Ok, so the very first question at the time of your mind may be “what is activated charcoal and why does it look like it is in a pill form?”
Well, that’s a very good question and a question that we both had a while back when we were introduced to it! But this cheap, safe and useful supplement has been a huge blessing to our family in the few instances we have used it!
First, we want to share what it is. It is not just a plain ol’ charcoal ground to a powder. You may be immediately thinking of the charcoal sitting in your BBQ and taking a hammer and smashing it all up for a frugal medicinal solution. Please.Don’t.Do.This. 🙂
Here’s some information according to WebMD about what it really is and how it is different, “Common charcoal is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum. ‘Activated charcoal’ is similar to common charcoal, but is made especially for use as a medicine. To make activated charcoal, manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or ‘pores.’ These pores help activated charcoal ‘trap’ chemicals.” Also, we recommend using a pure form of activated charcoal that is made from coconut shells. It is also known as activated carbon and is used in water filters to “cleanse” the water. Many have used it as a detox as well. We haven’t gone to this extent, we use it for emergency use instead.
Second, we want to share what it does and then specific uses! We found this article from emedicine health helpful and here’s a general understanding of what it does. “Activated charcoal absorbs a wide variety of drugs and chemicals. Adsorption is a process in which atoms and molecules move from a bulk phase (such as a solid, liquid, or gas) onto a solid or liquid surface. In other words, the toxic substance attaches to the surface of the charcoal. Because charcoal is not ‘digested,’ it stays inside the GI tract and eliminates the toxin when the person has a bowel movement”
So what this means is….. a way to slow, reduce and possibly rid the body of toxic chemicals or drugs when accidental ingestion has occurred.
Let’s talk about it’s uses in more specific terms:
Use for Accidental or Overdose of Certain Substances
Absorb poison, drugs, chemicals, toxins and other substances that are overdosed on or accidentally ingested. The charcoal will soak it up and eliminate it from the body. This is a safe and natural way to help with this emergency issue. However, please don’t stop here and call poison control, rush to the ER or any other necessary and normal medical attention to an issue. But having this on hand, on hikes, on travel, camping, etc. can greatly improve someone’s chances of a full/quicker recovery. It does need to be taken within an hour of the exposure.
Let’s say someone got a tummy ache from eating something that didn’t agree with them or from a developing tummy bug. We have found that this is the magic instant cure – that is safe. This has been the medicinal reason we have used it. We (thankfully) haven’t had to use it for the #1 reason mentioned above, but because of our instant success with this reason, we have confidence that it will help in the case of #1 above.
I have personally taken it a few times in a case of getting sick from my vitamins on an empty stomach, a developing stomach bug and bad food. All of which were cured and calmed in 2o minutes with taking the gel caps of activated charcoal.
The first time I had used it, we were needing to leave for a road trip and I had taken a dose of vitamins and hadn’t eat all morning in my haste. I got so sick to my stomach and I had cramping feeling that I had to sit on the stairs as I couldn’t even make it down the stairs. A friend was with me and she had activated charcoal on hand and brought it right to me and said “try this!” I took her suggestion and I was up and feeling normal within 20 minutes! I was so thankful that she kept a supply on hand in her purse. I started keeping some with me at all times after this.
Whiten Teeth Naturally
Finally, the last reason is by replacing those expensive and chemical laden teeth whitening kits with activated charcoal instead. Use it every once in a while, like you wide for commercial teeth whiteners, to whiten your teeth!
The benefit is that is will attack the stains on your teeth that are created by common and popular food and drink, but not touch the enamel – making a safe and effective tooth whitener.
We have the pill form, you can buy it in a bulk powder form as well, but it is dark, messy and difficult to clean up. So buying it in a capsule and keeping it in a capsule for emergency use is the best way. Plus, when you are ready to use it on your teeth, just break open a capsule or two in a small bowl and cover your toothbrush with it and brush the yellow away.
A Few Extra Notes:
- Always check with your doctor or a medical professional before taking any supplements for any use. That is just common sense. We are not doctors, just sharing frugal, helpful and healthy tips.
- Also, don’t plan on taking charcoal on a regular basis. It is a safe substance – however, because of it’s absorption factor, it may absorb vital nutrients that you need. This is only taken in emergencies where a one time “suck up the stuff” is needed as you want your body and gut to continue to produce and give the vital nutrients from the foods and other supplements you take. That’s why we eat. With that, it will also absorb medication that you had recently taken within an hour of taking this. Keep that in mind.
- The MayoClinic site has a lot of information about dosing for age/weight, etc.
Where to Get Activated Charcoal:
There are actually many, many places you can buy it and it is a pretty inexpensive supplement – especially if you are only taking it every once in a while. The grocery store may have some. Nature’s Way is a supplement brand sold in many grocery stores and they have activated charcoal. Also, local health food stores will most likely have it.
We have ordered ours online from Puritan’s Pride HERE during their “buy 2 get 4 free” sale. In fact, this is the exact sale we got a while back – 6 bottles with 100 capsules for $18.98. And we still have TONS!
Also, favorite two online stores carry it for decent prices as well – Vitacost HERE and Amazon HERE. For Vitacost, new customers can get a $10 off coupon with a $30 or more order by using this link HERE. If you are looking for other things to combine with it, check out the guide for the 7 best essential oils for cleaning to add to your order for the $10 discount!
Have you used or tried activated charcoal for any of the purposes above?
Sources (linked above): WebMD, EMedicineHealth and MayoClinic