I got the pix above from a website that sells DE for ridding birds of parasites. And I got the idea for researching DE from Kellene Bishop's nifty and useful blog Preparedness Pro. She discusses using DE in your food storage; that is, when you go to store a 5 gallon bucket of wheat or rice or beans or whathaveyou, you add a tablespoon of DE to kill insects. We've been using DE in our food storage for about a year now and we have very little bug problems, if any. We also use bay leaves. I highly recommend it for this purpose. However, Kellene also mentions that DE can be a good source of trace minerals, it absorbs nasty heavy metals and toxins in your system (and disposes of them), rids you of worms and other parasites, regulates digestion and elimination, and gives you stronger, healthier skin and hair. Wow. Sounds like a good deal!
Since I didn't know any of this prior to reading Preparedness Pro on the subject, I thought I'd better do a bit of research. Let's look at each of the benefits separately.
Absorbs Heavy Metals and Toxins
Diatomaceous earth (DE) Fossil Shell Flour has been reported in scientific literature to absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, drug residues, and protein, perhaps even the proteinaceous toxins produced by some intestinal infections. Pyrethroid insecticide residues probably also bind to diatomaceous earth, since pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum flowers bind to and are stabilized by this material.
This excerpt is from an article on the benefits from a website that sells food grade DE from Canada. I haven't checked prices at various vendors, but I would before I buy. However, this website includes a lot of useful information, and I always like that. I'd certainly consider buying DE from these folks if the prices were equivalent to other vendors. The entire article is very good. Apparently, DE binds to all these toxins, including pharmaceutical drugs and other poisons, and takes them out of the body via elimination. Activated charcoal and benntonite clay can do the same, however, DE has so many other uses and benefits to make it even more attractive.
DE is essentially silica, which performs a host of good things in the body. You can't easily absorb calcium without the presence of silica. See this article on the benefits of silica/DE on health. It all sounds great, although I take everything I read with a grain of plain old sea salt. DE contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc....well, check it out here. That's a LOT of trace minerals, which, lord knows, are difficult to get from our basic foods these days (see my previous entries on the nutritional value of food--and look under the label for it).
Kills Worms and Other Parasites
DE is used to rid animals, both livestock and pets, of worms and parasites. Of course, it works for humans as well. I have read that 80% of the entire human population on earth has parasites, which can cause a host of nasty diseases. The parasites in your gut will eat YOUR nutrition, eliminate their toxic waste in your gut, and cause many other problems, even kill you. Frankly, I don't know if I have worms, but if I do, I'd want to get rid of them. I don't like any parasites, including lawyers and politicians, but at least I can take DE to rid myself of the less evil kind (HAH!).
Over at Wolf Creek Ranch, they feed everyone DE: humans, kids, pets, livestock, feral rescue animals, birds, etc. You may want to read all the information on that page, it's excellent stuff.
On final note on this topic: if you care to read one woman's diary of how she uses DE to rid herself of worms, read here. A word of warning: it's not very pretty. But it is very enlightening.
Regulates Digestion and Elimination
If you read all of the articles at the links mentioned here, you'll find a lot of mention how DE helps nearly everyone with constipation and other digestion problems. You'll find more here.
The upshot of all this is that food grade diatomaceous earth is very beneficial. One website even includes some nifty household uses (besides ridding the house of pests). It cleans metal, you can use it as a face mask and toothpaste, etc. With all this good stuff going for it, I think incorporating DE into your normal healthy routines is a great idea. I just started taking it a few days ago. I will let you know how I feel in updates (although I don't think I'll share all the worm elimination details if it is all the same with you :).
If anyone currently uses DE and has good (or bad) things to say about it, I'd like to hear about it. Thanks!