Activated charcoal has been used since centuries for detoxification and is a very safe, healthy alternative to chemicals. Find out in this article how to use it and the many benefits it offers.
Activated charcoal has been used since centuries worldwide for its natural health benefits - offering a much safer, chemical free alternative to us. In this article, we find out what all it can help with.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a fine black odorless powder that is used in a variety of applications where natural, healthy alternatives are preferred than their chemical counterparts. It is made with either one of these - coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, olive pits, coal, bone char, or sawdust. Activated charcoal has been used as an aid for pulling poisonous substances out of the human body since the 1800s!
Why is it called 'activated'?
It is called activated charcoal as it is 'activated' by been burnt at very high temperatures to make it more porous than the regular charcoal. And this is what distinguishes activated charcoal from other types of charcoal, including the one used in barbeque grills - which is just regular charcoal, not the activated one.
What are it's uses?
Helps with poisoning - When someone has ingested a poisonous substance, guess what they are given as an emergency treatment in the hospitals? Yup. Activated charcoal - it helps with pulling out the poison from the body and flushing it out. This it does by attaching to the toxins in the gut and pulling them out via excretion.
Helps with detoxification - Same as above, activated charcoal is used for detoxification. Since it is not absorbed by the body and the fact that it has the ability to pull toxic waste and chemicals out of the body, makes activated charcoal a powerful aid in body detoxification. It can also bind to drugs - thus helping decrease their absorption rate in the body. This is especially useful if one has overdosed.
Great for teeth whitening & as a natural toothpaste - Activated charcoal is used to whiten teeth, reduce or eliminate plaque, improve gum health and overall, pull out toxic germs, and bacteria from the mouth! This makes activated charcoal a much healthier, better, safer alternative to chemical filled commercial tooth whitening products!
Face masks for great skin - Got acne? Snake bites? You might have invisible germs, small bacteria sitting on the surface of your face skin. Apply some activated charcoal face mask and it will pull out built-up acne causing toxins and give you a cleaner, fresher looking skin.
Lowers Cholesterol - Activated charcoal can bind to cholesterol and cholesterol containing bile, and then, pull bad cholesterol out of the body. For how to take, see below.
Other Uses - Activated charcoal is also used for water treatment or filtration options to reduce fluoride and heavy metals. It is also used for indigestion (gas, diarrhea, etc.), hangovers, to promote better kidney function, and for fish odor syndrome (trimethylaminuria). It is also used as a natural deodorant.
How to take activated charcoal?
1. For drug overdose -
Take within 5 mins and it will reduce the absorption of the drug by 74%. Take 50-100 grams of activated charcoal immediately.
If taken within 30 mins of drug overdose, the effect is 50% and when taken after 3 hours, the effect decreases to 20%. You might have to take more doses of activated charcoal during the day - in that case, work with a doctor and see.
2. For lowering cholesterol -
In one study, 4 to 32 gms of activated charcoal daily, reduced total and bad cholesterol by 29% to 41%.
In another study, 24 gms of activated charcoal taken daily for 4 weeks resulted in reducing bad cholesterol by 25%.
3. For teeth whitening & as a toothpaste -
Simply dip your toothbrush in some activated charcoal powder and brush! That is it!
4. For face masks -
You can buy face masks that have activated charcoal in them or you can add some activated charcoal powder to clay, and a few drops of lemon juice and mix with water and apply. You can make your own recipe according to your skin type and add as many ingredients you need to nourish your skin.
Precautions to take when using activated charcoal?
1. When taking activated charcoal for detoxification, do note that it may cause black stools, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
2. In case of poisoning, activated charcoal should only be given to individuals who are 100% conscious and that is because it may travel to lungs (instead of the gut) and cause harm.
3. Drink plenty of water when taking activated charcoal as it can dehydrate the body while pulling the toxins.
4. People with variegate porphyria should not take activated charcoal as it may worsen the symptoms.
5. Last but not least, it may cause bowel blockages, though that is very rare as activated charcoal is considered very safe and has been used since centuries and widely by humans!
6. Do note that activated charcoal will NOT help detox from alcohol, iron, lithium, lye and petroleum products.
Where can I find activated charcoal?
Very easy! Find it in your health food store or by the supplements section in your grocery store.
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