What, you ask, is diatomaceous earth? Isn’t all earth… well, earth? Of course, but diatomaceous earth is a particular type of earth. Okay, it’s basically dirt, but it has many benefits, both dietary, medicinally and as a garden resource. For the back-to-basics lifestyle, diatomaceous earth is a vital part of the formula.
Where does Diatomaceous Earth Come From?
You aren’t going to find diatomaceous earth in your backyard, or most likely anywhere on land, for that matter, regardless of how much you dig. The secret to diatomaceous earth is that it comes from the seabed. Diatomaceous earth finds its source far below the oceans waters, deep in streams and lakes. It is created when sea organisms, so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye, die and fossilize, mixing with the nutrient rich ground. You could say that the ocean and lake beds are God’s compost pile. Some diatomaceous earth is found where oceans, rivers and lakes once stood but have long since dried up. In those cases, the diatomaceous earth is often far below the earth’s surface, covered by eons of buildup, and impossible for anyone to reach without deep drilling and excavating tools.
Types of Diatomaceous Earth
Excavated diatomaceous earth is sold in two forms: industrial and food-grade. Industrial- grade diatomaceous earth is made for commercial products, and most often in pool filters. You need to buy food-grade diatomaceous earth for both dietary additive and pest control for pets and in gardens.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an excellent cleansing additive for digestion and colon health. It helps get rid of parasites by gently scrubbing the intestines, and is extremely absorbent so it gathers up bacteria, virus, fungi and detoxifies the system by getting rid of buildups of pesticide, metals and drugs (prescription or otherwise) in the system.
Diatomaceous Earth Makeup
The largest component in diatomaceous earth is silica, the same natural product found in commercial fiber additives to help you regulate your digestive tract. Although diatomaceous earth contains up to 85% silica, it also has as many as 20 minerals for a very well-rounded health aide that is known to help reduce age spots, increase lung elasticity, and rejuvenate skin and digestion. It is easy to take by simply mixing a tablespoon or two with juice, water or right into foods as you prepare them. It is tasteless so it won’t change the composition of your meals.
One of the biggest benefits of diatomaceous earth to homesteaders is its pest repellant capacities. Just rub it on your dogs, cats, horses and other livestock for a great way to ward off fleas, ticks and lice. It also works as a great natural and safe de-wormer when given internally. You can encourage your animals to eat it by mixing it in with their feeds.
It makes your fingernails stronger and healthier, your hair shinier, produces healthier teeth and gums as well as helping some conditions such as arthritis.
Where to Find Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth is easily found in health stores, the drug area of most department stores, and online. Diatomaceous earth can also be found in gardening catalogs. Do not buy industrial, or pool-grade diatomaceous earth. Although it comes from the same source, it has been leeched of its nutrient value in order to get a higher concentration of silica for pool filters.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth in your Garden
Mix it in water for a great spray-on insecticide, or sprinkle on or around plants to get rid of aphids, slugs, beetles, earwigs, flea beetles, thrips and other pests. You can also use diatomaceous earth sprinkled on the floor of your home, or on furniture to repel fleas if you end up with a flea problem.
Using the wet mix is best because it reduces the likelihood of inhalation, which can be very harmful to your lungs. Wear a dust mask when sprinkling dry diatomaceous earth in your home, on your animals or on your food.
Is There no Limit to the Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth?
Nope, not really. It’s an amazing product with lots of uses. You can even use it in baths, or mixed with water to form a paste for a delightful and refreshing facial scrub. Diatomaceous earth is truly one of God’s wonders.