Activated charcoal is charcoal that is treated with oxygen at high levels, to make it more porous. It is a by product of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or other substances. The best activated charcoal to use is organic and made from coconut shells. When it is processed at these high temperatures, the charcoal is “activated” and its structure changes. The porousness makes it effective in attaching to toxins and flushing them from the body. Therefore, it is a wonderful detox-remedy.
The main difference between activated charcoal and charcoal used for a barbecue, is that activated charcoal is free from any toxins and carcinogens. Activated charcoal is generally safe to consume and apply topically. It is interesting to note, that hospitals often use activated charcoal to treat certain poisons. There are many other uses and, in this blog post, I am going to delve a little deeper into the many uses.
Activated charcoal (found in many natural toothpastes today), can brighten and whiten your teeth, even lessen the colouring caused by caffeine and/or smoking. It is a wonderful medicine that alleviates bloating and gas, as well as cleansing the digestive tract. It is also used to help prevent (alleviate) hangovers, lowers bad cholesterol and detox the body.
Many facial-, body- and hair-products also contain activated charcoal. Activated charcoal helps to treat acne, relieves insect bites and bee stings, can reduce oily skin, is a deep cleanser for the whole body and soothes an itchy scalp. It also helps to remove dandruff, is a wonderful remedy for cuts, can be used as a facial mask and has anti-ageing properties in.
Other uses are that it eliminates radiation, purifies the air (can be used in-between your clothes, rid your house and/or car of smells) and purifies water. Activated charcoal can be taken in powder form, tablet form and you can also buy charcoal pieces (blocks), which you place in water to purify it. Charcoal is also being added to toothpastes, hair products, facial masks and in soap.
Originally, as mentioned before, active charcoal was originally used in hospitals to treat patients who were poisoned and/or who overdosed. Nowadays it is widely used by doctors, beauticians and the general public alike. With so many brands and products out there, do remember to always opt for the organic charcoal. Make sure it is activated and, if possible, opt for products made from pure coconut shells (other brands can contain wood, peat, debris and/or bamboo). Also check that there are no added fillers to the pills / powder.
Before using activated charcoal as a supplement, always check with your medical practitioner. Activated charcoal can interfere with medication and other supplements. Thus, if you want to drink it, drink it at a separate time and not with your other supplements and/or medication. If you are new to using it, don’t be surprised if your bowel movements are dark / black; it is natural! However, if you drink it too often / too much of it, you can become constipated. Always listen to your body and make sure to read the label first!