If asked during my years as an art student, what charcoal is good for, I would have answered that it makes nice drawings. In my drawing classes we used skinny and very fragile black sticks that looked like charred twigs. We would have fun doing quick practice sketches, then come out of class with black hands.
But now I have learned about the medicinal uses for charcoal. Although probably not much different, sketching charcoal is not the same as the “activated charcoal” used in healing. According to The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia, p. 152, charcoal is made from hard wood and “produced by slow combustion in a relative absence of oxygen. …Commercial sources are usually made from coconut shells. …Treatment with superheated steam can produce ‘activated’ charcoal, which is capable of much greater adsorptive effect. This is because more surfaces of the charcoal have been exposed. The surface area of charcoal is astounding, for it has millions of micropores with surface areas ranging from 400 to over 1,800 square meters per gram! There are 50 million charcoal particles in one pound.” I can’t exactly get my mind around that but it sounds amazing. What that means in practical terms is that it has fascinating ability to do it’s work of adsorbing.
What is activated charcoal good for?
Skin and bowel inflammation, intestinal gas, wounds, skin infections, and poisoning.
Note for internal use:
1. If drinking charcoal water, it is best to do it at least two hours after a meal, or at another time of day not close to meal times, such as an hour or two before bedtime. If used too close to meals, the charcoal can absorb nutrients from your food.
2. If you take medications, be aware that charcoal can reduce or neutralize the effectiveness of medications.
Note for external use:
See my blog about how to make and use charcoal poultices.
How to use charcoal for:
inflammation (swelling) and pain from bruising: Use a poultice applied with cold water. (Note: Rubbing the juice of a freshly sliced onion over a fresh bruise will help reduce swelling also)
wounds and skin infections: Do not put charcoal into open wounds. Use a poultice over it.
boils: Use a poultice.
intenstinal gas: Put a spoonful of activated charcoal in a half glass of water, stir, and drink. Then drink another glass of water.
diarrhea: See instructions for intestinal gas.
bowel inflammation: Put activated charcoal into cold water and allow the sediment to sink to the bottom. Drink the charcoal (slurry) water. You can also place a poultice of charcoal over bowels and stomach, or do hot/cold water treatment over bowels using a poultice bag filled with charcoal and dipped in hot water.
eye inflammation: use a poultice with hot or cold water as best suits the case
some forms of indigestion: stir a little charcoal into olive oil. This will cleanse and heal. I’m not sure how this one works. But it seems that you could take a spoonful of it to soothe your stomach.
severe pain: Use a poultice. If you have access to Smartweed, you can boil it in water then dip the poultice in it, and apply it to the area of pain.
snake bites, sting of reptiles and poisonous insects: Use a poultice of charcoal mixed with flaxseed. Place it on the swollen area for relief and to take away the harmful effect.
poisons and toxins: Drink charcoal water.
“It is pure carbon and will adsorb (not absorb, but bind with) 29 of the 30 most dangerous poisons, thus neutralizing them. …Internally, charcoal cannot adsorb all poisons, but it can bind with, and thus neutralize many of them. …In any type of acute poisoning, the best thing to do is induce vomiting, followed with a large dose of activated charcoal, diluted in water, to render most substances harmless. Usually 30-60 grams (about 1/2 cup) is needed, suspended in water and taken as soon as possible after the injection of any toxin.” The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia, p. 152.
Some toxins it can adsorb (or bind with and neutralize): many medicinal drugs including aspirin, barbiturates, cocaine, nicotine, morphine, and penicillin. Inorganic chemicals including mercury, chlorine, iron, lead, and silver.
Share your testimonies:
I have used a couple of these charcoal remedy methods, but not all. I am interested to hear testimonies. If you try any of these and would like to share, feel free to comment on how it worked for you. I may or may not post the comments. If you want to share but don’t want it posted, just let me know.