Column: Activated Charcoal – Many Benefits to Consider

By Julia Chiappetta

The use of charcoal for health and wellness dates back to 1500 B.C, when it was first recorded to be used for medicinal purposes, coming from Egyptian papyri. It was used then to absorb unpleasant odors from wounds and to soothe the intestinal tract. Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.), and then Pliny (50 A.D.), recorded the use of charcoal for treating a wide range of complaints, including epilepsy, anemia and vertigo.

According to several sources including: The Western Journal of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, after development of the charcoal activation process (1870 to 1920), many reports appeared in medical journals about activated charcoal as an antidote for poisons and as a cure for intestinal disorders, and much more. By the end of the 20th century Activated Charcoal was bring used in many hospitals and poison control centers.  It was used to care for wounds, drug overdoses, kidney dialysis units, drug purification and to treat anemia.

Activated Charcoal is created by burning all-natural, non-toxic woods, such as coconut without the use of chemicals. You will find it in your health market and the easiest way to consume is in the form of capsules. This healthy charcoal, is known as “activated” because it has a porous consistency, which contains a negative charge that attracts positively charged toxins, much like how alkaline water which has a negative charge seeking positive charged cells, through the aquaporins.  Activated charcoal is said to attract 100 times its weight in actual toxic materials.  Wow! That is impressive and encouraging.

According to the Environmental Working Group, some specific ways activated charcoal can be used include:

• Heavy Metal Detoxification: This is by far the most common use for activated charcoal today. In 2005, a study spearheaded in part by the Environmental Working Group found “an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by the Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.” The scary fact is that no matter how clean your diet and lifestyle is, we ALL have various toxins within us, simply due to environmental factors, such as pollutants in our air, water and soil. Activated charcoal has been known to remove such heavy metals as mercury, copper, arsenic and lead.

• Intestinal Health: Intestinal health is important not only for the process of digestion but also because the majority (60 to 80%) of your immune system cells live in your gut. In the intestines, charcoal works through a process of adsorption. Adsorption has to do with the electrical attraction of toxins to the surface area of negatively charged particles (in this case, fine particles of activated charcoal) in the intestinal tract. Charcoal is not absorbed by the body and will eventually exit through the bowels, along with the toxic substances it has attracted to it. If you use activated charcoal for intestinal detox, you may experience very black stool. Don’t be surprised! This is normal and can actually help you discover the speed at which materials are passing through your system as a whole.

• Lowering Cholesterol: In a study conducted almost thirty year ago by the British Journal, The Lancet, patients with high cholesterol who took activated charcoal (8 gm) three times per day had a lowered LDL of 41% and a total lowered cholesterol level of 25%.

• Wound-Healing and Infection-Fighting: For thousands of years, carbon (i.e. charcoal) has been used around the surface area of wounds in order to keep infection at bay. It has also been used for accidental poisonings as well as insect and snake bites, again because of its toxin-drawing abilities.

There are many other uses for Activated Charcoal.  If you decide to use it as part of your wellness protocol, please seek a quality source of  capsules or powder, made with fine-grain woods, coconut wood being the most preferred.

In closing, as always, please try a yummy green juice. Red and green abound right now to highlight the wonderful Christmas Season. Yay! My advice is to drink something drink from organic vegetables, as your best option to take in this beautiful color rich, to pack in daily nutrient and superfoods.

As the days grow colder and the year comes to an end, let us remember all that 2018 brought into our lives, the many blessings, wonders and miracles, as well as the kind acts, mercy shown our way and love from our family, friends and even strangers.    

1. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f “Charcoal, Activated”. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.

2. ^ Jump up to: a b c WHO Model Formulary 2008 (PDF). World Health Organization. 2009. p. 57. ISBN 9789241547659. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2016.

Julia Chiappetta is the author of “Breast Cancer: The Notebook” (Gemini Media, 2006) and is also the owner of Julia Chiappetta Consulting. She lives in Cos Cob. More information and past columns can be found at