Diatomaceous Earth - what it is and how to use it

A Must Have For Your Medicine Cabinet

Note from Cara: This is a guest post by Melanie of Honest Body, she’s a GAPS mom and has tons of amazing things to teach.

I’ve also just started using diatomaceous earth for our family, so I’m happy to share this post for you!  This is the kind that I bought for us.

I’m a fan of simple & authentic solutions. The greater variety of creatures & critters helped, the better. (That’s why I am so drawn to the GAPS™ Protocol)

So, what can be used for removing unwelcome guests from your body? The toxic heavy metals and parasites that pervade? How about the pests that plague your pets? Or the lice, roaches, fleas, stinkbugs, & fly larvae that invade house & barn?!

Diatomaceous earth – natural treatment for parasites and a simple tool for all of these.

What Is It?

Diatomaceous Earth is a fossilized deposit of microscopic shells created by one celled plants called Diatoms. These plants inhabit all the waters of the earth, and serve as the basic food for aquatic life, just as grass is the basic food for land animals.

It’s a single cell fossil that acts as a natural and organic insecticide, killing bugs by breaking down their exoskeletons, which causes them to dehydrate. It’s a little bit like glass to a parasite, but is like harmless powder to us. It is largely made of silica (good for hair and nails) with other trace minerals.

What Is It Commonly Used For?

  • Parasites & worms (+ all the symptoms that accompany…see below)
  • Absorbing heavy metals, viruses, pathogenic bacteria
  • Roaches, ants, bedbugs, lice
  • Lice, ticks, & flea control (natural insecticide)
  • Livestock feed, both for insect control & anti-caking

Sounds pretty good, eh? It gets even better when you start to look at the pain and suffering that parasites can inflict when they get out of control. Parasites have their place, we have cohabited with them and other microbes for thousands of years. But when our bodies (inner ecosystems if you will) get out of balance, then our beneficial organisms aren’t able to keep them in check and they can get out of control, dominating where they are not meant to.


There are three classifications of parasites:

  1. Protozoa (single celled organisms)
  2. Helminths (larger, multi-celled…like flukes, tapeworms, roundworms)
  3. Ectoparasites (those that attach or burrow into the skin…like ticks, fleas, lice, mites)

If you are not grossed out yet…

Symptoms Of Parasites

An infestation of parasites can give you symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Aches & pains
  • Anemia
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nervousness
  • Mood issues
  • Poor intestinal vitamin absorption

How Does DE Work?

Here is a quote from Kaayla T. Daniels, PhD, writing about diatomaceous earth on the Weston Price Foundation website:

Made up of silicone and trace minerals, diatomaceous earth can, according to the scientific literature, absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, drug residue, and protein, perhaps even the proteinaceous toxins produced by some intestinal infections. Kaayla T. Daniels, PhD

Diatomaceous earth, acts as a natural and organic insecticide that kills insects by breaking their exoskeletons causing them to dehydrate.

It is important to be eliminating properly while taking DE. Good elimination will help get the absorbed toxins out. Take measures to avoid constipation, like beet kvass, fresh pressed juices, enemas, healthy fats, & probiotics like Prescript Assist.

How To Take It

Important Note: Only consume Food Grade diatomaceous earth, as the kind you get in a hardware store can have added insect killers or heavy metals. See Where To Buy It at the bottom for trusted sources.

Dosing: There are different ways to go about dosing diatomaceous earth, but the general rule of thumb is to start small, 1/8 to 1 tsp at a time, and work up to 4 – 6 teaspoons a day, or 1 tablespoon per 100 lb body weight.

If you are generally sensitive start with 1/8 teaspoon and slowly work up…as DE absorbs toxins & kills parasites, it can cause the symptoms of “die-off” as the dying pathogens release toxins.

Some notes:

  • It is preferable to take it on an empty stomach, first thing in the a.m., or before bed, away from probiotics
  • DE can be taken long term (months or even years) but should be taken for at least a course of 60 days
  • As a 1 – 2x a year parasite treatment, work up to 1 tablespoon in a glass of water or fresh pressed juice, every day for 60 days
  • For Kids: Freshly pressed juice is an especially good way for kids to take DE, as it is nearly tasteless & can be hidden easily
  • Treat the whole family + pets at the same time
  • Follow up with good probiotics to fill the void created by the removal of toxins & parasites

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Fit In With GAPS™?

Generally Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends starting with diet first, to build and strengthen the body before doing serious housecleaning. The digestive tract should go through a period of healing & sealing before diatomaceous earth is tried. I would recommend a period of several months on the GAPS protocol before trying diatomaceous earth as an added measure. Some exceptions to this might be diarrhea that is simply not clearing up, or other symptoms of parasites listed above, that have not gone away.

Where Can I Buy Diatomaceous Earth?

Here are some reputable sources of food grade diatomaceous earth.


Bulk Herb Store


What Is Your Experience?

Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear from you…have you ever tried diatomaceous earth? What were your results? Leave a comment and tell us :)

With love and warmth,






 Note from Cara: This is a guest post by Melanie of Honest Body, she’s a GAPS mom and has a fabulous GAPS class starting later this month! If you’ve been thinking of trying the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) then you’ll want to check out her class for sure!  Click here to check it out. 



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