With a variety of different charcoal products now in existence, we get asked a lot here at Calm Happy Healthy ‘What does activated charcoal do’, so we decided to put an article together to try and help shed some light.
We all want nice white healthy teeth and there are many products on the market that advertise teeth whitening properties BUT what about the chemicals they contain? and are they safe to use?
Charcoal or more precisely activated charcoal is being seen as a more natural and safer tooth whitener and plaque absorber.
The use of activated charcoal as a cleaner for teeth is not new though!
It was used by the Romans and there are recipes dating from the 19th century for a homemade toothpaste, that includes charcoal as a main ingredient.
The Egyptians used activated charcoal to help absorb unpleasant smells for septic wounds in around 1500 BC.
It is also recorded that Hippocrates used charcoal for a variety of ailments including anthrax, epilepsy and vertigo, around 400 BC.
But what is the best type of charcoal, how safe is it and what benefits can you possibly gain from using it. Let’s take a look…
The best activated charcoal on the market is made from coconut shells, oak branches, bamboo and other natural sources.
White charcoal or Binchotan charcoal is created from mature Ubame Oak branches using a traditional Japanese method. The branches are burned at a low temperature in a clay kiln, the carbonizing occurs when the heat is increased and the branches are starved of oxygen.
However the most abundant and renewable charcoal is sourced from mature coconut shells.
Bamboo charcoal made from carbonized branches of bamboo plants, which are rapid growing plants thereby making Bamboo a fantastic sustainable source of charcoal.
But is it safe? Well, a small amount of activated charcoal is fine, so for example the amount that would be used when flossing with activated charcoal products or if you use a toothbrush that has charcoal infused bristles, that is fine.
However there are toothpastes out there that contain activated charcoal and the amounts that some of these products contain verge on being too much. This could be bad, not so much for the users health as the damaged caused to the enamel of the teeth.
Charcoal is abrasive and once the enamel wears away it cannot be replaced. This thinning of the tooth enamel makes the teeth appear even more yellow.
Just be sure to check the amount of activated charcoal contained in products, and as mentioned above, perhaps a safer option for your teeth is a charcoal infused bristle toothbrush or charcoal floss.
Activated charcoal promotes good oral health by adsorbing plaque along with the stain causing constituents contained in berries, tea, coffee and wine.
The benefits of using a toothbrush with charcoal infused bristles are that it deodorizes your mouth due to the natural antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
This also means that it will balance the PH levels in the mouth whist detoxifying, so reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities.
Floss which has been infused with activated charcoal can naturally whiten the teeth while reducing the cavity forming bacteria and absorbing the toxins that create stains on the teeth.
What does activated charcoal do for you and your health?
Well, a variety of ailments can be helped by using or taking charcoal. It is commonly used for a variety of medical emergencies and natural treatments.
Activated charcoal has tiny pores so can trap and soak up toxins or chemicals that have been swallowed, flushing them out through the blood stream.
It can also be used in the treatment of high cholesterol, the reduction of bloating, prevention of hangovers and pregnancy bile flow cases.
Bloating caused by the by products of some foods can be alleviated by taking activated charcoal supplements. Try taking activated charcoal an hour before a meal that you know contains gas-producing foods, such as brussel sprouts and you should find a big difference.
What about a cure for that nasty hang over? The toxins that are in the body from the over consumption of alcohol are removed when activated charcoal is administered reducing the risk of alcohol poisoning. It does this by reducing the concentration of alcohol in the blood.
Studies have shown that activated charcoal can reduce bad and increase good cholesterol in a matter of four weeks.
But this must not be taken if you are on prescribed medication, as the charcoal will prevent absorption of the prescription drugs.
Activated charcoal is extremely useful in the treatment of poisoning and drug overdose and is being used in emergency units the world over for the treatment of these cases, it has been shown that activated charcoal is a better option than pumping the stomach.
It can help prevent cellular damage in the liver and kidneys due to the amount of toxins we consume just eating food and in our environment.
By taking activated charcoal the body is cleansed of these toxins and chemicals that cause the damage to our internal systems and that also contribute to pre-mature aging.
Most of the food that we consume is grown using pesticides.
The water we drink contains chemicals and we can also be exposed to hold spores in the air, these factors all contribute to a toxin build up in our bodies.
So by using activated charcoal routinely, our digestive tract is kept clean and healthy and this in turn helps overall wellness.
Activated charcoal has external uses as well as internal. Insect bites, acne and body odour can all be helped using charcoal.
A capsule of activated charcoal mixed with half a tablespoon of coconut oil will alleviate the discomfort after a bee sting or mosquito bite. Just dab the mixture to the affected area every half hour until the itching is gone.
For the treatment of acne mix a capsule with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, apply to the face and let it dry.
This face pack will bind to the dirt and toxins that cause spots and acne, rinse the face thoroughly after the mixture has dried on the face.
Be careful of clothing, as activated charcoal will stain.
Please Note: Activated charcoal is not the charcoal that is left after a BBQ! This charcoal is full of toxins and should never be used or consumed.
If you take activated charcoal it is most important that you keep well hydrated and drink at least 12 glasses of water a day.
Always speak with your doctor before starting to use activated charcoal as a medical treatment.
What does activated charcoal do for you?
Do you use charcoal based toothpaste, toothbrushes or floss? Do you take charcoal supplements?
If so we’d love to hear in the comments below what benefits or downsides you feel exist?
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