What’s the deal with activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal has been used in traditional medicine since 1550. It’s experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and we look into why.

One of history’s greatest feuds is between Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and contemporary health practices. But when it comes to activated charcoal, both sides finally have something to agree on. Activated charcoal — to clarify, it’s activated, not the stuff you use on a barbecue — dates back to 1550 but is still used as a powerful antidote, combating poisoning and other health concerns.

What makes it so special?

It’s the ‘activated’ part of charcoal that matters. Substances — typically wood, coal, coconut shells, or bamboo, are heated at extraordinarily high temperatures (between 600-900 degrees C) without oxygen. The process creates char, which is then exposed to certain gasses, like argon and nitrogen, and heated again. The charcoal’s surface area dramatically expands and it becomes very porous, meaning it can bind to almost anything through a process called adsorption.

Negatively charged, studies have found that when consumed, it can absorb more than half of unwanted toxins in the gas by attracting the positive ions. It helps eliminate poison and contaminants, so much so that ER doctors regularly rely on it. This also makes it a strong tool against environmental toxins that we encounter in daily life.

Taking it as a supplement can help improve your mood and energy while reducing bloating and helping cure hangovers, along with a host of other benefits — no wonder it’s been a beloved remedy for over 10,000 years.

How to use it

Take it orally

You can consume it in capsule or powder form to potentially assist with everything from gas to cholesterol levels, although it’s not recommended that you incorporate it as a regular supplement. Instead, use it in moderation when you believe you’ve been exposed to toxins or you’ve had a rough weekend. Don’t take it too closely to taking medication, as it can block absorption.

Whiten your teeth

Charcoal is a superhero when it comes to removing bacteria, chemicals, dirt, and miscellaneous build-up, making it perfect for naturally whitening your teeth. Either mix high-quality charcoal with a small amount of water and swish in your mouth or use a toothpaste with charcoal in it.

Give yourself a facial

Charcoal has been popping up in beauty products for good reason. It will leave your skin soft and detoxed. You can DIY your own face mask, or purchase a pre-made one (just make sure it uses high-quality ingredients).

Take a shower

Charcoal removes impurities in your hair just as it does in your skin, making your locks soft and shiny. You can purchase a charcoal shampoo, or simply sprinkle some into your current shampoo and wash as normal.

Purify your home

Just as charcoal can help clean up your body, it can strip the air of odours, chemicals, and allergens. Consider getting some charcoal bags so your house is as healthy as your diet. It also functions well as a water purifier, removing contaminants — tap water won’t have ever tasted so good

Keeping activated charcoal on hand is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. At Soulara, plant-based meals are designed to be packed with nutrients and irresistible flavours, all delivered straight to your door.

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Published: 10/10/17

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