Health & Wellness

What Is Activated Charcoal – 6 Uses & Health Benefits

Until a couple of months in the past, I’d by no means even heard of activated charcoal (also called activated carbon). However, I quickly discovered that this substance offers plenty of superb advantages.

While some folks use it to cleanse their pores and skin or whiten their enamel, the true worth of activated charcoal is in its capability to take away toxins out of your physique. For occasion, when you’ve ingested a toxic substance, or when you’ve been bitten by a lethal snake or spider, activated charcoal may save your life.

What Is Activated Charcoal?

People have been utilizing activated charcoal for hundreds of years. In World War I, activated charcoal was utilized in gasoline masks to forestall troopers from being poisoned by chemical publicity, and it has been used to deal with water (making it tasteless and odorless) since 1930.

Activated charcoal and common charcoal are nearly an identical – the one distinction is that activated charcoal has been created solely for medicinal use. To create activated charcoal, common charcoal is heated with a gasoline that causes the charcoal to increase, making a porous floor that traps toxins.

Activated charcoal works as a result of it chemically binds different substances to its floor and might soak up hundreds of occasions its personal weight. It additionally has an extremely massive floor space resulting from all of its pores – one cubic inch of charcoal has the floor space equal to a 150,000 square-foot discipline. This is why only a little bit of charcoal can soak up so many toxins, atoms, and ions.

Activated charcoal is obtainable for buy in capsule kind (clear capsules containing powdered charcoal), or may be purchased loosely in bulk.

Benefits of Activated Charcoal

1. Rid Your Body of Toxins in Emergency Situations

According to a examine printed within the journal Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience, activated charcoal prevents the gastrointestinal absorption of all kinds of medication and toxins in emergency conditions, and in addition will increase their elimination even after they’ve been absorbed by the physique. This consists of an overdose of:

  • Pharmaceutical medication corresponding to acetaminophen or aspirin, opium, cocaine, and morphine
  • Toxins from pesticides (together with DDT)
  • Mercury, lead, and different chemical substances

Activated charcoal is handiest if it’s administered throughout the first hour of ingestion of the toxin. However, there are some substances that activated charcoal does not work on:

  • Alcohol
  • Cyanide
  • Metals corresponding to iron and lithium
  • Certain acids that rapidly injury inner tissues

Simply put, when you or somebody you understand has ingested a poisonous substance, administering activated charcoal could inactivate the toxicity of the substance and assist them cross it way more rapidly than their physique may by itself. If they’ve ingested a extremely poisonous substance, a fast administration of activated charcoal may save their life.

Call 911
It’s essential to understand that within the occasion of an emergency, a certified well being skilled ought to administer activated charcoal, because the wanted dosage relies upon largely on the individual being handled, the drug or poison ingested, and the way a lot was ingested. How a lot toxin is already within the abdomen is a big consideration, as a result of activated charcoal is sort of a sponge – as soon as its cavities are full, it stops working.

However, having some activated charcoal available should buy you a while within the occasion of a life-threatening poison or drug overdose, since professionals at Poison Control or 911 operators can advise you on how a lot charcoal to manage.

What Not to Do
You shouldn’t take activated charcoal when you’re taking prescription medicine, because it may render your medicine ineffective. It additionally shouldn’t be taken repeatedly, like a complement, as a result of it should cut back your physique’s absorption of essential vitamins from meals.

Furthermore, you must by no means use charcoal briquettes rather than activated charcoal within the occasion of a poisoning. Dangerous petrochemicals have been added to industrial briquettes, and it isn’t the identical as activated charcoal. This is why you should buy medical-grade activated charcoal to make use of within the occasion of an emergency. You can discover protected activated charcoal on-line at Amazon or in lots of well being meals shops.

2. Relieve Bites and Bee Stings

Mixing a poultice of activated charcoal with a little bit of water and cornstarch or flaxseed powder will help treatment bee stings, poison ivy rashes, snake bites, spider bites (together with extremely poisoning bites from the Brown Recluse or Black Widow), and different poisoning bites.

A paper printed by I. Makalinao and A.D. Woolf of Harvard Medical School mentions the effectiveness of a charcoal poultice for drawing out poisons from insect and spider bites. Additionally, there are lots of tales on-line from individuals who declare that their lives had been saved by making use of an activated charcoal poultice to bee stings or spider bites – particularly those that are extremely allergic to bee stings and didn’t have epinephrine available.

Relieve Bites Bee Stings

3. Reduce Acne and Improve Skin Health

Because activated charcoal removes toxins, it might assist cut back the cases of zits and different pores and skin impurities you would possibly undergo from. It additionally works wonders for utterly eradicating make-up.

To use activated charcoal in your pores and skin, combine one (or one-half) capsule of the powder right into a teaspoon of aloe vera gel, one teaspoon of water or rosewater, 5 drops of tea tree oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Mix these substances collectively till you might have a fair consistency. But bear in mind that this face masks goes to be black, and whereas it might stain your clothes and counter tops, it received’t stain your pores and skin. Apply to your pores and skin, let it dry, after which rinse off. Your pores and skin will really feel superb.

There are additionally many soaps made with activated charcoal, that are additionally efficient at treating your pores and skin. You can discover a wide array of handmade charcoal soaps and face masks on Etsy.

4. Whiten Teeth

While you won’t suppose {that a} black powder may really whiten enamel, you’d be stunned – all it’s important to do is sprinkle charcoal onto a toothpaste-ladened toothbrush, and brush away.

Your mouth could look actually weird if you brush with charcoal, however when you do that every day, you’ll discover a distinction inside a few weeks. Activated charcoal is odorless and tasteless, so apart from having briefly black enamel, you received’t be capable to inform you’ve obtained charcoal in your mouth.

Keep in thoughts that activated charcoal is a effective black powder. Although it received’t stain your pores and skin, it can be messy to make use of, so hold a moist paper towel available for a fast clean-up in case you spill.

It’s additionally essential to contemplate your enamel’s sensitivity. Any whitening agent can weaken your tooth enamel over time – that is true with industrial merchandise, corresponding to Crest Whitening Strips, and it’s true for activated charcoal. If you discover your enamel changing into extra delicate after utilizing activated charcoal, lower down on brushing with it to simply a couple of times per week, or cease utilizing it altogether.

5. Reduce or Eliminate Gas

Activated charcoal may be efficient for decreasing gasoline, particularly after consuming meals, corresponding to beans, that generally create extra gasoline. It may relieve an upset abdomen or nausea. However, it’s value repeating that activated charcoal ought to solely be taken sometimes to alleviate these signs, and shouldn’t be used on daily basis.

6. Body Detox

Since charcoal does such an incredible job ridding your physique of poisons, some folks additionally use it to rid their physique of built-up toxins. The size of those cleanses can fluctuate, however they usually final every week or two.

There are many various recipes for utilizing activated charcoal as a cleaning/detox agent, and it’s essential that you just discover a recipe that works to your way of life and physique weight. If you’re taking an excessive amount of charcoal, you possibly can change into constipated and sluggish. If you’re taking too little, it received’t be efficient.

Keep in thoughts that when you do use charcoal a number of occasions weekly as a part of a cleanse, you should improve your water consumption, or you possibly can rapidly change into constipated.

Final Word

Remember: Never use activated charcoal for any therapy in lieu of a certified medical skilled. Activated charcoal can be utilized in emergency conditions the place your life or the lifetime of another person is at stake, however that is solely to purchase you beneficial time to get to an emergency room for certified care.

Do you employ activated charcoal to enhance your well being? If so, what outcomes have you ever seen?

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