Activated Charcoal: In with the Good, Out with the Bad

By Lauren Kopf / Photography By Mary McClung | December 08, 2015
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Graphics by Caryn Scheving


For thousands of years, activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, has been used to promote digestive and whole body health. This natural fix-all has been in the spotlight of recent trends for its detoxifying properties. From whitening teeth to detoxifying the digestive tract, activated charcoal is a natural and economical fix for some of the most common health and household problems.

What is activated charcoal and how does it work?

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores, increasing the surface area available for absorption. The surface is extremely porous and negatively charged, causing positively charged toxins to bind to it. This means that if activated charcoal is ingested or topically used, consumed toxins are absorbed into the activated charcoal and removed from our bodies.

Natural sources for activated charcoal include coconuts, certain types of wood, bamboo and other organic materials.

Skincare Benefits
Recent health and wellness trends point to the use of topical skincare products loaded with naturally sourced activated charcoal. The activated charcoal draws out dirt and other toxins, leaving skin clean and refined. It acts as an antibacterial agent, deeply detoxifying the skin without causing redness or irritation caused by many other skincare products.

Boscia Skin Care has an activated charcoal line including a Detoxifying Black Cleanser, Pore Purifying Black Strips, Luminizing Black Mask and Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel. Yes To Brands has a Yes To Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap, which may be used from head to toe to treat skin.

Using encapsulated active charcoal is a more affordable way to treat skin topically. Combine one capsule of activated charcoal with a few teaspoons of aloe vera and then smooth over the face while being careful to avoid the eyes and mouth. Let the mixture dry before rinsing off with warm water and patting skin dry with a clean towel.
 
Treating Gas and Bloating
There are many who profess the efficacy of activated charcoal to treat diarrhea and intestinal pain and issues. Oftentimes, this is done by taking a capsule (dosage varies by person) an hour before eating a meal with one full glass of water to help the activated charcoal work its way into your system. Follow your meal with another full glass of water to aid in the detoxifying process and to prevent dehydration and constipation.

The Garden Table, a local eatery and juicery located in Broad Ripple, offers a Detox Dream cold-pressed juice beverage with activated charcoal included in its 100% natural ingredient list. This juice helps to flush out toxins in the body by cleansing the liver and preventing bloating as it goes through the system. It is important to consume this beverage on an empty stomach as it will affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.

Whitening Teeth
Activated charcoal is a natural, easy and inexpensive cure for the red wine, coffee and tea stains that accumulate over the years on your pearly whites. This is because it pulls and absorbs residue and plaque that cling to teeth and cause these stains. And activated charcoal balances out the pH levels in the mouth, improving overall oral health.

To brush with activated charcoal, dip a wet toothbrush into powdered activated charcoal and brush teeth as usual. Before rinsing, sip water, swish in your mouth and spit out to ensure all areas have been treated. If you have caps, crowns or veneers, do not use this treatment as it may cause further staining. Take care to protect countertops and fabrics as they might become stained if the activated charcoal comes in contact with them.

Water Filtration
Staying hydrated is essential for whole body health. Drinking enough water helps to fight fatigue, aids in flushing out toxins, improves organ function and aids joint and tissue health. Filtering your water with activated charcoal will trap impurities such as solvents, pesticides, industrial waste and other chemicals and free radicals. These filters are also shown to remove some fluoride from water.

Activated charcoal is a natural, affordable fix for household, beauty and health issues. Remember, always consult with a medical professional before starting a new health regimen, and when buying activated charcoal products look for those free of chemicals, with pure, natural forms of activated charcoal.

Article from Edible Indy at http://edibleindy.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/activated-charcoal-good-out-bad
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