What is activated charcoal? You know about charcoal – the charred remains of the wood you used for your campfire. But that isn’t exactly what activated charcoal means. And the health benefits from this substance go beyond charcoal – which is also pretty amazing.

You may have heard of activated charcoal (AC), but what exactly is it, and what does it do? Now a sought-after supplement, AC is a natural treatment that removes toxins and chemicals from the body. It works by trapping toxins in its millions of pores to keep the body from absorbing unwanted chemicals. In fact, it’s so effective at grabbing up toxins that AC is used in emergency rooms across the world as a treatment for poison and drug overdoses. Furthermore, activated charcoal also helps to reduce gas and bloating and lower cholesterol levels.

No, this charcoal is not the same substance you use in your grill at home! To use activated charcoal, it’s important to choose charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources. Read below to learn more about the numerous activated charcoal benefits!

First, Where to Buy Activated Charcoal

These days, you can buy activated charcoal in most mainstream stores.  Just be sure that the product you purchase is organic and made with such materials as coconut shells or some kind of hard wood.  There are AC pills, AC powder, and a liquid form of activated charcoal, as well.   The liquid form is often used to treat poisoning.  For general purposes, your best option may be to buy the pill/capsule form, as they tend to be cheaper.  You can always open up the capsules and use the powder inside.

Check out some of the awesome benefits of activated charcoal:

1. It Treats Insect Bites

Activated charcoal benefits start with the ability to treat bug-bitten skin and rashes.  Indeed, AC can help treat insect bites and rashes from poison ivy or poison oak.

Activated Charcoal Uses: Directions for Treating Bites and Rashes

To treat a mosquito bite, bee sting, or poison ivy/oak rash, mix a capsule of activated charcoal with 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil. Dab onto the affected area and reapply every 30 minutes until the itching subsides.

2. It Treats Acne

If you struggle with acne and blemishes, consider giving AC a try. Activated charcoal can help cleanse pores and clear acne from the skin.

Activated Charcoal Uses: Directions for Acne Treatment

Mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, then spread onto the face. Let the mixture dry then rinse. The activated charcoal will bind with toxins and dirt on the skin that contribute to acne.

3. It Helps Lower Cholesterol

Activated charcoal benefits your cholesterol levels, too. Studies have shown that AC can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels. One study found that LDL cholesterol decreased by 41% while HDL increased by 8% when participants took three doses of eight grams each for a period of four weeks. (1)

Activated Charcoal Uses: Lowers Cholesterol

You can use AC to help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.  However, it’s important to note:  do not take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements.

4. It Whitens Teeth

Next on the list of activated charcoal benefits is the ability to whiten your teeth. Stains from coffee, tea, wine or other foods can be eliminated by AC. It also promotes oral health by improving the pH balance in the mouth, preventing cavities, and getting rid of bat breath.

Activated Charcoal Uses: Directions for Teeth Whitener

To whiten teeth, wet a toothbrush and dip it into activated charcoal. Brush your teeth, sip some water, then swish it around your month. Spit and rinse well. For the best results, use this method 2-3 times per week.

5. It Alleviates Gas

Next up on the list of activated charcoal benefits is the ability to treat gas as well as bloating. A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that AC helps to prevent intestinal gas following a meal. (2)

Activated Charcoal Uses: Directions for Treating Gas and Bloating

To reduce gas and bloating, take 500 milligrams one hour before a typical gas-producing meal and follow with a full glass of water.

6. It Removes Toxins From The Body

Perhaps this is the most well-known activated charcoal benefit. Most pesticides and harmful chemicals bind to the surface of activated charcoal, helping to prevent absorption in the body. In the case of poison ingestion or a drug overdose, call 911 immediately. AC can also be used in cases of food poisoning, when nausea and diarrhea are present.

Activated Charcoal Uses – Directions for Toxin Removal:

If you suspect you or your child as ingested harmful chemicals, call poison control or 911. But also get AC into that person right away. Note the amounts if you need to go to an emergency room for care. For food poisoning, adults should take 25 grams when symptoms arise. Children should be given 10 grams.

7. It Cleanses The Digestive System

Activated charcoal benefits your gut, as well.  This in turn can positively affect other areas of your body.  Here’s how:

Activated charcoal helps promote a healthy digestive tract, which lends itself to promoting overall health and wellness.  Activated charcoal benefits your body by removing toxins that may cause poor immune system function, allergic reactions, or oxidative damage. Removing toxins from your system can also help reduce joint pain, provide an energy boost and increase mental function.

Activated charcoal can be found in powder, liquid, or tablet form. It’s important to drink plenty of water when using AC in any form. If in the time of your cleanse you find yourself constipated, it’s a sign you’re not drinking enough water with your charcoal supplement.

Activated Charcoal Uses: Directions for Digestive Cleanse:

To cleanse the digestive system, take 10 grams of activated charcoal 90 minutes before each meal for two days.

The substance has shown to reduce the absorption of toxins in the body by up to 60%. To use activated charcoal to remove toxins from your body, stir one teaspoon into a glass of water and drink.

8.  Kills Mold

Also on the list of activated charcoal benefits is the ability to kill mold–inside your body! This may sound disturbing, but mold can collect inside of you.  Furthermore, mold causes a wealth of problems for your organs, such as kidney and liver failure, depression, decreased brain function, heart disease, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, impaired immune system function, and severe respiratory distress.  Wow!

However, you can help flush out toxic mold from your body with activated charcoal.   But, as mentioned above, just be sure to select a charcoal made from organic materials, such as coconut shells.

Moreover, be sure to tackle mold problems in your home.  Black mold in the house can cause major health issues.  If you see black mold in your home, be sure to take the proper steps to remove it immediately.  Wear gloves and a mask made to inhibit spores.  You don’t want to come into direct contact with the mold, nor do you want to breathe it in.

9. Filters Water

This is also one of the more popular known activated charcoal uses. You made have heard of charcoal serving as a natural filter for water.  It’s true! Activated charcoal can trap impurities in our water, such as solvents, pesticides, industrial waste and other harmful chemicals. Furthermore, activated charcoal benefits your drinking water because it removes some fluoride. While some fluoride is naturally occurring in water, consuming too much of it can be harmful to your health. (3)  Many cities add it to their water supply, but this is what leads to fluoride overdoses.

However, you can purchase a filter that utilizes AC as a means of filtration.  You should, whenever possible, avoid drinking water straight from the tap.  It’s laden with harmful chemicals. Opt for filtrated water instead.

Activated Charcoal Uses: Water Filtration

There are plenty of water filtration systems on the market that utilize the power of charcoal.  Drinking filtered water is better for your health than is traditional tap water.

10. Helps Prevent Hangovers

Activated charcoal uses include hangover prevention.  As AC can remove toxins often consumed with alcohol, it can also diminish the likelihood of experiencing a hangover.    While this should never be used as an excuse to overindulge in alcohol use, activated charcoal can trap some of the toxins you consume while drinking.  Nope, AC can’t soak up the alcohol, but it can diminish the effects of the poisoning.   Remember, if you suspect alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately.