Folk Image and Customs

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Entry Category: Folk Image and Customs - Starting with G


aka: Geophagia
aka: Pica
Geophagy, or geophagia, is the practice of consuming dirt or clay. In the United States, the practice is associated with the South, where clay is still sold for consumption in some rural areas. Humans regularly ingest dirt in trace amounts in everyday life, but most Western societies declare a threshold at which deliberate consumption is treated as a symptom of physiological or psychiatric disease (called pica). Although geophagy is often met with disgust or dismissed as prehistory or pathology, it exists in many cultures around the world as a healthful if not vital practice. There are a number of reasons why humans might deliberately consume dirt. Some practitioners believe that the soil or clay affords nutrients and minerals, such as …