Article by Katie – Wellness Mama
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous Earth is a soft powder formed from the fossilized remains of diatoms (a type of hard shelled algae).
It is unique in a couple of ways:
- It has a very high silica content (which is used to build hair, skin and nails)
- It is very hard (hardness of 7 on the scale where diamonds are a 9) and looks like a tiny tube with holes in it when viewed through a microscope
- It has a very strong negative charge
The FDA classifies Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) as “Generally Recognized As Safe” and it is commonly used in things like toothpaste, as an anti-caking aid, for clarifying beer or wine, or to eliminate pests naturally.
What Does Diatomaceous Earth Do?
Diatomaceous earth’s unique structure makes it a great natural way to kill insects and pests (including intestinal parasites), gently cleanse the digestive system, and improve hair, skin, nails, and teeth.
The strong negative charge of diatomaceous earth means that it naturally attaches to and removes from the body things like: chemicals, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and even radiation. It’s sharp/strong structure allows it to puncture the exoskeleton of insects on a microscopic level, causing them to dehydrate and die (while humans and animals are left completely unharmed).
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is recognized as safe for human and animal use, and food grade DE is considered safe for human consumption, even during pregnancy and nursing.
Uses for Diatomaceous Earth
At our house, we use DE regularly to help avoid parasites, to get rid of pests like ants or fleas, and to help improve hair, skin and nails. I also personally know people who have used diatomaceous earth to:
- Reduce Blood Pressure/Cholesterol– The detoxifying effect on the body and its ability to remove foreign matter and reduce inflammation makes diatomaceous earth beneficial for some people with these problems. I know one person who saw a 30 point reduction in blood pressure numbers from using DE.
- Hair Growth– The high silica content makes diatomaceous earth beneficial for improving hair growth and one friend who was struggling with a lot of hair loss was able to see improvement from using DE.
- Food Intolerances/GAPS Diet– We used DE when our son was on the GAPS diet and struggling with food intolerance issues. DE made a noticeable difference in his attitude and digestion and even though he can handle most foods now, we are trying to keep using the DE regularly. I also take Diatomaceous Earth regularly to help with my food intolerances.
- Fleas– Once upon a time we adopted a precious kitten and she promptly infested our entire house with fleas. Since I had crawling babies, I didn’t want to use chemicals and after researching, we decided to use Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of the fleas. We sprinkled the powder everywhere for a few days and repeated once a week for a few weeks and the flea problem was gone. I’ve also heard of this working on head lice, though I haven’t tried it.
- De-worming pets– I occasionally sprinkle some DE on our pets’ food to keep them from getting worms.
- Bed Bugs– I know someone who picked up bed bugs while traveling and then had an infestation at her home. She used DE to get rid of the bed bugs by sprinkling on her mattress each night.
- Toenail fungus -Another friend sprinkled DE in her socks each day to get rid of a fungus infection.
Important Notes About DE
It is VERY IMPORTANT to only use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for consumption. Other forms of DE are not considered safe and can be harmful to the lungs if inhaled. While it isn’t a good idea to inhale any form of powder, the same level of caution isn’t necessary with food grade DE, as this explains:
After inhalation of amorphous diatomaceous earth, it is rapidly eliminated from lung tissue. However, crystalline diatomaceous earth is much smaller, and it may accumulate in lung tissue and lymph nodes. Very low levels of crystalline diatomaceous earth may be found in pesticide products.
Since DE can cause a detox reaction, it is important to work up slowly. At our house, adults take 1 tablespoon per day on an empty stomach (we worked up to this from a teaspoon) and kids take a teaspoon per day (they started with 1/4-1/2 tsp).
We use a food grade brand since I was able to verify that it is food grade, though many local co-ops and feed stores carry food grade DE. It has a chalky/silky consistency and tastes like a very mild mixture of dirt and chalk, but we are able to just mix in water to take it daily. It can also be mixed in to juice or coconut milk.
I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on the internet. Diatomaceous Earth has been recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, but it is not intended to treat, prevent, cure or diagnose any disease.
Have you ever use Diatomaceous Earth? What did you use it for? How did it work? Share below!