Volcanic Ash Clay

Posted by Bradley Lewis on

volcanic ash clay

The time has come to stock your medicine cabinet with healing green clay if you are trying to add more natural remedies into your everyday life. Read about the many ways of using clay externally here. This nutrient rich, all natural alternative can help with ailments like heartburn, upset stomach, wounds, bites, and infections. It can also boost the body’s ability to stave off sickness. But, before adding products to your shopping cart, it’s important to understand what you’re buying.

Volcanic vs Sedimentary Clay

When considering which clay to use, many people choose a volcanic clay over a sedimentary clay. This is especially important for those  new to using clay. Volcanic and sedimentary clays have unique origins and are at different stages in their life cycles.
Sedimentary clays are  found in seas and glaciers. They have been moved from their original location through natural weathering such as wind, rain, or ice. During their journey, the sedimentary clays can come into contact with impurities. If contaminated, it is impure and not safe for regular use.

Volcanic clay is considered to be pure and very clean. The Earth’s Natural® volcanic clay is sourced directly from the pristine Mojave Desert in California. Volcanic eruptions in the Death Valley area dispersed clouds of volcanic ash over the dry, inland rivers and lake beds, filling the enormous valley with what has become calcium bentonite clay. The intense heat of the volcano burned off any impurities within the ash, transforming it into supercharged trace minerals. Once brought to the surface, the clay is sun-dried for up to six months in temperatures that reach up to 134° F. Other processes of treating clay with an alcohol wash or heat alter the beneficial properties of  clay.  This is one reason we recommend asking for a microbial analysis from the seller of any clay you are considering using. This is critical if you will be using the clay internally.

Evidence of volcanic activity in California’s Mojave Desert

Seven Types of Clay

There are many different types of clay, each with variations in shapes, sizes and mineral composition. In fact, the mineral structure of a clay determines its specific properties. From pottery to poultices, each group of clay serves a distinct purposes. The seven clay mineral groups are:

  • Kaolin – A bulking agent best known for its anti-diarrhea use (think Kaopectate).

  • Illite – Non swelling clay. Used mostly for commercial applications like cosmetics.

  • Smectite – Adsorbs and absorbs toxins and impurities. Safe for regular consumption.

  • Chlorite – Caustic and abrasive cleansing clay. Not safe for bodily use.

  • Vermiculite – Non swelling clay used for making china and pottery.

  • Mixed-layer – Combination of five clay listed above. Found in mines and quarries.

  • Lath-form – Another mixed combination of clays used in construction.

Earth’s Natural®’s Smectite Clay

Our calcium bentonite clay is in the smectite clay group. This is important because smectite clays are the *only* clay group of the seven that both ADsorbs and ABsorbs toxins and impurities. It’s what makes smectite clay highly desirable.

The two most familiar species of smectite clay are Montmorillonite and bentonite. Originally, the term Montmorillonite referred to the town of Montmorillon in France where the clay was first identified. Similarly, the term bentonite was named for the town of Fort Benton, Wyoming where (a sodium bentonite) clay was discovered by John Pascal. Over many years, the terms smectite, bentonite, and Montmorillonite have been used interchangeably. These days, the clay can be called by either its French name or American English name to accurately describe it as a smectite clay.


Earth’s Natural® clay has survived the intense heat of a volcano creating a clean, pure clay. This makes it perfectly acceptable to use in cooked recipes. You can find some examples of using clay in food on our YouTube channel. Of the seven groups of volcanic clays, our smectite clay is prized for its ability to both ADsorb and absorbs toxins and impurities. Make an informed choice when it comes to shopping for clays. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to review the analysis on our clay!

Read more about the external uses of clay here and about internal uses of clay here.


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