Activated charcoal is a naturally derived, odourless and flavourless powder which has been used for centuries to treat various everyday ailments and discomforts.
These days, activated charcoal is most commonly used in medical settings to treat drug overdoses or as an emergency anti-poison remedy, however it also has some very well known self care and general health benefits.
Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for relieving gut-related complaints such as gas, flatulence and bloating.
It is also known to be useful for everything from reducing the effects of hangovers, to lowering cholesterol, whitening teeth and boosting kidney function.
Here, we explain how the variety of benefits of Activated Charcoal, the best sources and why you should keep it in your natural medicine cabinet at home.
What Is Activated Charcoal & How It Works
Activated Charcoal is a form of activated carbon that is typically derived from coal, wood or coconut shells.
The best natural source of activated charcoal is generally regarded as coconut husks, because it has more micro-pores, less ash, making it more porous and adsorbent.
Activated charcoal is the byproduct of burning a carbon source like wood, or better yet, coconut shells.
The substance is “activated” by high temperatures, which changes the chemical structure to create much smaller particles with more surface area.
The result is ultra-fine charcoal powder, with millions of tiny pores that bind and remove toxins, chemicals and intestinal gases from inside the body.
Pure activated charcoal can be ingested internally or applied topically as a remedy for a number of different health concerns and complaints.
When mixed with water, the millions of tiny pores work by trapping unwanted chemicals through a process known as ADsorption.
This is where toxic, positively charged particles cling to the negative, electrically charged elements within the charcoal, neutralising the toxicities and allowing them to be released from the body rather than remain in the blood stream.
Benefits Of Activated Charcoal
Activated Charcoal is a potent natural ingredient, that can be used in times of need to relieve the following health concerns or complaints:
- To relieve gas and bloating after a heavy meal
- For faster recovery from hangovers
- To boost oral hygiene and teeth whitening
- To help heal mild gastrointestinal infections
- For skin cleansing
- To help recover from sudden skin irritations and insect bites.
5 Top Uses For Activated Charcoal
1. Detoxifying Elixir Drink
This is a simple, yet effective drink you can make at home and consume after a period of over indulgence, that will help to detoxify your body and/or to relieve the effects of a hangover.
Stir 1 tablespoon of pure activated charcoal powder into a large glass of chilled, filtered water. Add a good squeeze of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt then briskly stir and drink.
After a period or heavy alcohol consumption, it's a good idea to do this before you go to bed, alternatively you can do it when you rise and feel the effects of a hangover.
This elixir is also a useful protocol to have from time to time for general detoxification benefits.
2. Teeth Whitening and Getting Rid of Bad Breath
You can naturally whiten your teeth and freshen your breath by brushing with activated charcoal.
Gently dab a natural bristle toothbrush into activated charcoal powder and brush in a circular motion on the teeth and gums for approximately 2-3 minutes, before rinsing.
You can also use it as a detoxifying mouth rinse by mixing activated charcoal powder into a small glass of water with a teaspoon of sea salt. Swish around in the mouth for a few minutes, before rinsing thoroughly.
3. Heal Skin Irritations, Wounds and Insect Bites
Activated charcoal can help to disinfect the irritation, but also to speed up the body’s natural healing process. For additional soothing and anti-bacterial qualities, consider substituting water for coconut oil or aloe vera gel.
Create a paste by combining a small amount of Activated Charcoal powder and water and then apply to the affected area 2-3 times per day.
4. Skin Care
Activated charcoal has become a popular ingredient in skin and beauty care treatments because of its natural detoxification benefits.
Exfoliate scrubs, face masks and even hair treatments featuring activated charcoal are showing up on the market as people demand more natural products, however many of them also include unwanted preservatives and additives that may not agree with your skin.
To avoid this, it is best to prepare your own DIY face mask at home which is very easy to do. This will help to:
- strip impurities from the pores
- extract bad bacteria that leads to acne and breakouts
- remove dead skin cells and to control excess oil production.
DIY Face Mask Recipe
To get started, you’ll need a small mixing bowl, teaspoon, tea towel and the following ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons of water
- 1 teaspoon of Activated Charcoal powder
- 1 teaspoon of Bentonite Clay
- 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey
- 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil (optional)
Lay down the tea towel on the bench and place the small mixing bowl on top of the tea towel.
Place the water and essential oil into the bowl and then gently combine the bentonite clay to form a smooth paste. Allow to adsorb for a couple of minutes. Next, add the activated charcoal and honey and combine all ingredients.
For the best results, gently wash your face beforehand to remove any surface dirt, oils or makeup.
Then, use your fingertips to spread the mask evenly and smoothly over your face and gently massage it into your skin. Keep the mask away from your eyes and mouth.
Allow the mask to dry for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Pat your face dry wish a cotton face washer or towel and then apply with a natural moisturiser such as our nourish daily moisturiser.
5. Emergency Toxin Removal
Whilst ingesting small amounts of activated charcoal in the form of a drink with water can aid the removal of common chemicals like pesticides, mercury and bleach residues, it is very well known to be effective for assisting the elimination of accidental ingestion of toxic chemicals or drug overdoses.
Activated charcoal can even help the removal of toxic residues that result from the excess consumption of prescription or over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and morphine, or even so-called recreational drugs like cocaine.
In serious overdose cases, it is important to consult a licensed doctor or to contact a poison control emergency centre as quickly as possible to obtain professional advice or treatment.
The Main Takeaway
A natural detox remedy that has been used for centuries, pure activated charcoal powder made from coconut husks, can be a useful addition to your natural medicine cabinet at home.
Whether it be to help speed your recovery from a hangover, to ease skin irritations, or simply as a compliment to your regular dental or skin care routine, activated charcoal is well worth having at your fingertips for when you need it most.
Tolman Self Care.