If you were like most kids, you probably enjoyed pretending to eat “dirt cakes,” or perhaps even sampled a some of the brown gritty stuff from time to time. While a little dirt is not going to hurt anyone, some types of “earth” are more beneficial than others.
Often called DE for short, diatomaceous earth is a grayish, talc-like substance that is actually comprised of fossilized remains of single-cell marine phytoplankton known as diatoms, that have skeletons made from 84 percent silica and 20 other minerals.
When it is magnified 7,000 times, DE looks like tiny honeycombs. Mined from dried lake beds that are thousands of years old, DE has an unlimited shelf life as long as it is kept dry.
According to the FDA, food grade diatomaceous earth is “generally regarded as safe,” even for children and pregnant and nursing mothers.
Besides oxygen, silica is the most abundant element on Earth. In 1939, Nobel Prize winner Doctor Adolf Butenant demonstrated how important silica is for life – in fact, it may be the most important trace element in human health. At one point in time, food contained plenty of silica, but because our food sources are so depleted, we are only getting about one third of the silica that we need
Besides being very high in silica, diatomaceous earth also has the following properties:
- Very strong negative charge; acts like a magnet to attract harmful materials.
- It is extremely hard – in fact, it is a 7 on the hardness scale, where a diamond is a 9.
DE is known mostly for its ability to naturally kill insects and pests such as fleas (this includes intestinal parasites). Because it is so strong, and also sharp, it easily punctures the exoskeleton of insects on a microscopic level – this causes them to dehydrate and perish.
Note: Humans and other animals remain unharmed by this. Keep in mind that it is a physical action that kills insects, not a chemical action. This is why it it does not harm us.
The following are five really neat ways to use this natural and economical substance for overall health and wellbeing.
Cleansing: Because it has a very strong negative charge, DE can easily attach to and escort things like toxins, viruses, heavy metals, bacteria and even radiation from the body. This makes it a great complement to any detoxification program. While diatomaceous earth moves through the stomach and digestive tract, it attracts and absorbs fungi, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, pesticides, E. coli, heavy metals and endotoxins.
The toxins are trapped by DE and carried out of the body. If any larger parasites exist, they are easily “cut up” and killed by its sharp edges. However, DE does not kill beneficial gut bacteria. As the DE passes through the intestines, it actually scrubs the walls clean. Some people who go through this cleansing actually have what is known as a “healing crisis.”
This can cause some mild inflammation as the immune system comes back to life. As parasites die off, they release extra toxins which can cause nausea, pain and cramping. Also, parasites often harbor their own parasites, germs and infections, which can cause additional discomfort. One way to avoid this is to slowly work up to a teaspoon to a tablespoon over the course of a few days or weeks
Reducing blood pressure and cholesterol: Because DE has such a detoxifying effect on the body, it reduces foreign matter and along with it, inflammation. Both of these things can contribute to high blood pressure and elevate blood serum cholesterol.
Joint pain: As we age, we lose calcium and our bones become weak. Unfortunately, just taking a calcium supplement will not correct or arrest this process, simply because the body can’t use the calcium without silica. In fact, calcium may actually accelerate the leaching away of bone calcium and hurry along osteoporosis and other diseases that impact the supportive and connective tissues in the body.
Persons suffering from osteoporosis find that silica can stop pain and help the body repair itself. Silica is so effective because one of its primary functions is to deposit minerals into the bones – mostly calcium. Amazingly, silica can also turn into calcium if needed.
Hair growth: Silica is great for your hair, and it has been said to promote scalp health and hair growth. Hair is rich in silica, like healthy bones, so silica is vital to healthy hair. Incorporating DE into your hair care program is a perfect way to revitalize tired or damaged hair. Silica can help prevent baldness, stimulates hair growth and improves both the shine and strength of hair.
Healthy skin: In Europe, DE is used in health and beauty products for skin, hair, nails, bones and joints. When we age, connective tissue has a difficult time retaining moisture. Silica helps to slow this degenerative process and can restore vitality. Collagen is largely made up of silica, and is the glue that keeps us together. With enough silica we have enough collagen to appear youthful. In addition, silica can assist with skin problems such as rashes, acne, eczema, insect bites and also injuries including frostbite and burns.
Other anecdotal reports regarding diatomaceous earth
- Helps prevent kidney stones
- Decreases vertigo
- Helps reduce side effects of menopause
- Helps maintain lung tissue health
- Helps fight urinary tract infections
- Helps reduce symptoms of insomnia
- Boosts metabolism
How to take diatomaceous earth
Because silica is water soluble it is easily absorbed by the intestinal wall. It will not accumulate in the body, so daily supplementation is necessary. Stir the DE frequently while drinking, as it will settle to the bottom.
Start out with 1 tablespoon of DE mixed with water each day. If you really hate the taste, try mixing with coconut water and a teaspoon of raw honey. If necessary, increase to 2 or 3 tablespoons. Again, go slow if you start to feel that you are having a detox reaction.
Some people report feelings of increased energy, so it is not advised to take DE prior to bedtime.
Note: Be sure to always take only food grade DE, as other forms are not considered safe for human consumption.
-The Alternative Daily