Activated charcoal is a fine, odorless black powder typically used in the emergency treatment of certain kinds of poisoning. It is made by heating natural sources of carbon, such as wood, coconut shells and sawdust, to very high temperatures. This process “activates” the charcoal and creates tiny holes on its surface, thereby increasing its overall surface area. In fact, one teaspoonful of activated charcoal has roughly the same total surface area as a football field.
It’s because of these tiny holes and large surface area that activated charcoal is able to soak up a variety of toxins. This sponge-like property works best with toxins that contain organic particles, which are compounds that contain carbon and are normally bonded with oxygen, hydrogen or nitrogen. Depending on the type of overdose or toxin, a single dose of activated charcoal can be an effective treatment if given quickly enough.
Here are some of the other common uses of activated charcoal: (h/t to PrepSchoolDaily.Blogspot.com)
- Food poisoning – Every year, an estimated one in six Americans, or roughly 48 million people, get sick from food poisoning. The most common culprit is spoiled or contaminated meat. Luckily, you can use activated charcoal to treat food poisoning. Just take a few tablespoonfuls of it mixed in water every 10 minutes. Powdered activated charcoal is best for this because it works immediately. Additionally, activated charcoal can help flush out alcohol from your system after heavy drinking.
- Acid reflux – Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of the esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. This causes a burning sensation that usually runs from the throat to the center of the chest. To relieve this burning sensation, take a tablespoon of activated charcoal powder mixed in a glass of water.
- Diarrhea – There is anecdotal evidence that activated charcoal can be used to treat diarrhea given its use as an adsorbent in overdoses and poisonings. To treat diarrhea, take a tablespoon of activated charcoal powder mixed in a glass of water up to six times per day.
- Irritable bowel disease (IBD) – IBD is a term for two conditions marked by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, namely, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD typically causes persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloody stools. To relieve IBD symptoms, take one teaspoon of activated charcoal mixed in water or one activated charcoal capsule with every meal.
- Tooth abscess – A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around an infected tooth. To treat a tooth abscess, mix activated charcoal and water to make a paste and wrap that in sterile gauze. Wet this poultice, then hold it in place over the infected tooth to minimize swelling and pain.
- High cholesterol levels – High cholesterol levels, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, can accumulate in the walls of the arteries and raise the risk of stroke and heart attack. Proponents of activated charcoal believe that by binding to cholesterol, activated charcoal can stop cholesterol in your food from moving into the bloodstream. To maintain healthy cholesterol levels, take a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder mixed in water every day.
- End-stage kidney disease and kidney failure – Activated charcoal can also support healthy kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drugs. It may even help improve kidney function and reduce kidney damage and inflammation caused by chronic kidney disease, according to a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology. For optimal kidney function, take activated charcoal alongside a low-protein diet. (Related: Easily avoid kidney disease by improving your diet.)
Remedies.news has more articles about other natural remedies like activated charcoal.