Activated charcoal has been in use for several centuries as a treatment for different ailments, poisoning and common digestive disorders. There has been a much better understanding over the years of how it works and the medicinal benefits that can be derived from it. This guide provides the important benefits of activated charcoal, and why you should consider giving it a place on your kitchen or bathroom shelf.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder consisting of some substance – usually wood, coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, coal or sawdust. The substance is then burned to create char at very high temperatures without oxygen to change its internal structure, increasing its surface area and reducing the size of its pores. During the process, the char is exposed to certain gases and it becomes highly porous.
Activated charcoal is widely different from charcoal briquettes for your barbecue or charred wood from the fire. Even though both are essentially from the same materials, charcoal that has not been ‘activated’ contains additional substances that can be toxic to humans. Therefore, it is not recommended to try to substitute them or make your own.
How Activated Charcoal Works
Harmful toxins and chemicals are trapped by activated charcoal in its millions of tiny pores. As a result of its porous surface, it has a negative electric charge that makes it to bond with positive charged gas and chemicals, using the chemical process of adsorption. The adsorption qualities of activated charcoal is what makes it a powerful detoxifier, as it can carry the toxins bound to its surface out of the body through faeces.
As a result of its efficiency, activated charcoal can be used in a number of ways: It can be used for hair and skin, to care for teeth or to treat mild infections.
Whether you are taking it as a pill or in liquid form, here are some good reasons to start using activated charcoal.
1. Whitens Teeth
If your oral health is important to you, then this reason for using activated charcoal might just be all you need. The use of activated charcoal as a solution for a bright smile is cost effective and all-natural.
If your teeth have become stained from berries, wine, tea or coffee, you can whiten your teeth with activated charcoal. This substance promotes good dental health by helping to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath, and changing the PH balance present in the mouth. Plaque and all of the microscopic tidbits that cause stained teeth are adsorbed, resulting in whiter-looking teeth.
To use activated charcoal to whiten teeth, no special toothbrush is required because your regular one will do just fine. However, since the substance can discolour the bristles on your brush, you might want to buy a second toothbrush for this purpose.
If you do not want to use a toothbrush, you could mix water and powdered activated charcoal and swish it in your mouth for about a minute. Then hold it in your mouth for about five more minutes before spitting it out.
2. Works as a Beauty Ingredient
Many beauty products now contain activated charcoal as an ingredient because of its effectiveness at removing dirt, bacteria, chemicals and build-up on the skin.
There are a number of different beauty solutions you can work by using activated charcoal in your beauty routine. Adding a little bit of activated charcoal to your shampoo or body scrub will increase its effectiveness on your hair and skin. You can also make a clarifying face mask by adding a little bit of powdered activated charcoal to some warm water, with some aloe gel or honey.
When using activated charcoal as a beauty ingredient, it is important to remember that it is not recommended for daily use. Also, do not use on dry hair and skin, as the product is dehydrating and can result in more moisture loss.
3. Relieves Bloating and Gas Discomfort
Activated charcoal can be taken in pill, liquid or powder form. If you are taking it in powdered form to straighten out stomach discomfort, you’ll need to mix it into a non-acidic juice. Activated charcoal is best taken in tablet form or in capsules (which can be opened if you need it in powder for other purposes).
To avoid constipation when taking activated charcoal supplements, remember to drink lots of water. The directions on the bottle should be carefully followed. Also, they should be taken between meals when the stomach is empty and a period of time should be left after taking them and before the next meal. This is because the supplements can deplete the vitamins and nutrients from your food which you need for your body.
Activated charcoal should only be taken as needed, not as a daily vitamin. As with any substance, it is necessary to check with a doctor or medical professional before internal use. An expert opinion is important if you plan to have activated charcoal in your home as an emergency treatment or to care for symptoms of an underlying health problem.
4. Absorbs Odours
When you want fresh and clean air, this substance is highly effective. Some people keep baking soda in their fridge to keep it smelling fresh, but activated charcoal odour absorbers have been found to do the job even better. Keep some in the fridge, in your kitchen, garage, bathroom and everywhere.
Activated charcoal’s porous nature makes it great at removing and trapping odours, allergens, harmful chemicals and toxins from the air. This is why charcoal can be found in air purifying products, as they are efficient at cleaning the air in a home.
Activated charcoal is therefore a useful substance if you suffer from asthma, allergies or other breathing problems. Buying activated charcoal filters can provide a significant improvement in your home, and enhance the quality of life by helping you breathe easier.
With activated charcoal, you can whiten your teeth, care for your hair and skin, take care of bloating and even purify the air in your home. The best part? It is all natural, so you do not have to compromise on any standards if you decide to give activated charcoal a try.