First Aid Kit Necessities: Clay

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While we try to stay healthy and take the holistic approach to wellness there are occasions where a first aid kit is quite necessary.  As we dive into spring with summer fast approaching, I’m looking to make sure my first aid kit is stocked.  One item I consider necessary, especially with the warmer seasons coming, and thus the bugs, is bentonite clay.

Bentonite clay has many uses.  People often use it as a face mask or as a component in a foot soak (recipe I like here) and to help with acne.  I’ve also seen it recommended when switching to natural deodorant products to help give the skin a fresh start.  It is also very useful when dealing with bug bites and stings.  I like to keep it handy for use on ant bites, spider bites and bee stings.

I first came across bentonite clay when trying to find something for bug bites as I’ve been bitten more than once by spiders in the woods that resulted in me having to cave in and go to the urgent care for antibiotics and steroids to get it to heal.  This led me to ask what people did before this time where there is a doctor and prescriptions so widely available.  In my search I discovered clay.

bentonite clay

This clay has been used since ancient times for aiding with items from bug bites to stomach troubles (make sure if you intend to ingest this clay you get food grade).  I have yet to ingest the clay for any reason but I have used it topically many times. 

One of the first times I used it my finger had been stung by a bee and immediately started to swell.  I mixed a little of the clay with water and applied it to the sting.  About thirty minutes later I washed it off and couldn’t even find the place where the sting had been and there was no trace of the swelling or redness which had been apparent when I first applied it.

I’ve since had numerous uses for this clay on myself and my loved ones.  For a few particularly terrible bites (they were spreading and verging on turning purple in color) I mixed it up into a paste using honey instead of water.  My logic for using honey was its use from ancient times to the present to help with infections.  This worked quite well and the bites healed without issue.

bentonite clay

We’ve also tried it on bites that were several days old and obviously becoming irritated/infected (red and swollen) – these were the occasions when I typically mix it with honey.  It has worked then but the results are much improved when you can apply it as soon after the incident as possible.  A few months ago, my dad managed to get about a dozen stings from yellow jackets.  Several of these were on his face.  I immediately mixed up the clay and liberally applied it everywhere he was stung.  Within half an hour to an hour the visible signs of being stung were gone and thankfully the only additional care he required to be back at 100% was a few hours rest.

I like to keep ample quantities of the clay on hand.  We use if most often for bug bites/stings and foot soaks.  I do try it occasionally (maybe a few times a year) as a face mask and my skin is a little redder at first with the increased circulation but seems healthier/clearer after the mask.  A little does go a long way so 1-2 pounds lasts me a while.  It is super easy to store and use.  I’ve used water, apple cider vinegar, and honey to wet it and make a paste when applying topically and have had success with all three.

Come back soon to learn about my experience with CBD for cats!