There appears to be a treatment on the horizon for the MRSA "superbug" infections that have become increasingly common in hospitals (and even in professional sports teams' locker rooms).
What is it and what does it have to do with Judaism?
Meir Abehsera, the Sefradi Chabadnik who pioneered many alternative health concepts including macrobiotics, wrote a little book in the 1970s called The Healing Clay. At one point, he had me drinking medicinal clay every day – and, bizarre as it may seem, it helped.
Now we know why.
It turns out that clay may contain the magic bullet that will destroy MRSA, as Science Daily reports:
Mud may be coming to a medicine cabinet or pharmacy near you. Scientists in Arizona report that minerals from clay could form the basis of a new generation of inexpensive, highly-effective antimicrobials for fighting MRSA infections that are moving out of health care settings and into the community. These "superbugs" are increasingly resistant to multiple antibiotics and cause thousands of deaths each year.
Unlike conventional antibiotics that are often administered by injection or pills, the so-called "healing clays" could be used as rub-on creams or ointments to keep MRSA infections from spreading, the researchers say. The clays also show promise against a wide range of other harmful bacteria, including those that cause skin infections and food poisoning, the scientists add. Their study, one of the first to explore the antimicrobial activity of natural clays in detail, was presented April 6, at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Clays have been used for thousands of years as a remedy for infected wounds, indigestion, and other health problems, either by applying clay to the skin or eating it. Today, clays are commonly used at health spas in the form of mud baths and facials. Armed with new investigative tools, researchers are beginning to explore their health claims scientifically.
"Clays are little chemical drug-stores in a packet," said study co-leader Lynda Williams, Ph.D., a geochemist at Arizona State University in Tempe.…
But don't rush out and drink the mud from your backyard. Only some clays have medicinal potential and other may hurt you.
At health food stores, you can sometimes find French clays meant to be used medicinally. If you want to drink mud, that would be where to find it. (But make sure to consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before you do this.)