Organic Spa Blog

The Beauty of Dirt

boot mudWelcome to Better Organic Choice (BOC), a column focusing on makeup, skincare and beauty tips, tricks and product advice for the holistically hip. We cover the best in green glam, behind the scenes and in your face (not your traditional crunchy granola here). We are here to help you explore all the beauty treatments you adore! Do you often worry if your beauty products are dangerous to your health? Are you dizzy from analyzing ingredients? Guiding you is my pleasure.

I used to love to play in the dirt (earth)! As a kid, I loved mixing it with water, making mud pies and even smearing it on my face (or my cousin’s face). We would pretend we were making mud masks (beauty starts early). My parents–’60s hippies- really could care less. The only thing I remembered being told was “Don’t eat the dirt,” which was considered a huge no-no.

I recently just started doing that–eating dirt–on a daily basis. Okay, so technically I don’t eat dirt,  it’s actually called “Food Grade  Diatomaceous Earth (DE).”  I must say that when it arrived at my house, I thought it was sand, clay or white dirt. I was a bit nervous at first. Many of us actually eat food-grade diatomaceous earth without knowing it, because it’s found in grain food, but I take it a step further and mix powdered DE in water daily.

In certain European and Asian countries, Diatomaceous Earth is used as a health and beauty product for hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints, because of its high silica content. Diatomaceous Earth  has also been reported to absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses pesticide residues and drug residues. DE is also a natural colon cleanser and detoxifier.

So what exactly is Diatomaceous Earth? DE is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. According to, “Diatomaceous Earth–(magnified 7000 times)–looks like a cylinder full of holes, kind of like Rice Chex Cereal. This cylinder has a very strong negative charge. As these millions of cylinders move through the stomach they absorb toxins. They are trapped inside the cylinder and passed out of the body. In addition, any larger parasites that happen to be in the stomach or digestive tract are ‘cut up’ and killed by the sharp edges of the Diatomaceous Earth. All of these activities result in a much healthier body with less sickness.”

Diatomaceous Earth also has a silica content  of 80 to 90 percent. As we age, the levels of silica in our bodies drop. Silica deficiencies sound like a host of aging complaints: thinning hair, thinning nails, osteoporosis, arthritis, wrinkles, and atherosclerosis. The average person is silica deficient. Among other things, enough silica in the body is important for calcium absorption and  allows calcium supplements to work. If silica is deficient, calcium supplementation will usually not work. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is an amazing natural source of silica. In her book Water & Salt, author Barbara Hendel states that “Silica is the most important trace mineral for human health!”

Foods that naturally contain silica are oats, barley, potatoes and rye. Herbs such as horsetail can be purchased in health food stores to promote strong nails and hair growth, and the reason for this is its high silica content. Some other health benefits of silica are that it may hinder the effects of coronary disease by fortifying blood vessels.  It is said to repair and maintain lung tissue, prevent kidney stones and heal urinary tract infections, and it’s a natural diuretic. Most of us are familiar with the link between collagen and beauty. Collagen has been referred to as the “glue” that holds us together. Did you also know that collagen consists largely of silica, and if the body has enough it will help us look younger. You wanna eat dirt now?

A possible concern about digesting DE  is the potential for constipation.The primary cause of constipation results from not drinking enough water while on a regimen of DE. The dust of DE should also not be inhaled in large amounts.  Studies have revealed no other side effects at this time.

WARNING: Please also note that there are two kinds of Diatomaceous  Earth, one you put in pools (very toxic), and food grade. MAKE SURE that you purchase only Food Grade, and consult your physician (or naturopath) before you start.

I’ve only been taking DE for a week, so I will report back on this after a month. Starting tomorrow,  I will be going on an urban detox sponsored by Organic Avenue. They have given me a cleanse concierge, and have a wonderful community support system. I will also be doing a 30-day yoga challenge at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center New York. Last but not least (but probably the most difficult) I will limit my TV and Internet surfing to one hour a day. Follow me on twitter @karimorange to follow my journey.

To find out more about Diatomaceous Earth please read: The Clay Book

To purchase Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth please go to:



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