In the Nature Cure system, the importance of clay or mud as an external therapeutic or a healing agent rivals that of water itself. In fact, the therapeutic benefits derived from the use of clay are very similar to those of hydrotherapy.
Clay is generally used as a paste, to be applied directly as a salve, or in the form of a pack, or as poultice. Usually, clay paste is applied to the abdomen or other regions of the body which exhibit symptoms of the disorder. If necessary, it can be applied to the whole. body, or a mud-bath can be taken, in which the entire body with the exception of the head is buried in clay of suitable consistency.
The following benefits are derived from mud packs:
(1) Cooling of the affected part: The cooling effect of a mud pack is much greater than that of a wet pack. In case of high fever, the temperature can be brought down with the help of a mud pack. Of course, the mud pack will have to be changed frequently till the desired lowering of temperature is effected.
(2) Absorption of toxins: Clay has the wonderful and unique property of absorbing toxins from the body. Proof of this power of clay is afforded by the fact that if clay is applied to a boil or a suppurating wound, the pus is quickly drawn out and the wound gets cleaned up.
(3) Reduction of swelling: A clay pack will reduce the swelling of any part of the body. This property of clay is well worth trying out by application of clay packs to swollen feet, or other parts.
(4) Relaxation of tension: A clay pack reduces the tension of the muscles and soothes over-stimulated nerves.
(5) Relief from pain: Application of clay paste or a mud lack affords immediate relief from localized pain.
Clay of any color can be used for this purpose, provided t does not contain harmful materials or chemicals. If the clay is highly viscous, some fine sand should be mixed with it. The clay should be sieved so as to remove pebbles, stones and other coarse materials from it. It should then be dried in the sun. When preparing the clay for application as a paste or pack, just enough water should be added to it to give it the consistency of butter. Then it is spread over the affected part, to a thickness of about an inch (2.5 cms). Or it can be spread on a piece of fine cloth like muslin. If clay is to be applied over he eyes, the cloth is essential (as also when the clay is to be applied to the head).
If the clay paste or pack is left uncovered, it has a cooling effect on the affected part. But if it is covered well with thick cotton or woolen cloth, generally a warming effect is developed. If, therefore, the aim is to cool the part or reduce the temperature of the body, the clay should be left uncovered. But if a warming effect is desired, it should be covered. Normally, the clay should be taken off after about half an hour, or one hour. If necessary, clay can be applied afresh.
When clay has been used for its cooling effect, the part to which it has been applied should first be wiped clean with a piece of cloth, and then brought to normal temperature by a dry rubbing with the palms. If it has been used for warming the part, the part should be wiped clean with cloth wrung in cold water.
Clay has been found efficacious in fevers, constipation, diarrhoea, gastric, duodenal and intestinal ulcers, bleeding of the uterus, piles, fissures, appendicitis, stomachache, irregularity in menstruation and such other disorders. The beneficial effects of the use of clay on boils, wounds, pain or swellings have been found to exceed all expectations.