What is Bentonite

Sodium Bentonite, Calcium Bentonite and Montmorillonite

Do you want to know, "What Is Bentonite Clay"? You must want to, otherwise you won't be on this page,would you?

I did too, and so I went ahead and did a lot of research on it to provide the kind of information you see on this website, for you.

There are a lot of different terminology regarding clays, but I have only used what is important. We do not want to get too scientific, do we? My intention is to give you enough information to start eating clay to heal and balance your body.


Picture above courtesy: Wikipedia - A mountain of clay — Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. The white bands represent pure bentonite clay.

"Eating clay" does not sound civilized does it? But it has been used since ancient time by both humans and animals for healing.

After doing the research on What is Bentonite Clay, I understand different clays and I know which is the clay that you and I may be interested in - the Living Clay - the healing one!

If you are interested in the healing properties of clay, you must understand how it is formed, and a bit about its structure, so that you can choose the right type of clay for consumption.

How Did Bentonite Form

What is Bentonite and how did it form? It formed when volcanic ash spewed out of a erupting volcano, and was thrown into an ancient sea or lake. As it filtered through the waters, it collected pure minerals in the process, and formed a layer of highly energized and mineralized clay as it settled on the ancient seabed.

Today the waters have mainly dried up, and you see the layers of clay in between other soil. Painted desert in USA is a good example of clay deposits.

Picture above right courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

What is Bentonite?

Bentonite is from one of the seven types of clay formed from volcanic ash. Bentonite is from the family of clay called Smectite. The other family of clays are Kaolin clays, Ilite clays, Vermiculite clays, Chlorite clays, Iron oxyhydroxides and Allophane.

A characteristic of Smectites is that they can absorb and adsorb extremely well compared to the other six types of clay. And as a result of these absorption and adsorption powers, they are called Living Clay. And they also have a high detoxifying ability.

Bentonite clay has microscopic layers through which it absorbs the toxins in our bowels.

It contains a high amount of silica and it is believed that this silica is extremely beneficial for your body.

It also contains other elements important for your body such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, sulphur and carbon. In addition there can be up to 71 trace elements! Most have more than 50 odd trace elements.

Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia - Scanning electron microscope photograph of smectite clay from Tuckup Canyon - U.S. Geological Survey - magnification 23,500.

What Are the Main Types Of Clay Bentonite

What is Bentonite? There are two main types of Bentonite clay. Sodium Bentonite Clay and Calcium Bentonite Clay. There are also Potassium Bentonite and Aluminium Bentonite too, but they are not considered here.  Lets look at each Calcium and Sodium Bentonites, and decide which is the best for body cleansing.

Sodium Bentonite

It contains a higher amount of sodium. It absorbs a high amount of water, and can expand up to 15 times its volume!

Sodium Bentonite has a high percentage of sodium in the crystal lattice.

Sodium Bentonite is mainly used in industries, as liner material, binders, suspension agents, cement tiles, concrete, wall boards and water-proofing building materials. They are also used in alternative health as an external detoxifier of skin and foot or as a poultice.

Sodium Bentonite absorbs and expands so much more than Calcium Bentonite, that if it is taken internally it could clump up with lack of water and cause constipation.

However it is extremely useful as a sealant in industries because of its very swelling nature.

Anyway the way it is mined for industrial purposes and the high amount of sodium present does not make it a good edible clay.

Some Sodium Bentonite clays are sold as edible clays. As a result of their high Sodium contents the Sodium clay has to be taken with Apple cider vinegar to neutralize the Sodium content. They must also be consumed in small amounts due to the high Sodium content.

But I would not recommend you eat sodium clay, as it absorbs too much water from your intestines, and could make you constipated. You wouldn't want that, right? I definitely do not. I

Sodium Bentonite is also mined for industrial purposes, so how hygeinically it is mined is another issue.

It can be used for external clay baths.

Calcium Bentonite

Calcium Bentonite, also called Calcium Montmorillonite. They contain more Calcium them Sodium. It is the rarest of Smectites.

Natural Calcium Bentonite that is a green clay, is well-known for its healing and curative powers because of its high adsorption and absorption powers. It can be used for external use. But, most importantly, this healing clay is extremely good when taken internally, for detoxing and removing toxins.

It is alkaline with a pH of 8 or 9 and above, and is tasteless and has no smell. It is also a smooth, non-gritty clay.

Calcium clays unlike Sodium clays, do not have any consumption restrictions.

Green Calcium Bentonite or Montmorillonite is the best clay for internal cleansing and detoxification. It is referred to as a Living Clay. I highly recommend a fine non-gritty and pure Calcium Bentonite for your internal cleansing.

Montmorillonite Clay vs Bentonite Clay vs Pascalite

What is Bentonite and what is Montmorillonite?

When green clay was first discovered in Montmorillon in France, it was given the brand name of Montmorillonite Clay. It is also now known as French Green.

The green clays have good swelling properties, and are exceptional healing clays. As a result of their good swelling properties, they attract a lot of toxins and have good detoxifying properties.

On the other hand Bentonite Clay was first discovered in Fort Benton in Wyoming. So the clay was named after Fort Benton.

It was also named Pascalite by the person who discovered it – John Pascal. Wyoming Bentonite is mainly the Sodium type and has high swelling properties.

So, What is Bentonite Clay?

Today the name Montmorillonite and Bentonite are used interchangeably. Pascalite is also a form of Bentonite clay. All of them are from the Smectite family of clays and have absorption and adsorption powers in making them good detoxifying agents.


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