Medicine Cabinet Must-Have: Activated Charcoal

by Lisa Maguire

Activated charcoal comes from carbonizing and oxidizing materials that are rich in carbon, such as bamboo, peat, or wood. The end result is a fine, porous black powder that has extreme adsorption capabilities, making it a powerful natural detoxifier.

Activated charcoal has been used by hospitals to treat accidental poisoning or overdoses in lieu of stomach pumping for quite some time. Activated charcoal is a powerful adsorbent, meaning that it is able to adhere to and remove molecules, ions, or atoms within a substance.

There are other benefits of the detoxifier claimed by many, although there isn’t much research to verify the claims. Currently, the FDA has only verified and approved the use of activated charcoal as an emergency poison or overdose treatment, but that doesn’t stop many holistic health experts from touting their personal experiences.

A quick Google search will result in many people who swear by activated charcoal accompanied by mint and water as a teeth-whitener and just as many who swear by the agent as a detoxifying beverage with water and lemon. Charcoal facial cleansers and masks have also become a mainstream staple in wellness stores and drug stores.

There are limited studies that have identified activated charcoal as an effective solution for digestive issues, intestinal gas issues, and kidney issues.

Activated charcoal has also proven to be an effective water cleanser, as many filters are made with the product, and many municipalities use activated charcoal in their water-cleansing process.

There are limited side effects to ingesting the powder or using it topically, but inhalation must be avoided as it can be fatal. There are also several types of powders available that are made from various carbon-sources with a variety of processes, so it is important to do your research before selecting a brand.


Hockessin Athletic Club opened its doors on June 10 2007. Boasting over 100,000 sq. ft., a 5-pool aquatics complex, and over 200+ weekly group and aqua fitness classes, it is Delaware's premier fitness destination. 100 Fitness Way, Hockessin, DE ·

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