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People have been using activated charcoal for thousands of years. In World War I, activated charcoal was used in gas masks to prevent soldiers from being poisoned by chemical exposure, and it has been used to treat water (making it tasteless and odorless) since 1930.
Activated charcoal and regular charcoal are almost identical – the only difference is that activated charcoal has been created solely for medicinal use. To create activated charcoal, regular charcoal is heated with a gas that causes the charcoal to expand, creating a porous surface that traps toxins.
Activated charcoal works because it chemically binds other substances to its surface and can absorb thousands of times its own weight. It also has an incredibly large surface area due to all of its pores – one cubic inch of charcoal has the surface area equivalent to a 150,000 square-foot field. This is why just a bit of charcoal can absorb so many toxins, atoms, and ions.\
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
1. Rid Your Body of Toxins in Emergency Situations
According to a study published in the journal Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience, activated charcoal prevents the gastrointestinal absorption of a wide variety of drugs and toxins in emergency situations, and also increases their elimination even after they’ve been absorbed by the body. This includes an overdose of:
Pharmaceutical drugs such as acetaminophen or aspirin, opium, cocaine, and morphine
Toxins from pesticides (including DDT)
Mercury, lead, and other chemicals
Activated charcoal is most effective if it’s administered within the first hour of ingestion of the toxin. However, there are some substances that activated charcoal does not work on:
Metals such as iron and lithium
Certain acids that quickly damage internal tissues
Simply put, if you or someone you know has ingested a toxic substance, administering activated charcoal may inactivate the toxicity of the substance and help them pass it far more quickly than their body could on its own. If they’ve ingested a highly toxic substance, a quick administration of activated charcoal could save their life.
What Not to Do
You shouldn’t take activated charcoal if you’re taking prescription medication, as it could render your medication useless. It also shouldn’t be taken regularly, like a supplement, because it will reduce your body’s absorption of important nutrients from food.
2. Relieve Bites and Bee Stings
Mixing a poultice of activated charcoal with a bit of water and cornstarch or flaxseed powder can help cure bee stings, poison ivy rashes, snake bites, spider bites (including highly poisoning bites from the Brown Recluse or Black Widow), and other poisoning bites.
3. Reduce Acne and Improve Skin Health
Because activated charcoal removes toxins, it can help reduce the instances of acne and other skin impurities you might suffer from. It also works wonders for completely removing makeup.
To use activated charcoal on your skin, mix one (or one-half) capsule of the powder into a teaspoon of aloe vera gel, one teaspoon of water or rosewater, five drops of tea tree oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Mix these ingredients together until you have an even consistency. But be aware that this face mask is going to be black, and while it can stain your clothing and counter tops, it won’t stain your skin. Apply to your skin, let it dry, and then rinse off. Your skin will feel amazing.
4. Whiten Teeth
While you might not think that a black powder could actually whiten teeth, you’d be surprised – all you have to do is sprinkle charcoal onto a toothpaste-ladened toothbrush, and brush away.
Your mouth may look really bizarre when you brush with charcoal, but if you do this daily, you’ll notice a difference within a couple of weeks. Activated charcoal is odorless and tasteless, so aside from having temporarily black teeth, you won’t be able to tell you’ve got charcoal in your mouth.
If you notice your teeth becoming more sensitive after using activated charcoal, cut down on brushing with it to just once or twice per week, or stop using it altogether.
5. Reduce or Eliminate Gas
Activated charcoal can be effective for reducing gas, especially after eating foods, such as beans, that commonly create excess gas. It can also relieve an upset stomach or nausea. However, it is worth repeating that activated charcoal should only be taken occasionally to relieve these symptoms, and should not be used every day.
6. Body Detox
Since charcoal does such an amazing job ridding your body of toxins, some people also use it to rid their body of built-up toxins. The length of these cleanses can vary, but they often last a week or two.
There are many different recipes for using activated charcoal as a cleansing/detox agent, and it’s important that you find a recipe that works for your lifestyle and body weight. If you take too much charcoal, you could become constipated and sluggish. If you take too little, it won’t be effective.
Keep in mind that if you do use charcoal several times weekly as part of a cleanse, you must increase your water consumption,
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient: Activated charcoal
Main indications: enterosorbent detoxicant, for poisoning of different origin, when exposed to adverse environmental conditions, disorders and infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
Method of application:
Inside, in the form of a tablet or an aqueous suspension (amount of drug necessary to stir 0.5 glass water) for 1 hour before a meal and taking other drugs. An adult an average of 1.0-2.0 g 3-4 times a day, the maximum dose for adults and 8 children, the appointed on average rate of 0.05 g / kg body weight 3 times per day with a maximum single dose of up to 0.2 mg / kg body weight. The course of treatment for acute conditions 3-5 days, allergies and chronic diseases - up to 14 days. A second course - 2 weeks on the recommendation of a physician.
In acute poisoning - gastric lavage with a slurry of activated charcoal, then inside 20-30 of flatulence and dyspepsia - inside of 1-2 g 3-4 times a day. The course of treatment - 3-7 days.
Remember: Never use activated charcoal for any treatment in lieu of a qualified medical professional.