Why Is Activated Charcoal So Popular?

What Is Charcoal?

Charcoal is a substance made from materials such as wood, coconut shells and coal. 

Charcoal has been used for thousands of years as fuel and to this day has many popular uses such as fuel for bbq’s, nourishing compost heaps, keeping flowers fresh, water filtration and of course generating power.

You may have also heard of activated charcoal this is not to be confused with regular charcoal. Regular charcoal is not safe for consumption as it will have a carcinogenic effect on our health, however activated charcoal is food grade and can be bought from health food stores and pharmacies, therefore, making it safe to take internally.

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is formed when regular charcoal gets heated at a very high temperature of about 900 degrees which then allows any impurities on the surface to be removed. During this oxidisation process, the surface area is also vastly increased and tiny holes are formed. The activated charcoal is now porous and highly absorbent.

Popular Uses

  •  Used to treat drug overdoses and poisoning. 
The Charcoal binds to the toxins and helps to eliminate them from your body.

“Activated charcoal keeps swallowed drugs and poisons from being absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream. It’s a highly effective treatment for many poisons.”

This is an excellent quote from an article I read which also explains that when people have to go to an emergency room because of an overdose, they are given activated charcoal.


  • Used in face scrubs, masks and body scrubs simply due to its deep cleansing effects. Charcoal helps to absorb excess oils and removes impurities leaving your skin totally clean and purified.
  • Used to treat bloating, flatulence and IBS symptoms. The tiny holes on the surface of the charcoal help trap the gas molecules, binds to the fat and toxins in your digestive tract and also clings to acids in the lower intestine to relieve the gas and bloating which helps to relieve your discomfort.
  • Helps to remove chemicals from your body found in processed foods and in the pesticides found in non-organic fruits and veggies.
  • Used a deep detox cleanser for your hair especially if it is very greasy. The charcoal will draw out all the oil and dirt without disrupting your hairs natural moisture level.
  • Helps relieve pain and irritation from bites, stings and cuts. If you mix some of the activated charcoal powder – say 1 tablespoon to a few drops of water to form a paste (depending on how large the affected area is) and apply topically to the area this will help to soothe the pain. For minor infections, it can help to absorb the infection or toxins out of the wound.
  • Whitening Teeth. It can help to restore the whiteness of your teeth, remove stains from tea, coffee and red wine. I have heard that it can be abrasive if used too much and that it can wear down the teeth causing your dentin (the hard tissue layer located under your enamel) to become more visible causing your teeth to look yellow, however, there is no scientific evidence to prove this and my teeth always look whiter after using it.

If you would like to know more about Dentin then check out the link 


Activated Charcoal Side Effects and Cautions

It is recommended to only take it for short periods or as and when needed.

If you have any serious medical conditions or take any medication then please check with your GP before taking anything.

Always read the dosage label on the packaging and never exceed the stated dose.

Long term or improper use can :

  1. Cause constipation
  2. Cause black tongue
  3. Cause your stools to turn black
  4. Interact with Supplements, Medications and Alcohol
  5. Cause vomiting and diarrhoea

Best Way to take Activated Charcoal

On an empty stomach at least one or two hours before food, medication or supplements, this will ensure that the charcoal binds to toxins instead of food or medication.

Detox Deep Cleanse/Charcoal-Tea Tree-Clay Face Mask Recipe

I find the charcoal capsules less messy but you can also use the powder.

  • Add the tea tree to the water, add the clay then charcoal, mix until a paste is formed. 
  • Apply to face using a soft bristle brush.
  • Leave for 20 mins, then wash off with warm water.

The charcoal will absorb impurities and toxins.

The tea tree is a natural antibacterial so will protect and also cleanse your skin.

The bentonite clay will give you a deep cleanse. It will tighten/tone your face but also be deep cleansing and healing, especially if you’re prone to breakouts.

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