The Use of Clay in Digestive Disturbances.


White fine clay is used extensively in the form of a plastic dressing for external application; it is also very useful when given internally, but hardly known for this purpose. Its action is the inhibition of bacterial growth; its field intestinal disturbances.

Dr. Stumpf, the originator of this method, treated Asiatic cholera, cholera infantum, etc., with "bolus alba;" in accordance with his method. Dr. J. Goerner recently tried it in the following pathological states: In eight cases of acute gastro-enteritis; after one, or, in a few cases, after two doses, the diarrhea stopped and convalescence began; vomiting also ceased. Generally the patient, who had thin, watery stools at short intervals, after taking the remedy would have one or two thin stools; then a movement mixed with the clay, but formed, would follow, either soon or after several hours. With this the diarrhea generally stopped. Of thirty cases of acute catarrh of the stomach and intestines so treated, in twenty-seven the clay mixture was entirely successful. In three cases the result was doubtful.

There were nine cases of cholera infantum in infants, also seven cases in children from two to eight years old, with acute gastroenteritis. Prompt success attended all acute cases. There were no results in cachectic infants and in cases with a mucous catarrh of long duration.

There were five cases of severe diarrhea in la grippe. In one case there was frequent vomiting, and there were copious stools containing much mucus discharged with strong tenesmus. The vomiting ceased after the first dose, but not the diarrhea; the latter was cured by an injection of 100 grams of the clay in a mixture—the trouble was more rectal.

There were twenty-three severe cases of intestinal tuberculosis with good palliative results. The remedy must be repeated every few days. This can be done without harm, as the appetite is not interfered with and as it causes no flatulency or a disagreeable constipation. There were good results in twenty cases, and no effect in three cases. In three cases of severe diarrhea in typhoid fever there was a good palliative effect.

The dose for an adult is from two to three ounces in one-half pint of water (or 50-100 grams in 250 grams water). The white clay must be very well pulverized; the desired dose is poured into the water and stirred gently. The particles of clay remain in suspension. The mixture is almost tasteless. Infants three months old receive one-third of an ounce, six months old one ounce, older children about two ounces, water two and one-half to three ounces. Infants will take the mixture from the nursing bottle. It is important to give the mixture only on an empty stomach, as otherwise it is likely to take no effect. Do not add any milk, sugar, or other ingredients.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.