What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from coal, peat, coconut shells, bone char, petroleum coke, and olive pits. Activated charcoal isn’t the same as charcoal briquettes; it is charcoal that gets activated by some high-temperature processing which changes its internal structure, increases its surface area, and reduces the size of its pores, making it void of toxic substances. A significant difference between activated charcoal and regular charcoal is that the former is more porous.
Activated charcoal is a natural remedy capable of eliminating toxins and chemicals that you ingest accidentally. It works by drawing components to itself and inactivating them before excretion. It is an effective home remedy used in treating poisoning and drug overdoses.
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
Promotes Kidney Function
Activated charcoal enhances the excretion of water-soluble waste by the kidneys. It also prevents kidney damage that comes as a result of waste accumulation.
Relieves Intestinal Bloating
Activated charcoal is used to treat bloating. You may take charcoal tablets before meals to prevent excessive gas production and bloating. Note that adequate water consumption is key, to avoid the dehydrating effect of activated charcoal.
Treats Inflammatory Skin Conditions
Activated charcoal reduces irritation caused by inflammation. It is also used to treat fungal infections and snakebites. You may mix activated charcoal with petroleum jelly or coconut oil, and apply it every 30 minutes to affected areas. You may also cover such areas with appropriate dressing to prevent infections and the unattractive look of the mixture.
Unknown to many, the metabolic by-products produced through the breakdown by the liver is the cause of hangovers, not the alcohol consumed. Consuming activated charcoal after alcohol intake reduces the stress on the liver, hence prevents hangovers.
Treats Alcohol Poisoning
Activated charcoal reduces alcohol blood concentration, hence combats alcohol poisoning.
Slows Down Aging
Activated charcoal slows down aging by preserving the health of vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands. When these organs are stressed due to exposure to toxins and some other factors, cellular aging occurs, and it reflects physically in the body with signs of aging.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Activated charcoal reduces the not-so-healthy LDL cholesterol, and increases the healthy HDL cholesterol. If you consume activated charcoal at about the same time as when you consume high-fat meals, the absorption of the fats gets slowed down.
Activated charcoal adsorbs harmful chemicals and toxins to itself, hence its role in water filtration. This process is called carbon filtration, and it is super safe for water purification.
Combats Body Odor
Activated charcoal neutralizes excess moisture and sweat, and inhibits bacteria growth and spread in the process. This is why it is essential in combatting body odor. Activated charcoal is quite beneficial in the beauty industry.
Activated charcoal changes the pH in the mouth, combats bacteria spread, gingivitis, bad breath, and cavities. It particularly whitens the teeth, as good as even more expensive remedies do.
To whiten the teeth with activated charcoal, dip a moist toothbrush in it and brush your teeth gently. Doing this twice a week will help you achieve excellent results. Doing it more than twice a week may cause tooth sensitivity and scratches.
Activated charcoal is an affordable remedy for diarrhea in developing and underdeveloped countries. This is because it has a dehydrating quality.
Serves as Antidote
Activated charcoal should be in every first aid kit, due to its usefulness in emergency cases such as drug overdose. Activated charcoal protects the liver and kidneys by binding and inactivating such medications.
Reduces Symptoms of Trimethylaminuria
Activated charcoal reduces appalling odors from trimethylaminuria (TMAU), also known as fish odor syndrome. This genetic condition is one which a compound which smells like rotten fish builds up in the body, and sufferers find it difficult to excrete. Activated charcoal’s porous surface binds odorous compounds and increases their excretion.
Unknown to many, mold can live in the human body. It can cause kidney and liver failure, depression, heart disease, brain defects, headaches, eye irritation, respiratory diseases, nausea, or an impaired immune system, especially if it’s toxic. Flooded homes and poor ventilation are common causes of mold.
It is important to get rid of mold as soon as you notice them, and you are advised to always wear gloves and a protective mask when doing so. You may use activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, baking soda, and borax to get rid of mold on hard surfaces and also to prevent future occurrence.
Sometimes, molds are not easily visible. Health symptoms of its presence are rashes, wheezing, coughing, headaches, and watery eyes. Note that these could also be symptoms of other conditions.
Activated Charcoal For Skin Treatment
Here are some mixtures you can do with activated charcoal to combat some skin conditions.
Cleansing Facial Scrub with Charcoal and Sea Salt
- ½ tablespoon activated charcoal powder
- ½ tablespoon fine grain sea salt
- ½ tablespoon rose water
Combine the listed ingredients, and mix till you have a smooth paste. The activated charcoal wards off impurities; the salt content fights acne and bacteria; while the rose water soothes inflammation and hydrates the skin.
Massage your face gently with the scrub for some minutes, then rinse with warm water to treat oily or acne-prone skin.
Mattifying mask with charcoal and clay
- ½ tablespoon activated charcoal
- ½ tablespoon Multani Mitti or Bentonite Clay
- Some rose water
Mix the listed ingredients until you have a smooth paste. The activated charcoal eliminates impurities through your pores, while the clay content gets rid of excess oil.
Apply it on your face for a while, and wash it off just before it dries.
Activated Charcoal Dosage
Activated charcoal supplements can be in pill and powder forms. To take it in powder form, mix it with water or a non-acidic juice. We will discuss the dosage of activated charcoal for various health conditions.
For Drug Overdose
For adults, a medical professional may administer 50-100 grams of activated charcoal within an hour of overdose, while children may get 10-25 grams.
A dose of 1.5 grams can be used to treat trimethylaminuria.
For Cholesterol and Kidney Function
To combat high cholesterol levels and kidney malfunction, a medical professional may administer 4-32 grams of activated charcoal over a period of time, depending on the severity of the condition.
A Tip for Buying Activated Charcoal
Avoid activated charcoals that have artificial sweeteners because they contain harmful chemicals. Why use a product that has chemicals to get rid of toxins from your body? If you need to sweeten your activated charcoal, use a non-acidic juice or natural sweetener.
Side Effects of Activated Charcoal
- pain or swelling in the stomach
- black stool
Activated Charcoal may interfere with the following drugs:
- Mycophenolic Acid
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Mycophenolate Mofetil
Activated Charcoal Facts
- Activated charcoal is a potent additive in face mask recipes. It is required for the removal of dead skin and blackheads.
- Charcoal can be used to ward off odors and airborne toxins.
- People have been using activated charcoal for many centuries. In 400 B.C., Hindus and Phoenicians used it as a water purifier.
- In the 19th century, scientists ingested arsenic to prove the potency of activated charcoal as an antidote for poison.
- Ancient Egyptians used activated charcoal as a natural detoxifier with which they cleansed their bodies.