Bentonite, Living Clay : Public Research Project
An Educational Compilation of Related Commentaries
and Articles: 1995 - 2006
Did You Know...?
The science of clays is an emmense subject to tackle; one can get a PHD in clay science. The chemistry of clays is also a specialty field, especially studying clay as a colloid. One may thus also get a PHD specializing in colloidal chemistry. To understand the vast world of clay, as it applies to natural medicine and biochemistry and biological sciences, one would require an understanding of both specialized sciences. Skeptical? See the fantastic research of Sandia National Laboratories and other clay science research.
Living Clay: Bentonite & Montmorillonite
The coined term "Living Clay" is one of
the most misunderstood statements commonly used by those
who value clays for their
therapuetic properties. Some texts
state that the term living clay is due to the extensive
micronutrients found in clays. Others state it is due
to micro-organisms sometimes found in clays.
Neither of these statements is true.
The following is a quoted passage written
by Michael Talbot, New York City, February 1984, as quoted
from "Windows of Light", by Randall & Vicki Baer:
"Crystals are dramatic examples of the
capacity of matter to self-organize. As we saw in the
incident related by Holden and Sanger, they can also
acquire and retain information-- for example, their geometric
structure-- and reproduce copies of themselves containing
the same information. Given that they perform all these
functions while remaining far more stable and durable
than DNA, Cairns-Smith believes that crystals make very
likely candidates as the most ancient progenitors of
life. However, to more fully establish his case, Cairns-Smith
knew that he had to find a crystal that possessed one
further quality, the ability to use the information it
possesses to interact with its environment..."
"...Clays not only have the ability to grow and adsorb
other molecules, but they can then incorporate
the information from those molecules and
use it to alter and change themselves. Clays were almost most certainly
among the most abundant substances on the early Earth.
Even while the Earth was still too hot to support life
as we know it, cooling rains poured down upon the mountains
and the rocks, slowly pulverizing them into vast percolating
beds of clay. Cairns-Smith believes that it was clay
itself that formed the first link between life and
nonlife. In his book "The Life Puzzle", he sketches
out a possible evolutionary description fo three different
species of clay he calls Sloppy, Sticky, and Lumpy..."
"Lumpy solved this problem by accidentally picking
up just enough organic molecules to make it both a
little sloppy and a little sticky. Having the thick,
coagulated consistency of modern clays, Lumpy was able
to grow rapidly, survive storms, and even spread, sending
broken lumps of itself downstream to grow into new
claybeds. In this way Lumpy not only interacted in
a complex manner with its environment but also survived
selective pressures. Add just one more trait to Lumpy--
the ability of crystals to apparently duplicate and
pass on innovation-- as demonstrated by Holden and
Sanger's crystals of ethylene diamine tartrate-- and
you have everything necessary for the acquisition and
inheritance of new characteristics, a quality hitherto
believed confined to the realm of biological life..."
"...Weiss has identified more than eight thousand
different derivatives in which clays have acted as
templates, causing chemicals like ammonium ions and
alcohols to solidify into organic components... Cairns-Smith
believes that it was inevitable that the clay would
ultimately have assumed a secondary role, providing
little more than a protective clamp, until at last,
life broke free and started to form its own protective
Therefore, the term "Living Clay" refers
to the only class of mineral (crystal) in nature that
encompasses all elements science associates with biological
life. If clay indeed is the primary catalyst for all biological
life, then it is likely also singularly responsible for
the pattern of biological growth and evolution.
Some researchers believe that clay, as an inorganic mineral, actually mimicks the function of living enzymes.
Did You Know...?
"What is the evolutionary significance of plant toxins and animal anti-toxin behaviour? From a plant's evolutionary perspective, a seed should be high in nutrients to support germination and seedling growth; the ripe fruit around the seed should also be nutrient-rich and attractive to animals, encouraging them to pluck and eat the fruit and disperse the seed. On the other hand, the seed itself should be repulsive to animal consumers, inducing them to regurgitate or defaecate it, and the unripe fruit should be repulsive, lest animals harvest it before the seed is viable. From an animal's evolutionary perspective, an ability to defeat the plant's toxin defences would enable it to obtain the nutrients in the seed as well as those in the ripe fruit, and to outcompete other animal consumers by harvesting the fruit while it is unripe and still unpalatable to them.
"Any textbook of animal biology describes the resulting evolutionary arms race, in which plants evolve increasingly potent toxins (such as strychnine and quinine), and animals evolve increasingly potent means of detoxification. While enzymatic detoxification has previously received the most attention, the work of Gilardi et al.10 and the wide distribution of geophagy among animal herbivores suggest an additional important means of detoxification by adsorption on ingested soil minerals."
- Jared M. Diamond, Department of Physiology, University of California Medical School, Los Angeles
Read more about indigenous habits and instinctual use of edible clay minerals in our bentonite articles section.