Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil material containing large amounts of trace minerals and has a natural plasticity when wet. The use of clay for medicinal purposes is an age-old practice already applied in Mesopotamia.
Clay comes in many variations and colors (due to the different colors of the minerals it contains), and is typically used for external applications — such as in Face Masks, Clay Baths or Mud Baths — but certain types of prepared clay are also used for ingestion, a practice that’s called Geophagy.
The clay used for medicinal purposes is often first refined and processed, which can include heating or baking to purify it from a variety of microorganisms. After processing, it’s typically to be obtained commercially as a dry powder or in jars in its liquid hydrated state.
For external use, clay — sometimes mixed with mud or peat — can be added to a bath, smeared directly on the body or body parts, or used in (warm) packs or poultices for application on the body.
The health benefits of clay include mitigation of many types of skin conditions, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic use, detoxification of the body through sweating, and alleviation of stress and anxiety because of its calming effect.