Activated Charcoal: 8 Uses to Love

Charcoal is good for your body, health, and home with some amazing benefits! Now don’t go digging through the briquets at the bottom of your grill. That’s not what I’m talking about. That’s stuff toxic. Let’s talk about activated charcoal.

The activated charcoal I’m talking about is coconut or bamboo burned without air to make char. The char is then activated so it is odorless and nontoxic which brings us the many benefits you find in a true activated charcoal capsule. According to

Activated charcoal is pure carbon specially processed to make it highly adsorbent of particles and gases in the body’s digestive system.” (1)

Amazingly, activated charcoal has been used for thousands of years as a cure for ailments, including poisoning, which is probably one of its better-known uses. The first recorded use was in the 1500’s by Egyptians and was also used by native Americans.

It’s been around for years so we don’t know why this isn’t more well-known for a variety of uses. Maybe it’s because there isn’t big money in it for big pharma. There are many reasons to make sure activated charcoal is in your house. Check out our 8 favorite uses below.

8 Uses to Love

1- Poison Control

You will find charcoal is used by hospitals and medical personnel to remove accidental, or intentional, ingestion of toxins. Many people commonly think its because it absorbs the toxins, but really it prevents the body from absorbing the toxins by binding to them. It’s actually an adsorbent that can attract other substances and attach to them. It can remove 50-60% of the toxin, and unlike stomach pumping, it can help even after it has gone into the blood stream.

Charcoal is a hard substance that is very porous. It has a lot of negative ions, so it attracts positive ions. It works like a magnet sweeping through your stomach binding to the toxins and helping the body remove them, so this is a useful tool in the event of poisoning.

2- Removes Toxins: Binds Metals, Molds and Pathogens

There are lots of toxins that build up in your system and activated charcoal can help get rid of those too. Every day, we are exposed to chemicals and sometimes we find we are exposed to more toxins than others. Even though charcoal was used thousands of years ago to help with illness, it has just recently been rediscovered to purify blood and remove circulating toxins and metabolites. (2) Activated charcoal can bind metals, molds and pathogens to help get them out of your system.

Taking activated charcoal can be beneficial if you have mercury fillings and are having dental work done. It can also be helpful for metal toxicity from metal exposure from vaccines and other metal exposures too.

Activated charcoal can also be helpful if you are suffering mold sickness, which can leave you with a variety of immune issues, fatigue and headaches. Mold can be devastating and can be difficult to get out of the body. Even after you have removed the source it can linger. Charcoal is great for getting the mold out. Activated charcoal binds to mold, bacteria and viruses very well.

3- For Cleaner and Whiter Teeth

Good thing activated charcoal is tasteless because it is great at cleaning and whitening your teeth. Charcoal is amazing at binding to plaque so that is why you will see it in so many toothpastes. You can use it once or twice a week by adding a bit from a capsule to your toothpaste. It can get out stains from coffee, tea or wine to get that smile back to white again. Don’t be alarmed when your teeth are all black- it rinses away!

4- Prevent Illness when Traveling

When we travel we run into new bugs and pathogens that our body might need help fighting off. Sometimes when we travel bacteria are in the water and foods we eat. The people who live in those areas are used to the bugs in the water, but your stomach won’t be as used to it. Also, we are around a lot more people on planes and in airports all carrying different bugs. Start taking activated charcoal before you travel so its in your system and binds to those bacteria to get them out of your body.

5- Purifies Air and Water

If you are familiar with activated charcoals, you might remember it is used for air and water purification. Activated charcoal also binds to the toxins and chemicals in air and water. The air in our house can sometimes be more toxic than the outside because we have been so successful in making our houses sealed from the outside world. Another place for mold and bacteria to grow! Activated charcoal can remove the impurities that get trapped inside. The same goes for water.

You need water for good health, but it is full of chemicals, medications, pesticides and more. If you are drinking tap water, you might also be getting birth control that somebody else peed out. Do you want someone else’s birth control? I didn’t think so. You also don’t want other toxins so get a good filter.  I use a whole house water filtration system that uses activated charcoal. There are lots of countertop or pitcher filters that use activated charcoal. A favorite around here to invest in is the Berkey.

6- Keeps you Beautiful

Activated charcoal is great in facial cleansers, skin masks and shampoos because it removes impurities, bacteria and chemicals. That’s why you see it popping up in so many beauty products. It can leave your skin feeling (and looking!) soft and clear. You don’t have to buy fancy beauty products though. You can make your own by adding a capsule to coconut oil or just add activated charcoal to a Coffee Mask.

7- Reduces Inflammation

Activated charcoal absorbs inflammatory cytokines. (3) These are immune system messengers that can be overactive when they aren’t supposed to be. So, for some patients who have an overactive immune system taking activated charcoal can reduce that inflammation. This should only be used temporarily while we work to get the immune system working the way it should. If you are struggling with inflammation, you should get tested to find the cause.

A common treatment would be steroids or drugs which suppress the whole immune system. But that’s not our approach. Using activated charcoal, we can temporarily help the patient with inflammation while we also get to the source of the problem without the negative side effects.

8- Use as a Cleaner

Activated charcoal can be a great ingredient for removing impurities from your body and can also be helpful when you are cleaning. We mix silver, vinegar and activated charcoal to get rid of mold and different bacteria. You can use it to clean windows and it helps to kill any mold that is there from condensation on the windows. You can also use it on kitchen counters or in the bathroom.  Toxic cleaners aren’t needed to get rid of the mold and bacteria you want to kill. There are lots of reasons to avoid toxic cleaners, especially when there is such an easy swap.

Activated Charcoal for Life

There are so many benefits to activated charcoal and reasons for every person to have this product in their home. Studies are revealing more ways activated charcoal can benefit us medically and unfortunately many practitioners need to catch up. It’s very useful in practice so don’t be surprised if it is recommended to you to use for a time. There are a few great options out there. Make sure you get a quality brand. Here is one I use.  If you do ingest it, there are a few things you should know.

Tips for ingesting:

  • If you are ingesting activated charcoal, drink lots of water to avoid constipation. If you are taking a high dosage, recommended by a doctor, you need to increase your water consumption dramatically.
  • Don’t be alarmed if your poop is black- sometimes what you eat can change your poop colors.
  • Do not use every day! This binder can also keep you from absorbing some nutrients and have long term side effects.

Activated charcoal can help you remove toxins and impurities. With these easy uses for the home, health, and body you will love activated charcoal too!

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn