Green clay powder has natural healing properties, and can be used externally as a poultice to treat equine wounds, or given as a feed supplement to cleanse the digestive tract. It’s dense in enzymes and minerals that act to draw toxins out of the body, while replenishing lost micronutrients.
When applied as a poultice, it has a soothing antimicrobial effect and stimulates the repair and regeneration process of the skin. It can be applied to cuts and bruises, and used to ease strained tendons. Here’s a look at how the clay can be used to heal wounds and skin infections such as mud fever.
Mud fever (also known as pastern dermatitis) is a condition that affects horses who spend long periods standing in wet muddy fields. It most often occurs in winter time for obvious reasons, when grazing land can become quickly churned up and boggy in wet conditions. It can also occur in equines who have their legs frequently washed and not dried off.
It mainly affects the pastern, which is the area between the hoof and the fetlock, but it can also affect the lower legs up to the knees and hocks. The skin becomes softened by the prolonged contact with water and is more prone to cracking and damage from cuts. This allows bacteria to enter, causing an infection to develop under the skin.
The most common signs of mud fever include crusty scabs on the heels or pasterns, and possibly the lower legs. The hair around the scabs may be matted or fall out, and the scabs may ooze with white, yellow, or greenish discharge. The area may feel hot and swollen to touch, and the horse may appear to be lame.
Warm-blooded animals with thin skin, such as Arabs and Thoroughbreds, are particularly prone to mud fever, as are animals with light unpigmented skin. To prevent mud fever, try to rotate grazing land by sectioning it with ropes during the winter so that the whole field does not become poached up and each area has some time to recover.
If an infection does occur it should be treated as soon as possible. Wash the area with a mild disinfectant and dry it with a towel. To treat with green clay powder, mix the required amount in a glass or ceramic (or other non-metallic) dish with mineral or spring water. Avoid tap water because the chlorine can interfere with the effectiveness of the healing process.
Use a ratio of one tablespoon of water to one tablespoon of clay until you have the desired amount, which will depend on the size of the area to be treated. Mix it with a wooden spoon to a smooth paste and apply a thick layer to the wound. Wrap the area in a moist bandage, because once the clay is dried out it is no longer active.
A layer of cling film can prolong the life of the poultice. Over time, the clay will naturally dry out, drawing out the infection. Reapply the poultice daily until the wound is healed.