Diatomaceous Earth as a health benefit? Absolutely. When something is as natural and cleansing as silica, you’re going to have some awesome health benefits as well.
More and more health bloggers are raving about the cleansing powers of food-grade diatomaceous earth – or silica.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is used in a number of ways such as pest control and as a dietary supplement (food grade only!) for both humans and livestock. The FDA approves all these uses, plus the use as a soil amendment.
Case in point? This stuff is good for plants and the soil. If you’re into gardening or have a garden blog and you’ve made the switch to organic, then you need to know about Diatomaceous Earth.
It’s all-natural, often sourced domestically from the US, and dirt cheap. Not only that, but it delivers a pleasing array of benefits to the soil for both vegetable and flower gardens.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
It’s sediment, really. Picture one-celled organisms living in prehistoric times. Called “diatoms”, they lived only 6 days and could be found all over the globe in water beds. They extracted silica from the environment to build their tiny, one-celled bodies.
When they died, their unicellular bodies sunk to the bottom of the lake beds in which they’d lived. Over time, that made for a lot of fossilized shells building up, containing lots of silica.
These thick beds of sediment still lie in the earth, mainly in large deposits in the western part of the USA and in eastern Europe. The sediment left behind is called Diatomaceous Earth, or Diatomite. Miners of Diatomaceous Earth look for ancient lake beds.
How Diatomaceous Earth is used in organic gardening.
Many gardeners recommend using NON food-grade DE as a soil additive. The particles of food-grade DE are simply too small to have much effect, they believe. However, the jury is still out, as many gardeners use the food-grade stuff with good results.
Why DE is so good for the soil.
A Southern Cross University study performed in Australia took a look at how Diatomaceous Earth affected soils in gardening. The results showed evidence that it has a beneficial effect on the quality of soil and can therefore be used to as a soil amendment.
The nutrient level of soil treated with Diatomaceous Earth is greatly increased. Not only that, but the DE stopped the leaching of other fertilizers from the soil. This makes for much more efficient use of fertilizers. It also prevents negative impacts the leached fertilizers have on other areas of the earth (it leaches out, so it’s gotta go somewhere!).
Diatomaceous Earth increases the moisture levels of soil.
Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth also caused the soil to retain moisture much more efficiently. Drying occurred at a significantly slower rate…making it a great addition to potting soil, especially when your soil is slightly sandy, meaning it has trouble holding water. You could throw it in the same controversial category as pure forskolin.
Gardeners with clay soil should use DE for the moisture-retention properties.
For that reason, Diatomaceous Earth is an essential ingredient for creating drought-resistant soil. Moisture retention is also the main reason why golf courses use it on the sandy areas of their putting greens.
Other sports field maintenance programs also incorporate use of DE. Any sport that’s played on real turf requires suitable levels of moisture in the field.