Ayilor: Supernatural Advantages and 10 Disadvantages of Consuming Ayilor

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‘‘Shile’’ or ‘’ Ayilor’’ as locally named is edible clay. It is commonly consumed by pregnant women.

Eating it in pregnancy is not seen as an anomaly. It’s made from kaolin a type of clay used for ceramics.

The issue of shile or Ayilor has been said over the years but people seem to have forgotten. And continue to crave greatly for it. Even though it’s good for some reasons, it also has bad effects.

Some pregnant women say it helps to tame diarrhoea, discomfort, nausea and others during pregnancy.


Eating baked clay (ayilor) could be harmful to your health.

Bentonite clay / Baked clay is a composition of aged volcanic ash, aluminium phyllosilicate clay, calcium, and iron. It’s an edible clay locally chewed by Africans mostly, pregnant women and teenage girls. The Akans call it shile and the Gas,ayilor.

It works as a magnet drawing metals and toxins out the hair and even the skin.

It also repairs tissue cells and protects body from aging early and diseases.

Nevertheless , pregnant women eating clay is not seen abnormal since it is proven to prevent diarrhoea and other illnesses.

Despite this, the question is, why do teenage girls crave for this clay ?

Is an eating disorder. They lack some vital vitamins in their diets. They are calcium and iron.

Is very good to hear that baked clay acts as a supplement to your diet but taken in excess, what happens to the body,

There will be muscle weakness, block in the intestinal walls , poisoning,skin sores , breathing problems, anaemia and others.

However,on this note,the doctors prescribe that eating lots of fruits could minimize the crave for non food items such as shiley .

How to Use Ayilor and charcoal to return swollen legs back to normal.



Bentonite (Ayilor or Shile)

Preparation of Ayilor

Grind both the Ayilor and charcoal together and mix with little water.


Apply the mixture on your swollen leg for 1 week and see it return to normal.

Secret behind the use of “Shile” or “Ayilor” on baby girls.

Kaolin clay is a white or ash coloured substance popularly called “Shile” or “Ayilor” in Ghana is a cosmetic clay rich in silica and with a neutral pH. It is mostly consumed by women in it raw state especially pregnant women.

With its ability to remove impurities and toxins from the pores on the skin, it is considered by our grandmothers or mothers after bathing babies, smear it on their skin before adding powders or body creams.

One secret we do not know about but I managed to discover from elderly women was that smearing it on their bodies doesn’t cleanse the skin alone but also those on their buttocks helps to increase the rate of growth of the buttocks muscles. Hence give them bigger buttocks in the near future.

How to Smear Ayilor of Baby Girls

  1. Dip your hand in water or wet your palm a bit.
  2. Rub it around the “Shile” or “Ayilor” till you get the white substance in your palm.
  3. Now smear it on the buttocks of your baby girl like you normally smear pomade everyday after bathing the baby.

Risks Pregnant women have when eating Ayilor

A specialist dietician at the Tafo Government Hospital, Mr Daniel Ansah-Obese, who issued the warning, said eating clay can cause anaemia, infertility, lead poisoning, low bone mineralisation, dental injury and organ failure.

According to him, eating clay could cause mental retardation and death of unborn babies.

The nutritional deficiency mothers often suffer as a result of this addiction tends to weaken babies in the womb, and might invariably end their lives in the process.

In an Interview with The Finder, Mr Ansah-Obese said the craving for clay is sometimes caused by nutrient imbalances such as lack of certain nutrients like zinc and iron. According to him, the situation can be combated by prescribing mineral supplements to complement the nutrient needs of affected pregnant women.

He emphasised the importance of antenatal care, which he said would allow for early detection of these deficiencies, so proactive measures can be taken to shield prospective mothers from the negative repercussions they bring.

He added that eating clay has life-threatening effects, and encouraged people struggling with the habit that “even if the practice started from infancy, with the appropriate help, the addiction can be broken.”

Why you should not be eating clay

  1. No nutrients There is no nutritional value in eating clay. It doesn’t provide the much-needed nutrients for mother and child, and is a health risk to all who consume it. Seriously, you’re basically filling your body with material that gives you nothing in return.
  2. Malnutrition. Pregnant women who eat clay are likely to cause malnutrition in their unborn children. This puts the baby’s life at risk and could result in premature birthing and underdeveloped children when they are born. Young people who consume clay also stand the risk of malnutrition due to their tendency to depend on the substance as a substitute for actual food. Clay-eating is closely related to causing anorexia in young people for this reason.
  1. Anaemia. “Ayilo” is freshly dug clay from the ground, which is baked to give it a strong smell. Eggs of worms are usually present in the clay, which, when ingested, hatch and feed on the red blood cells of the body. This leads to most pregnant women recording low haemoglobin levels in the blood, a condition most often attributed to anaemia. This is also worrisome for young people. Young women, especially, carry the burden of losing blood each month through menstruation, and this, coupled with the severe anaemia the clay addict suffers, could very well be life-threatening.
  1. Mental retardation Recent studies show that mothers who consume excess amounts of clay during pregnancy could be endangering the mental health of their children. Children born in this state are more likely to suffer developmental challenges, in both growth and mental health.
  1. Lead poisoning This one might need a bit more explaining. Clay contains trace amounts of lead. Lead is a metal commonly found in clay, which bonds with other metals and the bonds lead make with other metals are not easily broken by the digestive process. This causes lead that is ingested to be accumulated over a long period, a process that is life-threatening.This results in lead poisoning, a condition often characterised by high blood pressure, abdominal pain, constipation, joint pains, muscle pain, decline in mental functioning, headache, memory loss, mood disorders, reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm, miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women.
  2. Dental injury Consuming excessive amounts of clay might actually cause you to lose your teeth! There are great amounts of trace metals like calcium in clay, which are not necessarily good for your teeth. Here, one might experience sensitivity and brittleness of the tooth, and weakening of the gum. So, if your teeth don’t feel right after you have a few balls of “ayilo”, it might be a sign you need to reconsider your diet.
  3. Infertility Studies have proven that excessive clay-eating could result in huge amounts of clay forming over the womb, making it difficult for conception and child birth. This is potentially fatal for the woman, because these clay deposits have to be surgically removed from the womb.
  1. Low bone mineralisation Your bones need a constant supply of minerals to work. These minerals strengthen your bones and manage your entire skeletal frame. However, clay-eating makes it difficult to maintain required levels of these minerals — phosphate, calcium, and Vitamin D — in your body, which results in weakened, brittle bones.
  2. Organ failure Ingesting clay has the propensity to weaken your internal system. Organs such the kidney and the liver are at risk because of the high levels of lead and cadmium and other types of heavy metals found in the environment are often found in clay. Cadmium exposure is associated with kidney dysfunction, respiratory problems and bone disease—and is also being studied as a potential “carcinogen”, that is, a cancer-causing agent.
  1. Death Few studies indicate that babies of clay-eating mothers are likely to be stillborn. Mothers, you eating clay like your life depends on it, will eventually lead to your baby’s death being a result of it. Clay-eating is a habit that has existed for centuries. Scientists, over the period, have attributed this clay-eating urge to a disorder known only as “Pica.” The American Psychiatric Association defines pica as the persistent eating of non-nutritive substances that is inappropriate to developmental level, occurs outside culturally sanctioned practice and, if observed during the course of another mental disorder, is sufficiently severe to warrant independent attention.

In conclusion, it is clear there is not much education regarding the ill-effects of this practice in our various societies. This is partly to blame for the ignorant consumption of “ayilo”. Therefore, we need to intensify our efforts in educating and raising awareness to fight this menace.

If these problems are observed and tackled appropriately, the country would move towards making more progress in achieving its maternal health goals.

What type of Clay is Ayilo

White bentonite clay popularly known as “Ayilo”, “Agatawe” or “Shile” by the Gas, Ewes and Fantes respectively, is believed to be addictive. Share with us any addictive experience or how often you eat it.

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