Omnivore - Mud: It's not just a beauty treatment

Have you eaten your daily bowl of dirt? Southerners along the Mississippi River have long been stereotyped as clay eaters and, in truth, some clays can supply vital nutrients and help relieve gastrointestinal problems. I was surprised not too long ago to find a restaurant with a retail area selling clay.

Europeans have for some time used a drug called Smecta, a powder that performs like clay in treatment of GI problems. Now, researchers in the U.K. have made the startling discovery that French muck may cure some antibody-resistant infections including a variety of staph that kills 19,000 Americans and is usually picked up in hospitals. The U.K. is having the same problem.

The Independent says:

Scientists have discovered a new and highly effective weapon against deadly superbugs like the MRSA sweeping through Britain's dirty hospital wards – green French muck.

The dramatic antibiotic success of agricur, a clay made from ancient volcanic ash found near the Massif Central, marks it out as a potential rival to penicillin, the wonder drug of the 20th century. In experiments, the clay killed up to 99 per cent of superbug colonies within 24 hours. Control samples of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) grew 45-fold in the same period.

The clay has a similar effect on other deadly bacteria tested, including salmonella, E. coli, and a flesh-eating disease called buruli, a relative of leprosy which disfigures children across central and western Africa. It has been classed as "an emerging public health threat" by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Check out the whole story here.

(Photo from aboutclay.com. Check out the link for a recipe for dirt brownies. Yes, dirt brownies.)

Where to Eat
Food Events