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Clay Packs, Poultices and Cataplasms
Updated 02/17/2019

How to Prepare Clay for Use as a Poultice

Illite Clay Gel / Magma for Clay Poultice / Compress
Illite Clay Gel / Magma - Ready for poutlice use (placed on top of a Geode)


Green Desert Clay - Calcium Bentonite/Montmorillonite Clay Gel/Magma

See Also:

Using Healing Clay Externally
Clay Compresses




Featured: Did You Know...?


Digestive System Recovery & Detox Program

Do you have chronic digestive system failure issues? Have a strong interest in herbology, natural and alternative medicine? Check out our evolving digestive system recovery and detox program!



Healing Clay Poultices & Clay Packs

A clay poultice or pack or cataplasm is the most common use of healing clays in natural medicine. It is actually very easy to prepare clay for use as a poultice provided that one remembers that each clay is different, and each requires different amounts of water to properly hydrate.

  • Sedimentary clays usually hydrate close to 1:1 ( one part water to one part clay, by volume )
  • Swelling calcium bentonite clays and montmorillonites usually require a ratio of about 2 - 2.2:1 (2.2 parts water to 1 part clay)
  • Swelling sodium bentonite clays usually require 3 to 4 parts water to one part clay, by volume.

Clay Poultice
Clay Poultice, Used, Calcium Bentonite


One need not have exact measurements in order to properly hydrate clay. The ideal clay poultice is hydrated to the point where the clay barely holds together, as a gel, without falling apart. It is easily malleable, yet will hold its shape without difficulty.

After setting, the clay should be without large, dry, clumps, although a few small clumps in clay will not pose any real problem.

For general use, "a palm of clay" is the right amount of clay for a poultice for a small treatment area with a duration of 30 minutes to a few hours. A very large palm of clay can be used for longer treatment periods or for areas that are larger treatment sites.


Clay Pack/Poultice/Cataplasm
This is a "Large Palm of Clay" (about 1.25 inches thick) prepared for a 4-5 hour arm poultice.

Clay can be placed on a clean cloth dressing first, and then gently applied to the treatment site, or clay can be applied to the area first, and then covered with a clean, colorless cloth or sterile gauze.

Using the Clay Poultice

Clay PoulticeThere are many different methods to use clay poultices. As a general rule, the clay should be placed on a clean dressing, 1/4 - 3/4 of an inch thick (sometimes a bit thicker for very longer treatments), and sized so that the clay covers the entire area to be treated, plus about one to two inches overlapping. The overlapping is important when considering the energetic effects that clay may have upon the body (in particular, the clay's field characteristics).

The dressing is then gently placed upon the body, with the clay directly on the area to be treated. The dressing is then gently secured, in a manner that does not place undue downward pressure on the clay.

Some people find that using conforming plastics (like saran wrap) makes securing clay to the body very easy and convenient. This is certainly true, and may be indicated in situations where securing the dressing to the body is otherwise not possible. For overnight treatments, to prevent the clay from drying, insulating the treatment site with plastic is also acceptable. However, we believe it is best to be certain that the dressing is still in place, which provides the clay and body with breathing room, and makes certain that the plastic is not directly touching the clay.


Clay Poultice
Clay Pack applied for a 4-5 hour upper arm treatment
An Ace Bandage is Used to Secure the Clay in Place without adding Pressure directly on Top
The Dressing Used is Breathable

Clay Cataplasm
Completed Treatment - Venting Holes in Clay Indicate an Excellent Energy Exchange
Between Clay and the Human Body (4 hour arm cataplasm treatment)


TDP Lamp and Clay Pack
Open Clay Pack - Bursitis Treatment
30-45 Minutes with TDP Lamp


Skin Cancer Removed
Skin Cancer Removed with Black Salve
Avoided Cartlidge Removal by Surgery

Treated with Hydrated Clay
Small Clay Pack Applied 24/7 for Wound Healing
Wound is then Dressed and Every Few Hours Dressing is Moistened
Using a Spray Bottle of Colloidal Silver to Keep the Clay Moist

Wound Cleansed
Clay is Replaced Twice to Three Times Daily
Gently Irrigated to Cleanse
Without any Worry about Residual Clay in Wound

Wound Healed
Nose Heals Very Well - Scar Tissue is from Original Medical Biopsy


Clay Debridement of Wound
Wound Cleansed and Debrided with Clay Pack
One Hour Treatment
First Stop Non-Arterial Bleeding Using Cayenne Pepper Powder
Apply Clay Directly On and Over the Wound
Change Out Clay Often if Wound is Draining (20-30 minutes)

The next question is not as easy to answer, cart-blanche: How long does one leave the clay on the body? There are a variety of answers to this question.

When treating areas near important organs, the first treatment should generally be done for no longer than 20 minutes to test the body's tolerance. Subsequent treatments may last from 20 minutes to an hour, or longer if the clay is being "worn". However, it is important to "check the body" after each treatment. Prolonged clay treatments have a very deep effect on the body when used near organs, and clay treatments can cumulatively cause increasing levels of fatigue. One must listen to the body in order to know when -- and for how long-- to break. Personal experience is the best teacher.

It is good to remember that clay much of clays healing effect is clay working with the body, rather than on the body.

Another answer to this question: Until it stops hurting. When treating wounds, cuts, stings, bites, abrasions, infections, etc., clay should be repeatedly used at least until the body indicates that all is well. When treating the legs, arms, hands or feet, repeated treatments, lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to a several hours are fine to do. Overnight treatments are often excellent due to the convenience (use enough clay to prevent the clay from drying in the wound).

Clay does "get used up". For an average poultice, clay action is much reduced at about the two hour mark. After four hours, the effect is significantly diminished, even if the clay remains properly moist.

Another answer to this question: Until the clay is ready to come off! When the clay has finished its action, it will literally fall off on its own (it will seperate from the body). Different clays have different hydration levels, and thus will remain active for different lengths of time. However, you cannot let the moistness of a clay be the only indicator as to when clay should be removed.

With some infections, clay will stay moist, but it will become so contaminated that it will lose its healing ability. In such situations, changing the clay out sooner is critical! If a wound is draining at all, the clay needs to be changed out and discarded more often.

The final answer: Use common sense. If a play pack causes any shock to the body, then the clay should be removed immediately and reapplied once the body recovers.

Clay Cataplasms and Ancient Ayurvedic Medicine

While not widely used in modern Ayurvedic Medicine, as Anjou Musafir and Pascal Chazot note in their book "Clay Cures", some Ayurvedic practitioners are extremely adept at clay therapeutics, and it is likely that clay was used by ancient practitioners..

Clay is generally considered "sama", and as such, useful for all three doshas as a balancing agent.

One example of a clay cataplasm ayurvedic treatment is the upper arm clay poultice. A palm of clay is secured by a clean dressing to the upper arm, twice daily, and left on between one and four hours per treatment (see the images of the arm poultice above).

This method has been used to stimulate systemic healing, stimulate thyroid function, as a part of a cancer treatment protocol, to treat diabetes, and generally as a balancing agent in the body. It has been observed that clay treatment is particularly successful when a rash appears after the treatment.

To treat infectious conditions, the cataplasm is often placed on the forehead. This method has been successfully used in the recovery of severe flu and other serious accute infections.

Ghandi was a well known clay enthusiast, and used clay packs on the lower abdomen to regulate digestion and prevent constipation.

We will often use Organic Triphala along with edible clays to treat sluggish digestive systems.

More Unique Uses for Clay Packs

  • Drain/Cleanse/Detox Lymph Nodes - Apply a normal size clay poultice directly over the lymphs to drain. Treat from 30 minutes to 2 hours (including clay packs placed under the arm pits
  • Eye Strain - Small clay packs over the eyes, 30 minutes to 1 hour per session
  • Stroke Recovery - Harness clay's regenerative properties, apply a normal size clay poultice over the eyes and/or forehead for one hour treatments every day (long term treatment, 30 days to 6 months)
  • See our section on External Clay Uses for more information
  • Headaches - Alternate between clay packs on the nape of the neck and the forehead
  • Flu Treatment - Clay pack on the forehead swapped out every thirty minutes

Follow this link to learn how to make an amazing hydrated clay gel using remineralized, structured water.

Follow this link to purchase bulk/wholesale quantities of prehydrated clay. This is perfect if you have limited space or time to make your own. When possible, however, we always recommend that you make your own hydrated clay gel!


Discuss this Topic: Using Therapeutic Healing Clay Forum




Using Healing Clay Externally
Clay Compresses


Clay Pack Example: Clay Used to Treat an Infected Cyst





Featured: Did You Know...?

  Far infrared therapy can be combined with external clay therapy with excellent results.

TDP Mineral Lamp & Clay Therapy

Although any far infrared heat source may be used with clay, the FDA approved TDP Lamp provides a source of gentle energy that may provide an enhanced synergistic effect due to the clay plate that the lamp uses.


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