10 Uses & Benefits for Activated Charcoal

Check out these 10 uses and benefits for activated charcoal for everything from whitening teeth to DIY beauty to natural remedies for digestive relief.

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A scoop of activated charcoal

Chances are you’ve walked right by a bottle of activated charcoal at the health food store and didn’t even realize it. Or maybe you noticed and thought, “why in the world is the charcoal from the BBQ grill in the health food section?!” Well, activated charcoal is NOT the same as the charcoal you use for grilling. Thank goodness! Actually, activated charcoal is an all-around natural remedy that you NEED to have in your home.

Activated charcoal is a fine, black powder usually made from coconut husks or shells (look for non-GMO and sweetener-free). It’s used as a natural remedy to absorb toxins and detoxify chemicals in the body. It can also be used for DIY beauty and personal care too.

I personally always travel with activated charcoal because it’s my go-to for all things digestive – from food poisoning to stomach flu to overload on greasy food.

10 Uses & Benefits for Activated Charcoal

1. Whiten teeth

Drink coffee or tea? Activated charcoal can help to naturally whiten your teeth without those teeth whitener strips from the drugstore. It also absorbs plaque and other toxins that stain your teeth. To use it, wet your toothbrush and gently dab it into a container of activated charcoal. Brush your teeth as you usually would and let the mixture sit on your teeth a few minutes before rinsing and brushing with regular toothpaste. Do this two to three times a week.

Closeup of toothbrush with activated charcoal

2. Relief from gas and bloating

Activated charcoal can be used to prevent intestinal gas after eating a hard-to-digest meal.1 To use, take 500 mg in pill form an hour before eating a meal that you think might not sit well with you. Be sure to take it with a full glass of water.

3. Help with food poisoning or the stomach bug

Eat something bad? Or feel the stomach bug coming on? Activated charcoal can be taken to help to absorb the toxins created by infections in the stomach. Take 500 mg, 2-3 times a day for up to a week. Drink water too and this homemade electrolyte drink. It works best when taken at the first sign of food poisoning or the stomach bug.2

I’ve seen some recommendations for up to 50-100 grams for adults and 10-25 for kids over the age of 5. But these are done at the hospital while getting medical supervision. I personally wouldn’t do this on my own, and I’ve found that taking 500 mg, 2-3 times a day for a couple of days have helped me to kick the stomach bug. Please check with your health care provider on the right dosage for you AND seek medical attention as needed.

4. Detoxify the body

Use activated charcoal to help naturally detox the body. Because it absorbs toxins in the body and removes them from the digestive tract, activated charcoal is ideal for detoxification. Take 250 mg of activated charcoal for 5-7 days (or follow the directions of the bottle or ask your doctor) to help naturally detox the body. Be sure to drink water to help flush out the toxins out of the body.

5. Prevent hangovers

Going out for a night on the town? Prevent a hangover by taking 250-500 mg of activated charcoal before or during your next drinking session.3

6. Soothe insect bites and stings

You can use activated charcoal to help treat a pesky insect bite by mixing it (empty out the contents of one capsule) with a small amount of coconut oil and dabbing it on the infected area. Do this every 30 minutes or so until the itching and redness go away.

7. Naturally detox skin

Add activated charcoal to add to a homemade facial cleanser to naturally detox the skin and remove impurities.

8. Exfoliate the skin with a facial scrub

Mix the powder of one capsule of activated charcoal to this DIY facial scrub recipe to naturally exfoliate the skin.

9. Make a DIY peel-off mask

Ever see those videos of women peeling off a black mask to get rid of blackheads on social media? You can make your own DIY activated charcoal peel-off mask with just 4 ingredients. Get the recipe here.

Woman applying charcoal mask to her face with a pink towel on her head

10. Make your own eyeliner

Did you know you can make your own eye liner? WHAT? Yep, just mix activated charcoal powder with a little water, and use an eyeliner brush to apply to the skin. You can even mix with a small amount of coconut oil instead of water to apply to the skin.

What are your favorite uses for activated charcoal?

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3521259
2. http://dremilykane.com/2005/12/11/food-poisoning-causes-and-remedies/
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3710499

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / suti / Mbruxelle / mne_len

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