Around 200 million years in the making clay comes in a variety of colours, which vary according to its mineral content. Bentonite, also known as montmorillonite is of the smectite class of clays. It is derived from deposits of weathered volcanic ash. A good quality Bentonite has high absorptive properties and a high cation exchange or drawing power, it has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odourless and non-staining. While it contains a wide variety of trace minerals, these minerals are not absorbed from applying clay to the body. High bonding between these minerals prevents absorption. It is however one of the most effective natural cleansing and purifying agents available.
Clays are alumino-silicates and their performance properties are related to their weak silica-alumina bond. Bentonite is a dioctahedral smectite (an expanding layer silicate). Typically it is composed of Alumina oxide (Al2O3) and Silica - SiO2. Alumina oxide is NON-TOXIC and not to be confused with the manufactured aluminium (Al) which is toxic. more...
It is also made up of a number of other minerals some of which have exchangeable ions. Typically they are - sodium ions, calcium ions, potassium ions, magnesium ions.
Bentonite is known for its highly absorptive properties and its ability to adsorb (attach to) and bind with certain substances. The Egyptians used it to preserve their famous mummies. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to for a variety of applications in daily life. The great German Naturopaths of the last century hailed clay as one of natureâ€™s great gifts. Numerous so called â€˜primitiveâ€™ tribes have used clay both internally and externally.
According to Robert T. Martins, B.S.,a mineralogist University of Minnesota; Ph.D., Cornell University and Mineralogist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the molecular surface of one gram (1/28th of an ounce ) of Bentonite Clay has a surface area of 800 sq. meters. Not all clays are the same though and not all clays can achieve the same results.