What are the differences between Zeolite, Bentonite, Montmorillonite, Illite, French Green, Pascalite, Redman, Terramin, Living, Fuller’s Earth, Ormalite, Vitallite & Pyrophyllite Clays?
Almost all natural clays have value when promoting human health. Some may be consumed, others are best used only externally, and some are best reserved for industrial purposes.
Clays in general, provide a wide array of benefits, whether for the body, in the garden, or for industrial uses.
Each of the edible clays will possess different mineral profiles and electromagnetic properties, and will therefore effect the body somewhat differently.
Detoxification, mineral nourishment and the natural promotion of the body’s own healing processes are common to most clays, though one specific clay may excel in a unique area of application more so than other clays.
So what are the benefits of the most popular edible clays available today, and which ones stand out when it comes to promoting human health?
Common and Not So Common Clays
According tohttp://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/silicate/clays.htm, Wikipedia and common geological knowledge:
Bentoniteis the most abundant of all clays. The term “bentonite” is a catch-all for numerous variations of smectite absorbent (swelling) claysderived from weathered volcanic ash. ABentoniteoften contains a high percentage ofMontmorillonite,Illite orKaolin clays. For the most part Bentonites are classified asSodium Bentonites,Potassium BentonitesorCalcium Bentonites.The one common characteristic of a Bentoniteis that they absorb moisture more so than other clays.
Calcium Bentonitehas a dominant quantity of calcium in its mix of minerals. When the Bentonitehas weathered to a microscopic size of 1 micron or less it is referred to as a Montmorillonite.Pascalite,Terramin, Living ClayandFuller’s EarthareCalcium BentonitesorCalcium Montmorillonites.
Even though calcium clays are valuable therapeutic clays both internally and externally, given today’s high calcium diets coupled with higher than normal levels of environmental toxins (which deplete our magnesium stores), more calcium is not what we need as a dominant factor. A more balanced combination of calcium and magnesium along with 70+ other minerals is more preferable today as a natural mineral source.
Sodium Bentoniteis the most swelling of the bentonites. It absorbs moisture and swells. For this reason, it makes an excellent lining for a pond to help prevent loss of water, but it is generally not a good idea to put aSodium Bentonitedown the drain after a bath, since it may clog the drain.Bentonitesin general, are also hard on the bowels when taken internally, causing constipation, therefore herbal laxatives and bulking agents are recommended when using aSodium Bentonitefor internal detoxification. I find this characteristic counterproductive to the goal of internal cleansing, yetSodiumBentoniteis surprisingly often used for this purpose in the health industry.Redman Clayand most of the clays sold by LL Magnetic Clay are Sodium Bentonites.
I prefer a slightly laxative clay with a small particle size for maximum detoxification.
Potassium Bentoniteis referred to as a “potash bentonite”. It contains a high percentage ofIllite Clay. Since it absorbs less moisture than other bentonites, it is commonly used in brick making. It is also used for radioactive waste containment.
Illiteis a member of the Clay-Mica Group of clays referred to as aMuscoviteand is a main component of shale. It is naturally abundant in potassium. It is commonly found as a component in other clays such asBentonite&Montmorillonite, adding a potassium twist to those clays.French Green Clayis anIllite Clay.
Zeoliteis formed when rolling lava encounters a body of water (such as a lake or the ocean), or whenvolcanicrocks and ash layers react withalkalinegroundwater.Zeolite forms as a volcanic rock which is then milled into a fine powder. It is is built of numerous porous channels of irregular shapes which act as a filtering sieve, or container, for heavy metals and toxins. The porous channels attract other minerals or environmental contaminants which must first be purged from theZeolitebefore human use.Zeoliteis commonly provided as both a liquid and a powder.
Theliquid Zeolitepurging process involves several cycles of high heat and rapid cooling, the addition of acids andthe addition of a few alkaline minerals (to improve its ionic exchange capability) before it is ready for human use. This purification process produces an average particle size of 1 micron (similar to a montmorillonite).
While this extensive purification process produces a decent detoxifying clay for the bloodstream (but not the bowels), its altered state is less balanced in its mineral profiles than an unheated clay. High heat disturbs Nature’s original mineral and biological composition, reducing its value a a nutritive clay. In any case, only a minimal amount of nutritive minerals from aZeoliteare available for assimilation by the body, since a Zeolitedoes not break down easily in the body. Once heated and processed, what might be provided to the body as mineral nutrition will lack the full spectrum of trace mineral balance naturally provided by other clays.
This lack of mineral balance in a purifiedZeoliteis a less than desirable aspect of the clay since minerals in the body are so strongly dependant upon each other to be effectively utilized by the body. The full spectrum of 70+ minerals are required each time minerals are taken to be sure sufficient mineral balance is maintained. Given the high prevelance of mineral deficiency in our soils and food supply these days, working with a clay that is both detoxifying and nutritive is an important consideration for the “dirt eaters” of the world.
A 1 micron average size for a processedZeoliteis good for getting into the bloodstream where a good portion of the detoxifying needs to take place, but this can also be accomplished with aMontmorilloniteor aPyrophyllitewithout altering their original clay structures or mineral profiles.
Pyrophylliteis also a member of the smectite group of clays and is the basis ofSacred Clay. Pyrophyllite makes one of the most powerful detoxifying clays known, partly due to its balanced mineral profile and partly due to its exceptionally small particle size going down to less than 1/10th of a micron. The smaller the particle size, the greater the surface area for the removal of toxins. Taken as a bulk clay internally, one gets the benefit of both cleansing of the blood and detoxification of the bowels (from where most of the toxins entering the blood are derived).
Pyrophyllitewas formed differently from the other clays mentioned, in that it began as an underground boiling lava soup that decomposed into a clay through an interaction with deep underground aquifer water, steam and pressure.
It is believed that the manner in which aPyrophylliteis made is the reason it possesses stronger detoxifying powers relative to other clays (one former auto mechanic found a 1/8th inch oil slick on the bottom of his firstSacred Claybath).Sacred Clay’srich electrolyte content (8 electrolytes comprising close to 10% of the clay) provides an abundance of free ions acting as antioxidants. Ions are required for rapid transport of toxins out of the cell and efficient transport of nutrients into the cell.
BecausePyrophylliteeasily breaks down in water, it can easily go down your drains after a relaxing clay bath without worry. (I have washed as much as 50 lbs ofSacred Claydown the tub drain without a hitch.) It will also help your city sewer and improve biological activity in a septic system. For most peoplePyrophyllite Clayis safe to use internally and actually slightly accelerates the bowels. SeeSacred Clay Instructions for Usefor exceptions, or if you are on pharmaceutical drugs.
Pyrophyllite Compared to Zeolite
Zeoliteis an excellent clay (I believe Nature has given us a number of great gifts within the clay world), however,Pyrophyllitehas certain capabilities that exceed those of theZeolitefamily.
Pyrophylliteis capable of holding toxins to the outside of its molecular structure like iron filings to a magnet (adsorbing), as well as absorb them like a sponge. Pyrophyllite’snegative electro-magnetic charge reaches deep into the tissues, organs and bloodstream to draw toxins to itself.
Zeoliteis an adsorbing-only clay capable of attracting a large amount of toxins to itself due to the large available surface area within the microsieve chamber structure of the Zeolite. However, the toxin must be small enough to enter into thechamberstructure of Zeolite(less than 2 nanometers) to be carried away in abundance. Larger toxin molecules are less likely to be removed due to this limitation.
Liquid Zeolitedoes very little to remove toxins in the most toxic organ of our body, the small intestines. To remove toxins from the intestines a bulk clay must be consumed.
Pyrophylliteis both an adsorbing and an absorbing clay with a donut shaped combination of tetrahedral molecules mimicking the shape of a red blood cell. The geometric shape of a red blood cell constitutes the mostefficient shape known for the absorption or disbursement of nutrients.
Even apowered Zeolitemust be heated to purge it of its accumulated load of environmental toxins. Heating a clay destroys both the clay’s natural biological benefits (soil based organisms) and its delicate balance of mineral ratios. While this may be necessary with aZeolitein order to make room for an additional amount of toxins, Pyrophyllitedoes not require this purging process to be effective.
AZeolitedoes not offer many minerals to the body, as the microsieve structure does not easily break down into individual minerals to help the body perform its thousands of chemical/hormonal functions. APyrophyllitereadily breaks down into its individual mineral components, thereby providing the body with a storehouse of mineral options to choose from in order to build its needed supplies of chemicals and hormones.
A Side Note on Heating a Clay
Heating a clay to the melting point of the various metals disturbs the clay’s original integrity. Heat is sometimes used to melt away certain “undesirable” elements within a clay, under the mistaken impression that this action will “purify” the clay. Instead, what you are left with is an unnatural assembly of mineral ratios (something Nature did not design), resulting in an end product that, when consumed, requires your own body to compensate for what is now missing in the altered clay. This compensation effect is due to the body’s ongoing attempt to create and maintain homeostasis, or balance.
Disturbing Nature’s original balance of mineral ratios, or taking just one mineral at the exclusion of the full, natural complex of 70+ minerals and their naturally formed mineral ratios, can result in greater imbalances within the body with long-term consequences. A major New Zealand study found that taking the single mineral, calcium citrate, for several years raises the risk of heart attacks by 40%. [Am J Med 2002; 112:343 Ian R Reid, MDa. et al]. Minerals need each other in naturally-occurring ratios to provide the most effective service to the body.
Comprehensive Nutritional Content and Bioavailability
Pyrophylliteis naturally more abundant in both electrolytes and trace minerals than a processedZeolite, so it provides greater nutritional value to the human body. Unaltered Pyrophyllitehas a more balancing effect on the body from a nutritional point of view.
Pyrophylliteclay is high in amorphous silica (free-form silica not yet structured into quartz), which forms mono and orthosilicic acids when brought in contact with water. Silicic acids are required to make minerals bioavailable to both plant and human. Silicic acids act as ligand escorts for minerals and other nutrients attempting to enter the cell walls. Without an acid escort, like humic acid, citric acid or silicic acid, neither minerals nor phytonutrients (plant-based) are able to pass through the cell wall.
Taking Clay with Natural Vitamins and Food Sources
TakingPyrophyllite claywith natural remedies will actually enhance their mineral and nutrient absorption due to the presence of amorphous (unstructured) silica in the clay. While natural supplements are not recommended in combination with aBentoniteclay due to a concern over drawing beneficial nutrients from the body, an amorphous silica clay (as opposed to a structured quartz silica clay) makes other nutrients more bioavailable.
The mono and orthosilicic acids formed out of the amorphous silica are also used by the body to build collagen and slow the aging process.
Regeneration of Body Tissues
Bioavailable amorphous silica is required by the body to repair damaged tissues, bone, tendons and cartilage.
Pyrophylliteclay’s observed skin regenerative powers when applied to a cut, a bruise, an inflammation, or a cold sore is truly remarkable. In two instances I observed open wounds on the face being closed and regenerated in less than two weeks without even a scar. Scarless wound repair is best accomplished with the immediate application of clay to the wound, as scars are the direct result of a lack of amorphous silica in the body for collagen development.
Ormaliteis an angstrom mineral clay, rich in naturally-occurring M-state elements (single atom elements largely from the platinum group). Even amounts less than a pinch have noticeable effects on calming and centering the mind, increasing the meridian flow (chi) around the body and leaving one more in the heart. Due to its activation of the pineal gland, and therefore melatonin, sleep is improved when taken before bed, stress during the day is lessened, and a sense of well being is increased.
Observations of Pyrophyllite andOrmalite
From an observable point of view, we have frequently seen and experienced the reduction of inflammation and swelling following the application of aManna Mist(concentratedOrmalitewater) spray and/or aSacred Claypoultice, along with a more rapid regeneration of tissue. This indicates that the curent research being performed onSacred ClayandOrmalitemay well document some very promising findings.
Vitalliteis a naturally-occurring earthen mineral source (a clay) which nourishes adrenal and endocrine functions in such a way as to increase physical vitality, mental focus, and physical stamina.
VitalliteClaysupplies the body with both macro minerals and trace minerals and has the natural soothing effects of an ormus (angstrom element) clay similar toOrmalite Clay, only not as concentrated.Vitallite&Ormalite’s
To grasp some of the implications of what a powerful nourishing, detoxifying, health building clay can do for the human body, the following article offers insight into the possibilities:Sacred Clay Instructions for Use.
Is it possible Mother Nature has provided an answer to many of our conditions all along in the form of natural clays, and we are just now discovering them?
Micheal King is the founder of Vitality Herbs and Clay, a company we highly endorse for their superb products we use daily. To learn more click here!