What is Activated Charcoal? 

activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust.

The charcoal is “activated” by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area. This results in a charcoal that is more porous than regular charcoal.

***Activated charcoal shouldn’t be confused with charcoal that is used to light your barbecue. While both can be made from the same base materials, charcoal briquettes have not been “activated” at high temperatures. Moreover, they contain additional substances that are toxic to humans.

How does Activated Charcoal work? 

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption.

The charcoal’s porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. This helps it trap those toxins and chemicals that may be present in your gut! Activated charcoal is not absorbed by your body, it can carry toxins bound to its surface out of your body in feces. YAY, Say Adios to those nasty chemicals! 

What is Activated Charcoal used for? 

  • Emergency Poison Treatments: Studies show that when a single dose of 50–100 grams of activated charcoal is taken within five minutes of drug ingestion, it may reduce drug absorption in adults by up to 74% (1).  This can help in overdoses of prescription medication as well as poisoning from other chemicals. 
  • Promotes Kidney Function: Activated charcoal may help promote kidney function by reducing the number of waste products that the kidneys have to filter.
  • Reduces Cholesterol Levels: It can bind cholesterol and cholesterol-containing bile acids in the gut, preventing the body from absorbing them.
  • Reduces Gas Production: Need I say more! 🙂 
  • Whitens Teeth: It has the ability to absorb plaque and other teeth-staining compounds. 
  • Prevents Hangovers: Consuming it with alcohol may reduce blood alcohol levels.
  • Detoxifies the body: Because of its absorbing abilities, our internal systems are safe from absorption in the detox process when toxins are eliminated from the body.
  • Boosts Immunity: It cleanses the body of toxins which helps promote a better immune system. 
  • Improves Skin: Using activated charcoal as a mask and scrub can help loosen the debris clogging up your pores. In addition, it will also adsorb any foreign impurities that may have slipped into your enlarged pores.

activated charcoal


There are mixed reviews and very little recent research done on activated charcoal.  If you purchase it in capsule form to take internally than please make sure you follow the labels dosage instructions.  If you are using it in a face mask or scrub you can buy it loose but again follow the manufacturers instructions or consult DIY recipes.  I bought some and will be using it soon but I wanted to gather information about it before trying it myself!  As always don’t hesitate to ask me questions as my research will continue on this topic.  Please feel free to connect with me on FaceBook or by Email.  

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