While clays have long been used to treat wounds, IFLScience.com reports that it was a conversation with a French diplomat’s wife that encouraged Williams to invest clay’s medicinal properties further. After testing a wide range of clays she discovered that, while some clays were very effective at treating ulcers and other potential infections, others could have devastating effects.
In a presentation at the American Geophysical Union Fall Conference Williams explained how she tested a wide variety of clays and discovered that approximately 10% reduced bacterial infections by a factor of 1000 or more and that one particular sample was effective against 32 different species of bacteria, some of which were antibiotic resistant.
Williams also discovered some clays were bacteria enhancing rather than antibiotic, meaning not just any clay is beneficial. Williams plans to study this subject further and hopes that one day synthetic clays can may be developed to help combat antibiotic resistant bacterias.