Do you know of any substances that can whiten your teeth, help you get over food poisoning, prevent a hangover, and reduce acne?
Well, let me introduce you to Activated Charcoal!
Uses for Activated Charcoal
Activated Charcoal is a processed version of common charcoal, which is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell or petroleum. To create activated charcoal, raw charcoal is exposed to oxidizing agents, like air, steam or oxygen, at high temps, which cause the charcoal to erode. This extensive erosion creates a substantial surface area. We’re talking very substantial surface area: one teaspoon (3.3gms) of activated charcoal has approximately the same surface area as a football field!
So how does this incredible surface area benefit us? It gives activated charcoal the ability to trap enormous amounts of chemicals, thereby potentially preventing your body from absorbing them. Another great quality of activated charcoal is that the charcoal itself is not absorbed into our bodies. The charcoal enters our bodies, attracts and absorbs toxins and nasty chemicals, then carries them out of the body.
As you can see above, activated charcoal is indeed, very black. I know that it seems counter-intuitive to put a black, staining substance on your pearly whites, but stay with me. All of those delicious drinks that can unfortunately stain your teeth (tea, coffee, wine) have these molecules called tannins. Our good friend, activated charcoal, does a terrific job of absorbing these tannins from your teeth, without damaging the enamel.
I have tried a few commercial teeth whiteners, bleaching trays, and home remedies, and I can say that activated charcoal is the easiest and most effective method for teeth whitening. Yes, it is even better than my homemade teeth whitener. I have used it 4 times, and each time I use it, my teeth are a shade whiter. It is truly an astounding difference!
How to whiten teeth: Grab your clean toothbrush and run it under water to moisten. Dip toothbrush into activated charcoal powder and use small, gentle circles to brush the charcoal into your teeth. Do this for 1-2 minutes, then carefully spit and rinse mouth well. *Note of caution* It is black, and messy, and will get all over your bathroom sink if you’re not careful. Have a towel handy for clean up 😉
Treat Food Poisoning:
There are really very few things in life worse than food poisoning. I have encountered this ailment on a few occasions, and felt like I was going to die. It is miserable (<- understatement). It is possible that activated charcoal may help in alleviating food poisoning symptoms! Many hospitals actually have activated charcoal on hand for patients who have ingested toxins (source).
Note of caution: before using this medicine, call a poison control center, your doctor, or an emergency room for advice.
If you get an upset stomach after eating gas-inducing foods, try taking some activated charcoal next time. Some studies have shown that activated charcoal may decrease flatulence (source).
I have pretty much eliminated most toxic household cleaners from my home at this point (here are recipes to make your own non-toxic versions!), but I feel much safer having activated charcoal at home, in case of an accidental poisoning from medicine, poison or other chemicals. Activated charcoal helps draw out certain harmful toxins from the body and bloodstream, and could be life-saving.
It is important to note that activated charcoal will not work on every poisoning, and can make some situations worse (such as ingestion of gasoline and some acids). If you suspect you or your child has ingested something toxic, call poison control immediately or go to the ER. The poison control, a physician or 911 personnel can tell you if activated charcoal can be used, and can give you accurate dosing.
If you remember, toxin removal is kind of activated charcoal’s “thing”. This homemade face mask may help remove bacteria from the face, which may help clear up occurrences of acne:
- 1 tsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tsp water or rosewater
- 1 tsp activated charcoal
- 5 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
- a pinch of sea salt
Combine all ingredients until a consistent mask is formed. Apply to clean face and allow to dry. Rinse away and you will be left with clean and refreshed skin!
Prevent a Hangover:
It is rumored that activated charcoal can prevent a hangover, if one capsule is taken before bed time. I haven’t found any medical articles that support this, but I may, or may not have a friend who has tested out this home remedy, and found it to be highly reliable!
A few other details to remember:
*Due to its absorbent nature, activated charcoal will absorb prescribed medicines along with other unwanted toxins. Activated charcoal will render your prescribed medications useless, so do not take this internally if you are currently taking other medications.
*Activated charcoal in large doses can cause dehydration, so remember to drink plenty of water when taking it.
*Activated charcoal can be purchased in powdered form or in capsules. I buy these capsules, and when I want to use the charcoal to whiten my teeth, I simply open the capsules and pour the powder into a small bowl.
Please note: While I did research this information and found credible sites to back up my data, my degree is in business, not medicine. No information on this post or anywhere on my website should be construed as medical advice. You can also read my disclaimer here.
I love learning how to create things from scratch, so I know what ingredients go into everything from homemade face scrubs to clean eating recipes. I enjoy sharing my favorite recipes with other families so they can have a healthier home, too!