What the heck is this activated charcoal stuff?
Activated charcoal has been around for a long time, and dates back to 1500 BC when Egyptians began using it for absorbing smells, writing and treating ailments in the digestive system. It became known to be used only in hospitals and veterinary clinics to induce vomiting when the patient has ingested something toxic (ie. dog eating chocolate). Now it’s making a comeback for its natural treatment methods. It’s been claimed to be beneficial for whitening teeth, aiding in digestive issues (reducing gas and bloat), reducing high cholesterol and even decreasing hangover symptoms!
Activated charcoal is more porous than brick charcoal used for barbequing, cooking or burning, and it is generally made out of coconut shell rather than wood or petroleum. “Activating” the charcoal is done by heating it to high temperatures near gas to develop the spaces. The porous texture of the activated charcoal allows toxins, chemicals or other unwanted substances and remove them from the body.
When and How to Use Activated Charcoal
There can be a number of situations or time where it might be advisable to take activated charcoal. If you are dealing with regular gas and bloat a regime of 2 activated charcoal capsules/day for a few days could help to reduce symptoms. If you are feeling under the weather with a flu bug or food poisoning, taking 2 capsules of activated charcoal may be beneficial to get into the gut and remove whatever is causing the upset.
Often times activated charcoal can be found in both powder and pill form. The pill form is the easiest way to ingest it, as the powder form can be messy and harder to swallow. Be sure to take it with lots of water to help flush the toxins out of your body. The powder form is great to have around the house to add to toothpaste, plants or make a face mask with. Beware, the powder form can be messy!
Activated charcoal can be taken first thing in the morning, the last thing before bed, 30 minutes before or after meals. It is important to drink lots of water with activated charcoal to make sure the toxins and chemicals that the activated charcoal pick up are able to be removed from the body efficiently. It is also important to take it 30-90 minutes away from other supplements or medication, activated charcoal will pick up anything it can and remove it.
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
As stated above, there are many benefits to taking activated charcoal. The benefits of activated charcoal could include:
•Reduce gas (1-2 capsules/day)
•Reduce bloat (1-2 capsules/day)
•Food poisoning / flu symptoms (2-4 capsules/day depending on severity)
•Using the powder form to clean teeth
•Use soap form to help detoxify skin
•As a face mask to help clear complexion and rid impurities that might be under the skin
•Lowering cholesterol (1-2 capsules/day)
•Charcoal / Dirty Lemonade
•Decreasing symptoms of a hangover as it helps to detoxify and bind to foreign bodies within the body
•As a natural food colouring – black ice cream is popular! Check Pinterest!
•As an ingredient in making homemade mascara
•Rid impurities, repel insects and prevent mold or odors in plants and aid in absorbing excess water – Lindsay uses it in all of her plants
So to recap, activated charcoal has been around for many years, has been known for its various Western medicine and alternative medicine benefits and it has many purposes, both around the house and in your medicine cabinet. It is important to find a company and quality that you trust as it will improve the benefits that can come from it.
Please note: Although Lindsay is a certified nutrition consultant, she is not a medical doctor. The above advice is a suggestion found through research, other medical professionals and has not been reviewed by any of the doctors at Douglasdale Family Chiropractic.