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2008-10-21
 

Clay can kill bacteria

Turkish Mud Bath

Facial mud packs and mud baths have been promoted for centuries with incredible claims about beauty and health that a reasonable person would tend to dismiss as easily as the proverbial snake oil. This is a typical unedited promotional excerpt for the mud baths near a hotel in Dalyan, Turkey:
The thermal water in the mud baths at the 4km distance to Dalyan is useful for the rheumatisms, muscle fatigue, nervous diseases, joints and calcification diseases kidney and urethra treatments. This thermal water, which is in 39 degrees, contains sulfur, chloride, fluoride and radioactive gases. It is believed that the mud bath, which is famous to be an elixir of beauty, makes the people at least ten years younger. The mud which is waited in the body for 45 minutes period of time stretches the skin and removes the wrinkles. You can reach the region by means of a boat from Dalyan. You can experience the charm of Mud Bath with the comfort of Dalyan Hotel Palmyra.

The temperature of 39 degrees Celsius corresponds to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Clays have been used for thousands of years to heal wounds, soothe indigestion, and kill intestinal worms. Lynda Williams, an associate research professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University is coordinating the work of three teams of researchers to study healing clays.[1] They have found that a French clay can kill M. ulcrans, a flesh-eating bacteria from Africa, methicyllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), penicillin-resistant S. aureus (PRSA), and pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Antimicrobial clays kill through purely physical means. When a bacterium comes in physical contact with the clay, the antimicrobial agents in the clay poke a hole in the cell wall of the bacterium causing the bacterium to leak to death. Mixing some of the clay at very low levels into sewage sludge that contains all kinds of bacteria causes all the bacteria to die so that nothing will grow in the sludge.

Lynda Williams
Lynda
Williams

"Our pilot study showed that one of the French clays completely kills E. coli; with substantial decreases in other Gram negative, Gram positive and Mycobacterial populations. A second French green clay had the opposite effect; enhancing bacterial growth. The mineralogy and major element chemistry of these clays are quite similar, therefore we seek to identify trace elements, organic compounds, chemical conditions (pH, Eh) or physical parameters (surface thermodynamic properties) that might be responsible for the disparate outcomes."

[1] French Clay Can Kill MRSA And 'Flesh-Eating' Bacteria


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