Have you heard of Bentonite Clay? I had only in passing or staring at the jar of gray powder in health food stores. Until now, I hadn't ventured to dig deeper into its benefits or discover how my own body responded to it. Finally my curiosity has taken hold of me, and I'm sharing my findings with you! What is Bentonite Clay Bentonite Clay, aka calcium bentonite clay or Montmorillonite clay, is a clay derived from volcanic ash sediment. It is noted as being a traditional healing method of removing toxins, supplementing mineral deficiencies and protecting the body from disease. It's been recorded as traditionally used in areas including the Andes, Central Africa and Australia. Its names, "Bentonite" and "Montmorillonite" clay are derived from its places of origins. Fort Benton, Mont. inhabited by numerous volcanoes, contains the largest known source of Bentonite clay, and Montmorillon is the region of France where the clay was first discovered.
Benefits of Bentonite Clay
Bentonite Clay can be ingested in food or water, as well as applied topically on the skin and hair. Benefits include:
Soothes skin rashes
Soothes skin dermatitis
Nutrients supplement (trace minerals of calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron, and potassium)
Helps heal poison ivy
Heavy metals detox
Aids digestive/gut health
Aids dental health
Aids Thyroid function
How it Works
Bentonite Clay has negatively charged molecules which bind with positively charged molecules such as toxins and heavy metals (substances like mercury, cadmium, lead, and benzene). Once these positive molecules bind to the clay, they are passed through and out of the body. Bentonite Clay can also be used to reduce the presence of toxins in food supplies and animal feed (Bhatti).
Cautions It's important to do research into any brand or product that you're considering to use. Some brands advertising Bentonite Clay have been found to contain lead. Ensure that it is professionally wrapped and that the packaging has not been tampered with. As Mountain Rose Herbs specifies, “A good quality Bentonite should be a grey or cream color, and anything bordering ‘pure white’ is suspect.” Trusted brands include Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, Mountain Rose Herbs Bentonite Clay, and Molivera Organics Bentonite Clay. Out of these three brands, only Aztec notes that their product is safe to ingest.
Test 1: Bentonite Clay Foot Mask
My first Bentonite Clay detox method was the foot mask. Upon opening the container, there was no scent, just the gray dried powder. Upon mixing it with water and apple cider vinegar, it transformed into an intriguing porous substance; light and fluffy, although fragrant from the apple cider vinegar (not my favorite scent) and was a delight to spread on the soles of my feet. I underestimated the difficulty of finding a place to prop my feet while the foot mask dried and how long it would take to dry.
I waited an hour, but the foot mask was still damp. At this point, I decided to wipe it off with difficulty. My feet felt softer and more hydrated -more noticeably than using charcoal detox products- but aside from these, I did not feel any other difference.
Test 2: Bentonite Clay Foot Soak
The Bentonite Clay Foot Soak recipe that I used was from Dr. Axe, and the first thing I noted was the large quantities for ingredients. I'm not sure if this was meant to be done in a bathtub rather than a small foot basin, or if these large measurements are intentional. The recommended 10-20 drops of essential oils became overpowering to me (Dr. Axe recommended Lavender and Wintergreen while I used Tea Tree and Rosemary -scents I love, unless implemented in excess apparently). The mixture does require stirring for the clay and other ingredients to mix with the water.
As I began to soak my feet into the murky mixture, I immediately felt tingling on my feet on the sides and tops where the water met air. This could potentially be an effect of the apple cider vinegar. While I let my feet soak, the clay settled to the bottom and the soak felt more like playing in a creak or the muddy shallows of a lake as a kid. Drying off my feet when the soak duration was completed, they did feel softer and more hydrated, but this was all that I noted. No other feelings of a "clean ache" as I'm used to with other detox methods that I've tried.
Personal Assessment When I tested these Bentonite clay methods, I had high hopes, and little time. Perhaps my limited availability increased my skepticism or in decreasing the rest time of allowing this clay to take effect, minimized the results that I felt. I cannot say that I noted any visual or physical evidence of toxins being extracted. The texture of the Bentonite Clay is fascinating as it changes into a porous form as a mask, but my body did not rejoice with it as much as it does with charcoal. I also did not enjoy the scent of apple cider vinegar in these mixes, or the excess of ingredients in the Dr. Axe foot soak recipe, but these are personal preferences.
In conclusion, I personally did not feel any significant shifts within my body from these topical applications. Bentonite Clay has many possible applications and benefits associated with them that others are welcome to research further. As always, it is important to consult with your doctor if you have any specific medical dispositions or sensitive skin, as well as to research the brand you are considering using to ensure that the product is professional and of high safe grade for whatever use you intend to use it for. References:
Axe, J. (2021, December, 25). DIY Detox Foot Bath with Epsom Salts & Apple Cider Vinegar [blog post]. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/beauty/diy-detox-foot-bath/
Axe, J. (2023, July 6). 12 Bentonite Clay Benefits — for the Skin, Gut and More [blog post]. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/nutrition/bentonite-clay-benefits/
Gavlick, K. (2019, August 5). Consumer Guide to Using Bentonite Clay for Internal and External Benefits [blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/bentonite-clay-consumer-guide
Homedics (2024). Foot Detox: What Does It Do & How Does It Work? [blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.homedics.com/at-home-massagers/foot-detox-what-does-it-do-how-does-it-work/#:~:text=You%20can%20make%20a%20DIY,off%20to%20exfoliate%20your%20feet
Moosavi M. (2017). Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review. Iranian journal of public health, 46(9), 1176–1183.
Bhatti, S. A., Khan, M. Z., Hassan, Z. U., Saleemi, M. K., Saqib, M., Khatoon, A., & Akhter, M. (2018). Comparative efficacy of Bentonite clay, activated charcoal and Trichosporon mycotoxinivorans in regulating the feed-to-tissue transfer of mycotoxins. Journal of the science of food and agriculture, 98(3), 884–890. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8533
Gupta, S. (2020, February 2). Bentonite Clay and Activated Charcoal: How Are They Different? [blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.dotandkey.com/blogs/general/bentonite-clay-and-activated-charcoal-how-are-they-different#:~:text=Another%20bentonite%20clay%20%26%20activated%20charcoal,is%20softer%20and%20less%20dense