This ancient first aid staple heals wounds and fights superbugs

Your first aid cabinet is probably stocked with antibiotic ointment, band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, gauze dressings, medical tape, aloe vera gel, and antiseptic solution. You may even have some manuka honey or arnica gel in there.

But what about clay?

Clay’s not something most people have on hand for everyday ailments and injuries. But that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful.

It’s been used for centuries by everyone from the ancient Aztecs to the ancient Egyptians because it has a unique ability to fight infections and heal wounds. Most of us modern folks have just forgotten about the benefits of clay because we have fancier first aid products that are concocted in laboratories and sold in slick packaging.

But more and more people are coming back to the simple, effective first aid power of clay. And that’s because science keeps uncovering just how valuable clay can be….

Take the latest study from Arizona State University and the Mayo Clinic, for example. This study found that a type of clay called Oregon blue clay can kill nasty antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA in wounds.

I bet not much else in your first aid cabinet can do that.

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What Oregon blue clay does to superbugs

Researchers from Arizona State University and the Mayo Clinic recently examined the wound healing powers of Oregon blue clay. And here’s what they found…

This clay, which is harvested from the Cascade Mountains in Southern Oregon, can:

  • Fight bacterial biofilms, a collection of bacteria that attaches to tissue surfaces and develops a protective coating that makes them hard to treat with antibiotics.
  • Kill Escherichia coli (E. coli), including typically antibiotic-resistant strains.
  • Kill Staphylococcus aureus (staph), including typically antibiotic-resistant strains like MRSA.

All great reasons to start stocking clay in your medicine chest ASAP. Don’t you think?

But you don’t necessarily have to use Oregon blue clay to get these benefits. French green clay and bentonite clay both have similar antibacterial abilities. Studies show they can both fight superbug infections and speed up wound healing too.

Adding clay to your first aid cabinet

Wondering how to incorporate clay into your first aid kit? And, more importantly, what you can use it for?

You can use clay to heal cuts, sunburn, bug bites, bee stings, burns, and poison ivy, among other things.

Start by picking the type of clay that appeals to you most. I personally use bentonite clay. But Oregon blue clay and French green clay are great choices too. Then buy a tub to keep on hand for your next injury or ailment.

Once you have an issue that requires the healing power of clay, mix clay with a bit of water until it takes on a gel-like consistency. Cover your wound with a ¼ inch of hydrated clay then wrap it up with gauze, a bandage, plastic wrap or cheesecloth and leave it on overnight.

While you’re sleeping, your clay will perform its bacteria-fighting, wound-healing magic. And hopefully, you’ll notice a drastic improvement when you wake up in the morning.

If you become a clay convert, you may want to mix a big batch of clay and water in a canning jar and keep in in your fridge or in a cabinet away from direct sunlight. That way, you’ll be prepared next time a nasty bug bite, cut, burn or skin irritation strikes.


  1. Clay fights MRSA, other superbugs in wounds — MedicalXpress
  2. Antibacterial Activity of Reduced Iron Clay Against Pathogenic Bacteria Associated With Wound InfectionsInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
  3. Unearthing the Antibacterial Mechanism of Medicinal Clay: A Geochemical Approach to Combating Antibiotic ResistanceScientific Reports
  4. New answer to MRSA, other ‘superbug’ infections: clay minerals? — National Science Foundation
  5. Evaluation of the medicinal use of clay minerals as antibacterial agentsInternational Geology Review
  6. How blue and green clays kill bacteria — Arizona State University

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and