Is activated charcoal part of your survival stash? Activated charcoal has been used for centuries, dating back to 1550 BC as well as the days of Pliny and Hippocrates, and has long been praised for its detoxification properties. Actually made of carbon, activated charcoal is created by subjecting charcoal to oxidizing gas at high temperatures which makes it porous and gives it better absorptive properties. The charcoal itself originates in the form of woods such as Willow Bark that are charred to create it.
The way activated charcoal works is by absorbing toxins, chemicals, and poisons before those things are able to cause harm. Have you ever seen a dog that consumed antifreeze being saved by being made to consume charcoal? Not only does this treatment work on dogs, but on people as well. It works as a decontaminant in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, preventing toxins from being absorbed there as well as in the stomach and intestines. Activated charcoal is sometimes used in combination with stomach pumping due to its ability to reach further along the GI tract, treating more areas of the body beyond the stomach alone which is all that pumping can reach. When toxins come into contact with activated charcoal, the toxins themselves are absorbed into the activated charcoal, which reduces their poisonous impact on the human body. The carbon that makes up activated charcoal has a negative ionic charge which is what draws toxins to it, as toxins have a positive ionic charge and opposites are known to attract. After the attraction comes binding as the toxins and activated charcoal latch onto one another for a ride out of your body by way of the intestines and colon.
In addition to helping with flatulence and removing foul odors from the colon and intestinal tract, activated charcoal also aids in the healing of diseased colons. In the case of accidentally ingested poisons, such as household chemicals, consuming activated charcoal can help. Consulting with a poison control center is ideal, but in the absence of such an option, mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal with a glass of water and make the affected party drink it down. This treatment is also useful in the case of excess drug ingestion (both legal and illegal) and activated charcoal has been known to help drug addicts kick their habits. In the event of a bite from a venomous spider, activated charcoal can help with that as well. Make a paste with baking soda, activated charcoal, and a little bit of water then apply it to the affected area to help draw the venom out. It can also alleviate the symptoms of food poisoning when consumed and has been used in air and water purification as well.
As with any home remedy, you should seek the advice of your doctor before using activated charcoal. While it does have many benefits, activated charcoal is not a magical remedy that will fix every problem you might encounter; emergencies should be treated as such and activated charcoal not relied on to save lives when medical care is available. Activated charcoal should be used on an as-needed basis and not consumed regularly. It should also not be taken immediately after vitamins or medications as it will absorb them before your body can, making them of no use to you.
Activated charcoal can be purchased in most vitamin and health food stores and is widely available online. Please note that activated charcoal is not the same thing as grilling charcoal, so do not pick up a bag of Kingsford and start consuming it! It is also not the same thing as ash from a wood burning fire, so don\'t consume that either. While it has many uses and benefits, activated charcoal may not be for everyone and it is up to you to make that call for yourself and your family. If you wish to learn more about activated charcoal, further information can be found here.