Australian Healing Clay

Our Australian clays are active clays that promote and support healthy skin and general wellbeing. There are literally hundreds of different clays around the world and each deposit is unique. Common applications range from facials and body wraps to complete immersion in a clay bath. Foot baths, foot wraps and topical applications targeting specific areas are also growing in popularity. 

How does clay work?

Adsorption & Absorption
The words adsorption and absorption sound similar but are fundamentally different in the functions they represent.
 
"What takes place is actually an ion
 exchange which is often described as
 a magnetic or drawing effect.
It is electrical attraction."
 
Adsorption describes how clay is able to attach to other substances. The clay molecule can perhaps be pictured as a stack of business cards with space between them. Around the edge of these cards is a negative electrical charge of unsatisfied ionic bonds. These ions naturally seek to be satisfied and therefore when in contact with substances that carry the opposite (positive) electrical charge an ion exchange takes place.
 
Pollutants and toxic substances carry a positive electrical charge.
 
Absorption is the when clay swells and is stretched open like a highly porous sponge, drawing pollutants and toxins etc. into its internal structure, literally locking them away.
 
The greater the surface area the greater the power to pick up positively charged particles.
 
According to Robert T. Martins, B.S.,a mineralogist University of Minnesota; Ph.D., Cornell University and Mineralogist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the molecular surface of one gram (1/28th of an ounce) of Bentonite Clay has a surface area of 800 sq. meters.
 
Not all clays are the same though and not all clays can achieve the same results.
 
Ran Knishinsky writes "I have seen a variety of Bentonite clays where each one looked, felt, tasted, and acted different from others. They did so because they were not the same clays"
 
Bentonite’s value lies in its fine molecular particle size and very loosely bound ions that are easily exchangeable.

About Clay

Around 200 million years in the making clay comes in a variety of colours, which vary according to its mineral content. Bentonite, also known as montmorillonite is of the smectite class of clays. It is derived from deposits of weathered volcanic ash.  A good quality Bentonite has high absorptive properties and a high cation exchange or drawing power, it has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odourless and non-staining. While it contains a wide variety of trace minerals, these minerals are not absorbed from applying clay to the body. High bonding between these minerals prevents absorption. It is however one of the most effective natural cleansing and purifying agents available.
 
Clays are alumino-silicates and their performance properties are related to their weak silica-alumina bond. Bentonite is a dioctahedral smectite (an expanding layer silicate). Typically it is composed of Alumina oxide (Al2O3) and Silica - SiO2. Alumina oxide is NON-TOXIC and not to be confused with the manufactured aluminium (Al) which is toxic. 
 
It is also made up of a number of other minerals some of which have exchangeable ions.
 
Typically they are - sodium ions, calcium ions, potassium ions, magnesium ions. 
 
Bentonite is known for its highly absorptive properties and its ability to adsorb (attach to) and bind with certain substances.  The Egyptians used it to preserve their famous mummies. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to for a variety of applications in daily life. The great German Naturopaths of the last century hailed clay as one of nature’s great gifts. Numerous so called ‘primitive’ tribes have used clay both internally and externally.

IS THERE ALUMINIUM IN OUR BENTONITE CLAY?

No!
 
Scientific testing by  CSIRO using Borate Fusion XRF Method mineral analysis verifies our clay does not contain any aluminium.
 
However there is some discussion with regard to Alumina and Aluminium in clay. This probably stems from the interchange of the description of “Alumina oxide” with "Aluminium oxide”.
 
Hopefully the following article will clarify a few things.............
 
BENTONITE CLAY is classified as an Alumino-silicate. This means its major elements are Alumina oxide (Al2O3) and Silica (SiO2).  Hence all Bentonite clay contains these as major elements. Bentonite would be an entirely different substance without alumina oxide.
 
It is also made up of a number of other minerals some of which have exchangeable ions. Typically they are - sodium ions, calcium ions, potassium ions, magnesium ions. 
 
In the USA “Aluminium” is used to refer to alumina. Unfortunately this is misleading because alumina oxide (Al2O3) is not the dangerous “Aluminium” (Al) which is used in manufacturing.
 
The term “aluminium oxide” is actually referring to “alumina oxide” which is perfectly safe.
 
Different symbols represent different substances: Alumina oxide:  Al2O3  (safe), Aluminium : Al  (unsafe)
 
The alumina oxide that goes to make up part of the clay molecule is completely inert*. It has a very high bond with silica and is NOT BIO AVAILABLE. It CANNOT be absorbed into the body.
 
*In chemistry the term inert is used to describe something that is not chemically active.
 
The following paragraph is from an article on Pelotherapy in the Options Magazine October 2007:
 
“Clay is composed of various mineral compounds rich in silica and aluminium (meaning Alumina oxide - Al2O3)*; sometimes including iron, copper, zinc and magnesium and other trace minerals. The aluminium (meaning Alumina oxide - Al 2O3)*, found in clay is quite different from the toxic inorganic substance used in commercial deodorants and so isn’t associated with the same risks. The two key compounds form flat layers of minute particles as rocks such as shale and mud stone are weathered by the elements.
 
The clay layers create a large surface area which is highly reactive and due to the bond between silica and aluminium (meaning Alumina oxide - Al2O3)*, the clay particles contain negatively charged ions.” 
 
Written by Ananda Mahony ND, a naturopath and holistic skin care specialist. Ananda lectures nutrition and Food As Medicine at the Australian College of Natural Medicine.
 
*comment by M Mason
 
Article complied by M Mason 2010
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