Recently it’s been about essential oils. A while back we were hearing a lot about colloidal silver…. These natural remedies are still in the news and still controversial – with supporters praising its health benefits and the medical community warning against its dangers – but it doesn’t seem to be discussed as much as it once was.
Now what I’m hearing about is Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Those who use it for health benefits sing its praises, while those in traditional healthcare settings warn about its harmful effects when it’s breathed in. Before we examine those views, let’s take a look at what it is.
Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, sedimentary rock that can crumble easily into a fine, white or off-white powder. It contains the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae. It has many uses, including as a filtration aid, a mild abrasive in toothpaste and an insecticide. It is also found in cat litter and dynamite, and can be used as a growing medium in hydroponic gardens.
Now, normally none of us would think about eating cat litter or dynamite. But the fact is, DE is already found in a number of grain-based foods we eat because the food is stored in DE in order to keep bugs from eating the grain. DE serves to dehydrate the bugs to the point of death, but does nothing harmful to us. Some farmers feed it to their animals for the purpose of killing bugs that those animals have ingested.
Strong believers in Diatomaceous Earth consume one-quarter cup of it daily after mixing it with their vegetable juice or coconut water and honey. They claim it cleanses the colon and controls parasites, and is an excellent way to detox your body by ridding it of fungi, bacteria and even the residue from prescription drugs. Some say it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, adds energy, and helps hair and nails grow faster.
One of the reasons Diatomaceous Earth has been called harmful for humans is its crystalline silica content. For example, pool-grade DE (used for pool filters) contains up to 70 percent crystalline silica. Working with it all day and breathing it in has been linked to cancer. But food-grade DE is very different – it contains less than 1 percent crystalline.
In addition to consuming it, you can use DE for its more traditional purpose of pest control. Sprinkle it around windows and doors to kill ants and spiders, as well as around your garden plants. Add some to your garbage bins and your compost piles as well. If you’re a true DIYer, you can use it in your homemade toothpaste and deodorant.
OK, if DE is so good for you, why have many people never heard of it? One answer could be that the medical community doesn’t want us to know how something so inexpensive can be so beneficial. They’d rather we buy their expensive medicines, even if they are more harmful to us in the long run.
If you’re interest in learning more about DE and possibly trying it, there are plenty of websites with more information about it and plenty of health food stores that sell it. Please let me know how you use it and whether you notice any health benefits.