What is activated charcoal? It’s a fine, odorless, black powder often used in a hospital’s Urgent Care department to treat overdoses. It has toxin-absorbing properties that have a wide range of medicinal and cosmetic uses, though none are scientifically proven yet. It’s not the same substance when found on a burnt piece of toast or in charcoal used in BBQs. Heating natural sources of carbon, such as wood, peat, coconut shells, sawdust to high temperatures produces activated charcoal. The black powder stops toxins from being absorbed in the stomach by binding around the toxin. The body cannot absorb therefore the toxins leave the body in the feces.
At present, activated charcoal has only been approved for the emergency treatment of overdoses or poisonings. However, due to its powerful toxin-clearing properties, some folks have proposed using activated charcoal as a treatment for an ever-growing list of conditions, not all of which have been thoroughly researched. A few of the uses of activated charcoal that show evidence include the following:
Activated charcoal may be able to assist kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drugs.
Intestinal Gas & Diarrhea
Activated charcoal powder is thought to be able to disrupt intestinal gas and diarrhea, although researchers still do not understand how. Liquids and gases trapped in the intestine can easily pass through the millions of tiny holes in activated charcoal, and this process may neutralize them.
Teeth whitening & Oral Health
Dozens of teeth-whitening products contain activated charcoal that purport to provide antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties.
Skin care and infections
Researchers have reported that activated charcoal can help draw microparticles, such as dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria, to the surface of the skin, making them easier to wipe or wash away. Around the world, many medicine practitioners use activated charcoal powder made from coconut shells to treat soft tissue conditions, such as skin infections.
Various activated charcoal deodorants are widely available. Charcoal may absorb smells and harmful gases, making it ideal as an underarm, shoe, and refrigerator deodorant. Activated charcoal is also reported to be able to absorb excess moisture and control humidity levels at a micro level.
People have long used activated charcoal as a natural water filter. Just as it does in the intestines and stomach, activated charcoal can interact with and absorb a range of toxins, drugs, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and chemicals found in water.