the body by eliminating undesirable substances but it also brings vital energy and minerals that stimulates and nourishes healthy cells and tissues, allowing the body to heal and repair faster. This is particularly beneficial when organs of an individual are weak and cannot function properly anymore. Clay is an excellent alternative for people with low reserves of vitality. By carrying this precious energy of life harnessed during its contact with the earth, sun, air and water, clay stimulates the body’s self-healing power.


There are two key properties of clay: ABsorption and ADsorption. Just like a sponge, clay can capture in its own cellular structure molecules or substances. This explains its high power in ABsorbing liquids and grease, and neutralizing odors. Clay can also attract molecules or organisms just like a magnet. This power of attraction (ADsorption) explains its capacity in neutralizing microbes, bacteria, viruses, dead cells and other substances like chemicals for example.
These 2 properties come from the specific molecular structure, mineral composition and polarity of clay, which come from the geographical location where the clay was formed.

Clay comes in different natural earth tones due to their different mineral compositions. Some of its colors are green, white, pink, red, yellow, brown, blue, black, gray. As a result, one type of clay will be more efficient on certain pathogenic organisms or with certain individuals due to the specific affinity that one clay has with a certain type of tissue or energy. Although the most popular clays used for therapeutic purposes are the green illite and montmorillonite, the best way to know which type of clay works better for you is to try and experience it. The way we feel and the way our body reacts is a good indication on the benefit we got from the clay.



Either way used internally or externally, clay has proven to be a reliable therapeutic treatment for detoxifying and antiseptic cleaning. It also stimulates the repair of muscles, joints, bones, ligaments and skin. Clay can also serve as an anti-inflammatory, decongestant and sedative agent. It helps to neutralize acidity in the stomach and tissues and also intestinal gas. Finally, clay increases cell oxygenation, stem cell production and increases the production of blood cells.

Clay is not only good for Human's health and beauty. It is also beneficial for our pets, horses, fishes, plants and house. For example, the montmorillonite clay is an great grease stain remover and the green illite is a wonderful dry pet shampoo.

In Natural Awakenings Magazine - September 2005

<< Back to top

Read more about...

Healing topics