activated charcoal

While the use of activated charcoal in wellness “shots,” lattes and face masks may seem like a new trend, this purifying nutrient has been used in ancient Ayurvedic, Egyption and Traditional Chinese medicine practices dating back to 1,500 B.C.

It is known for its ability to bind to poisons, heavy metals and other toxins flushing them from the body, making it a tactical tool for both acute and gentle detoxification.

Whether you find yourself feeling a bit lackluster after a dinner out or you are looking for a deeper detox, consider activated charcoal as your ally.

WHAT EXACTLY IS ACTIVATED CHARCOAL?

It is the byproduct of burning a carbon source like wood or [even better] coconut shells.

Then the charcoal is “activated” by high temperatures that remove all the oxygen and change its chemical structure to create much smaller particles with more surface area. The result is an ultra-fine [tasteless] charcoal with millions of tiny pores which are able to capture, bind and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals and intestinal gases.

AND WHAT DOES IT DO?

Primarily used, in the past, as a remedy for flushing toxins from the body when taken orally. But modern research indicates this amazing black powder is so much more than an antidote for drugs and poisons.

It’s a global remedy for general detoxification, digestive health, gas, bloating, heart health, and anti-aging.

Here’s how:

  • General detoxification: Activated charcoal works through a process called “adsorption” [that’s ad, and not ab], which means “to bind to” rather than “to absorb.” Therefore, if chronically exposed to toxins [either through processed food or environmental pollution], the regular use of activated charcoal can soften the toxic burden, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant.
  • Relief of digestive upset [gas + bloating]: Often-times the digestion of foods high in fiber [such as beans or vegetables] create a gaseous byproduct or worse, loose stool. Upon entrance to the digestive tract, activated charcoal binds to these byproducts easing the digestive upset
  • Assistance in treating bug and/or snake bites — If you happen to have been stung by a bee or bitten by a spider/mosquito, a topical combination of activated charcoal and coconut oil may help address the condition.
  • Face mask + teeth whitener? The verdict is still out. Activated charcoal face masks are gaining popularity, especially among women looking to treat acne since it supports the elimination of dead skin cells. However, there is currently little research supporting this claim. The simple therapy of taking time for a facemask could be all that is needed for the subsequent “glow.” As far as dentistry goes, there is also talk of activated charcoal’s potential for whitening benefits, but here’s what the American Dental Association has to say about that

“[U]sing materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can actually wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed — a softer, yellow tissue called dentin”. If you want whiter teeth, coconut oil may be a better option, especially when you use it for oil pulling.

It goes without saying, the therapy of activated charcoal is it’s ability to purify. And it’s therapy is multifaceted. But how to best use it? Let’s dig in.

HOW TO USE IT?

Activated charcoal always saves the day when I overindulge on food or when I’m on long trips. And it works quickly!

Use activated charcoal when:

  • Eating out at out at restaurants or eat processed junk foods
  • If you drink bad quality coffee
  • Drinking any alcohol
  • Feeling moody or tired
  • You’re traveling, especially air travel

Dosage: Take 1,000 mg when consuming food of unknown quality or when drinking alcohol. Everyone responds differently to different doses, so always consult a doctor before using any supplement or binding agent like charcoal.

When to avoid taking: Never take activated charcoal with prescription medications or with other supplements. Charcoal does not discriminate. So it binds to anything, even beneficial substances we intentionally want in our body such as prescription medications, vitamins, and minerals. Wait 2-3 hours after consuming to take other supplements or meds and talk to your doctor about the specifics.

Drink plenty of water: Excessive consumption, especially without magnesium, can result in constipation. Take 300-400 mg magnesium glycinate about 3 hours after taking charcoal and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

And speaking of stool…activated charcoal turns it black. The end!

Whether you decide to use activated charcoal routinely, or treat a more acute toxicity, I’m proud of you for considering the addition of activated charcoal to your medicinal cabinet.

To your purified vibrance,

Ellie

 

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