It is no secret that Mother Nature is very powerful. Our earth is rich with multiple resources that feed us, quench our thirst, clothe us, provide us shelter, heal us when we are ill and overall nourish us. When we take responsibly from the earth’s bounty, we can find everything we need for sustenance.
This goes for everything in and on the earth… but how about eating earth itself? It sounds strange, but there is a type of earth that we can eat, one which has multiple healing uses in our bodies and in our daily lives. This mysterious type of earth is known as diatomaceous earth, often simply called DE.
What is diatomaceous earth?
DE is more than just a type of soil. This substance, which looks like a whitish, dusty powder, is actually what remains of ancient one-celled phytoplankton called diatoms. It is mined from dehydrated ancient lake beds and it is comprised mostly of silica, with other trace minerals. If it remains dry, this stuff can last virtually forever without spoiling.
While it may sound strange, diatomaceous earth is indeed edible. It is deemed to be safe for general consumption, although you should always consult a health professional you trust before starting a regimen with a new natural substance. As humans generally do not get as much silica in our diets as we need, supplementing with DE can help to replenish this trace element. DE also has a strong negative charge, and can thus latch onto toxins to flush them away.
The following are just ten of the many beneficial ways to use diatomaceous earth:
1. Rid your home of insects
One very popular use for DE is insect control. Because the tiny grains are hard and have sharp edges, insects of various types are destroyed when they ingest it (don’t worry, humans and other animals do not suffer this effect). To use DE for insect control, simply sprinkle a bit around doorways, floorboard cracks and other areas in your home that insects can enter through.
You can also use DE in your garden to help keep bugs off of your plants. Sprinkle a bit around shrugs, flower beds and plants… anywhere you want to keep insects away.
2. Keep pests off of your produce
The insect-destroying properties of DE can also help to protect your fruits, vegetables and bulk grains and legumes from infestation. Sprinkle a bit of DE in the bottom of fruit bowls and veggie bins and containers. You can also add them to bulk containers of dried beans, peas, lentils, rice and pasta to keep would-be invaders from burrowing in and laying eggs in your dry goods.
3. Filter your water
Diatomaceous earth can be highly effective in a water filter, thanks to its detoxifying powers. Research has found that this substance can help to clean many toxic substances, including viruses and heavy metals, out of drinking water. If you’re looking for a solution to purify your tap water, a DE filter may be one thing to research closely.
4. Enjoy radiant skin
Silica is wonderful for skin health, as it is largely comprised of collagen. Using DE (which is mostly silica) can help to keep your skin looking young and radiant. It can also help to correct various skin issues, including acne, eczema and rashes. To use DE on your skin, simply combine some of the powder with organic, extra-virgin coconut oil. Use this mixture to moisturize, or apply to problem areas.
5. Strengthen your hair
Silica is as good for your hair as it is for your skin. Using DE in your hair care routine can help to keep your hair looking healthy, as well as your scalp. It may also help to correct hair damage, such as from coloring, treating or chemical exposure (think chlorine). To use, simply add some DE to your natural shampoo or conditioner. Or, you can make a hair mask by combining DE with coconut oil, smoothing the mixture over your hair and washing after an hour.
6. Detoxify your body
One of the most popular uses of diatomaceous earth is detoxification. Because of its shape, sharp edges and negative charge, DE can latch onto toxins, microorganisms and heavy metals and flush them out of your body. Think of it as “exfoliating your insides.”
When detoxing with DE, start slowly. You don’t want to push your body too hard, too fast. Start with about a teaspoon of DE in a glass of water, once per day. You can add some raw honey to your water to sweeten. Alternately, add a teaspoon of DE to a smoothie — just be sure to drink plenty of water afterward.
7. Rid your body of intestinal parasites
Along with detoxing microorganisms and heavy metals, DE can also help to flush intestinal parasites from your body. Taking DE can actually help to chop up larger parasites that may be lurking in your digestive system, and flush them out for good. Again, start slow if you are doing any kind of detox with DE.
Note: Although DE can help to destroy parasites, it will not kill your beneficial gut bacteria, so don’t worry!
8. Reduce chronic inflammation
One of the effects of detoxifying your body with DE is a resulting reduction in inflammation. Taking DE can also help to ease inflammatory pain, such as muscle and joint pain. As chronic inflammation is one of the most dangerous things you can harbor in your body, this is truly an important benefit.
9. Reduce blood pressure
By reducing inflammation throughout your body, DE can also help to reduce your blood pressure. As high blood pressure can put you at risk for heart attack and stroke, this is a great reason to give diatomaceous earth a try.
10. Support bone health
Taking silica, such as in the form of DE, can help to deposit minerals into our bones. Making sure that your silica intake is sufficient can help to protect your bones (as well as your teeth) as you age. This can help to prevent osteoporosis and other conditions from taking hold.
How to use diatomaceous earth
- Take DE in the morning, as it may bring with it a burst of energy that may not be welcome at night.
- Look for food-grade DE from a source you trust — make sure to research the company you are buying from thoroughly.
- When taking DE internally, start with one teaspoon in a glass of water. You can work up to one tablespoon slowly as needed, but —I’ll say it again — take your time. You don’t want to detox too fast, as this can make you feel ill.
Have you ever used diatomaceous earth? Please tell us about your experiences!
– Tanya Mead