Back in the Crazy Days of Yore, activated carbon was a major weapon in my survival kit as well as my anti-aging regimen. Its magical absorptive properties enable it to pull all kinds of toxins, poisons, free radicals etc from your body. Some say activated carbon can also absorb bacteria and fungi… If I’ve been exposed to too many cigarettes, truck fumes, sick children, pollution – I will make a little glass of black magic and feel much better about myself. How much you ask? I put 2 big spoonfuls in a glass of water and glug it back like a soldier. It’s not caviar but it’s not the worst drink I make. If you read my article on Himalayan mud and had the courage to try some you know my strength.
But what is it made of?
Activated charcoal is a fine black odorless and tasteless powder made from wood or other materials that have been exposed to very high temperatures in an airless environment. It is then treated, or activated, to increase its ability to adsorb various substances by reheating with oxidizing gas or other chemicals to break it into a very fine powder. Activated charcoal is pure carbon specially processed to make it highly adsorbent of particles and gases in the body’s digestive system.
Charcoal in history
Activated charcoal has often been used since ancient times to cure a variety of ailments including poisoning. Its healing effects have been well documented since as early as 1550 B.C. by the Egyptians. However, charcoal was almost forgotten until 15 years ago when it was rediscovered as a wonderful oral agent to treat most overdoses and toxins. Some Emergency Rooms administer large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning.
Carbon is alkaline and rife with charged electrons. Carbon’s negative ionic charge attracts positive ionic charges (of toxins and poisons) causing them to bind and then escorts them out of the body via the eliminative channel of the intestines.
Poisons and drug overdoses
It is estimated that one million children accidentally overdose on drugs mistaken as candies or eat, drink, or inhale poisonous household products each year. Infants and toddlers are at the greatest risk for accidental poisoning. Activated charcoal is one of the agents most commonly used for these cases. It can absorb large amounts of poisons quickly. In addition, it is non-toxic, may be stored for a long time, and can be conveniently administered at home. Charcoal works by binding to irritating or toxic substances in the stomach and intestines. This prevents the toxic drug or chemical from spreading throughout the body. The activated charcoal with the toxic substance bound to it is then excreted in the stool without harm to the body. When poisoning is suspected the local poison control center should be contacted for instructions. They may recommend using activated charcoal, which should be available at home so that it can be given to the poisoned child or pet immediately. For severe poisoning, several doses of activated charcoal may be needed.
Activated charcoal is also used to induce vomiting in adults who have attempted suicide by taking an overdose of antidepressants, barbiturates, or benzodiazepine tranquilizers.
In the past, activated charcoal was a popular remedy for flatus (intestinal gas). Even before the discovery of America by Europeans, Native Americans used powdered charcoal mixed with water to treat an upset stomach.
Charcoal has also been used to treat such other intestinal disorders as diarrhea, constipation, and cramps. There are few studies to support these uses and there are also concerns that frequent use of charcoal may decrease absorption of essential nutrients, especially in children.
Cleaning your fangs
Carbon helps to remove both acidic plaque and stains (coffee, tea etc). It really does help to whiten and brighten although you may doubt this when you are scrubbing away and catch sight of yourself with 16th century-type black teeth.
To use Carbon for your teeth, all you have to do is put a little toothpaste (a good brand of toothpaste, i.e., Peelu, Ayurveda, Nature’s Gate, Tom’s of Maine) on your toothbrush, then dip it in some Carbon, add just a little bit of water, and begin to brush. Your mouth will be black and your sink may get messy, but your teeth will shine.
The wise avoid any and all commercial brands of toothpaste as they are poisonous and toxic and contain harmful ingredients such as sodium fluoride (a major ingredient in rat poison),propylene glycol (used in engine degreaser), sodium laurel sulfate, saccharin (a known carcinogen), and harmful petroleum-based dyes (Red Lake and Blue Lake), also reported to be carcinogenic.
Besides being a general antidote for poisons or remedy for gas, activated charcoal has been used to treat other conditions as well. Based on its ability to adsorb or bind to other substances, charcoal has been effectively used to clean skin wounds and to adsorb waste materials from the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it has been used to adsorb snake venoms, viruses, bacteria, and harmful materials excreted by bacteria or fungi. Activated charcoal, when used together with other remedies such as aloe vera, acidophilus, and psyllium, helps to keep symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease under control.
Apart from its medicinal applications, activated charcoal is used by biologists to cool cell suspensions; by public health physicians to filter disease organisms from drinking water; and by environmental scientists to remove organic pollutants from ocean sediments.
A good brand to buy on amazon
Coconut Shell Charcoal Ultra Fine Activated Powder Supplement
Parents should keep activated charcoal on hand in case of emergencies.
Charcoal should not be given together with syrup of ipecac. The charcoal will adsorb the ipecac. Charcoal should be taken 30 minutes after ipecac or after the vomiting from ipecac stops.
Some activated charcoal products contain sorbitol. Sorbitol is a sweetener as well as a laxative, therefore, it may cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. These products should not be used in infants.
Charcoal may interfere with the absorption of medications and nutrients such as vitamins or minerals. For uses other than for treatment of poisoning, charcoal should be taken two hours after other medications.
Charcoal should not be used to treat poisoning caused by such corrosive products as lye or other strong acids or petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene, or cleaning fluids. Charcoal may make the condition worse and delay diagnosis and treatment. In addition, charcoal is also not effective if the poison is lithium, cyanide, iron, ethanol, or methanol.
Parents should not mix charcoal with chocolate syrup, sherbet, or ice cream, even though it may make charcoal taste better. These foods may prevent charcoal from working properly.
Activated charcoal may cause swelling or pain in the stomach. A doctor should be notified immediately. It has been known to cause problems in people with intestinal bleeding, blockage or those people who have had recent surgery. These patients should talk to their doctor before using this product.
Charcoal may be less effective in people with slow digestion.
Charcoal should not be given for more than three or four days for treatment of diarrhea. Continuing for longer periods may interfere with normal nutrition.
Charcoal should not be used in children under three years of age to treat diarrhea or gas.
Activated charcoal should be kept out of reach of children.
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