Activated charcoal is most widely used medicinally as a detoxifier and poison antidote in Emergency Rooms. It adsorbs (different from absorbs) most organic toxins, chemicals and poisons before they can harm the body. Charcoal does this by binding with the toxins, so rather than being absorbed by the body, the toxins are expelled.
In the home, many people are having excellent results using activated charcoal to whiten teeth, cleanse skin, and even assist with bloating and gas.
How is Activated Charcoal Made?
Activated charcoal is created through the process of heating common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or “pores”. These pores help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals.
The final charcoal product is a fine, black powder that is odourless and tasteless.
How to Use Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal powder can be used to brush teeth stained by tea, coffee and food.
Simply wet your toothbrush, dip it into the charcoal powder and brush your teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Thoroughly rinse mouth out with water.
Be careful, charcoal will stain grout and fabrics, and may stain crowns, caps or porcelain veneers.
Above: Results using My Magic Mud products. Available instore.
Skin, Body and Bites
Activated charcoal can be effective in relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites.
Bites from mosquitos, snakes and spiders, along with bee stings, can be alleviated by applying a capsule of activated charcoal mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil to the affected area. Apply a liberal amount to snake and spider bite wounds and surrounding areas. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone, rinsing well between applications, and keep wrapped in a bandage to prevent staining.
Charcoal can be used in both home-made and commercial skin products for skin health. To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel and smooth over face. Let dry and rinse off completely. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It can also be used for spot treatments.
Gas and Bloating
A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.
To alleviate discomfort, it is recommended to take 500 milligrams one hour prior to eating with a full glass of water, immediately followed by an additional glass of water to help get the charcoal into your system.
Keeping activated charcoal at home and at work as part of your first aid kit is a good idea in case of chemical, toxin or drug ingestion. In an emergency, always call 000 and tell the operator that you have activated charcoal on hand; the operator may advise you to administer it prior to the first responder’s arrival.
Side Effects and Precautions
Activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements, prescription medications and the contraceptive pill. Always consult with your doctor before taking activated charcoal internally.
Activated charcoal is not effective in treatment of all chemical, toxin and poison ingestion. Always dial 000 in the case of an emergency and wait for medical advice.
Do not inhale activated charcoal.
Please consult your doctor before ingesting activated charcoal if you are pregnant.
When using long term for the treatment of gas and bloating, please read the packaging for possible side effects.
Ready to try activated charcoal for yourself?
We have a great range of activated charcoal products including:
MY MAGIC MUD Tooth Whitening Powder and Toothpaste
SUKIN Oil Balancing Skin Care using Bamboo Charcoal
CHARCOAL ME Activated Coconut Charcoal for Face and Teeth