How to Use Activated Charcoal April 12 2016 by Simone Denny 4 Comments

Hello there,

This week I am going to share with you the amazing health benefits of charcoal and how to use it in your everyday life. I found this topic incredibly hard to condense down into one blog; I own a book that is dedicated entirely to charcoal remedies and there is just so much to say on this topic.

Charcoal expert John Dinsley states, 'Charcoal is history, it is poetry and art and it is science. Much more than this charcoal is cleansing and healing for man an nature'.

Charcoal has a powerful ability to adsorb toxins, unwanted chemicals, bacteria and poisons. Adsorption is the binding of a chemical (toxin or other) to a solid solid substance such as charcoal or bentonite clay (you may remember my blog about bentonite clay here). The process of activating the charcoal (reheating it and breaking it down to a powder) helps it's ability to adsorb. Charcoal is often used medically to treat gastro-intestinal issues (diarrhoea), spider bites and poisonings or drug overdoses. Charcoal is used by most hospitals around the world every day.

To help me share this information with you have I interviewed an activated charcoal expert Zdenek Styk from Pure Eden Activated Charcoal. Here a few of of the topics we will cover in this article:


  • How charcoal can be used for digestive issues, such as bloating and flatulence 
  • How to use charcoal for improved dental health 
  • Detox and heavy metal removal
  • How to use charcoal to treat poisoning 
  • How to consume charcoal
  • How to use charcoal to remove odours
  • Managing cholesterol with charcoal
  • Treating hangovers with charcoal 
  • Using charcoal on your pets
  • Using charcoal to treat colic 

NH: What is activated charcoal?
ZS: Charcoal is formed from woody substances that have been charred by fire. It has the characteristics of being able to take up toxic gases, bacteria and toxins from fluids and heavy metals. It is also called activated charcoal or activated carbon.

Good charcoal is made from a source of wood, coconut shells etc and is ground into a very fine powder. It can be obtained in tablet or capsule forms but the adsorption time will be longer than when using the straight powder. Note that charred toast is not charcoal!

Safety of charcoal. Charcoal has been studied for toxicity due to ingestion, skin contact and inhalation and all studies have shown it to be harmless. The most likely side-effect with internal use, if a person is going to have any, is slight constipation at higher doses but this is easily counteracted.


NH: What are the key benefits of Activated Charcoal (there are so many but here are a few)

ZS: there are so many, but here is a few

Dental Health

Many holistic dentists recommend that you take activated charcoal before, during and after amalgam-based filling extraction as the charcoal will help eliminate the mercury from your system. For those of you who still have amalgam (silver fillings) I would recommend that you take Activated Charcoal once a week to eliminate any mercury from your system as mercury is released by chewing and temperature (hot and cold drinks and food). See below on teeth whitening.

Activated Charcoal will also help remove Lead Acetate and other metals from your system.

Activated charcoal will help adsorb chlorine internally and externally. In some states there is more chlorine in the drinking water than there is in the local swimming pool, so I would personally be taking charcoal at least once a week to help eliminate the chlorine from your systems. Chlorine is toxic.

Lowers Cholesterol 
Activated Charcoal lowers the concentration of total lipids, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood serum, liver, heart and brain. In one study on patients with high cholesterol, reported in 1986 in the British journal The Lancet, two tablespoons of activated charcoal taken three times a day for four weeks, lowered total cholesterol 25%, lowered LDL cholesterol 41%, and doubled their HDL/LDL (high-density  lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol ratio.

Microscopic tissue examination shows that a daily dose of activated charcoal may prevent many cellular changes associated with aging—including decreased protein synthesis, lower RNA activity, organ fibrosis as well as sclerotic changes in the heart and coronary blood vessels. We can safely say, as an anti-aging adjunct to a total health program, the above cumulative effects of charcoal upon one’s blood chemistry, may add up to a longer life and improved overall health

NH: How can charcoal be used to alleviate gas, bloating and other digestive issues?

Activated charcoal cuts down on the amount of gas produced by beans and other gas-producing foods, and adsorbs the excess gas as well as the bacteria that form the gas. Brand name, over-the-counter drugs may be more commonly used for gas because of their attractive packaging and commercial value, but they are certainly not as effective.
Charcoal helps greatly with gastric and intestinal disorder, indigestion, dyspepsia, heartburn, sour or acid stomach, gas upon the stomach, constant belching, fetid breath, and many other gaseous complications.

If you are feeling bloated, then have a teaspoon of charcoal in a large glass of water and the gas should subside within 10 minutes.
To be taken internally by babies or those with sensitive digestion as in ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease.

  • Stir 2 to 3 tablespoons of charcoal powder into a litre of warm water.
  • Allow the charcoal to settle out then pour off the gray water into a baby bottle or separate glass.
  • This can be repeated several times using the original charcoal.

NH: How does charcoal work as a detoxifier the body?

ZS: "Charcoal is without rival as an agent for cleansing and assisting the healing of the body. The grains of charcoal have many crevices and corners for the adsorption of materials, gases, foreign proteins, body wastes, chemicals and drugs of various kinds making it a powerful assistant for the cleansing apparatus of the body. ... The uses of charcoal are almost as universal as those of water." (Thrash, Agathy Moody, M.D. and Thrash, Calvin, M.D. Home Remedies Hydrotherapy, Massage, Charcoal and Other Simple Treatments. 1981. Thrash Publications, Seale AB. 174p

NH: How does one consume activated charcoal?

ZS: Activated charcoal is best taken with pure water – stirred well and then consumed, followed by another glass of clean water. It can also be taken with slippery elm or psyllium husks 

Note: For internal use take 1-2 tsp of activated charcoal powder mixed well in a glass of water, followed by a second glass of clean water. Repeat an hour later if necessary (Detox - repeat twice a day for for days). Take charcoal 90 minutes prior to each meal. 

NH: How can you use activated charcoal as a first aid remedy (i.e. for poisons, spider bites etc)?

ZS: Pumping the stomach in a hospital will help to quickly remove large amounts of poisons. However, it does not reach beyond the stomach as charcoal does. As charcoal continues down through the bowels it picks up poisons that were not pumped out. Charcoal and the poisons are then eliminated together when there is a bowel movement. Activated charcoal does not irritate the mucous membranes of the GI system. It may be given orally to someone who is awake and alert. It is generally given as a black liquid drink. Multiple doses of activated charcoal can often be given if someone has swallowed large doses of long-acting, sustained release medication.

For drug overdoes charcoal has the ability to adsorb drugs in the hepatic circulation cycle (intestinal-liver circulation loop), significantly clearing them from the blood stream. Normally, the liver filters poisons from the bloodstream. These poisons are then added to the liver bile, and together they pass back into the intestinal tract for elimination. But it is possible for some drugs to be reabsorbed by the intestines and then back into the blood system before they are voided in the stool. Therefore, several days of repeated doses of charcoal is still a good treatment for poisons that may otherwise remain in the blood for a long time.

NH: Can charcoal really help with a hangover?

ZS: Activated Charcoal effectively neutralizes alkaloids like strychnine, morphine, nicotine, caffeine, and theobromine

To avoid a hangover take a tablespoon of charcoal in a large glass of water,  followed by another glass of water before bed and again upon rising. Keep well hydrated.
NH: Does teeth whitening with activated charcoal work?

ZS: Yes it definitely works for whitening teeth and also eliminating plaque and toxins from your gums and teeth

Note on how to Brush our teeth with activated charcoalYou can use a separate toothbrush, dip the toothbrush in water then into the charcoal powder. Brush your teeth in a circular motion, you can also brush into your gums as it helps to remove any bacteria or toxins. Rinse your mouth out and you may want to give them a brush with regular toothpaste. 

NH: What cautions would you advise with using activated charcoal?  
ZS: Activated charcoal needs to be taken 2 hours before or 2 hours after any prescribed medications (including the contraceptive pill). Also drinking extra water whilst taking charcoal is strongly recommended

Note: Check with a medical professional before use, particularly in an emergency situations. 
For a full list of cautions read here. 

NH: How do you use Charcoal to neutralise odours?

ZS: Activated charcoal is the most adsorptive material in the world and is great for removing odours. Put some charcoal powder in a container in the bathroom or any other area you would like to freshen up.

NH: Can you give activated charcoal to your pets? 

ZS: Activated Charcoal has no flavour so your pet will not be any the wiser.

Sprinkle Activated Charcoal in your pets wet food or water to help worm them, freshen their breath and help with intestinal gas. Activated charcoal must always be taken with liquid or in a moist form and not in powdered form.

Use a poultice on any cuts, infections, abscesses or rashes and always give them internal doses to help fight bacteria.

In case of poisoning give your pet a thick paste of activated charcoal to adsorb the poison immediately and seek the advice of your vet.
A big thank you to Zdenek Styk from Pure Eden Activated Charcoal for his wealth of knowledge on all things activated charcoal. 

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Simone X