Activated Charcoal: Discover Its Benefits
Many of the medicinal and home uses of activated charcoal have been documented as far back as several centuries. In more recent times, Ellen G. White, the 19th century health reformer, author and one of the original founders of what is now the Seventh Day Adventist Church, wrote extensively of the uses and properties of charcoal for healing and general good health.
The writings of Ms. White have become much sought after since her death in 1915, and in fact, according to the United States Library of Congress, she is the most translated American author of all time. Her works included decades long journals of descriptions of individuals healed by the use of charcoal, healthy food and adequate sunshine and rest and her works are respected by modern doctors for their clarity and correctness in matters of nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
For those who have a serious interest in pursuing the uses of coconut shell activated charcoal in their daily lives, the Charcoal Remedies book by John Dinsley is most certainly the reference work of choice. However, the book you’re reading would not be complete without some specific direction and information regarding the powerful healing and benefit of charcoal derived from coconut shells.
The following short list of home and personal care uses of coconut shell activated charcoal is not by any means complete or exhaustive, but it covers the general ground rules of how to use it and what it can do so that anyone may refer to it for useful information and instruction.
Perhaps the most common medicinal use for activated charcoal is to prevent death and organ damage as a result of accidental or intentional poisoning.
The most important thing to know about preventing poisoning is that a delay of only 30 minutes can drastically reduce the effectiveness of charcoal to prevent organ or other damage from poisons.
Every home should have information for contacting their local poison emergency center, or the national poison control center hotline. But in the short term, often the best first line of defense, especially when the poison is a pharmaceutical drug, is to give 50 grams of activated charcoal to adults and a proportional amount by weight to children. Many studies have confirmed the effectiveness of this remedy.
Because it is so effective against poisoning, including food poisoning, it has been used in emergency rooms for many years and should be a mandatory part of every home first aid kit.
Activated Charcoal for Stomach Upset, Bloating and Gas
Activated charcoal has been proven effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and has a long history of usefulness as an aid to healing digestive distress. Since our gut health is linked directly to our overall health and more and more discoveries link healthy digestion to long life, it makes very good sense to use activated charcoal to heal our digestive tract if it is out of whack.
When I take charcoal for bloating, I take two capsules or mix one heaping teaspoon food grade coconut shell activated charcoal with 8 ounces of warm water.
I always drink additional water right away (at least 8 ounces) and more throughout the next 24 hours to give my body the water it needs so the charcoal can do its job. Whenever taking charcoal internally doctors advise to stir well until all the powder is suspended in the liquid and there are no large clumps which could cause choking.
To avoid constipation you can mix the charcoal powder with psyllium husks and be certain to drink at least an additional 16 ounces of water throughout the next 24 hours.
Another surprising remedy using activated charcoal is to get rid of migraines. The dosage is the same as for the stomach ache – and the results seem to be equally quick. Pretty amazing, especially for those who get these killer headaches with any regularity.
How to Make a Charcoal Poultice
A poultice for drawing out infection from open wounds, adsorbing poisonous venom from snake bites or insect stings can speed healing and draw dangerous bacteria and poisons out of the body.
Make the poultice in a small dish by mixing two parts water to one part charcoal and then adding one part ground flax seeds to make a jelly like substance that is ‘smearable’ but not too stiff. It should be wet and gooey. In cases where it is possible to see the infection moving in the body, as for example, a bee sting on the toe which is causing swelling and discoloration toward the ankle and along the foot, make a poultice large enough to cover the entire affected area. In this example, the poultice would be put on the entire foot.
The jelly should be applied to a strip of cloth or paper towel so that one layer of thickness of the bandage material remains between the person’s skin and the jelly in the bandage. Fold the rest of the bandage up around and over the jelly to help prevent dripping. Now place a small piece of plastic wrap or a piece of plastic bag over the area to just cover it. You may wrap the entire area in a larger bandage such as an Ace bandage to hold it in place if needed. Do not wrap it tight and do not stretch an elastic Ace bandage so that it compresses the area. Keep it loose with just enough tension to hold the poultice in place. Poultices required for long term healing of open wounds should be replaced with a new poultice every 8 hours.
The application of charcoal, particularly immediately after a bite or sting, can greatly reduce risk and severity of the effect of venoms. A charcoal poultice can also be used to draw infections out of open wounds.
Bee Stings and Poisonous Insect Bites
Many people have severe reactions to insect bites and stings, and even without a severe reaction, the venom injected can cause pain, swelling, itching and discomfort. As with many charcoal remedies, the more quickly the application is made, the better. However, it has been observed that drinking a teaspoon of charcoal in a glass of water, as well as applying the charcoal to the affected area can also help to alleviate the symptoms of insect bites and stings, even hours later, if the symptoms still persist or arise after the fact.
Charcoal has been recognized and used for the treatment of insect bites and stings with great success. The stories of people using primitive charcoal in the time of the writings of E.G. White are impressive indeed, but there are as many stories to be found around the world today as ever before. In fact, the anecdotal evidence suggests that applying a simple paste of charcoal and water in an emergency where there is no way to prepare a proper poultice seems as effective as applying a charcoal poultice.
Use a poultice of activated charcoal and ground flax seed and water to cover the bite area. Wrap the poultice with a cloth bandage or strip of cloth and pin into place. Leave in place for up to several hours, depending on the severity of the reaction, while waiting for symptoms to subside.
Teeth Cleaning and Whitening
Use food grade coconut shell activated charcoal tablets or powder to brush your teeth periodically. You do not need to use it every day (it can be quite messy to get used to for everyday use).
When you want to whiten your teeth, charcoal will do a super job for you and it’s very simple to do.
It won’t hurt your teeth. Charcoal won’t scratch your tooth enamel and it doesn’t harm the teeth in any way as some chemical whiteners may if improperly applied. It also gets your teeth really clean, which is surprising when you use it, because it is so black!
Start by placing some activated charcoal powder in a small flat dish. Wet your toothbrush and press the bristle tips into the charcoal powder. Now brush your teeth with the charcoal. After brushing, dip the bristle tips into the charcoal again and now press the bristles against your teeth all around your mouth until all the teeth are coated in charcoal.
Leave the charcoal on your teeth for ten minutes to allow it to work. You can leave it longer if you can stand it, but ten minutes does a great job.
Now brush your teeth with your regular toothpaste. Rinse and then use dental floss to remove any charcoal from around the teeth. Teeth will typically whiten one shade per treatment. Repeat as needed to achieve the whiteness you would like. This really works, and it’s good for your teeth, too. Activated charcoal easily adsorbs all the tannins and stains right off your teeth.
If you are unsure if water is safe to drink, you can stir in a quarter cup of activated charcoal to a quart of water and let it settle to the bottom and stand for 10 to 15 minutes. You can drink the grey charcoal water with a straw or simply pour off a glass at a time to drink.
Add granulated activated charcoal to watering equipment for poultry and farm animals to remove potential toxins or contaminants.
Refrigerator Freshener and Food Extender
Adding a small container of activated charcoal to the refrigerator contents will remove all odors and also extend the life of the food in the refrigerator by eliminating bacteria and reducing the ethylene gas given off by fruits and vegetables as they ripen.
There are specially made activated charcoal pads which can be purchased for placing in shoes to remove foot odor. But for a fraction of the expense you can make your own by filling two small organza bags with granulated activated charcoal and simply dropping them into your shoes each night.
You won’t wear them in your shoes as you do the insoles which are impregnated with activated charcoal, but they will remove the odors from your shoes just the same.
Granulated activated charcoal can be placed strategically throughout the home, in small organza or cloth bags to eliminate pet odors, mold, mildew or any number of unwanted odors from the air.
Toxic Fumes from new Carpets, Construction or Furniture
Activated charcoal hung in small cloth bags or even in paper bags for a temporary solution, will eliminate not only the odors but the actual chemical toxins in the air, serving double duty. Activated charcoal works especially well for removing the fumes such as formaldehyde from new carpeting. It also works well to eliminate the ammonia/urine scent and bacteria from pet accidents.
There are now kitty litters which come with activated charcoal in the ingredients for which you can pay a premium; or, simply buy activated charcoal in bulk and add a scoop to each fresh litter box as you prepare it. This provides the added benefit of extending the time between changes of the litter box as well.
Soils, Biochar, Activated Charcoal, and Environmental Remediation and Global Climate Change
New discoveries are providing new understanding of how charcoal works in the natural cycle of healthy soils and the environment. This has led to what is often called the new ‘biochar revolution’ as scientists, farmers, and climatologists explore the implications of the role charcoal can play to sequester carbon, improve soil fertility and reduce CO2 buildup in the atmosphere.
In addition, new applications for activated charcoal in environmental cleanup are proving to be safe, effective and able to accomplish some very important jobs. Most carbon based pesticides and herbicides can be remediated with the application of an activated charcoal ‘slurry’ where the charcoal, in a fine powder form, is washed into the soil with water.
The application is allowed to sit for several weeks and then plants are seeded into the area. The health and vigor of the plants determine whether the area is considered remediated or in need of an additional application.
USDA agricultural extension offices around the United States publish fact sheets and guidelines for such soil and site remediation for substances including pesticides, petroleum products, hydraulic fluids and other contaminants. These guidelines offer instructions, best practices and amounts of activated charcoal to use depending on the remediation needed.
Herbicides Known to be Remediated by Activated Charcoal
- 2,4-D Benefin (Balan)
- Bensulide (Betasan and Prefar)
- Bromacil (Hyvar X)
- Chloroacetamide (Metolachlor or Dimethenamid)
- DCPA (Dacthal) Dichlobenil (Casoron or Norosac)
- EPTC (Eptam)
- Terbacil (Sinbar)
- Triazine Herbicides (Atrazine and Simdazine)
- Trifluralin (Treflan)
- Urea Herbicides (Linuron and Diuron)
Activated charcoal has been gaining new popularity in recent years in agricultural soil remediation. Applications to remediate toxic soils and remove chemicals, pesticides and herbicides by adsorption have been tested and proven effective.
These applications come at a time when industrial agriculture has increased toxic chemical applications in farming by some 400% over the last decade, and people around the world are questioning the impact of deadly chemicals in food, soil, air and water. Activated charcoal offers a clean effective solution which may provide clean soils and clean food.
Powerful new strategies are also emerging for using biochar in environmental remediation, carbon sequestering, soil fertility and crop yield increases. Recently discovered evidence has proven that charcoal was an integral part of a vast and highly productive system of developing soil fertility in the Amazon basin as many as several thousand years ago. Most astonishingly, this system of soil fertilization continues to produce nourishing soils with fertility rates hundreds of times more productive than surrounding rain forest soils to this very day. Farmers have demonstrated that these soils can actually be mined and transferred to other locations. The areas mined, as long as they are left with a 10 to 20 centimeter deep layer of soil, will completely regenerate within twenty years to a new rich deposit of fertile soil several meters deep.
The discoveries revealed a complex network of waterways and ancient settlement sites. It was determined that the peoples of these ancient civilizations made and used charcoal by mixing organic matter and waste wood to create rich deposits of living soils which provided abundant fertility, high crop yields and excellent nutrition in the foods grown in them.
These methods have demonstrated great improvements in crop yields, soil fertility and food production capacity in soils normally considered to be too poor to sustain crops or produce food in any significant volume. Indeed, the poor quality of the Amazonian soils was the chief (now known to be incorrect) argument throughout the 20th century against any sizable ancient indigenous population in the region.
Not only do these discoveries demonstrate a massive increase in potential food crop yields, they also demonstrate a consistent, environmentally sustainable and nonpolluting way to transform organic matter such as wood, weedy plant matter, animal waste and other naturally abundant materials into carbon rich soil deposits. Thus it allows for massive carbon sequestering, heating and cooking systems which do not produce smoke, and long term stable soil fertility all at the same time.
Perhaps most astounding, these recently discovered biochar deposits, some as many as 2,000 years old, are still so fertile and life sustaining that local farmers mine them to sell to other farmers for potting mix and fertilizer for their farms.
We may never know what really happened in these cultures of the past, or why they have disappeared except for small bands of peoples. But the gift of their extraordinary technology of soil development has been conclusively and consistently demonstrated by many researchers and others since the Amazonian discovery.
New research in Hawaii, Haiti and other tropical locations have demonstrated that coconut shells also make an excellent feed stream for the production of no emissions biochar, which can then be used to fertilize poor tropical soils and sequester carbon across the tropics.
Biochar and activated charcoal together offer new ways to remediate toxins in the environment and in our own bodies. It may be that they are the real black gold needed to counteract the massive toxicity and environmental devastation left behind all over our planet from the black gold of the petroleum age.
FAQs: Activated Charcoal
1. What is activated charcoal? Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that has been treated to have a large surface area, allowing it to trap and adsorb certain substances. It is commonly used for various purposes, including medical treatments, water purification, and skincare.
2. How is activated charcoal different from regular charcoal? Activated charcoal is derived from regular charcoal but undergoes a specific activation process that creates numerous pores and increases its surface area. This activation enhances its adsorption capabilities.
3. Can activated charcoal be used for detoxification? Activated charcoal is often promoted as a detoxification agent, with claims of binding to and removing toxins from the body. While it is used in some medical scenarios for toxin removal, its effectiveness for general detoxification is a topic of debate among experts.
4. Is activated charcoal safe for consumption? Activated charcoal is generally safe for short-term use when prescribed or used correctly. However, it may interfere with the absorption of certain medications and nutrients, so it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before consuming it.
5. Can activated charcoal be used for teeth whitening? Activated charcoal is sometimes used as a teeth-whitening agent. However, its abrasive nature raises concerns among dental professionals about potential enamel damage and gum irritation.
6. Is activated charcoal effective for relieving gas and bloating? Some people use activated charcoal to relieve gas and bloating. While some studies suggest it may have some effectiveness, the evidence is limited, and individual responses may vary.
7. Can activated charcoal be used for skincare and beauty products? Activated charcoal is a popular ingredient in skincare and beauty products. Its ability to adsorb impurities and toxins from the skin makes it a common component of masks, cleansers, and scrubs.
8. Does activated charcoal have any potential side effects? Activated charcoal may cause side effects such as constipation, black stools, or gastrointestinal discomfort. It is important to use it as directed and avoid long-term or excessive use.
9. Can activated charcoal be used for food poisoning or overdose treatment? Activated charcoal is sometimes administered in medical settings for the treatment of certain poisonings or overdoses. However, it should only be used under the guidance of medical professionals.
10. Is activated charcoal effective for hangover relief? Activated charcoal is not considered a reliable remedy for hangover relief. While it may help adsorb certain toxins, it cannot address the broader effects of alcohol consumption on the body.
Always use activated charcoal responsibly and consult with a healthcare professional or qualified expert for proper guidance and dosage recommendations based on your specific health needs.
Originally posted 2020-06-20 17:36:49.