Silica and Basalt: How Rock Dust Benefits the Health of Soil, Plants and People


Cascade Minerals Remineralizing Soil Booster is derived from finely ground volcanic basalt and nothing more. With no synthetic chemicals or man-made additives, our rock dust is approved for use in organic production.

Yet we’ve noticed some puzzled expressions when people see silicon dioxide (SiO2) listed as a main ingredient. “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be an all-natural product?” they ask. It is! Let us explain why.

Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is a naturally occurring mineral and the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen). Basically, it is everywhere. Until recently, it was thought that plants would almost never be deficient since the soil contains a huge reservoir of silica.

Yet the problem lies with the form of silicon dioxide that can be absorbed by plants. Most of the available silica has been weathered away from our agricultural soils. As a result, researchers and soil scientists are beginning to understand the benefit of having soluble silica available for plant growth.

That’s where basalt comes in. Compared to other volcanic rocks, basalt weather relatively quickly which means it breaks down readily in soil. Applying finely ground basalt powder is like adding a fresh deposit of natural soil minerals to your garden. Plants that have access to soluble silica benefit in a multitude of ways. For example, silicon:

  • Contributes to the strength of cell walls, making plants more resistant to pests and disease
  • Strengthens stems and helps plants stand tall (thus enabling them to capture more light which maximizes photosynthesis)
  • Improves the drought resistance and salt tolerance of plants
  • Increases root growth and boosts yields
  • Enhances nutrition and flavor of fruits and vegetables

Silicon is essential to human health as well, and is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Silicon deposits can be found in the kidneys, liver and lungs as well as in bones, nails, teeth, tendons and arteries. Silicon helps maintain the proper balance between magnesium and calcium, and helps your body absorb the calcium that leads to strong and healthy bones.

Unfortunately, without supplements many of us don’t get enough silicon in our daily diets. Commercial fruits and vegetables that look good on the grocery store shelves often lack essential nutrients and minerals that contribute to optimal health. That’s why more and more home gardeners, organic farmers and natural growers use Cascade Minerals. Our remineralizing soil booster puts soluble silica into the soil where it can be absorbed by plants that grow strong and healthy to produce nutrient-rich food for humans.