Benefits of activated charcoalWiebke Venter
You can find activated charcoal in many products nowadays.
But do you know exactly what it is and why it has become a trend in many health-related products?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. The charcoal is activated by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure – reducing the size of the pores in the charcoal and making more holes in each molecule, increasing its overall surface area. This results in a charcoal that is more porous than regular charcoal and makes it extremely absorbent, allowing it to bind to molecules, ions, or atoms. In this way, it removes these from dissolved substances. One teaspoon full of activated charcoal has more surface area than a football field!
Activated has many uses:
Thanks to its toxin-binding properties, activated charcoal has a variety of medical uses. For instance, activated charcoal is often used in cases of poisoning. That’s because it can bind a wide variety of drugs, reducing their effects. In humans, activated charcoal has been used as a poison antidote since the early 1800s.
People have long used activated charcoal as a natural water filter, too. Just as it does in the intestines and stomach, activated charcoal can interact with and absorb a range of toxins, drugs, viruses, bacteria, fungus, and chemicals found in water.
In commercial settings, such as waste-management centres, operators often use activated carbon granules for one part of the filtration process. Dozens of water filtration products are also designed for at-home use, using carbon cartridges to purify water of toxins and impurities.
Some people might propose activated charcoal as a treatment for diarrhoea as it is being used as a gastrointestinal absorbent in overdoses and poisonings. In a 2017 review of recent studies on the use of activated charcoal for diarrhoea, researchers concluded that it might be able to prevent bacteria and drugs that can cause diarrhoea from being absorbed into the body by trapping them on its porous, textured surface. However, the researchers also pointed out that activated charcoal had few side effects, especially in comparison with common antidiarrheal medications.
Teeth whitening and oral health
Lots of teeth-whitening products contain activated charcoal. Many oral health products that contain activated charcoal claim to have various benefits, such as being:
Activated charcoal’s toxin-absorbing properties may be important here, Even though there is unfortunately no significant research that can clearly prove the benefits of its use for teeth whitening or oral health, we love it in our toothpaste bits.
Researchers have reported that activated charcoal can help draw microparticles, such as dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria, to the surface of the skin, to make removing them easier. Around the world, many different traditional medicine practitioners use activated charcoal powder made from coconut shells to treat soft tissue conditions, such as skin infections.
Activated charcoal may also have an antibacterial effect by absorbing harmful microbes from wounds.
Various activated charcoal deodorants are widely available. Charcoal may absorb smells and harmful gases, making it ideal as an underarm, shoe, and refrigerator deodorant. Activated charcoal is also reported to be able to absorb excess moisture and control humidity levels at a micro level.
Activated charcoal is sometimes used as a hangover cure. While consuming it with alcohol may reduce blood alcohol levels, its effects on hangovers haven’t been studied.
Browse our shop for activated charcoal products for your home & skin: