My mother and sister-in-law recently did a candida cleanse. I wanted my husband to do it (I can't while nursing), so I had her send me the list of ingredients. One of the ingredients was bentonite. After buying it at the health food store, I quickly realized that is was liquid clay. The side of the bottle touted it's ability to detox harmful substances in the body. Skeptical, but intrigued, I began my internet investigation.
Clay, it turns out, has been used for medicinal purposes since prehistoric times. Read what wikipedia has to offer here. The Egyptians used it for intestinal problems. It was used for menstrual problems and snake bites in classical antiquity. The British army used it in the early 20th century to treat bacterial food poisoning in India, and cholera in China. Women in indigenous cultures consume clay during pregnancy to help with nausea. Scientific analysis of clays used during pregnancy in Nigeria show that eating as little as 500 mg can satisfy nearly 80 percent of a pregnant woman's calcium needs. In studies conducted by NASA, clay provided the most absorbable form of calcium to prevent bone depletion in space. Indigenous groups in Peru dip their potatoes in clay water before consumption to prevent "souring of the stomach".
What I found most interesting were the modern day claims. It has been used to treat skin disorders, digestive disorders, insect bites, candida, parasites, chronic pain, and more. Studies at the University of Arizona state that some forms of clay can kill salmonella, e. coli, and MRSA. Many people claim that clay is very beneficial in the healing of autism. Miriam Jang, M.D., says "I have put a large number of patients on these clay baths and the levels of heavy metals--mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium have come down dramatically..." (read here)
I have read pages of testimonials on different websites about how clay has cured eczema, acne, inflammatory bowel disease, severe back pain, brown recluse spider bites, bad breath, burns, candida, and much more. At the time I read about this I had three excruciating ant bites on my leg. I usually suffer for at least a week when I get them, and steroid/benadryl/itch creams never help much. I dabbed some liquid bentonite on them and after a minute the itch was gone. After two days of applying the clay I can't even feel them anyone. Which I find amazing.
Since "healing clay" is usually extremely expensive, I contacted a ceramic supply store in Phoenix. I drove out there yesterday and picked up a 50 lb bag of 325 mesh bentonite and gave my children their first clay bath. From what I have read, the 325 mesh bentonite from american colloid company has been tested and is good for baths. I will keep you posted if I notice any positive effects of our "clay detox".