BY BRITT BRANDON CFNS, CPT
If you discovered a product with healing powers that not only detoxified the blood and body and restored energy to the muscles and mind, but also provided anti-aging benefits such as fighting wrinkles, combatting cancerous growth in cells, and maintaining memory and cognitive functioning, would you be intrigued?
Join the millions of people around the world who have become interested in the benefits that activated charcoal can have on overall health and the quality of daily life. This one unique ingredient has been developed into one hundred consumable and topical formulations that can help resolve health and beauty issues ranging from the reduction of high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels to the minimization of acne and wrinkles.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal, sometimes referred to as “activated carbon,” is a form of carbon that has been specifically processed to have small pores. These pores help increase its absorption of elements and its ability to engage in chemical reactions. Because activated charcoal is manufactured for specific functions related to absorbing, expelling, or reacting to elements, it is sometimes referred to as “active” charcoal.
Manufacturers create charcoal powder from peat, coal, wood, petroleum, or coconut shells. Heating common charcoal with gases causes it to develop tiny internal spaces (its pores), giving it an astoundingly high degree of “microporosity.” Even one gram of activated charcoal has an estimated surface area of 32,000 square feet! This activation process can be performed using either physical or chemical means, but both methods produce the same quality product.
The activated charcoal you find in stores and through distributors is derived from a variety of sources, but it’s all created with the intent of ridding pollutants, contaminants, or chemicals from an environment. It can be used for a multitude of things, including removing air or water pollutants, making wine, purifying distilled alcohol, removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products, and even cleansing the body of harmful elements. While it has historically been used for medicinal or environmental cleansing purposes, it is now being included in a variety of beauty, health, and home uses that can all contribute to the improvement of your overall health and the quality of your daily life.
The Top 12 Benefits of Activated Charcoal
1. Reduces Indigestion
The addition of activated charcoal has increased the success rate of curing indigestion immensely. Consuming a simple teaspoon of it dissolved in 1 cup of water or taking activated charcoal capsules can calm the enzymatic activities and chemical reactions that contribute to the development of indigestion. Activated charcoal powder can be used simply and easily, helping to alleviate and ultimately resolve indigestion completely without any side effects or chronic condition aggravation.
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2. Helps Prevent Hangovers
With its ability to absorb toxins and chemicals that contribute to interferences with normal system functions throughout the brain and body, activated charcoal is able to help restore a natural balance following a night of excessive alcohol consumption. Used in hospitals and clinics around the world as the most common treatment for alcohol poisoning, a simple teaspoon serving of charcoal powder dissolved in 1 cup of water can help reverse the damage done the night before and minimize the physical and mental upsets of the dreaded hangover.
3. Provides Digestive Cleansing
One approach to digestive cleansing is the use of activated charcoal for detoxification and restoration of natural balance in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds that are utilized by the body regularly. A good dosage of activated charcoal is 1 teaspoon of powder dissolved into 1 cup of water, along with a diet rich in fibrous fruits (like apples) and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli), and an adequate intake of water, the digestive cleansing process can be performed naturally, without concern for harmful side effects and complications.
4. Detoxifies Your System
One of activated charcoal’s benefits is that it has the ability to block the absorption of harmful and hazardous compounds into the body while simultaneously absorbing and ridding the body of dangerous elements that were already present. With 1 teaspoon of charcoal powder dissolved in 1 cup of water, you can detoxify the brain and body, resulting in more energy, improved cognitive functioning, increased immunity, and reduced incidences of illness and disease.
5. Cleanses Blood
Activated charcoal has a number of beneficial absorbent qualities that allow it to travel through the bloodstream, body, and brain, absorbing toxins, chemicals, and compounds that can put blood health at risk. Due to its ability to combat the infiltration of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, activated charcoal can be used as a preventative and curative measure safely and naturally.
6. Alleviates Allergies
Activated charcoal can be used as a purging agent, traveling safely through the bloodstream, digestive system, and body to attract and trap the impurities, toxins, and volatile organic compounds that contribute to allergic reactions. When these allergens are removed from the body’s systems, the natural stability of metabolic, hormonal, and cardiovascular system functions is restored, helping resolve respiratory, cognitive, and digestive issues.
A simple teaspoon of activated charcoal consumed in a solution of 1 cup of water can alleviate allergy symptoms within thirty to sixty minutes and help block allergens for twenty-four hours. Because the product is all-natural, activated charcoal has no harmful side effects, additives, or preservatives that can complicate existing conditions.
7. Naturally Relieves Pain
Purging the body of inflammatory compounds that can contribute to pain and discomfort in bones, muscles, tissues, and joints, charcoal powder benefits you by attracting, absorbing, and transporting pain-causing elements out of the body. Providing the same cleansing benefits to the bloodstream, brain, and digestive system, activated charcoal detoxifies and removes chemicals, unnatural compounds, and organic elements that interfere with the body’s natural processes, thereby improving immunity, support system functioning, and healthy hormone production, all of which help minimize infection, inflammation, and illness that can contribute to pain.
With a simple solution of 1 teaspoon of charcoal per dose combined with a glass of water, any patient in need of pain relief can put aside their potentially harmful, chemical-laden drugs and medicines and rely on this risk-free, all-natural treatment instead.
8. Boosts Antifungal Protection
Activated charcoal can be used both as a topical treatment applied directly to the site of a fungal infection and as an oral application to purge the body of harmful pathogens. A dosage of 1 teaspoon of charcoal powder dissolved in 1 cup of water will expel internal fungal infections from the body’s systems, helping boost immune system function and decrease healing time.
For topical treatments, a one-to-one ratio of activated charcoal and water or coconut oil can be applied directly to the site of the fungal infection, wrapped with a piece of gauze or fabric, and secured with surgical tape or plastic wrap. By employing both of these methods, recovery from a fungal infection can be achieved quickly, safely, and naturally.
9. Treats Acne
With an all-natural, two-step approach to healing acne that utilizes activated charcoal’s benefits for internal and external healing, anyone can reduce the incidence of breakouts. First, for internal health, consume a simple teaspoon of charcoal dissolved in 1 cup of water up to three times daily to help purge the body’s systems of toxins and pathogens that can interrupt immunity and hormonal functions, both of which can contribute to acne. Secondly, use the following activated charcoal skin and body wash to help cleanse your pores of oily buildup.
To make a simple wash for the face or body, use the following dosage:
+ 1 part activated charcoal powder
+ 1 part water
Combine the ingredients into a paste. Apply to the afflicted areas and scrub to allow the charcoal to absorb into your skin and remove toxins, oils, and impurities that can interfere with normal follicle openings and the processes related to natural oil production at the skin’s surface.
10. Whitens Teeth
In numerous studies, activated charcoal has been compared to other popular teeth whitening processes and has proven to be the more effective solution. A small amount applied to the teeth (1 opened capsule or crushed pressed pill, or a 1⁄4 teaspoon of the fine powder alternative) unleashes activated charcoal’s beneficial ability to absorb toxins, organic compounds, and pathogens, ridding the mouth of conditions that contribute to stained and yellow teeth. Using activated charcoal on your teeth in this way also eliminates bacteria and pathogens from the mouth and protects teeth against the onset of decay.
11. Promotes Nutrient Absorption
Activated charcoal benefits the body in countless ways, but namely by absorbing the toxins, impurities, and compounds that commonly interfere with proper nutrient absorption. When activated charcoal absorbs and extracts interfering elements from the body’s cells, organs, and systems, the body is able to function as intended. A dosage of charcoal powder of 1 small teaspoon dissolved in water and consumed daily can help anyone improve their body’s ability to process nutrients, maintain the health of their body’s systems, and safeguard their immune system and cells from degradation and complications. Supporting everything from heart health to brain health to hormone production, anyone’s well-being and vitality can be simply and easily restored… naturally.
12. Other Special Uses of Activated Charcoal
Because activated charcoal powder has the ability to remove toxic chemical and organic compounds from air and water, it has been the center of countless studies performed to identify its healing benefits within the body. Charcoal is readily used in cases of poisoning and drug and alcohol overdoses since it can rid the body of dangerous, harmful toxins. Additionally, activated charcoal has become a star ingredient in the treatment of blood disorders, cardiovascular conditions, digestive disruptions, and even brain and neurological conditions.
This odorless, tasteless, non-toxic powder is also an effective ingredient in a number of common external applications. With the ability of charcoal to detoxify and naturally treat common skin conditions safely and effectively, activated charcoal can be used in the treatment of insect bites, athlete’s foot, and acne, as well as in do-it-yourself makeup applications that safeguard your skin’s health.
As with any supplement or natural medicine, it is best to start slowly and work your way up to higher dosages to let your body adjust.
Recommended Activated Charcoal Supplements
Activated Charcoal Capsules
Nature’s Way offers what could be called the quintessential or ‘staple’ charcoal product—high quality, 100% pure activated charcoal capsules. This is a must for every medicine cabinet. Sourced from slowly burned coconut husks for maximum porosity and formulated with no additives or fillers, this is everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Activated Charcoal Powder
Country Life offers a premium activated coconut charcoal powder sourced from sustainably harvested coconut shells that are steam activated and ground into an ultra fine powder. Charcoal powder is ideal for those who like to control the exact dose they are getting, create or supercharge their own beauty products or take advantage of its household uses.
Activated Charcoal Toothpaste
My Magic Mud
Activated Charcoal works wonders on your teeth and this excellent, mostly organic toothpaste formulation has it blended right in for easy use. Charcoal can be messy when using the powder to brush your teeth, but this solves that problem and supercharges it with other medicinal ingredients like bentonite clay and essential oils for a powerful charcoal whitening effect.
Activated Charcoal Soap
Experience all of the amazing benefits that charcoal has for purifying and healing your skin with this potent and pure ancient clay soap from Zion Health. Completely edible, this bar is made from 100% natural, biodegradable and safe ingredients that are highly synergistic with activated charcoal for your skin health.
Activated Charcoal Side Effects with Medications
Activated charcoal’s ability to trap toxins and impurities in the body and remove them naturally is impressive. However, there are cautionary conditions regarding activated charcoal’s use that should be considered when the person who intends to consume it is also on prescriptions or medications. With the ability to block the absorption of foreign formulations, one of charcoal’s side effects is that it may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb or process medications, making it absolutely necessary to consult a physician regarding the use of activated charcoal when taking prescription or over-the-counter medications.
How to Select and Store Your Charcoal
When activated charcoal is processed into powder, the original source can play a major role in its quality and intended use. Because it has such a wide variety of protective and preventative applications, such as gas purification, water purification, decaffeination, metal extraction, sewage treatment, medication, air filtration, etc., the consistency and porosity, or “grit,” of the activated charcoal can vary just as widely. For example, in industrial, environmental, and agricultural uses, the most commonly preferred products have a larger hardness or abrasion number.
With organic, high-quality varieties being easily accessible and low in cost, selecting the right activated charcoal product for your favorite at-home applications is easier than ever. For using charcoal in beauty and health treatments, it should have a high density and low ash content. The fine forms that should be used in personal applications are readily available in health stores and online, making the purchasing process very easy.
Recommended Product Disclaimer
The products recommended in this article may have different formulations than the products used in the studies and research cited in this article. As such, they may have different effects than have been reported by these studies. No claim is made or implied whatsoever as to the effects of any recommended products or their effects on health. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
1. Robert W. Derlet, T. (2018). Activated Charcoal—Past, Present and Future. [online] PubMed Central (PMC).
2. Thomas Chandy, Chandra P. (2018). Activated Charcoal Microcapsules and their Applications Journal of Biomaterials Applications.
About The Author
Britt Brandon, CFNS, CPT is a certified personal trainer, a certified fitness nutrition specialist, and the author of many books, including Apple Cider Vinegar for Health, Coconut Oil for Health, and The “I Love My Instant Pot” Vegan Recipe Book. As a trainer, competitive athlete, fitness and nutrition blogger, and mom of three children, she is well versed in the holistic approaches to keeping the body in top-performing condition. Learn more at ultimatefitmom.com