Activated charcoal and its amazing benefits were always known to ancients, but they have only been rediscovered again quite recently. The medical world is slowly waking up to the miraculous detoxifying and antidote effects of activated charcoal. In the last few decades, numerous studies have shown that activated charcoal powder reduces systemic absorption of analgesics, nicotine, heavy metals, sedatives, hypnotics, and solvents and many drugs, chemicals and toxins. What this means is that activated charcoal prevents the transfer of these harmful substances from the gastrointestinal tract to the rest of the body. It binds to heavy metals and toxins throwing them out. In this article, we will discover some more activated charcoal benefits and how you can utilize them.
How and where to buy activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is available in medicinal, regular or activated form in pills, powders, pastes, capsules, tablets or oral suspension in water. You can buy these products online, in health food stores or pharmacies. Always buy USP listed charcoal (which shows that it is United States Pharmacopeia Grade). Check if the charcoal is compounded with other ingredients like fillers, binders or sweeteners. While these may or may not necessarily hamper with the activated charcoal benefits, the lesser they are, the better will be the product. Also, certain sweeteners like Sorbitol can increase side effects like vomiting. Majority of the commercial activated charcoal products contain 75% charcoal with 25% fillers and binders.
Activated charcoal benefits
1. Teeth whitening and fresh breath
This is the most popular of all activated charcoal benefits. Chewing on activated charcoal can sweeten breath and also brighten your smile. Activated charcoal binds to plaque and tartar removing them from the oral cavity. Regularly brush your teeth using activated charcoal powder.
Related content: Home Remedies For Whiter Brighter Teeth.
2. Reduce anemia in cancer patients
Cancer patients undergoing conventional therapy can benefit greatly from regular consumption of activated charcoal. The reason: charcoal binds with anemia-inducing toxins and by-products of conventional cancer treatment removing them from the body. This property was also mentioned in circa 400 BC, when Hippocrates was recorded to have used activated charcoal to treat severe form of anemia called chlorosis (resulting from severe iron deficiency).
3. Treat and disinfect wounds and skin infections
In ancient Egypt, physicians used charcoal on putrefying wounds to prevent them from smelling. This was the first recorded use of activated charcoal as per papyri found from around 1500 BC. Here is how you can use activated charcoal on skin rashes, cuts, burns or wounds:
Make a poultice of activated charcoal with 3 tbsp of ground flax seeds, 3 tbsp activated charcoal powder and ¾ cup of hot water. Mix well and cool to room temperature. Apply on the wound or rashes and cover with a clean gauze. Leave it on for 3-6 hours.
Epilepsy is known to result from accumulation of toxins and inflammation. Activated charcoal removes the toxic waste to prevent and reduce inflammation. With regular use, epilepsy patients can prevent episodes of fits. This benefit of activated charcoal has even been mentioned in journals of Hippocrates.
In 1986 British study, patients with high cholesterol were given 2 tbsp or 8 grams of activated charcoal 3 times a day for a total of 4 weeks. The results were very impressive:
- 25% total reduction in cholesterol
- 41% reduction in LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Doubled ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol
6. Longer life, improved health and anti aging benefits of activated charcoal
Microscopic tissue examination showed that regular use of activated charcoal lowered RNA activity, decreased protein synthesis and organ fibrosis, as well as sclerotic changes in heart and coronary blood vessels. This adds to improved overall health and possibility of longer life.
7. Improved food quality
More people want quality nutrition in their food and the food industry is taking cognizance of this. Many manufacturers are adding activated charcoal (without increasing manufacturing costs) to remove ill effects and odors of colorants, preservatives and dyes. The activated charcoal is actually improving and enhancing desirable flavors.
8. Detoxification benefits
Dr. Richard C Kaufmann (bio-nutritional chemistry department from University of Brussels) has written excessively on the role of activated charcoal in detoxification and anti-aging. He recommends either of the following steps of using activated charcoal to detoxify on a regular basis:
- Take activated charcoal on 2 consecutive days each week.You can take it in divided doses for a total dosage of 25 to 35 grams. Take a pill at midday and one at night before bed. Avoid eating processed foods.
- Take 20 grams of activated charcoal a day for 2 months in divided doses. Take a month’s break and then resume dosing.
With these detox plans, he found many benefits like reduced allergies, removal of toxins, and prevention of premature aging.
9. Miscellaneous benefits of Activated charcoal
- Eye and ear infections
- Aspirin overdose
- Cancer pain
- Cuts and burns
- Liver disorders
- Mouth lesions
- Poison ivy
- Skin rashes
- Spider and snake bites
- Sore throat
- Spastic colon
- Peptic ulcers
For these disorders, dissolve 1 to 1 ½ tbsp of activated charcoal powder in water and take it in between meals 3 times a day.
Contraindications of Activated charcoal
- People taking prescription medicines must not use activated charcoal as it can decrease the efficiency of these drugs.
- Never take charcoal for more than 12 weeks.
- Never administer charcoal to unconscious person.
- Do not use activated charcoal for following poisons: cyanide, caustic alkalines, boric acid, mineral acids and alcohol.
Based on these benefits, it is evident that we must use activated charcoal regularly and also keep it on hand as an antidote and poison remedy.