Table of Contents
- QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
- POPULAR REMEDIES
- Activated Charcoal and Meds
- Bee Sting
- Body Odor
- Charcoal Feedback
- Charcoal Side Effects
- Food Poisoning
- Hangover Cure
- Kidney Pain
- Powder Form Vs. Capsule
- Spider Bites
- Spider Bites, Mosquito Bites
- Tooth and Mouth Care
- Upset Stomachs
- Viruses, Charcoal and Cayenne
- Where to Buy
Bought at your local pharmacy, activated charcoal is commonly used in emergency treatment for specific kinds of poisonings and drug overdoses to keep the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body. Charcoal is also used to cure gas/flatulence and help an upset stomach. A natural deodorant and disinfectant, Activated Charcoal is one of the finest absorptive and adsorptive agents known. Orally administered, these fine black granules have an amazing ability to extract and neutralize many more times their own weight in gases, heavy metals, toxins, poisons and other chemicals. Activated Charcoal is made by heating coconut shells in the absence of air. The partly burned shells are then granulated to a size that provides for optimum absorption. This vegetable form of carbon (an element found in all living matter), is completely safe for human consumption. Long recognized as being particularly helpful in providing relief for trapped gas in the lower intestine, physicians and regulatory agencies also acknowledge charcoal's cleansing properties. Known universally, it is used in hospital emergency rooms to neutralize drugs and poisons.
Since 1813, when a chemist swallowed five grams of arsenic trioxide mixed with charcoal with no adverse effect, charcoal has been commonly used as a household remedy for accidental poisoning. Research has shown that one cubic inch of charcoal has the surface area equivalent to a 150,000-square-foot field! Thus a tiny amount of charcoal can hold adhere to a large number of molecules, ions, and atoms and absorb poison quickly.
How it works:
Activated charcoal keeps the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body.
Charcoal is most successful if used within the first hour of swallowing poison. In severe poisoning cases, several doses of charcoal might be required. Ordinarily, activated charcoal should not be used to treat the ingestion of corrosive poisons (lye, acids, fuel oil, alcohols, et cetera). In the event of accidental poisoning, please call your doctor or area Poison Control Center before using activated charcoal. They will advise as to the use of charcoal after taking info on the the type of poison, allergies, and other medical problems.
Warning: Charcoal can decrease your body's absorption of certain nutrients and also interfere with medications. Because of this, frequent use is not recommended. Activated charcoal may also cause abdominal pain or swelling. If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately -- it could be an indication of intestinal bleeding or blockage.
05/14/2007: Emily from Skowhegan, USA writes: "I was interested in learning more about activated charcoal before using it and found this information on another site and thought I would share. Activated charcoal adsorbs a wide range of drugs and nutrients. Those using activated charcoal should avoid using it within two hours of drug, food, nutritional supplement or herb intake or within two hours before their intake. This is good to know since I am on the pill and other medications."
NOTE: Charcoal loses its effectiveness when mixed with chocolate syrup, ice cream, or sherbet.
Interested in reading one of the best books on activated charcoal? Check out Charcoal Remedies, The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal and its Applications by John Dinsley.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
|Charcoal Feedback||11 YEAS|
Activated Charcoal and Meds
[QUESTION] 02/05/2010: Rita from Skandia, Michigan /usa: "Will the activated charcoal tabs take away the effectiveness of my medicine?"Replies
02/14/2010: Heartrhythms from Santa Fe, Nm replies: "Hi Rita, activated charcoal would probably reduce the absorption of your medicine if taken around the same time (to be safe, I'd leave at least 4-5 hours between the charcoal and meds)."
12/23/2011: Craig from Las Vegas, Nevada replies: "Would taking the activated charcoal affect someone who is on a fentynal patch? Would it reduce the effectiveness of the patch?
Also does activated help with parasites?
[YEA] 07/04/2012: Anonymouscat from Sarasota, Florida replies: "Took Benadryl for hives, but begain having serious adverse side effects: pounding, irregular or racing heartbeat shaking tremors difficult time catching your breathe, my tongue felt thick. Seriously feel like I was going to die! Well all of that happened to me, dr called and said she thought it was a reaction from the Benadryl. So I took some activated charcoal tablets I always keep on hand, and the adverse side effects fell away It was truly AMAZING."
04/17/2013: Jolene from Albuquerque, New Mexico replies: "Rita - Odorless Garlic gets rid of parasites. Take 2 mg capsules every 4 hours (must be taken every 4 hours as the garlic leaves the body after that). It's hard to wake up during the night, but you only have to to it for 3 days."
[YEA] 05/05/2008: Gean from Salina, Kansas: "I am very allergic to bee stings. I had gotten stung a few times during my childhood and teens, each time with more severe swelling. The last time I had gotten stung (stepped on a bee going barefoot), my leg swelled up like an elephant leg all the way to the thigh (the time before that it was just above the knee). So I knew it would be worse the next time, so I carried an Epi-pen around for a while until it expired. Then I carried nothing with me, but I knew if I got stung again esp. above the waist it would probably cut off my airway circulation. Well, lo and behold, about 20 years later I got stung again, right on my throat, so I yelled for my husband to call 911, thinking I was done for. Then a few seconds later I said, "Never mind! Hang up and help me mix up this charcoal!" So we took some powdered activated charcoal, mixed it with water, and applied it to the sting site. When the paramedics showed up a few minutes later (they had traced the call), we told them we were fine, since there was no swelling at all. I changed the charcoal poultice quite often during that first day, I don't remember exactly how often. Maybe every hour for a few hours. We also ground up some flax seed and mixed it with the charcoal and water. This makes it gelatinous and less runny. I kept the poultice on for about 3 days. Two days later I felt it itch and begin to swell, and then I realized the poultice had slipped off the sting site. So I knew I was still very allergic, and the charcoal had probably saved my life."Replies
11/05/2011: Vinz from Singapore replies: "Anyone tried Activated Charcoal to lower cholesterol? What is the dosage and anyone know if taking it in long term safe?"
[YEA] 03/27/2012: Grace from Spring City, Tn. replies: "Yes I am sure you are right. I have used this same thing also. It works good to put this mixture into a pouch: cut from a baby diaper or chuck with medical tape around it, Pull out the stay dry lining because charcoal only keeps drawing if it is wet. Ground Flax seed works best but when my husband became allergic to flax seed I started using corn starch.
This also works on Brown Recluse Spider Bites, Snake Bites, Mosquito Bites, Infected Cuts of any kind and Ear Infections (Tape to the out side of the ear, pulls the infection out). I used this on my children it really works. Put it on at night and the next morning there was yellowish pus on the poultice.
I believe if people knew the benefits of Charcoal and how to use it many lives would be saved. No worries about gangrene."
[YEA] 05/15/2008: Killer Bees from Brisbane, Australia: "I had the same problem as Sharon from Santa Fe. I'm 42 now and for the last couple of years, I've had problems with everything I eat making me bloated and uncomfortable. I've tried everything I can think of, including elimination diets, with no luck. But activated charcoal really worked for me. I take 2 tabs in the morning and then 2 at night, each time about an hour after eating to give my body time to digest the meal's nutrients. I don't usually take it at lunch time because I only have soup or tea and that doesn't seem to upset me too much. I didn't have the diahorrea. My stools were solid and did change to a very dark brown/black and I felt very cleaned out. They passed more easily as well. I'll keep taking the tabs twice a day until I feel like I don't need them. My thanks to Sharon from Santa Fe for recommending this product. Girl, you rock!"Replies
04/01/2012: Laura from Amsterdam replies: "@ Killer bees from Brisbane: I'm curious to know whether these tablets helped you getting rid of your problems permanently?"
[YEA] 03/04/2008: Sharon from Santa Fe, NM: "After menopause, I seemed to be bloated in my midsection most of the time. My lower stomach was puffy most of the time. I'm a thin person, and thought this was weight gain due to menopause & quitting smoking. Ond day I took 2 activated charcoal capsules for gas, and I ended up spending a lot of time in the bathroom that day. By that evening, I realized that my stomach was flat again! I figured that the charcoal had detoxified my system!! I will continue to take the charcoal once or twice weekly now. I am extremely happy with the results!!"
[YEA] 04/16/2008: Christine from Virginia Beach, VA: "Liquid Chlorophyll and activated charcoal will go a long way to getting rid of body odor when used internally. Unfortunately, both of them can cause stains. So be sure to use them in an empty sink to avoid staining your counter or clothing.
Although you have to be careful with it to avoid making a mess, activated charcoal is best used in bulk. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons to a pint of water, and sip through a straw. Be sure to rinse out your mouth with peroxide afterward and rinse your teeth to get the charcoal off.
Activated charcoal in bulk is made from coal or coconut shells. Obviously, you want the coconut shell-made activated charcoal. You can buy it in bulk online in 40-50 pound lots, and split the cost with your friends.
Activated charcoal is a universal detoxifier and is used in emergency rooms for that purpose. Given that there are thousands and thousands of chemicals in our food, water, and air, and we have no idea how they interact with each other, it behooves all of us to take universal detoxifiers like large doses of Vitamin C or activated charcoal. Liquid Chlorophyll is also a detoxifier."Replies
10/20/2010: Crzybeau from Las Vegas, Nevada, United States replies: "Hello Christine, just want to know the time periods you take the charcoal and chlorophyll. How long before or after meals? Thank You."
05/18/2013: Mark from Las Vegas, Nv replies: "You don't need to use peroxide after drinking it. Activated Charcoal will NOT permanently stain your teeth. You only need to brush them. In fact I brush me teeth with activated charcoal powder and it gets them whiter than anything else."
05/18/2013: Joy from Battleground, Wash replies: "I use to chew on activated charcoal when I didn't have capsules. it would stick to my gums around my teeth and be black and hard to get off. I brush with coconut oil and it has removed our brownish water stains from my teeth. If it didn't clog the pipes I would wash the tub, shower, toilet with the coconut.... it makes my teeth white and removes the sensitivies."
05/05/2012: Rachel from Auckland, Nz: "Hi John, You mentioned that you have a herbalist that can supply powdered charcoal. Are you able to tell me who that is as it is difficult today as most charcoal is in capsule form. Thanks..."
[QUESTION] 01/25/2009: shinjiki : "I wish to purchase bulk activated charcoal powder. Please respond. thank you."Replies
07/16/2009: Jeremiah from San Diego, California replies: "Call your local water agency. If they use it as part of their water treatment process, then they can tell you where they get theirs."
08/30/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA replies: "The water treatment facility might be using petroleum based charcoal, though. It might be a better idea to get the kind labeled for medicinal use."
06/19/2011: Diamond from Salisbury, Usa replies: "You might want to check with an herbal store, that's where I got mine."
12/13/2011: Lily1214 from Whittier, Ca, Usa replies: "You can buy it in bulk or in capsules on Ebay which is where we bought ours."
[YEA] 12/18/2008: Bill from Anchorage, Alaska: "Save on charcoal: I save money on charcoal by purchasing activated charcoal for fish tanks. I then run it though my coffee grinder. The longer it is in the running grinder, the smaller the particles increasing the surface area."Replies
08/13/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin replies: "You are brilliant."
08/30/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA replies: "Activated charcoal used for fish tanks is probably petroleum based, rather than "plant" based. It might be a better idea to use medical grade charcoal."
05/02/2010: Cybz from Op, Ks replies: "Why would anyone make petroleum based charcoal to put in a fish tank? Really think about it. How toxic for aquatic life."
05/10/2010: Mark from Las Vegas, Nv replies: "Well it could be because in my opinion almost everything they make for your fish tank is designed to KILL YOUR FISH so that you have to buy new ones.
Have you ever seen how hard it is to cycle a new fish tank without the fish dying?
Did you know most of what they sell you to cycle your tank does not work and it is total garbage.
Have you ever tested the magnetic field coming off of the filtration system going in to the tank?
2 Miligauss is considered safe for a human, my fish tank had 20 milligauss going into it no wonder my fish got a tumor and died.
So no it would not surprise me that the charcoal would also be toxic also.
Don't take the risk and be cheap spend the extra money and by the quality Activated Charcoal made from coconut shells.
PS: The only thing that will cycle a tank fast is Biospira and it's in the refrigerated section at quality fish stores."
01/19/2013: Koekoe from South Africa replies: "I don't believe you as the fishtank charcoal does not dissolve in water even if you grind it, so to speak. It does not make the water black."
[YEA] 11/14/2008: Susan from Dania, FL U.S.: "i have a skin allergy,that a dermatologist identified as being eczema, It appears between my knee and ankle on my left leg. over the past 40 years it started about the size of a quarter and for the past 10 or 15 years had grown to cover and area of 4in.by 4 in..... I started taking the charcoal capsules twice a day, each capsule aprox 280 milligrams..the lesion has shrunk to about the size of a quarter.. no more itching and burning etc, also whenever i feel an sinus allergy attack i take the charcoal..i reduce the amount that i take when the synmtoms reduce.. can one build up immunity, does anyone know ,or toxicity???"
10/15/2008: Renee from Spring, Texas: "Activated Charcoal can be found at most "natural / health food stores". It does not have to only be purchased through your local pharmacy."Replies
03/18/2010: Edward from San Juan, Pr replies: "Renee from Spring, Texas you are right. Walgreens has it for $19.99 and GNC has it for $10.49 (260mg capsules/100) ... $8.39 with Gold Card purchase."
11/05/2011: Vin from Singapore replies: "Activated Charcoal for high cholesterol treatment. I read a lot about this recently. But just wonder whether taking 8mgx3 per day can really lower the cholesterol. And also whether it's safe to take that amount in daily basis for long period of time (Ie for 2-3months). Would appreciate if anyone cares to share :)"
11/05/2011: Debbie from Melbourne, Australia replies: "I read yesterday that high cholesterol is actually a result of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium regulates it. My book is "Magnesium Miracle" by Carolyn Dean if you are interested in researching."
11/07/2011: Timh from Louisville, Usa replies: "Vin, do not take A.C. long-term as it absorbs needed nutrition from gut. Eating high fibre diet is as effective as A.C. , so I would go the dietary route or supplement fibre. Also, if you're not allergic to shellfish, supplement Chitosan, as it is the most potent cholesterol grabber.
Also multivit. plus extra niacin will help."
11/07/2011: Cameron from Brisbane, Qld, Australia replies: "I beg people to stop spreading the rumour that Charcoal takes nutrients, there is abundant science regarding Charcoal use and there is absolutely no evidence that charcoal absorbs nutrients from the gut. Having said that, try getting hold of CoQ10, Oral Chelation capsules or tablets and Spirulina/Chlorella. From memeory 200mg of CoQ10. The Chelation tablets/capsules are better as a suppository as they are 95% absobed but orally(20% not really sure) will be fine and the Spirulina/ Chlorella will help with your cravings for refined sugars and will replace your vitamins, take 5 grams of each with meals, every meal(your stools should be green). Do a Google search on the Oral Chelation it is quite amazing, it will clean your arteries right out, you will notice your urine will smell very bad, this means it's working. I have known lots of people scheduled for heart surgery have it cancelled after taking Oral Chelation for just a couple of weeks. Charcoal will not hurt absorbtion of food nutrients, that rumour gets bandied about quite often.
Look up Linus Pauling and Vitamin C but you will notice I do not mention Vitamin C, the green algaes will take care of your needs but feel free to go for large doses of High Quality Vit C til you are much better.
BTW Cholesterol is an essential part of your blood and the range which doctors quote is artificially low to encourage drug prescription. Cholesterol is your body's messenger and is one of the most complicated and misunderstood processes in your body. Scientists studying Cholesterol find more about it all the time.
A better marker for your health is your weight, your energy levels, general well being and your blood pressure. Focus on those rather than cholesterol."
02/26/2012: Moe from Nyc, Ny replies: "http://drcranton.com/chelation/oralchelation.htm You better read this for Oral Chelation."
11/22/2012: Ann Of Usa from Highland Town, Peace, Usa replies: "FOR CAMERON OF BRISBANE: We are in a very, very similar situation with our child. Would you please consider contacting me at this e-mail address below? I would like to talk with you about your home treatment of your daughter's leukemia. We are doing something similar and you are the first person I've found online who I think I could finally talk to! I will keep this e-mail address current. Thanks, Ann of USA buymyhairtoday2009(at)yahoo.com"
09/23/2008: Anonymous from Takoma Park, FL: "I just purchased CharcoCaps. Has anyone used these? I'm writing b/c it says to take them at mealtimes. Everyone else on here says to take it 2 hours after eating. Is this brand of activated charcoal as effective as the others being discussed here? Thanks."
[WARNING!] 06/25/2008: Jeanne from Atl, Georgia: "Please be careful if you try activated charcoal! I was getting stomach pain 20 minutes after every meal. I finally figured out that my stomach pain started after I took activated charcoal (heaping tablespoon for 2 days in a row - not a lot!). I located the pain in my stomach, found a little lump in the colon, and then used my fist to move the lump to the left. A day later my husband took over, found the lump,(which had moved slightly) and did acupressure for about 2 minutes on the spot-- ohhh yes, it hurt. But within minutes I had to run to the bathroom and the rest is history. No more stomach pain. So please be careful with the charcoal, especially if you have a sensitive stomach! I think that people's stomach aches can be often be an impacted colon. The same thing has happened to me before after eating bread and another time, after drinking psyllium without enough water!
If you press on your stomach and have a painful spot that moves slowly from one day to the next, you may have clogged your colon/intestines. Tons of water helps, but acupressure massage is best to move the obstruction to your bowels and out. One last note is that I was having normal bowel movements even while my colon was impacted, so don't rely on that (constipation or elimination) to judge, but more on the location of pain and whether or not a little lump exists."Replies
08/13/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin replies: "Maybe drinking more water with the charcoal would help?"
09/02/2010: Lita209 from Sanford, Fl, Usa replies: "I don't know Jeanne from GA, I have never tried charcoal, but could it be that the charcoal helped your body get rid of whatever it was that you got rid off?? Just a thought"
12/06/2010: Vizzini from San Francisco, Ca, Usa replies: "I have never tried charcoal, but could it be that the charcoal helped your body get rid of whatever it was that you got rid of.
Charcoal causes constipation. For this reason, when it is given in the hospital, a laxative is usually given at the same time. It is fairly likely that it was the charcoal that caused the blockage. Just because something is "natural" does not mean that it cannot harm you."
03/20/2011: Suzy from Conroe, Texas replies: "I have to agree with the recent comment made, I think it sounds more like the charcoal helped your body rid of the toxins or whatever (lump) it was that needed to be released from your body! The lump was probably in a different location or more scattered... Then when you started taking charcoal it may have moved it during the process of elimination. The pain was probably due to the body flushing out whatever it was that needed to be released. Just as women get cramps before a period (flushing)... Or pain and cramps before having to go "number 2! " The pain was a sign that your body was releasing.... Which I'm sure the charcoal helped do! I believe that your husband providing you with acupressure helped release (push) it more quickly out of your body! "
[SIDE EFFECTS] 05/25/2011: Mercedes from Wilkes Barre, Pa/usa replies: "I took natures way activated charcoal for gas pains it caused worse pains then I started I also feel a lump in my stomach it has been 6 days and I still cannot have a bm. I also went to the hospital for this pain. They couldnt do anything for me because I took exlax which made me go but not the hard lump above belly button. The exlax made me dehydrated so they sent me home. I wouldn't recomend this to my worst enemy. So to all who read this before taking it please don't take it."
06/19/2011: Diamond from Salisbury, Usa replies: "Jeanne;I think the inscription might read take only 1/2 a teaspoon of Activated Charcoal, then work your way up gradually to one tsp. Most people will have negative results to anything, even food, but our bodies will let us know when enough is enough or that it's not good for one person but is for another.
True? good luck"
[YEA] 11/28/2011: Lisa from Kevil, Ky replies: "Those with negative effects probably took too much, didn't drink enough water, didn't counter with extra fiber from veggies, fruits or fiber supplements. I had a little constipation. Stools were a little dry and hard to pass. So I backed down from a teaspoon 2 or 3 times a day, to 1/2 a tsp. 2 or 3 times a day, and made sure to drink plenty of water and eat enough fiber from foods and I also followed the charcoal with slippery elm, about a tablespoon in a pint of water, which makes a thin mucilaginous drink that is soothing to the gi tract and moves things on through it. I have had great results. Totally stopped the bout of gas and diarrhea that I had hit me, I guess from a bug or food poisoning."
[YEA] 03/30/2012: Mark from Las Vegas, Ca replies: "Activated Charcoal is good for food poisoning, Gas and bloating and Accidental poisoning. Always keep some on the house. I take it fairly often. I have never had a bad experience using it but many times it has saved me from problems such as gas, bloating and bad food.
Those that warn people to stay away always fail to recognize that maybe it will work for others and their problems might be an abberation and not the typical experience. I have never had charcoal cause constipation."
[YEA] 06/15/2008: Jennie from Copenhagen, Denmark: "I had been losing weight really quickly after starting an exercise program. I wanted to make sure that any old toxins that had been stored in my fat didn't start circulating in my body, so I took 1 tablet of activated charcoal, 3 times a day (remembering to wait 2 hours before/after eating), for a week. I didn't exactly feel a difference, but I SAW one. I looked five years younger (am only 30, so that's a lot for me)! I also highly recommend adding 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder to 1 tablespoon of facial mask. It is a mini-facelift!"
[YEA] 02/13/2008: Lauren from Brooklyn, NY: "I had a miscarriage and inflamation developed in my uterus as a result. I was unable to stand or walk for mor than 10 minutes. The pain in my lower back and pelvic area was excrutiating. I used 1 tbs of charcoal in a glass of warm water every morining and night for 10 days. The inflamation and the pain were gone by the end of the program."Replies
04/18/2009: Roksanda Kosmajac from New York, N.Y. replies: "That comment by Lauren from Brooklyn, is very interesting, and I think she is right about taking Charcoal in warm water!"
08/13/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA replies: "Imagine sticking your head into a bucket of ice water. Not good. Now imagine pouring ice water into the inside of your body. Can't be good either. Warm water sounds better."
[YEA] 08/22/2007: GT from Vero Beach, Florida: "Charcoal pills were used for severe food poisoning. Eating chicken that has been left out in the heat of the blazing sun from 4am to dinner time, no refrigeration. Many around me got sick with severe bowel problems. I took charcoal pills, the loose bowels stoped within 10 min."Replies
12/06/2010: Vizzini from San Francisco, Ca, Usa replies: "Charcoal cause constipation, which probably explains why it reduced your loose bowel movements. If your loose bowels were caused by bacterial infection of the raw chicken, there is a reason your GI tract responded by trying to eliminate the substance. Plugging yourself up by taking charcoal may have been convenient, but it may not have been the best option for your health. Taking charcoal is not an effective solution for food poisoning."
[YEA] 04/11/2011: Leah from Toronto, Ontario, Canada replies: "Oh yes, charcoal is an incredibly effective solution for food poisoning!"
[YEA] 03/30/2012: Mark from Las Vegas, Nv replies: "@ Vizzini - You are inccorect. Charcoal is very effective for food poisoning. Soaking up the toxins the food poison is creating is much healthier than having them free in the colon and going into the blood stream.
And it does NOT cause contipation or at least has not in my many uses of it. I guess that would depend on how much you took.
I usually take ACV in water first and often add lugol's Iodine. Both known to help prevent food poisioning. If that does not work quickly I take several capsules of Charcoal.
I wish I had known about this a couple of years ago when I got bad food poisoning. At least I know about the Charcoal now. Every household should have Activated Charcoal in it."