The use of mud or clay as a topical skin treatment is a common practice in some cultures, and the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to earliest times. Now researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University have found that at least one type of clay— a blue clay found in Oregon— may help fight disease- causing bacteria in wounds, including some treatment- resistant bacteria. The findings appear in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
In lab tests, researchers found the clay is effective against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, including resistant strains. The lab tests are a first step in simulating the complex environment found in actual wounds. The researchers caution that not all types of clay are beneficial— some may help bacteria grow. More research is needed to identify the antibacterial properties of different clays.