What Is Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a soft, powdery, porous, and silica-rich mineral that is found in fossilized deposits near dried up bodies of water. This mineral is the result of the accumulation of dead diatoms found in marine sediments, which contain the remains of silica.
Diatoms are microscopic single-celled algae that usually have shells that are divided into two halves. The shells of diatoms are hard due to the presence of silica in their cell walls. These silica-rich hard shells are usually found crushed up into tiny, sharp shards, which is the main characteristic of fossilized diatomite.
This mineral is colored white or off-white. Since this mineral is highly porous, it can be easily pounded into fine and soft powders.
Discovery of Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth, which was first thought to be a type of limestone, was discovered around 1836-1837 by Peter Kasten while drilling a well in Haußelberg Hill which is located in Lüneburg Heath in Germany. After its discovery, it was used by Alfred Nobel to make dynamite and also by Wilhelm Berkefeld for developing filter candles.
Uses of Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth has various applications of use, making it famous in a wide variety of industries. One of the primary uses of diatomaceous earth is as a mild abrasive substance that is used in metal polishes, facial scrubs and toothpaste.
This is due to its rough consistency. Its hard and porous characteristics also make it a popular filter medium in several different filtration processes.
It is also used in chemistry laboratories for various experiments and procedures when filtering very fine particles. Even the particles that are filtered through a normal paper filter can be further filtered by a filtering medium that contains diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is also used in drinking water filtering processes. It is also used to filter swimming pools and fish tanks. Beer, wine, sugar, syrups, honey are also filtered in a medium containing diatomaceous earth.
One of the most important and popular use of diatomaceous earth is in the field of agriculture, as it is used as an insecticide and pesticide. Its sharp characteristics make it an effective pest killer. Insects are covered by a waxy layer of lipids that function to retain water in the insect’s body.
When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, the lipid-containing waxy layer that covers the exterior of the exoskeletons is sliced by the tiny diatomite shards, causing the lipid-rich waxy layer to become dehydrated. Thus, this substance can be used to kill garden pests, fleas, flies, bedbugs and other insects.
Diatomaceous earth has also been used for other purposes in the agricultural field. It has been used as an anti-caking agent additive in grain storage and livestock feeds. It has also been used as a soil additive for growing potted plants such as bonsai trees. Since diatomaceous earth is highly absorbent, it can also be used in cleaning toxic liquid spills.
In fact, the United States Center for Disease Control recommends it use for this purpose. It is also used in absorbing ethylene gas for reducing decay and rotting in fruits to make the shelf life longer. In addition, diatomaceous earth is one of the main ingredients in facial masks to enhance the product’s absorption of excess oils in the face.
Diatomaceous Earth For Detoxing
In more recent years, diatomaceous earth has been found to work as an internal cleanser in humans to effectively eradicate parasites and toxins, which include free radicals and harmful heavy metals that cause aging, disease, and other health issues.
Because the diatomaceous earth particles have an electrical charge, they attract particles of the opposite electrical charge and trap them in its honeycomb-like structure so that it can be expelled through bodily waste. As a result, the body will have less free radicals and heavy metals in the bloodstream, making the body feel and look healthier.