5 Marvelous Uses for Mud

Photo: Julien Harneis/flickrMud is a fascinating substance. It’s dirty, grimy, and squelchy … yet despite (or perhaps because of) that fact, childlike souls of all ages, from one to a hundred and one, tend to love walking through it, playing in it, or making it up into mud pies. In addition to its fun factor, mud can be utilized for practical purposes such as crafting pottery. It is also prized by practitioners of naturopathy and other healing arts for its many therapeutic effects

Here are 5 creative ways to use mud.   

  1. Bricks

Mud bricks (adobe in Spanish) were the construction material of choice of the ancient Pueblo peoples in the southwestern United States. Adobe is a mixture of clay, water, sand, silt, and various other organic materials, molded into brick shapes and sun-dried. With today’s concern for green living and building, there is a renewed interest in fashioning homes out of mud brick, which has the eco-friendly advantages of being non-toxic, durable, mold-resistant, naturally insulating, waste-free, and (pardon the expression) dirt cheap. If you plan to build or have your house remodeled with adobe, make sure that your bricks conform to the local building code.

  1. Facials

Mud facials are an invigorating and healing facial treatment that you can apply in the privacy of your own home. They tighten the pores, remove toxins and dead skin cells, and minimize blemishes and fine lines. Various types of clay may be blended with rosewater and other natural ingredients, such as essential oils, to create a paste which you dab all over your face. Relax on the couch or a chaise outdoors under a tree for 10-15 minutes. Then gently remove the mask with warm water and an old washcloth. Afterwards your facial skin will be somewhat dry, so moisturize if you wish.

  1. Dandruff Treatment

Your face is not the only part of the body that will benefit from a mud “bath.” If you suffer from dandruff, adult “cradle cap,” or itchy scalp, try mudding up with mineral-rich muck from the shores of the Dead Sea. You can choose between a 20 minute soak with a mud-enriched shampoo or the gooey goodness of the unadulterated real thing (available at a premium price from various online emporia). Be warned that spreading pure mud on your scalp – and then rinsing it out! – is a messy business, but the results are worth it.

  1. Fine Art

Yusuke Asai is a young Japanese who has become internationally sought after for his elaborately detailed, phantasmagoric murals. His paintings, which often cover entire walls, floors, and ceilings, are celebrated both for their intricate imagery of the natural world and for their earthy hues. The latter is not surprising, as Asai has been using mud as his medium since 2008. This eco-conscious artist states that the process of sourcing local soil in as many as 27 different subtly varied shades helps “strengthen his feeling of connection to a place.”

  1. Fun Art

Enjoy your own version of mud painting with your children outdoors on a sunny day. Dress the kids in their scruffiest clothes, tint a batch of fresh wet mud with tempera, and set your youngsters free with brushes and sheets of heavy paper. (Recycled cardboard is even better!)

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated February 21, 2018.

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