There’s been a lot of noise recently concerning activated charcoal and the surprising health benefits you can gain be implementing it into your healthcare routine.
While charcoal may initially bring up thoughts of backyard barbecues and roaring campfires, there’s so much more to this basic yet powerful ingredient.
Activated charcoal is very different than the type of charcoal you might be used to picking up at the stores. To make activated charcoal, manufacturers must first heat the charcoal up within an environment that promotes porous growth. The pores left behind in the charcoal is now activated and makes the substance far more effective for medical use.
But what uses are those specifically? And is activated charcoal something you need to start using? To find out, we’ve assembled six of the best used for activated charcoal in the home, in the body, and beyond.
- Negating Poison
While there are many uses of activated charcoal that aren’t quite as dire (which we’ll get into momentarily), one of the prime uses for activated charcoal is in treating ingesting poison.
The reason? The porous nature of activated charcoal acts like a sponge—preventing poison from entering the bloodstream on a molecular level. In fact, one of the first uses ever for activated charcoal was for the treatment of poisoned plants nearly 150 years ago.
While we sincerely hope that you never need to use activated charcoal for this purpose, it is important to note that activated charcoal is more than a fad. The effectiveness of the porous nature in removing harmful substances—as you’ll soon see—is hard to understate.
Having trouble with indigestion or otherwise suffering from intestinal gas?
Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce gas buildup in the intestines and ease indigestion. The natural absorptive quality means that pH balances are altered, and digestive harmony is restored.
Much like our first tip, using activated charcoal to clear out indigestion might not be the most pleasant use of the substance. Still, it is helpful to know in case of an emergency. Just be sure to seek out the research of licensed professionals about how and how much activated charcoal can be safely ingested.
- Reduces Hangovers
As we’ve mentioned previously, charcoal works wonders in the digestive tract to clear up problem areas and other issues. Thankfully for the more active of our readers, activated charcoal can help minimize the short-term effects of your night out on the town.
While activated charcoal doesn’t reduce your level of intoxication or absorb alcohol, it is rare for anyone to consume this substance straight. Mixers, syrups, and other irritating ingredients in mixed drinks and cocktails are often the cause of a brutal hangover.
Activated charcoal helps to reduce your hangover symptoms and help you get back on your feet faster.
- Whitens Teeth
Of course, no list of activated charcoal benefits would be complete without mentioning its most common usage—to whiten teeth.
While your teeth may look clean after a normal brushing or after cleaning your mouth out with water, a host of plague and bacteria survive and thrive—beginning to soften enamel and create cavities.
Activated charcoal gently pulls as these harmful organisms and helps you clean out your teeth without posing a risk to your enamel. Using activated charcoal powder or charcoal toothpaste can and will make your teeth whiter over time as a result.
It’s highly recommended that charcoal powder be used consistently and multiple times per day to be fully effective. However, provided you follow the instructions, whiter teeth through dark charcoal is not only possible—it is only a matter of time.
- Lowers Cholesterol
Keeping on top of your cholesterol often means significantly lowering your risk of picking up chronic diseases and preventable heart problems. While we will always recommend dieting right and exercise as the most effective way to combat cholesterol, activated charcoal just might help in that quest.
The reason? As with the other uses listed here, activated charcoal absorbs all that it can—which includes cholesterol. Studies show that dietary supplements filled with activated charcoal reduced cholesterol levels by 25% or more over a month.
So eat right, get outside—and don’t forget your supplements. A combination of all three might just save your life.
- Acne Removal
This last suggestion is going to take a little bit of work on your part—but if you’re trying to clear your skin of acne and clogged pores, activated charcoal can help with that too.
Mixing activated charcoal into a homemade skin mask helps activated charcoal work alongside the other ingredients to purify the skin and clear up problem areas. While simply rubbing the power on bare skin isn’t enough to work, doing so with the help of other proven agents in a face mask could help you fix your skin problems.
As you could tell, the uses of activated charcoal stretch to wherever harmful or even poisonous substances need to be removed from the body. This is why it is especially important that you ensure the charcoal you purchased has been activated—or you’ll be missing out on all of the above uses or otherwise severely limiting their effectiveness.
We think that keeping a small amount of activated charcoal with you allows you to use the charcoal in any of the six methods outlined above, or in others we may have missed. One of the best parts about this specific substance is that it’s incredibly versatile.
There’s no need to purchase different types of activated charcoal for different uses. Simply pick up a tube, jar, or can from a reputable source, and get to work in whatever needs to be cleaned.
As always, consult licensed professionals before using activated charcoal on the body or injecting more than trace amounts. With great power comes great responsibility, so be mindful of what you’re using and be sure to practice safe health practices.
Otherwise? Enjoy these six uses and countless more.