Amorphous Silica, Diatomite, Kieselgur, Kieselguhr, Moler, Tripolite.
Diatomaceous earth is a type of powder made from the sediment of fossilized algae found in bodies of water. Because the cells of these algae were high in a compound called silica, the dried sediment produced from these fossils are also very high in silica. These deposits are found all over the world. The ancient Greeks used diatomaceous earth to make building materials, like bricks and blocks. Later on it became popular in Europe for various industrial uses.
When taken by mouth, diatomaceous earth is used as a source of silica, for treating high cholesterol levels, for treating constipation, and for improving the health of skin, nails, teeth, bones, and hair.
When applied to the skin or teeth, diatomaceous earth is used to brush teeth or remove unwanted dead skin cells.
Diatomaceous earth is also used in industry. It is used to remove unwanted material from drinking water. It is also used as a filler or to prevent formation of lumps in foods, medicine, paints and plastics, and pet litter. It is used to clean up spills or for insulation in industry, as well as to scrub things. Diatomaceous earth is used as part of various chemical tests. It is also used as an insecticide.
How does it work?
Diatomaceous earth is a powder containing about 80%-90% silica. Diatomaceous earth is thought to kill insects by dehydrating them or drying them out. Also, the powder allows liquids to flow through while capturing unwanted material.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- High cholesterol levels. Early research suggests taking diatomaceous earth might reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood patients with high cholesterol levels.
- Health of skin, nails, teeth, bones, and hair.
- Removal of dead skin (exfoliation).
- Source of silica.
- Teeth cleaning.
- Other uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
There isn't enough reliable information available to know if diatomaceous earth is safe or what the side effects might be. Side effects in people who work with diatomaceous earth in large amounts include serious lung problems, even lung cancer. When rubbed on the skin, diatomaceous earth might cause wounds or loss of parts of the skin.
Lung disease: Some forms of diatomaceous earth may be harmful to the lungs, especially if inhaled. Breathing in diatomaceous earth might result in lung problems in people that already have some problems in their lungs. This includes asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc. Use cautiously.
The appropriate dose of diatomaceous earth depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for diatomaceous earth in children or adults. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Antonides, Lloyd E. (1997). Diatomite (PDF). U.S.G.S. Retrieved December 12, 2010
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