The Next Miracle Antibiotic: Clay?

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | October 29, 2007 5:56 am

The Independent reports on the discovery of potent antibiotic powers in a combination of smectite and illite excavated from French volcanic mountains—yes, clay that can cure disease. In lab tests, the magic muck wiped out 99 percent of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the same stuff that was recently revealed to kill more Americans than HIV.

Thus far researchers have little idea why it works: “We have multiple working hypotheses,” says Arizona State clay expert Lynda Williams—which is a good scientist’s way of saying, they have no frickin’ idea what’s going on. More puzzlement: “Our primary hypothesis is that the clay minerals transfer elements, not yet identified, to the bacteria that impede their metabolic function.”

An interesting alternate hypothesis is that the clay kills by some physical mechanism, as does bleach or ammonia. That would be most welcome news, because it means bacteria would not easily evolve resistance.

  • Jeff

    Sounds amazing, lets hear more!

  • Guest

    Google “Garlic MRSA”, it kills all strains, including antibiotic resisting ones.

  • Naomi Lasley

    I taught ceramics in middle and high school for 24 years. My hands were always in clay – clay that was
    recycled after being touched by 300 adolescent hands. I was sneezed on and coughed on by students. I can only remember getting sick once or twice in all that time. Also cuts on my fingers healed up quickly.
    I recently gave some clay to a friend who complained of an ulcer on her leg that would not heal. She applied clay on it everyday and after 10 days or so it disappeared. I really believe that clay has antibiotic properties.

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