Activated Charcoal Health Benefits

Activated charcoal has been used for ages for medicinal purposes because of its property to attract and attach harmful substances like toxins and chemicals. By adsorbing foreign materials on its porous surface it helps to eliminate them from the body. It is a black colored, odorless, tasteless and light textured powder available in tablet, capsule or powdered form.

Health benefits of charcoal

  • Activated charcoal helps to eliminate body toxins in emergency conditions like overdose of medicines including aspirin, opium and cocaine as well as in mercury, lead and pesticide poisoning. It needs to be administered within an hour of ingestion of these toxins. The administration should preferably be done by qualified health professional as the dose will depend on the level of toxicity.
  • Remedy for gas: Indigestion as well as consumption of foods that create gas often becomes a cause of embarrassment and discomfort. Activated charcoal is therapeutic for gas, stomach upset, heartburn and nausea.  It also eases symptoms of dyspepsia including belching and bloating. However it is not recommended for frequent use.
  • Beneficial to ease discomfort caused by animal bites and stings: A paste of charcoal powder in water and cornstarch when applied topically serves as an effective therapy for snake bites, poison ivy rashes, spider bites and bee stings. It absorbs the poison from the bite or sting affected area.
  • Whitens our teeth: Daily brushing with charcoal helps to get rid of yellowness or plaque seen on your teeth. But in case it enhances teeth sensitivity it should be used once or twice a week or should be avoided completely.
  • Good for our skin: Its toxin removing properties help inhibit occurrence of acne and remove makeup and other skin pollutants. You can apply a paste of powdered activated charcoal made along with aloe vera gel, rose water, tea tree oil and sea salt to get a soft, supple and radiant skin. It is also an ingredient of many soaps and face masks.
  • By cleansing our mouth and digestive system it prevents bad breath as well.
  • Activated charcoal is also used for filtering out impurities from water. It also adsorbs bad odor and serves as good room freshener.
  • Bad odors emanating from skin ulcers can be controlled using activated charcoal. External application helps in adsorbing pus, bacteria and toxins from wounds.
  • It eliminates toxins from our body that lead to anemia in cancer patients. In case of diseases of kidney and liver it flushes out toxins from the blood.
  • Activated charcoal is beneficial in treating cholestasis in pregnant women.
  • It is also an ingredient in some therapies for hangover.
  • Activated charcoal is also used for neonates suffering from jaundice.

Caution: It should not be given to a person who has been given an emetic as it neutralizes the emetic. It is also not effective in poisoning caused by strong alkalis and acids. In case a person is suffering from any blockage in the gastrointestinal tract, activated charcoal should not be given.

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