The Painted Hills, Oregon
An unassuming brown mineral found in small deposits all over the world may hold the key to aging gracefully, and its versatility of use can make it an enjoyable and easy part of anyone’s daily health regimen. Calcium Montmorillonite clay, known as Kanwa amongst Native American tribes, has a panoply of health benefits for the hair, skin, digestive system and beyond.
Indigenous cultures in the Americas have used Kanwa for centuries for internal and external detoxification. When ingested Kanwa can treat stomachaches and promote bone density and when applied topically it helps ensure healthy, energized skin and hair.
A 1991 study of the Pomo Indians revealed that Kanwa clay was an important part of their diet. When mixed into their daily meal of acorns, Kanwa clay deactivated dangerous plant toxins and made their otherwise inedible porridge safe and nutritious.
The uses of Kanwa don’t stop there. Kanwa can even be used to purify bodies of water; the chemistry of the finely textured clay surrounds and encapsulates bacteria, turning these unwanted contaminants into harmless fossils.
Recently, healing clays like Kanwa have become increasingly popular amongst people of all ages, and for good reason. The following are six ways to incorporate Kanwa into your morning and evening rituals and reap the health benefits of this “living clay.”
photo by Tim McFarlane
1: Face mask.
Kanwa clay is a natural skin softener and cleanser, and making it into a facial pack is one of the best ways to experience its power. You can find pure Calcium Montmorillonite clay in bulk and mix it with water to make a healing facial paste. You can add a splash of apple cider vinegar if you’re feeling adventurous.
Kanwa face masks are also available pre-mixed from Adama Minerals, who offers a full spectrum of different blends. Kanwa helps to moisturize the skin as it extracts toxins, and when you apply it to your face you know its working. You can feel it pulsate!
For hardcore health fans, taking Kanwa straight is a surefire way to tap into its healing power. Mix a spoonful of Kanwa with water and drink it down, and as the mineral passes through your digestive system it will attract and remove any harmful toxins.
Kanwa clay isn’t a laxative, but a good word of advice is to start with a small dose and see how your system reacts. When looking for Kanwa as a supplement, be sure to buy only food-grade clay – not a clay bath.
3: Detox Tea
Taking Kanwa as a mineral supplement may seem daunting, so a much easier way to get Kanwa into your diet is to sip it with a refreshing cup of tea. Adama Minerals has a line of Kanwa teas that range from Green to Mint to Chamomile. Brew it up and savor the energy boost from the tea and the gentle uplifting cleanse from the Kanwa.
The skin benefits of Kanwa can be enjoyed in a variety of forms, and by far my favorite is to use it in a moisturizing lotion. Kanwa naturally fights dryness with its moisture-boosting chemistry, and it even helps to relieve itching by pulling any toxins out of the skin.
The DIY community online is chock full of great recipes for homemade lotions, and Kanwa is a great ingredient to add, especially if you have any left over from face masks. Adama Minerals makes a line of moisturizers and body butters that have to be smelled and felt to be believed.
Clay? In a soap? You read that right. Kanwa pairs great with organic oils to form a skin health promoting duo, moisturizing and cleansing without any unnecessary chemicals.
Once again, Adama Minerals makes a line of Kanwa soaps that will change the way you look at bar soap forever. For those of a more liquid soap persuasion, they also have a Body Wash available on their website.
When you want to take a little extra time to relax, a Kanwa clay bath is tough to beat. Mix a few scoops in with a nice hot bath and let the clay do the rest. Soaking in a mixture of Kanwa clay gives the mineral time to work its magic, and when you come out of the tub you’ll feel like a whole new human. You can find tons of mineral bath recipes online, blending the detox power of kanwa with other soothing herbs for an extra healthy soak.