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Study: Healing Clays 'Exterminate' Superbugs

Monday, May 12, 2008 by: Adam Miller
Tags: 3216, news, trends

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(NewsTarget) Arizona State University researchers presented evidence at the most recent annual meeting of the American Chemical Society that several types of clay exhibit powerful action against disease-causing bacteria.

After two years of research, the ASU team found that of 30 types of clay tested, three displayed a surprisingly strong effect against such deadly bacteria as E. coli, Salmonella, and even the anti-biotic resistant superbug MRSA. The clay killed all or most of these strains and others in vitro. Special emphasis was put on the volcanic soil known as bentonite clay.

The team, which is made up of geochemist Lynda Williams and microbiologist Shelly Haydel, is still unsure of the mode of action. "We know they kill bacteria, but we don't know why," said Williams.

Clay has a long history as a healing substance, and is commonly used as a detoxifier both topically and via ingestion. Certain forms of clay have the unique ability to absorb and/or adsorb toxins in the internal environment and through the skin. For this reason, it has long been used as anything from a makeshift bandages to an agent of internal detoxification.

In addition to detoxification, clay has the unique quality of containing seemingly endless numbers of unique compounds. "Clays are little chemical drug-stores in a packet. They contain literally hundreds of elements. Some of these compounds are beneficial but others aren't. Our goal is to find out what nature is doing and see if we can find a better way to kill harmful bacteria," said Williams.

Formal studies on the antiseptic and antibiotic qualities of clay have been few if any, but abundant anecdotal evidence proved ample enough to justify a $440,000 research grant from the National Institutes of Health with more funding likely in the pipeline.

Since conclusion of their research, the pair has received numerous product samples from various vendors looking for product validation. They have encountered everything from outright fraud and ineffective products to clay samples containing toxic levels of arsenic. "Nobody's ever shown that the majority of what's said out there is scientifically accurate," Haydel said.

Unlike antibiotics, which need to be administered by injection or in pill form, clay works to stop an infection through topical application. Although Haydel admits to successfully using clay to treat wounds, the team does not currently recommend the use of clay as a medical treatment due to potential toxicity concerns and lack of understanding as to why it works. Still, this study goes a long way in validating some of the many claims currently being made about the medicinal potential of the rare clay types known as 'healing clays.'

About the author

Adam Miller is a student of life who has dedicated literally thousands of hours of personal research on top of formal institutional training in Dietetics to learn the secrets of achieving vibrant health and extended lifespan. His passion and dedication is in bringing the best ideas for self-empowerment through nutrition and nutraceuticals as well as alternative therapies, technology, and information to the public through various means.

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