Diatomaceous earth is a material made up of fossilized diatoms. Diatoms are a type of hard-shelled algae or phytoplankton that once made their home in oceans and lakes that covered a portion of the western United States in times past and still exist today. These microscopic organisms, tiny as they are, are an important part of the food chain for underwater dwellers. Diatomaceous earth is also referred to as diatomite. Millions of years ago the hard shells of these diatoms aggregated together in the ocean to form hard, chalky deposits. These chalky deposits were mined and then milled and processed to form diatomaceous earth.
This finely milled, chalky white, talc-like powder known as diatomaceous earth or diatomite has an interesting history. Alfred Bell combined it with sodium carbonate and nitroglycerin to create the world's first dynamite. These days diatomite has a variety of other applications and is commonly used as an ingredient in household, cosmetic and personal care products.
There are two types of diatomaceous earth - food grade and industrial grade. Food grade diatomaceous earth is safe for oral and cosmetic use. Some people mix it with water and use it orally as a colon cleanser, although this isn't necessarily condoned by the mainstream medical community. Some alternative health practitioners believe the diatomites scrub" the inside of the intestines and remove parasites and other intestinal debris that cause intestinal problems. In addition