If you know me, you've probably heard me talking about this stuff. It's used for a ton of different things - from facials to construction materials to internal cleansing. And although it's been labeled "GRAS" (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA, there are a few things to consider, and a few things to watch for.
So, bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. It was named by Wilbur C. Knight in 1898 after the Cretaceous Benton Shale near Rock River, Wyoming.
Here are the very general "bentonite rules", in order of importance, to make things simpler for your usage:
1st place: When handling the clay, never use metal utensils or bowls/cups. The clay has a "charge", so when it comes in contact with metal, it can lose that charge, thus rendering it nearly useless. The picture in my mind is of when my mom told me as a kid to not put a spoon in the microwave. No good. Use plastic, wood, metal, or glass.
2nd place: There are different types of bentonite clay, the main two being sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Sodium bentonite clay is best for external use, and calcium bentonite is best for internal use. Sodium bentonite is usually much less expensive than calcium bentonite.
3rd place: Don't overdo it, read the labels clearly, and pay attention to how your body reacts. If you feel terrible (highly unlikely unless you're doing other major cleanses simultaneously), maybe stop. Or get a different kind, and start again slowly. If you feel yucky, it's almost definitely because toxins are being released from your cells and brought into your blood stream. This is a good thing, but can be really unpleasant. Drink lots of water, eat minimally-processed food, and keep paying attention to what your body is trying to say to you.
Runner-up: Get it from a reputable source, and if it says "not for internal use", that probably isn't true, but until you know how your body reacts to different types of bentonite, just follow the instructions. There are extra high quality clays out there, and some pretty cheap stuff, and everything in between. Contact me here for more info: http://www.greenlighthealthconsulting.com/contact-me
And here are the 3 main ways I like to use bentonite:
1. Use it to charge, cleanse, and purify water - for dogs too! Sometimes our bodies get overwhelmed by the toxins from food, water, air, synthetic chemicals, etc., and it's nice to give them a little help along the way. We might not notice them, and maybe they aren't impacting us dramatically, but there's no harm in using bentonite clay to give our bodies a boost. People have reported better sleep, less gastric upset, more energy during the day, and more mental clarity. Clay carries a negative charge, and toxins carry a positive charge. This means the clay will bind to the toxins sort of like a magnet, and will carry them out of your system. If your digestive system is unhealthy or somehow overwhelmed, it can cause dermatitis of different kinds. So sometimes to get rid of a skin issue like acne or psoriasis, addressing internal gut health is an important first step.
For daily internal cleansing, each evening fill a 16-22 ounce glass with water (purified if possible) and stir in a teaspoon of CALCIUM bentonite clay. It may clump up and resist dissolving and dispersing evenly, depending on the brand. Stir it/shake it (if it has a lid) once before bed, leave it covered on the counter, and in the morning drink the whole thing before eating or drinking anything else. Wait at least an hour before eating or taking any vitamins. Wait at least 2 hours before taking medications. Side note: I like to use empty and washed glass kombucha bottles with the plastic lid for this. They are 16 oz and have no metal in them, and with the lid on tight, you can shake the bottle which disperses the clay much better and quicker than simply stirring it. After you let the mixture sit, much of the clay will have settled on the bottom, but you don't have to drink it. You can, if you want, of course, but the clay has already "charged" the water, so you'll still get the benefits. You don't have to let it sit this long - if you forget at night just stir it in first thing in the morning - but letting the clay charge the water for about 8 hours is preferable. And that way you don't have to drink all of the actual clay. Be sure to drink a lot of water throughout the rest of the day!! This daily cleansing can be done for about a month at a time. After a month, give your body a break from it, and then start it again after another month or two.
For dogs: Get them a bowl made of something other than metal - non-leaded ceramic, glass, wood, bamboo, etc., and depending on the size of the bowl, dog, and how much water they drink, put between 1/2 tsp and 2 heaping tsp in their water. I pour the water in the bowl, sprinkle the calcium bentonite clay into the water, give it a little stir, and let it sink to the bottom. Replace the clay and the water every few days. This will not only help them with regular digestion but it will help them with any gross thing they've eaten outside - just give them a little more if you know they will get sick from something they've eaten (or if they drink out of a nasty hot puddle at the park). But... if they've eaten something like chocolate or grapes, take him/her to an emergency vet, IMMEDIATELY!
Another method of feeding dogs bentonite clay is sprinkling it on their food, but make sure you put water in the bowl if you do it this way. Bentonite clay, especially when someone first starts taking it internally, needs lots of water to help it along. You don't want the toxins to be absorbed with no way out, and neither do your dogs. Since dogs can't tell us how they feel most of the time, I like to do what I can to minimize whatever might be bothering them, that they can't express. People have reported back to me that their dog's energy is better, their breath smells less disgusting, and they don't show as many signs of arthritis or joint pain. Please note: if your dog tends to drink a LOT of water all day long, after an initial one to two month phase of them drinking this bentonite water daily, give them a break from it for about a month (like with humans), and then add it in just once or twice a week.
2. Face mask: Mix about a teaspoon of bentonite (remember, plastic or wood spoon!) with about 1/2 tsp of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV). If you don't have raw ACV that's ok. But make sure it's at least unfiltered. Bragg's is the brand I use. Mix it up until it's all combined, about the consistency of pancake batter I guess. Add more ACV or clay until you get that consistency. Next, splash your face with pretty warm water, and using your fingertips, spread the mixture all over your face, neck, and/or chest. Great for acne, large pores, and scars. It will bring blood to the surface of the skin, and help with exfoliation. Leave the mixture on your skin for a good 10-15 minutes, unless it's stinging a lot - some people have very strong reactions. Wipe off gently with a warm washcloth, then rinse your face with warm water and put lotion or oil on afterwards. I like to use jojoba oil. This process can be done once or twice a week. It will make your face red but that goes away in about 60 minutes.
3. Toothpaste: Combine a couple teaspoons of coconut oil with about a teaspoon of calcium bentonite clay, and use just like store-bought toothpaste. Optional ingredients: a few drops of essential oils, (mint or citrus are my favorite; just make sure whatever you use are approved for internal use), other abrasives/whiteners like activated charcoal or diatomaceous earth. I like to use the simplest mixture of bentonite + coconut oil for dog toothpaste. I don't add essential oils because they hate it... but I know that some people add a tiny bit of tea tree oil for their dogs.
For internal use, I prefer LivingClay (http://www.livingclayco.com/), or Redmond clay (a mixture of both calcium and sodium). Redmond Clay doesn't disperse as well but it is quite a bit less expensive and can be used for both internal and external uses.
For more info on activated charcoal, diatomaceous earth, or any questions about bentonite clay, including the more technical specs, contact me here: http://www.greenlighthealthconsulting.com/contact-me