The Science behind our Moor Mud Products.

Medical Aspects and Applications of Humic Substances (HS)

Humic substances (HS) comprising one of the largest reservoirs of carbon in nature may originate from different sources. They are some of the most important biogeochemical components of the Earth’s surface. HS are substrates for medical preparations, and also starting materials in the synthesis of specialized industrial products.

The Balneo-therapeutic use of peat represents the most significant medical application of HS with regard to volume, therapeutic spectrum and tradition. Heavily degraded high moor peat, which is abundant in HS, has been used therapeutically long ago in Babylonia and the Roman Empire, where the inhabitants already recognized the healing effects of mud (Priegnitz, 1896). As health clinics’ specialties, mud baths were offered in Europe in the early 19th century. Traditional indications for mud therapy are gynecological and rheumatic diseases (Gaatz, 1988; Kleinschmidt, 1988; Kovarik, 1988; Lent, 1988). Beside mud baths which consist of peat pulp, baths with suspended peat material as well as drinking cures were also applied; the latter especially in case of gastric, intestinal or hepatic diseases (Kallus, 1964). The most frequent indications of peat therapy currently offered by health clinics in Germany are summarized below:

Selected indications of peat therapy in the effect of which humic substances are probably involved:

Diseases

Indications

Major therapeutic effects

Musculoskeletal
diseases

Degenerative and deforming arthroses
Gout
Spondylopathies, e.g. Osteoporosis
Muscular rheumatism
Rheumatoid arthritis (polyarthritis)
Rehabilitation after operations and accidents

Depth hyperthermia improves blood circulation and regeneration processes

Gynecological
diseases

Chronic inflammatory diseases
Hormonal imbalances
Low back pain
Adhesions
Sterility
Climacteric complaints

Depth hyperthermia
Estrogenic effect and/or support of endogenous estrogen production
Prophylaxis of thrombosis through release of tissue-type plasminogen activator (pro-fibrinolytic effect)

Skin diseases

Chronic eczema
Neurodermatitis
Psoriasis

Activation of skin metabolism and regeneration processes, improvement of blood circulation

These conditions comprise various disorders of the musculoskeletal and gynecological systems, as well as skin diseases. Acute inflammatory and infectious diseases as well as malign tumors are usually regarded as contraindications. The primary effect of high-temperature peat therapy is the unique depth hyperthermia, which improves blood circulation and regeneration processes in the patient being treated. In a recent study, Bellometti et al. (1997) were able to show a favorable influence of mud bath therapy on osteoarthritis, a rheumatic condition characterized by the progressive destruction of cartilage.