(Harold Shaw) For thousands of years, indigenous people throughout the world have used clay for and dirt for their powerful health benefits. Even animals are drawn to clay, especially in the form of mud. Whenever they are wounded, animals instinctively lick the mud and roll in it to obtain relief. They also tend to ingest it if they have recently ingested a toxic substance.

In our times, bentonite clay has made a name for itself as a perfect detoxifying agent with a handful of impressive health benefits. Even more recently, a type of naturally-occurring clay found in Kisameet Bay, British Columbia, and used by the Heiltsuk Nation has demonstrated antibacterial activity more potent than that of modern-day antibiotics.

The Heiltsuk Nation have used it for thousands of years

Today, the Heiltsuk Nation can be found in the communities of Bella Bella and Klemtu, on the Central Coast of modern-day British Columbia. The indigenous inhabitants that form the Heiltsuk or Bella Bella culture are descendants of a few tribal groups that settled in the area during the 19th century, while their older ancestors called British Columbia their home as early as 7190 BC.

With a notorious reputation for their artistic and fighting skills, as well as for their spiritual depth and the complexity of their rituals, the Heiltsuk discovered the grey-green clay known as kisolite thousands of years ago. Ever since, they’ve used it to cure ulcerative colitis, arthritis, neuritis, phlebitis, skin irritations and burns. Although the European occupation of the Americas brought new diseases to the indigenous tribes and drastically reduced their numbers, the Bella Bella’s knowledge of natural medicine has survived the ages and found a place in modern times.

Their clay is more powerful than antibiotics

When researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered the potential antibacterial uses of Kisolite, alternative medicine demonstrated its potency once again. The in vitro tests conducted by UBC microbiologist Julian Davies and Shekooh Behroozian indicated that, when suspended in water, the naturally occurring clay can kill 16 strains of “ESKAPE” bacteria, which “cause the majority of US hospital infections and effectively “escape” the effects of antibacterial drugs,” according to a research paper published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

In other words, this ancient clay could be a natural remedy for some bacteria that escape the effect of antibiotics and are therefore potentially deadly. At this time, infections caused by ESKAPE strains of bacteria cannot be cured by modern medicine and significantly contribute to the rate of mortality in hospitals. Researchers hope to study the newly identified type of clay and turn it into an effective weapon against multi-drug-resistant pathogens.

It’s about time, too!

Ever since 1928 and the discovery of penicillin, antibiotics have helped billions of people fight infections and therefore live longer, apparently healthier lives. However, as soon as we began to cure disease using antibiotics, we became too reliant on their help. The more we used them, the more resistant bacteria became. Now, treating an infection can be a serious challenge.

What’s worse, we did not use antibiotics only in the treatment of human infections. Instead, we started feeding them to animals that were bred in improper conditions in order to avoid disease and increase profits. This led to the emergence of a series of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can be transmitted to any human eating infected meat. According to the Environmental Working Group, most of the ground beef and ground turkey sold across the United States contains this type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

What happens next is that when we get sick, we can no longer be treated with antibiotics. This is why it is so important to avoid the use of antibiotics and develop natural remedies to our illnesses. Given our situation, the clay recently discovered in Kisameet Bay is a support-worthy effort in the right direction.

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