Humic substances have been used for health related purposes which include both external and internal applications. For example the study of mud baths used in balenotherapy has revealed the humic substances are a component of the healing muds. Other past external uses include peat bandages used by the Red Cross in 1918 and also World War I, it was stated that the bandages . . . proved to be of special value owing to their antiseptic qualities. In more recent times cosmetic companies have included humic extracts in lotions, makeup, balms, and skin creams.
In addition to external use, humic extracts have been consumed internally for human health reasons. Modern research indicates possible antiviral and healing properties that are currently being tested.
Because humic substances are extremely heterogeneous in nature these compounds can exhibit several potentially beneficial applications in human health. There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that humic substances may have value in treating arthritis, HIV, cancer, detoxifying heavy metals, and augmenting immunity to disease. The goal of the HPTA is to help develop this knowledge and increase the awareness of humic substance use in human health.
Klcking, R., 1994. Humic substances as potential therapeutics. In: N. Senesi and T.M. Miano (eds.), Humic Substances in the Global Environment and Implications on Human Health. Elsevier Science B.V. pp. 1331-1336.
Klcking, R. and Helbig, B., 2005. Medical Aspects and Applications of Humic Substances. In: A. Steinbchel and R.H. Marchessault (eds.), Biopolymers for Medical and Pharmaceutical Applications. Wiley-Vch Verlag GmbH & Co., Weinheim. pp. 3-16.
Schepetkin, I.A., A. Khlebnikov, and B.S. Kwon, 2002. Medical Drugs from Humus Matter: Focus on Mumie. Drug Development Research 57:140-059.
Leonardite has been used in the oil field as an additive in drilling fluids since 1947. The oil field refers to leonardite as lignite or brown coal as it is an oxidized lignite with no btu value. Attractive for its solubility rate, it is used to control the viscosity of water based muds and also serves for filtration reductions, oil emulsification and stabilization of properties against high temperature effects.
Foundries use leonardite, a natural source of humates, as an additive in green sand molding. It reduces clay viscosity, increases mold permeability, absorbs and retains water and improves mold shakeout. The use of Leonardite in green sand systems also improves the foundry environment for workers.