When it comes to our medicine cabinets, it doesn’t seem to take long until they’re overflowing with a bunch of things we don’t really need or that we’ll only ever use once or twice before they expire.
Sometimes it’s just better to go back to basics – Have a handful of products in that cabinet that each have a bunch of uses. Activated charcoal makes a fine example – It has an exceptionally wide variety of uses and is actually still used by doctors today to treat a whole host of issues.
But before you go ripping apart your charcoal barbeque looking for the benefits from the briquettes, stop and read this article to learn exactly what kind of charcoal you need to be looking for and all that it has to offer you.
What is Activated Charcoal?
The difference between regular old charcoal and activated charcoal is that the activated form is two to three times more effective. In fact, just a teaspoon of this magical powder has the surface area of more than 10 000 square feet! It’s created by grounding charcoal incredibly fine and placing it in a steam chamber for a little while. This process allows the charcoal to absorb a ton of toxins (in your body, the air, etc.)
You should never try to replace activated charcoal with the charcoal that forms on burnt toast as it’s carcinogenic. Additionally, you definitely shouldn’t try to replace the powder with charcoal briquettes – Petro-chemicals have been added to them, which makes them especially dangerous.
Its Many Uses
That said, the right kind of charcoal – the activated kind – has a whole laundry list of exceptional benefits. I assure you that once you’ve finished reading this short list of five reasons you should always have it on hand, you’ll be on your way to purchase a bottle (or two) for your family’s home as well.
Clears Up Problem Skin
If you’re someone that suffers from acne and you’ve been looking for something that you can put on your skin to help clear it up, try out this mask – Mix a teaspoon each of (rose)water, Aloe Vera gel, and activated charcoal with a pinch of sea salt and five drops of tea tree essential oil. Activated charcoal is also a natural, safe way to get rid of blackheads – and it really works.
Apply the mask on your face and allow it to dry completely, then rinse off with warm water. Use this mask a couple of times and you’re sure to see results!
If you have kids at home, you know firsthand how quickly they can get into something without you noticing (turning your back for even one second to use the washroom could result in your whole home being turned upside down on a particularly crazy day). Sometimes accidents happen – If you think you, your spouse, or your child has accidently poisoned themselves, activated charcoal can be used to help draw the toxin out of your (or their) bloodstream. It’s used so commonly to treat poisoning that most ambulances have it on hand.
Please keep in mind that in certain cases – such as the ingestion of gasoline or some acids – activated charcoal can actually make the situation worse. If you think there’s been a poisoning case, call 911 or Poison Control before administering the powder to make sure it’ll help.
Treats Poison Ivy/Oak
Just like you can’t always control what your kids get into inside, you’re less likely to be able to have control over everything they can get into while they’re playing outside.
If your little one comes back inside after a play session with aggravated skin from an accidental encounter with poison ivy or oak, you can quickly and easily sooth their skin by using activated charcoal – Simply make a paste by combining the powder with some water and pour the mixture onto a (preferably unbleached) paper towel or cotton cloth. Saran wrap to the skin and change every couple of hours or leave on overnight. Discard the cloth you used when you’re finished, there’s no point in keeping or reusing it.
Purifies The Air
When you purchase a bottle of activated charcoal, you’re going to want to make sure that the lid’s always on tight – Unless you’re planning to use it as an air purifier. Personally, I just put a little bit of the powder in small candy bowls in each room of the house to help eliminate not only toxins but also odor causing bacteria. I find that the air we’re breathing feels cleaner, which is especially important now that the weather is cooling down and we can’t keep the windows open anymore.
Whitens Your Teeth
As someone that drinks coffee like tomorrow could be it’s very last day of production, I was really excited when I learned that you could use activated charcoal to whiten your teeth – All you need to do is wet your toothbrush and put some of the powder on it, then brush your teeth in small, gentle circles for a couple of minutes. Spit it out and then rinse your mouth out really well; you’ll see results from the very first time you use it, and they’ll just be heightened with more regular use.
The activated charcoal absorbs all of the tannins (the molecules that stain your teeth when you drink coffee, tea, soda, wine, etc.) without damaging your enamel and can also aid in preventing bad breath. It’s also effective in killing the bad bacteria in your mouth that can cause gingivitis and tooth decay, and it can even help prevent cavities!
If you’re going to use activated charcoal to help whiten your teeth, you should definitely make sure that you have a towel on hand to help get rid of the mess – Activated or not, charcoal is black, still thick, and can get really messy really fast if you’re not careful.
Every family – especially any family that has small children in it – should seriously consider having a bottle of activated charcoal on hand for all of its many uses, but if you just can’t see yourself using it, you could strongly consider at least investing in an activated charcoal filter to help clear any impurities out of your drinking water – Every small step can yield big results when executed correctly.
There are entirely too many uses for this magical powder to list (seriously, I promise you’d get tired of reading them all), but the point of this article is that regardless of whether you’re experiencing digestion problems, have a spider bite, accidently got food poisoning, or you just want to rid your body of all the toxins that your pores have absorbed over the last little while, activated charcoal is exactly what you need to help you out/get the job done.
Is It For Everyone?
No. The activated charcoal can’t tell the difference between the impurities that aren’t supposed to be in your body and the ones that are, so if you’re someone that takes prescription medication, you’ll definitely want to consult with your family doctor before taking it – Otherwise your medications may be rendered useless.
Additionally, you should know that activated charcoal could potentially cause dehydration and/or constipation when it’s consumed in high doses. I know I constantly stress about the importance of drinking plenty of water on a daily basis, but you might want to consider paying particular attention to your water consumption when you’re taking the charcoal.
If you experience constipation while taking activated charcoal, try mixing a teaspoon of psyllium husk seeds In and your problems should be solved.
Activated charcoal can be purchased in both powder and capsule form, but if you’re looking to get as many benefits as possible or you plan to use it to mainly brush your teeth, the whole powder form is best. It’s odorless and tasteless, and definitely a staple item that needs to be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
What other uses have you found for activated charcoal? Please let us know in the comments section!