The latest substance to become known for its ability to detox in the recent years is activated charcoal. It is derived from materials including coconut husks, wood, coal, and peat. The material is ‘activated’ into carbons by using hot gasses.
So, what exactly are the benefits of using activated charcoal?
As it turns out, the benefits are both, medical and cosmetic.
Activated Charcoal and Medicine
This powerful substance is used in emergency treatments in hospitals, specifically for treating various types of poisoning. Activated charcoal has the ability to trap chemicals and toxins in the body, and flush them out to avoid their reabsorption.
Charcoal is also used to prevent the absorption of the poison by the stomach. Usually, multiple doses of activated charcoal are required for severe cases of poisoning and drug overdose. It is also used to prevent other afflictions such as hangovers, high cholesterol and bloating.
Activated charcoal doesn’t actually absorb toxins, but starts a process called Adsorption. During Adsorption, chemicals and toxins bind to a surface, in this case, the activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is porous, with negative electric charge that causes positively charged toxins to bond with it.
Carbon, in the form of charcoal, has been used for millennia. As per Hindu documents dating back to 450 BC, charcoal filters were used to treat water.
However, activated charcoal is ineffective in treating poisoning caused by corrosive agents, acids and even alcohol because it cannot prevent these substances from being absorbed by our system. Individual
activated charcoal products also contain Sorbitol, a sweetener that works as a laxative and helps eliminate poison from the body. However, any product that contains Sorbitol should be administered only under a doctor’s supervision as it causes severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Activated Charcoal and Beauty
In addition to treating drug overdose and poisoning, activated charcoal also has plenty of cosmetic benefits, which are as follows:
- Teeth Whitening: Activated charcoal changes the pH balance of your mouth and in doing so, prevents cavities, bad breath and gum diseases. It also helps whiten teeth. Brush your teeth with activated charcoal two to three times a week to remove stains caused by coffee. Rinse well after brushing.
- Acne: Anyone suffering from acne can use activated charcoal to treat their skin. It binds with toxins and dirt which cause acne and removes them. Mix a small amount of activated charcoal with aloe vera gel and apply all over the face. Once the paste dries, rinse it off. This paste can also be applied on specific areas of the face that need treatment.
- Anti-aging: Using activated charcoal can help prevent cellular damage to the kidneys and liver. It helps the body flush out toxins which cause damage and premature-aging due to exposure to the wrong foods and toxins in the environment. Taking two capsules of activated charcoal daily can support increased brain function, better kidney and liver function, and support a healthy digestive tract.
- Hair: Remove toxic build-up from your scalp with activated charcoal. It can also help treat dandruff, and add volume and shine to hair. Simply mix a small amount of activated charcoal with your regular shampoo and use. But, be careful as this solution can stain your light-colored hair.
After consuming activated charcoal for health purposes, it is important to drink plenty of water. This is because activated charcoal can easily cause dehydration. Drinking plenty of water can also help flush out toxins from your system and cure constipation experienced by some when taking activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal has the ability to bind a vast variety of chemicals to its surface. In doing so, it doesn’t discriminate between the healthy and the poisonous chemicals that are absorbed by our system. This means that activated charcoal tablets may bond with the good vitamins and minerals in our food, leaving less for our body to absorb.
Activated charcoal has long been used to treat poisoning and drug overdose in patients. Yet, it has become popular for its cosmetic benefits. Despite this, it is advisable to always consult a doctor before taking activated charcoal tablets.
Rachel Oliver is a freelancer who has a way with words. She likes to write about anything and everything under the sun, but themes like health & fitness, sports, construction and maintenance, fashion, business and technology interests her more. You can get in touch with her on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.