What is geophagy?

  • (noun): Eating earth or clay or chalk; occurs in some primitive tribes or sometimes in cases of nutritional deficiency.
    Synonyms: geophagia, pica


Geophagy is the practice of eating earthy or soil-like substances such as clay, and chalk. It exists in animals in the wild and also in humans, most often in rural or preindustrial societies among children and pregnant women. Human geophagy may be related to pica, a classified eating disorder in the DSM-IV characterized by abnormal cravings for nonfood items.

Read more about Geophagy.

Some articles on geophagy:

Geophagy - Impact On Health - Health Risks
... understood by most tribal populations that engage in geophagy, hence 'clean' earth from below the surface level is sought out ... Children's predilection to engage in geophagy makes them more susceptible to worm infestations ... Geophagy was attributed to feelings of misery, homesickness, depression, and alienation ...
Prehistoric Medicine - Treatments For Disease - The Use of Earth and Clays
... This is related to geophagy, which is extremely widespread among animals in the wild as well as among domesticated animals ... In particular, geophagy is widespread among contemporary non-human primates ... Geophagy, and the external use of clay are both still quite widespread among aboriginal peoples around the world, as well as among pre-industrial populations ...
Atlantic Titi - Diet - Geophagy
... For many years, researchers believed that geophagy might be have been used by the Masked Titi's as a sodium supplement as their high foliage diets were quite low in ... Therefore, it seems geophagy is not principally used to buffer the stomach pH levels ...