Activated Charcoal Uses & Benefits
Activated charcoal is getting a lot of attention these days in the health world. Its name and funky black color is intriguing but also a bit intimidating. I thought we could break down the many benefits, talk about how to choose the right kind as well as how to use it properly!
What is Activated charcoal? It is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body before the body can absorb them internally. When using activated charcoal for natural healing choose a product derived from coconut shells or other natural sources.
The first time I had ever tried activated charcoal was when my friend Jenelle who runs Well'n Proper Juice Company brought some over when one of us had a cold. She made an activated lemonade which tasted just like a refreshing lemonade! The first time she brought one I was nervous about it but the second time after doing some of my own reading I was excited to drink it!
One of the most popular activated charcoal uses around the world is in emergency trauma centers around the world for the treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. Now more than ever people are benefiting from using it for a number of reasons including the reduce bloating and gas, lowering cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers. (I was just talking to a lady the other day that said she and her friends ALWAYS use activated charcoal to skip hangovers and swears by it). That is a pretty good sign that its does a good job soaking up junk in the body...
How does activated charcoal work?
In a nut shell- "activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. It doesn’t absorb the toxins, instead it works through the chemical process of adsorption. In the body, absorption is the reaction of elements, including nutrients, chemicals and toxins, soaked up and assimilated into the blood stream. Adsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.
The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. The nooks and crannies in activated charcoal are created through a heating process. It’s important to note that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue grill! Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed."
Activated Charcoal Uses
To use: Very important! -Its imperative to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day to avoid dehydration and to asset in the detox process.
Whitens Teeth- If you're looking for a cost effective natural way to brighten your smile and make sure your breathe is in check try it! The way it works is by adsorbing plaque and tiny tidbits that are staining your teeth from coffee etc. Kinda funny... it will whiten your teeth but stain your clothes and counter tops so be careful:)
Teeth Whitening: 2-3 x a week- wet your toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush for a minute, sip. swish, spit until your mouth isn't black anymore ;)
Another recipe is activated charcoal mixed with coconut oil and peppermint oil! I want to try this sometime!
note- If you have veneers it could stain them so avoid.
Alleviates Gas & Bloating
"One activated charcoal use often overlooked is to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating. It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort."
"Dosing recommendations to alleviate gas and bloating: Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements".
Activated charocal works quickly to remove toxins which many people have found reduces or eliminates hangovers all together. (I have no idea personally but this is based off of what I have read online and have heard from friends).
Something that I have learned while researching activated charcoal is that toxic mold in the body can cause depression, kidney and liver failure as well as decrease brain function, heart disease, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, impaired immune system function, and severe respiratory distress.
Mold grows in Hawaii very quickly. This is something that people inspect their houses for because of the server health problems mold is the culprit of.
Skin and Body: External Uses
Its kind of a miracle ingredient huh! There are beauty applications all the way to affective order control, to the treatment of acne, to the relief of insect bites (mosquito bee etc), rashes and poison ivy/oak!
To treat bites and rashes: Its recommended to mix one capsule of activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, and dab on affected area. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone. Cover with bandage to avoid stains.
To treat acne/spots and give your skin some love: mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, and smooth over face. Let dry then rinse off completely. The science behind this is that the activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt then pulls it out. So curious what you think when you try this! Aloe is amazing.... but that is a whole new topic.
"Activated charcoal uses help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function. By removing the toxins from your system, you can reduce join pain increase energy and increase mental function".
No matter how clean we eat and live, we sometimes need an extra boost to clean house. If only we lived in a perfectly pure world with not pollutants, pesticides etc!
Two day cleanse: have only done this once but I liked it: To complete a digestive cleanse with activated charcoal, take 10 grams 90 minutes prior to each meal, for two days. Eat clean during this time (no pesticides, lots of water, no sugar, and completely plant based vegan if possible :)
"Activated charcoal uses include helping prevent cellular damage to kidneys and liver, as well as supporting healthy adrenal glands. It’s imperative to cleanse toxins and chemicals routinely from the body. Activated charcoal benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage".
"For this activated charcoal use, take two capsules per day after exposure to nonorganic foods, heavy meals or after contact to other toxins. This supports better cognitive function, a reduction in brain fog, healthier kidney and liver function, and a healthier digestive tract".
Activated Charcoal Side Effects- a few things to know!
Generally considered gentle but always good to do your own research :). Also make sure to drink a lot of water while ingesting and know that activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements and prescription medications therefore don't take with a meal 90 minutes to two hours prior to meals, supplements and prescription medications.
Where to Buy Activated Charcoal
Know that not all activated charcoal supplements are created equal. Look for "activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains." avoid the artificial sweeteners that some companies use. Jenelle owner of Well'n Proper, my most trusted sources ;) uses Country Life activated coconut charcoal powder. You can get online. If you have any brands you love let us know! I prefer coconut based...
Three Coconut Activated Charcoal Recipes:
Activated Black Lemonade- my daily drink these days.
Detoxifying Lemonade using coconut activated black charcoal. Also great for hangovers or to use as part of a cleanse.
- 1 liter mineral water
- 2-3 squeezed lemons
- 1 tsp activated charcoal
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
Shake until stirred.
Black Lava Flow
4 ripe Bananas
1/4 cup coconut milk
6 almond ice cubes
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut activated charcoal
Blend until all but activated charcoal until smooth. Take out a few scoops and place in your cup and put in freezer. Blend in the activated charcoal in the remaining shake. Sometimes I like to freeze for a bit longer to make thick like ice-cream before eating!
Black Pina Colada Detox Smoothie
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup pineapple
2 frozen banana
1 tsp activated charcoal
1 cup ice
1 head dino kale or 1/2 cup baby kale (optional)