Within the last couple of years activated charcoal and its healing benefits have gained popularity among health and longevity seekers. It seems that activated charcoal, a close cousin to the charcoal briquettes we use as fire starters, is a very versatile substance. Don’t be surprised to find it in your cold pressed juices, at tonic bars and in beauty products. 


But, what do we really know about this natural remedy that’s being ingested? Well, apparently the Ancient Greeks, Hindus, and Egyptians understood the value of charcoal as an intestinal filter and digestive aid, that also worked to eliminated odors and relieve gas and constipation, making it a reliable and safe internal cleanser. What makes activated charcoal so effective? It attracts other substances to its surface and holds them there. Its capacity to absorb substances in the gastro-intestinal tract is due to its extreme porosity. It’s estimated that charcoal can reduce up to 60% of poisonous substances that are otherwise absorbed.

Activated charcoal is a 100% natural product, made from the carbonization of organic matter like hardwood, coconut, bamboo, peat moss, olive pits, coconut shells, sawdust etc. Unlike charcoal intended for fuel, that can also contain agricultural waste and biomass. The activation process, which is the addition of oxygen, gives it its medical properties as it increases the surface area and it’s porosity. It creates millions of little pores within the charcoal material, and these pores take in and hold large amounts of liquid and toxic debris through interactions between atoms or molecules. The toxic substances attach to the surface of the charcoal and, because charcoal is not digested, it stays inside the gastro-intestinal tract and eliminates toxins during bowel movements. Certain impurities ingested into the body such as: chlorine and heavy metals; parasites; pesticides; viruses and bacteria; venom from insects and snakes; and toxic atmospheric pollutants may be removed using activated charcoal.

Charcoal briquettes
contain lighter fluid
and are toxic
to humans.

Another use of activated charcoal is for the maintenance of oral hygiene. It’s known to whiten teeth, destroy plaque and cure gingivitis. For those pearly whites activated charcoal, either in toothpaste powder form, is a safe and healing alternative to chemically laden teeth whitening kits found in your local supermarket. Also, while activated charcoal is not inexpensive, it is readily available in health stores and costs far less than a dentists visit.

As with every health and wellness product or supplement, let the buyer take caution. Activated charcoal is not considered suitable during pregnancy or lactation, and it can bind to certain prescription drugs and supplements, so it’s best to talk to a health professional, as activated charcoal may be incompatible. It’s also advised that activated charcoal not be used in the case of acid, alkali, or petroleum poisoning.

Please read more on warnings of activated charcoal here