Health Benefits of Activated Charcoal

Other names: active carbon, absorbent charcoal, medicinal charcoal

Charcoal is a fine black carbon powder made from natural materials like hardwood; it is produced by slow combustion in a relative absence of oxygen. Treatment with superheated steam can produce “activated” charcoal, which is capable of much greater adsorptive effect.

Activated Charcoal is an important natural remedy because of its ability to keep certain substances from being absorbed in the body’s gastro-intestinal tract. It will absorb (not absorb, but bind with) 29 of the 30 most dangerous poisons, thus neutralizing them.

If you do not have any available charcoal in an emergency, you can burn a piece of hard wood and scrape or chip the charcoal from the charred wood. After moistening it with water, place it in a food grinder. Commercial sources are usually made from coconut shells. Activated Charcoal may be taken orally or use a as compress.

Primary Source of Activated Charcoal: The source of activated charcoal products sold for internal or medicinal use (including for animals) includes hardwood, coconut, bamboo, peat moss, or olive pits. The source of activated charcoal used for other than internal or medicinal use may also come from Coal (Lignite or Anthracite).

Here are few of the many things it absorbs: Many industrial toxins, including: DDT, dieldrin, strychnine, malathion, and parathion. Many medicinal drugs, including: aspirin, barbiturates, cocaine, opium, nicotine, morphine, penicillin, and sulfas. Many inorganic chemicals, including: mercury, phosphorus, chlorine, iron, lead, and silver.

Health Benefits of Activated Charcoal:

  • Activated charcoal main use is to treat accidental poisonings. Once ingested, it binds with certain chemicals in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed into your system and causing harm.
  • Activated charcoal lowers the concentration of total lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood serum, liver, heart and brain.
  • Charcoal has been used as a poultice to reduce inflammation and absorb poisons from your skin caused by infection, chemicals, or insect bites and stings.
  • Charcoal alleviates intestinal gas and upset stomach.
  • Charcoal is also use in the treatment of allergies, skin problems, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, ulcer, bad breath, body odor, lower cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

 How to Use Activated Charcoal:

  • Poisoning. The first thing to dois to induce vomiting, followed by giving a large dose of activated charcoal. A dosage of 30-60 grams (about ½ cup) is needed, suspended in water and taken as soon as possible after the injection of any toxin.
  • Intestinal Gas and Diarrhea. Place a spoonful of charcoal in a half glass of water, drink it and drink another glass of pure water.
  • Breath deodorizer. With wet finger apply powder charcoal inside the mouth or hold a charcoal tablet in the mouth to stop bad breath immediately.
  • Snake bite. Immerse the affected area in charcoal water for 1 hr. Take 2 tbsp of charcoal every 2 hrs 3 doses, 1 tsp every 2 hrs for next 24 hrs.
  • Varicose leg ulcers. Apply charcoal cloth.                      

Preparation and amount:

  • Powder: take ½ – 1 ½ tsp. in ½ -1 cup water – swallowed, spread onto a poultice, or taken as a slurry.
  • Tablets: 4-8 chewed in mouth and then swallowed.

Common direction for usage:

  • Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.
  • Charcoal is usually taken after meals or at the first sign of discomfort.


  • Charcoal causes fecal matter to turn black, so don’t be alarmed.
  • Take charcoal exactly as directed in the package instructions or as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
  • Due to its great adsorption properties, activated charcoal should be taken two hours before or two hours after consumption of food, nutritional supplements or medications.
  • Charcoal should be used alone. It loses its effectiveness when mixed with chocolate syrup, ice cream, or sherbet.
  • Store charcoal at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Side Effects of Activated Charcoal:

  • May cause black stools, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting in large doses.
  • Those without an anatomically intact gastro-intestinal tract, or any bowel obstruction should not use activated charcoal.
  • Activated charcoal may cause abdominal pain or swelling. If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of intestinal bleeding or blockage.

Other Uses: Charcoal can be use as deodorizer. If your refrigerator or freezer has a persistent odor, you can place three ounces of activated charcoal in an open container. After three to six hours, remove the charcoal and “reactivate” it by heating it in a moderate oven. When used as a deodorizer, the charcoal can be reused indefinitely.

“This post was originally published on January 1, 2012 @ 07:21”