By Dada Dharmavedananda

Our earth provides the nutrients that make plant life possible, and not only does the earth sustain the plant life, but it also sustains all animals and humans too. We sometimes think of soil as being “dirty” but ordinary soil and water is an effective cleaning agent, and sometimes it is even more effective than soap. Taking this a bit further, there are several naturopathic treatments that depend on the use of soil, in the form of clay and mudpacks.

Let’s take a look at how clay and mudpacks can be used to treat a variety of human ailments. Clay is generally used as a paste, to be applied directly as a salve, or in the form of a pack. Usually clay paste is applied to the abdomen or other regions of the body which show symptoms of disorder.

If necessary, it can be applied to the whole body, or a mud bath can be taken, in which the entire body excepting the head is buried in clay of suitable consistency.
The value of clay packs is multifold. The clay packs cool the affected area much more than an ordinary cold pack, bringing temperature down. They also absorb toxins when they are applied to a boil or a weeping wound.

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, clay helps by providing relief. The clay also helps by drawing out the pus and cleaning the wound. Clay also helps to reduce swelling and can be used to relieve tension in the muscles and soothing over-stimulated nerves

from localized pain and is effective in treating fevers, constipation, diarrhea gastric/duodenal/ intestinal ulcers, bleeding of the uterus, piles, fissures, appendicitis, cancer, all kinds of skin problems, asthma and other lung conditions, migraine, high blood pressure, stomach ache, irregular menstruation, and hundreds of other diseases and conditions.

Clay of any color can be used, provided it does not contain harmful materials or chemicals. To minimize the presence of pesticides or any other chemicals, it is best to collect the clay from at least 3 feet or 1 meter below the earth’s surface. If the clay is highly viscous (sticky), some fine sand should be mixed with it, even up to 50%. Coarse materials like pebbles and sticks should be removed, if necessary by a sieve. If the soil has too much sand already in it, then it is not suitable.

Unless the clay is being used immediately, then it needs to be dried in the sun, then it may be powdered and stored until it is needed.

When preparing the clay for a paste or pack, add just enough water so that it gets the consistency of butter or soft dough. Usually it is easiest to use hot water for mixing so that most of the lumps can be eliminated. It should be able to stick, and not be so thin that it slides off the skin.

Spread it over the affected part, to a thickness of about 1.5 to 2.5 cm (half to one inch). Or it can be spread on a piece of fine cloth. If it is spread on the abdomen, it should be 15 cm (6 inch) length by 7.5 cm (3 inch) width. If the clay is applied to any part of the hair area or the eyes, then a cloth is essential. If the clay paste or pack is left uncovered, then it has a cooling effect. To get maximum cooling effect, it should be changed frequently. But if it is covered well with a thick cotton or

woolen cloth, generally a warming effect is developed. If therefore the aim is to cool the part or reduce the body’s temperature, the clay should be left uncovered. But if a warming effect is desired, it should be covered. In either case, the pack will suck toxins from the body through the skin, but it does this slightly more effectively if the pack is covered, i.e. if that is the only purpose of the pack.

Commonly the clay is taken off after about 30 minutes or one hour. But it may be left up to 3 hours, or until it cracks, but not until it becomes stale. If it is desired to apply mud again, first the wounds should be cleansed with some antiseptic, give it a sun-bath, and then clay can be applied again. When clay has been used for its cooling effect, the part to which it has been applied should first be wiped clean with a piece of cloth, and then brought to normal temperature by a dry rubbing with the palms or with a dry cloth. If it has been used for warming part of the body, then that part should be wiped clean with a cloth wrung in cold water.

In case of serious sickness, the mud pack may be applied three times daily. In the case of an ulcer, the mud should be heated well to sterilize it. With cuts, scratches, sores and boils, it can be especially helpful in curing the disease and drawing out the poisonous substances.
Patients of constipation will benefit by swallowing daily 5 to 10 grams of clean clay mixed with water. This is to be done on an empty stomach. It is similarly useful for absorbing and eliminating any sort of toxic build-up inside the digestive system. However, a trained therapist’s guidance is needed to ensure that swallowing of clay is done systematically and according to the individual’s need.

So, never underestimate the power of soil and clay when it comes to healing our bodies.

Consult a naturopathic doctor or natural healer for further information.