November 9, 2007
French green clay worked in the wilds of Africa's Ivory Coast—and now is proving its worth in the lab—as an effective treatment for dangerous bacteria
By David Biello
ANTIBACTERIAL CLAY: Researchers have discovered several clays that kill—or prevent from growing—bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains.
In the 1990s French humanitarian Line Brunet de Courssou began treating Buruli ulcer—violent, flesh-eating eruptions of Mycobacterium ulcerans—with two imported French green clays. The application of one type of clay to such lesions produced a pain that some patients equated to childbirth and, after several days, purplish skin tissue surrounding the open wound. A subsequent application of a second variety, this one mixed with shea butter (a fat), produced no pain and helped heal the oozing wound, replacing it with flexible scar tissue over the course of several months. ...