Herbal Wisdom - January 2016 - Santa Fe
By Tomas Enos and Erin Galiger
Get out of your Seat
Then Kiss the Ground
Taste the Grains of Mineral
That Nurture You
No History Book or Real Estate Developer
Can Restrain my Passion for Eating
What is Under my Feet
Barro, or clay, is who we are; made of clay and sometimes straw, many creation stories speak of humans as molded Earth-forms. Even where you live, the Barrio, is made of clay, and therefore we know you by the soil under your feet. It binds us together just as adobe bricks need clay to hold the sand from running away.
Winter is a perfect time to reflect on the health benefits of clay. The more tender plants are dormant for a while and we can see the Earth clearly beneath us. In general, clay has absorbing and adsorbing qualities which benefit detoxification of pollutants. It is highly alkaline and contains many beneficial minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It can be used in the delivery of nutritional foods to the digestive tract as well as assisting in the removal of unwanted wastes. Eating local, non-toxic clay has probiotic benefits.
Bentonite or Montmorillon clay is actually from volcanic ash and is highly effective for the drying and drawing characteristics. It has a strong negative charge which binds to the positive charge of toxins making it ideal for regular internal supplementation as well as topical treatments. I have used it to bind and activate other herbs in a blend for optimal health and for drawing out skin tumors and unwanted inflammations.
Kaolin white clay is milder and softer in delivery, making it ideal for facial clay bases to clear unwanted skin blemishes and resolving areas of hyperpigmentation. It also may be used in bath water for drawing out toxins through the skin. It soothes and calms redness and inflammation making it a great topical for diaper rash and dry skin eczema conditions.
Several other clay colors and types are available such as pink, red, beige, and yellow. Each has its own character and properties to assist in healing internally and externally. In traveling around New Mexico I often find clay-laden hillsides to excavate a quart jar of local material for personal use. There are many shades of color such as red and creamy white that I have dug, then sifted, powdered, and baked at 250 degrees F to remove unwanted bacteria. They make wonderful bases for herbal blends while adding the grounding, local aspect to a healing.
What finer way to know who we are then to slather our bodies with indigenous clay then lay on warm rocks in cool sunlight, and finally bathe in our pristine streams (Gila River) as a final natural baptism. Make mine red, green, or white.
Tomas Enos studied with Michael Moore in 1990 and then created Milagro Herbs. Erin Galiger has worked with herbs for 10 years. Their philosophy of health and healing is holistic and rooted in the ancient tradition of “Solar Living,” synchronizing our bodies according to the biological time clock, circadian rhythms, and seasonal patterns found on Earth. www.milagroherbs.com 419 Orchard Drive (off Paseo de Peralta next to Kakawa Chocolate House)