Van Camping First Aid Kit Item: Bentonite Clay

One of the more unusual items I keep in my first aid kit:  Bentonite Clay (also called a healing clay)

You probably know of bentonite clay as an ingredient in facial cleansing masks.   But it also has amazing healing properties.  (It only took one time using it to convince me that it’s something I didn’t want to be without.)

Let me demonstrate.  I recently had a run-in with some cedar trees.  It seems that I’ve developed an allergy to them.  Within a matter of 10-15 minutes after my exposed arms and hands brushed the bushes, I was covered in itchy and painful blisters.

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I first tried washing my hands and arms.  While probably helpful in removing the offending substance, it didn’t provide any relief.  Then I tried lotion… which made it worse, actually.  So washed again, and then coated my hands and arms with a paste of water and bentonite clay.  Aaah… instant relief!  (In my experience the clay works immediately, and provides much more relief than even the over the counter cortisone creams.)  Within a matter of 15 minutes or so, the itching was nearly gone and the swelling on the blisters had gone down significantly.

I use the healing clay on any sort of skin inflammation including rashes, spider bites, insect bites, pimples, boils, splinters, and even for infected cuts.

It’s very easy to use.  It will be in a dry powder form when you purchase it.  Simply take a little and mix it with water. (Mix it in your hand or in a small non-metal container.  The clay shouldn’t come into contact with metal.)  Stir it to form a smooth spreadable paste.  Coat the affected area with the clay paste and let it dry thoroughly.  As the clay dries, it draws out impurities from your skin.  Wash the clay away, and repeat, if necessary.

Bentonite clay is made from volcanic ash and is fully of health-giving minerals.  It reportedly produces an electrical charge when hydrated that helps draw out and absorb toxins.   Healing clays tend to contain health-supporting minerals such as: silica, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and iron.

Besides as a treatment for skin ailments, bentonite clay is also commonly used for:

  • a soothing and nourishing body bath
  • as an ingredient in oral health recipes (for teeth, gums, etc.)
  • taken internally as a detoxifier and nutritional supplement
  • taken internally to help with digestive troubles, nausea, diarrhea, etc.

*Note:  Especially if you’re using it internally, you’ll want to make sure you have a high quality clay that’s been approved for internal use.

Ancient cultures took clays internally as a regular part of their diet to ward off digestive distress and food-born pathogens.  (Although, I’m not entirely convinced that long-term regular internal use is a good idea.)

If you’re into scientific papers, here’s a rather interesting read on a study done with using clay internally to battle antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens, but the US Library of Medicine:

Additional information on healing clay uses:

I love that there are so many practical uses for this product, but haven’t yet explored them (aside from as a skin treatment).  I think I may try a home-made tooth powder with it next.  Even if I never get beyond its use as a skin treatment, it is well worth keeping around.  You’ll be very pleased with the instant relief that you get with it’s use on skin irritations. Just try it once and healing clay will forevermore be a staple in your first aid kit.

One thought on “Van Camping First Aid Kit Item: Bentonite Clay

  1. Pingback: Gypsy Van Living – Don’t Forget A First Aid Kit! | Middle Aged Gypsy Living

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