The in-vitro percutaneous migration of chemical elements from a thermal mud for healing use

Authors: Tateo F (1) , Ravaglioli A (2) , Andreoli C (3) , Bonina F (4) , Coiro V (5) , Degetto S (6) , Giaretta A (1) , Orsini A (7) , Puglia C (4) , Summa V (8)
(1) Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, CNR (2) Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali Ceramici, CNR (3) Department of Biology, University of Padova (4) Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, University of Catania (5) Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Scienze Biomediche, University of Parma (6) Istituto di Chimica Inorganica e delle Superfici, CNR (7) Circuito Termale Emilia-Romagna (COTER), Castel S.Pietro Terme (8) Istituto di Metodologie di Analisi Ambientale, CNR
Source: Applied Clay Science Volume 44, Issues 1–2, April 2009, Pages 83–94
DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2009.02.004 Publication date: 2009 Apr E-Publication date: Feb. 25, 2009 Availability: abstract Copyright: © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Language: English Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: Tateo F :


Article abstract

In-vitro experiments have been developed to ascertain whether pelotherapy applications involve the transfer of chemical elements from the healing mud to the human body, across the skin. All the materials used for therapy (raw clay, mineral water and healing mud obtained after maturation) have been characterised from different points of view (mineralogy, chemistry, exchange properties, radioactivity, grain size and microbiology) in order to get an accurate knowledge of the natural media used for therapy and to follow the development of maturation in the spa centre.

A polymineralic silty clay with rather a common mineralogical and chemical composition is used; the mud is matured in a very saline mineral water, of marine origin, for 5 months. Under these conditions the maturation process increases the dispersion of clay particles and allows cation exchange between clays and water, whereas neither microbiological nor mineralogical changes are detectable. In absence of the biologic indicators of mud maturity, the equilibration of clay with mineral water represents an objective quantitative criterion.

In-vitro tests have been carried out by using the Franz-type diffusion cells, which show that the transfer of chemical elements across the skin is very well-developed, and also involving many essential or possibly essential elements. The amounts of chemical elements transferred were compared with toxicological guidelines and with world-wide daily requirement models.

No concerns appear from the data, whereas a significant supply of some elements results from a typical application of thermal mud (20 min, full body). The elements which have been considered in order to represent a significant supply are Li, Sr, B, I, Rb, Br, Ba, Na, Cl, Se and Ca, some of these are essential nutrients. The biological effects of the main elements are briefly discussed.

Find it online