Diatomaceous Earth, or DE is an organic form of silica made from fossilized single cell algae. It is millions of years old, and quite beautiful on a microscopic level. To the naked eye, it merely looks like a chalky white powder. There are two types of DE available for purchase: food grade, and industrial/pool grade (which has been treated with chemicals and is dangerous to consume or breathe in). Only food grade DE is safe for consumption–industrial grade DE is toxic, and should never be ingested or used on animals. Food grade is the only type of Diatomaceous Earth I will refer to in this article.
Diatomaceous Earth is mainly comprised of silica, essential for healthy bones, teeth, hair, skin, and nails. DE can be used to safely, effectively rid pets and humans of internal parasites without chemicals–at a low cost (I paid about $10.00 for a pound). It can also treat fleas, be used in gardens as a natural pesticide, as a dietary supplement, a face wash, as well as many other uses.
I have used it on my cat to rid him of intestinal worms with no ill side effects (save for him being more thirsty than usual since it is a diuretic), and I have ingested it to detoxify my body from fluoride and excess pesticides. Some people take Diatomaceous Earth daily as a supplement, and from what I have read typically take about 1 heaping tablespoon daily, after working up to that amount over a period of weeks.
Diatomaceous Earth kills parasites and insects due to the fact it is sharp at a microscopic level. The DE cuts their exoskeleton very much like glass and they dry out. The sharpness of the DE is also what makes it wonderful for detoxing–it literally scrubs your insides, and absorbs heavy metals from your body. Some people take DE daily and claim no adverse effects, but I do not, because it can strip the good bacteria from your intestines and colon as well as cleaning out the undesirable junk that accumulates over time. I will take it daily for about a week and then discontinue use for up to a month or more.
1. Fleas–Being very careful not to let your pets or yourself breathe in the fine dust that is DE (can cause irritation so it is recommended to wear a face mask, and breathing in industrial grade diatomaceous earth can lead to complications, which is why it is essential to use only food grade), rub it into their coat. Keep the Diatomaceous Earth away from their eyes, ears, and nose. DE can be very drying so do not over do it, as it can lead to dry skin on your pet. After a few hours, you may bathe your pet, keeping in mind DE becomes ineffective when wet. You can also dust your carpets and floors with it, leave it there for several hours and then vacuum. Treating the house can be done repeatedly, spaced a few days apart. DE can also be sprinkled on the pet’s bedding, but must be washed weekly.
2. Garden Pests–Simply sprinkle the DE on your plants, but do not do this if you have bees visiting your garden. Bees are extremely important and are vital to many crops. Bees are also dying all over the world, with implications of pesticide use as a key factor in their demise. Again, DE is ineffective when wet, so after watering you should reapply.
3. Dietary Supplement–Start by mixing a teaspoon in some water, juice, or a smoothie daily. Work your way up to a heaping tablespoon over a matter of days or weeks to avoid harsh detox symptoms. There are no known side effects, save for constipation if not taken with enough water. It doesn’t really taste like much, but does have a gritty texture. I noticed a definite difference in my mood and energy level after the first time I took it, with no detox symptoms.
4. Dewormer–Kittens 1/2 tsp and cats 1 tsp mixed with wet food, or in water. It may also be sprinkled in the litter box, and may help with odor control. Puppies less than 10 lbs get 1/2 to 1 tsp. 10-19 lb dogs can take 2 tsp. Dogs 20-50 lbs can take 1-1.5 tbsp. Larger dogs can take 1.5- 2 tablespoons. Do this daily for at least 3 weeks. Make sure they have access to water and are drinking regularly.
5. Face scrub/mask–Using a small amount of water, make a paste with some DE, and gently rub on the face, avoiding the eye area. You may let this dry into a mask, or simply wash off. Your skin will glow! Use up to 3 times a week.
6. Tooth Cleaner-Wet your toothbrush and sprinkle DE on it. Brush your teeth as normal. DE will remove plaque and tartar buildup, but should not be used daily. Use only when you notice buildup on your teeth.
I bought 1 pound of Diatomaceous Earth from diatomaceousearth.com, and have been truly pleased with the results.
Have you tried using DE? What did you think? Please share!
Also by Jessica Ferguson: How to Regrow Your Groceries!
Photo: Sprocket Rocket via Wikipedia; Divine Harvest via Flickr; Peaceful Dumpling