What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is one of the latest healthcare craze to hit the market. It's color is a bit intimidating but the benefits are amazing! It's been used for medicinal purposes since the 19th century. One of the most popular uses for activated charcoal is in hospitals and emergency situations for the treatment of poisons and drug overdoses. The World Health Organization has included activated charcoal in its list of essential medicines, meaning you’ll likely find it in all ambulances, pharmacies and medical facilities.
"Activated charcoal consists of a substance—usually bamboo, wood, coal, or coconut shell—burned without oxygen to create char. The char is then heated to a high temperature and exposed to certain gases through a multi-step process to make it extremely porous. This is the “activation” part of the process. Once activated, what remains is a tasteless and odorless powder that is highly adsorbent, with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and gases up to 1000 times its own weight. This process of adsorption (not to be confused with absorption) is what makes charcoal so powerful. The surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positively charged toxins and gas to bond with it, trapping these toxins and chemicals and assisting to remove them from the body." (Food Matters)
Activated charcoal comes in many different forms such as capsules, creams, face masks, toothpastes, powders, and soaps. It has many different benefits!
1. Whitens Teeth: Cost effective and natural way to brighten your smile! Activated charcoal works to whiten your teeth, prevent bad breath, and balance PH levels. Activated charcoal can bind to bacteria and other harmful substances and remove them from the mouth which helps prevent tooth decay and gingivitis.
Brushing teeth: Brush with coconut oil and charcoal 3 times a week. Wet your toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush for a minute, sip. swish, spit until your mouth isn't black anymore :)
2. Cleansing Skin: Our skin is the largest organ of our bodies and deserves to be taken care of. You’d be amazed with what your skin manages to collect each day, some of which is not beneficial to your health! Dust particles, dead skin, fumes from cars and sweat all have the potential to build up in large quantities on the surface of the skin. If left untreated, these toxins may begin to affect your health.
Activated charcoal face masks are a wonderful, natural way to achieve smooth skin and a clear complexion! I've also found activated charcoal natural body soaps that are amazing to use in the shower. It helps to exfoliate the skin, remove bacteria, minimize pores and balance the skin’s pH levels. Its antibacterial properties can help heal acne, spot treatment and prevent further breakouts.
Also- like ordinary charcoal, activated charcoal possesses a black pigmentation, meaning that it may have the potential to stain clothes and surfaces so be extra careful!
3. Digestive Supplement: Activated charcoal can improve digestive function and immunity by helping to remove heavy toxins and metals that cause allergic reactions, as well as parasites and viruses. Toxicity is a part of everyday life and activated charcoal can help to eliminate toxins the body receives from pesticides in foods, pollutants from the air and chemicals in body products.
4. Anti-Aging: Premature aging is caused by toxins in our food, homes, and environment. Studies have shown that activated charcoal can help to prevent cellular damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as support healthy adrenal glands. Activated charcoal has also been shown to slow the rate at which the brain becomes increasingly sensitive to toxins as you age, which makes for better cognitive functioning.
5. Poison Remedy: Charcoal is an old remedy for counteracting poison in the body. Studies have shown that activated charcoal may be the most effective GI tract decontaminant available! It can adsorb up to 60% of unwanted substances in the stomach and intestines when taken quickly after ingestion. Hospitals all over the world routinely administer large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning like alcohol poisoning. Activated charcoal is also used in the event of an overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It's also great for insect bites! Bites and bee stings may involve some type of venom or chemical that agitates the skin and causes pain. Activated charcoal may help remove these chemicals from the body and contribute to reductions in pain and discomfort.
Where to Buy Activated Charcoal:
Look for "activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains." You can find activated charcoal from any health store!
Favorite Activated Charcoal Recipe:
easy to make drink that is great for hangovers and detoxing!
- alkaline water
- squeezed lemons
- coconut sugar or maple syrup
- activated charcoal
*Activated charcoal is not known to be toxic, though it should not be taken within two hours of vitamins or medications because it may prevent the body from absorbing them. Similarly, charcoal can bind to the nutrients present in drinks or food, making these less nourishing rather than enhancing them.