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What is Calabar Chalk aka African Kaolin Clay

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African Kaolin Clay is a naturally occurring substance mostly found in soils that have formed as a result of the chemical weathering process of rocks in moist and hot climates. African Kaolin Clay is also called:

  • Calabash Clay
  • Calabar Chalk in Cameroon
  • Nzu by the Igbos in Nigeria
  • Ndom by Ghanians
  • Ulo
  • Ebumba

The market for African Kaolin Clay is huge and keeps expanding because the rich mineral in it, has numerous uses. It can be bought raw or processed based on what the buyer plans on doing with it. African Kaolin Clay is found in large deposits in various African countries. It is dug pure from the ground on natural African soil and contains no additives unlike other types of Kaolin Clays sold in the United States.

This type of clay is versatile and contains unique mineral elements which has health benefits as well as, being an ingredient in industrial processes of many household items. Other than its versatility, there are a number of other things that make this clay special. These include:

  • Its wide range of minerals
  • Of all clays, it is the mildest
  • It is silky in nature
  • It is very strong and can withstand very high temperatures

Origin of Kaolin Clay

African Kaolin clay is found in a number of countries in Africa. In Nigeria it is found in the state of Edo, Nassarawwa, Ogun and Plateau. In Western Cameroon, African Kaolin clay is available in areas such as the Mayouom. It is also available in some districts in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Other countries where it is found include South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.
In these places, the clay is dug from the earth in mining pits deep down. Once reached, machines are used to pummel, purify, burn and mix it if it is meant for commercial use. Where the mining is not being done on large scale, the mining is done manually. Once the process is done the clay could be burned and the end product shipped to where it may be needed in sterile conditions to prevent it from getting contaminated.

Kaolin Clay Uses

There are many benefits to Kaolin Clay when consumed and used as a skin care ingredient which has being documented based on history and its effectiveness. Kaolin clay is one of the major ingredient in many skin care products. It is used in skin care products such as facials, powders and soaps, due to the high amount of silica it contains, it can remove dead skin and help regenerate new ones. When added in powder-form to lotions it can be used to help soften dry skin.

In its raw form Kaolin clay is used in many home made detoxifying face masks ( see below). The quality of the facial mask depends on using a clay that is natural and nothing has been added to it, like the African Kaolin Clay which is considered a superior type of Kaolin Clay.

Here is a Kaolin Facial Mask Recipe:

Find many more clay masks recipes here
https://www.pinterest.com/emuniz13/clay-mask-recipes/

Eating Kaolin Clay

Many people buy Kaolin Clay to consume, while doctors don’t recommend eating kaolin clay, there are nutritionists who believe in the benefits of doing so. It is just of recent that many people around the world are now touting the benefits of eating clay. Even Hollywood stars such as Shailene Woodley have admitted to eating clay. However, before all the praises and the fancy packaging of clay being sold for exorbitant amounts, the eating of clay has being practiced for ages and can be traced back to African countries. In many west African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon the practice of eating clay for nutritional and health purposes can be dated back to ages.

Kaolin Clay cure for pregnant women morning sickness?

So why do pregnant women eat Clay, according to an article on this week, “Scientists haven’t pinned down an exact reason, writes Young, but it’s either a response to mineral deficiencies or an instinctual effort to “protect against harm from toxins and pathogens.” Some of these mineral deficiencies are calcium, iron, copper and magnesium which is essential in every diet but even more critical during pregnancy, and the African Kaolin Clay contains high levels of these minerals.

It is said that the demand for minerals goes up during pregnancy this might explain the uncontrollable impulse many women feel when it comes to craving Calabar Chalk during pregnancy.

As usually scientist are now trying to figure out this practice and place some kind of label of it. Sometimes it is referred to as Geophagy which is the practice of eating clay . Other times it has being placed under the umbrella of Pica – which is when people crave things that are not food.

On the other hand, this can be summarized as a cultural practice that originated from Africa first was protective mechanism, then through trial and error it evolved to be used for many medicinal and consumption purposes among African women. Now fast forward to modern day where we are now able to explain the science behind it.


If you are looking for the most natural authentic African clay to make your DIY clay face masks, check out this website