For several years I worked in a hospital emergency room and one curious thing I observed was something that few people are aware of and that is whenever an overdose patient was brought into the emergency room, the very first thing a doctor would do is make the overdose patient drink activated charcoal mixed with water. During those years of seeing many overdose patients come into the ER, I never saw an overdose patient die who was conscious and who was able to drink the charcoal slurry. Because of my experience in the ER, I have, over the years, done some research on activated charcoal and discovered many beneficial properties bordering on the miraculous that makes me wonder why the benefits of it are not more well known.
Activated Charcoal is rated in Category I (Safe and Effective) by the FDA for acute toxic poisoning. It is recognized as a universal antidote -- Science News 119:3, 1981. It is listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, and the Poison Control Center recommends Activated Charcoal for use in poisoning. Activated Charcoal works by ADSORPTION, which is an Electrical Action, rather than Absorption, which is a Mechanical Action. Activated Charcoal ADSORBS MOST Organic and Inorganic Chemicals that do NOT belong in the Body, but it does NOT ADSORB beneficial nutrients as some people are afraid of, at least no studies have proven such to be the case. It will adsorb any and all medications however, and, other than in the case of an overdose, Activated Charcoal needs to be taken 2 hours before or after any medications.
"Charcoal added to the diet of sheep for 6 months did
not cause a loss of nutrients, as compared with sheep not receiving charcoal.
Blood tests showed no significant difference between the two groups of
animals, and there no visible signs of any nutritional deficiency. At autopsy,
no differences either grossly or microscopically could be detected. A level
of 5 % of the total diet was given as charcoal. It did not affect the blood
or urinary levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus,
potassium, sodium, zinc, creatinine, uric acid, urea nitrogen, alkaline
phosphatase, total protein or urine pH."
~ Activated Charcoal by David O. Cooney, New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1980 p. 63.
The form of Charcoal used in modern medical science is Activated Charcoal U.S.P., a pure wood charcoal carbon that has no carcinogenic properties. Activated Charcoal is an odorless, tasteless powder. One teaspoonful of it has a surface area of more than 10,000 square feet. This unique feature allows it to adsorb large amounts of chemicals or poisons. The powder must be stored in a tightly sealed container, as it readily adsorbs impurities from the atmosphere. Charcoal from burnt toast is not effective, and Charcoal briquettes can be dangerous because they contain fillers and petrochemicals to help them ignite.
Activated Charcoal is NOT charred foods such as burned toast! Charred food is a product of charred proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and mineral salts and these have an adverse affect on the body, but Activated Charcoal is made from insoluble carbonized wood that has been oxidized by gases like steam or air at high temperatures. This oxidative process erodes the charcoal's internal surfaces which greatly increases its adsorption capacity by creating an internal network of very fine pores making it possible to adsorb almost 100 times it weight in toxins, bacteria, chemicals, unwanted medications, etc. by attaching to and holding on the foreign bodies so that they are passed out of the body by elimination and prevented from replicating as in the case of bad bacteria or prevented from being absorbed into the blood stream as in the case of chemicals, toxins, or medications.
Scientific experiments over many years attest to the effectiveness of charcoal as an antidote. In one experiment, 100 times the lethal does of Cobra venom was mixed with charcoal and injected into a laboratory animal. The animal was not harmed. In other experiments, arsenic and strychnine were mixed with charcoal and ingested by humans under laboratory conditions. The subjects survived even though the poison dosages were 5 to 10 times the lethal dose. Activated Charcoal has no ill side-effects or known cases of any allergic reactions. It has has an infinite shelf life if one is careful to keep the container closed to prevent adsorption of caustic fumes.
Studies show that Activated Charcoal is harmless when it comes in contact with the skin. In rare cases, charcoal may mildly irritate the bowel in sensitive persons, but no allergies or side effects have been recorded. Activated charcoal powder will NOT cause someone to have constipation, but if a person has a problem with constipation and then drinks charcoal slurry, the Activated Charcoal will pack-up in the colon due to blockages which are already present in the colon. Research has shown that if a person has a problem with constipation and does a colon cleanse and addresses the causes of constipation, then that person can drink charcoal slurry without having the Activated Charcoal pack up in the Colon. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the United States and although it depends on the cause, severity, and duration of the constipation, in most cases, dietary and lifestyle changes will help relieve symptoms and eliminate constipation but a colon cleanse should be considered if constipation has been a chronic problem for some time.
Since constipation is a major contributor to many diseases and cancers, constipation needs to be taken seriously and the causes addressed. These causes usually are: too much refined and packaged foods and not enough roughage and fiber in one's diet, too little water intake, and not enough exercise. If one is prone to constipation, high-fiber foods that should be increased in one's diet include beans, whole grains and bran cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, and many others. Limiting foods that have little or no fiber such as ice cream, cheese, meat, and processed foods is also important. Other changes that can help treat and prevent constipation include drinking enough water and other liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices and clear soup, engaging in daily exercise, and reserving enough time to have a bowel movement. The urge to have a bowel movement should not be ignored and delayed.
Activated Charcoal is REQUIRED by law in many states to be part of the standard equipment on ambulances for use in poisonings. Mushroom poisoning, brown recluse spider bites, and snake bites can all be treated with Activated Charcoal. Doctors also use Activated Charcoal to prevent and treat intestinal infections, and as a cleansing and healing agents. Jaundice of the newborn, bee stings, poison ivy reactions, and many other illnesses can be helped with Activated Charcoal. Many pediatricians and pediatric handbooks recommend that Activated Charcoal be kept on hand as an antidote in the family medicine chest, especially in households that include small children.
Activated Charcoal can be used internally and externally for humans and pets for the following:
+ Food poisoning or accidental ingestion of poisons
+ Poisonous spider, poisonous snake or bug bites; can be used in cases of poison ivy.
+ Elimination of toxins that can contribute to anemia
in cancer patients (your physician should be
consulted about this if you're on cancer medications)
+ Filtering of toxins from blood, in cases of liver or kidney disease
+ Effective deodorizing of colostomies and disinfection
of wounds (shouldn't be used on open wounds or
you may end up with a tattoo)
+ Although it is a little messy you can brush your teeth with it. It can remove tarter and plaque build-up.
+ It has been known to alleviate allergy headaches, minor
arthritic symptoms, menstrual pains, diarrhea,
painful urination, flatulence, sore throat irritation, flu-like symptoms, drug overdose, toxins from foods,
water, cold sores, and tooth abcesses.
Activated Charcoal can be purchased in tablets, capsules, or powder form. Tablets have one-half the potency of the powdered charcoal and the capsules are not economical but are easy to use. (About 14 capsules equals a tablespoon of powder). It is most easily mixed in a small portion of water and is most effective if one tablespoon is used with 1 to 2 glasses of water. It should be taken only as needed to reduce dependency although it is definitely not addictive.
Some drug stores sell Activated Charcoal tablets -- Walgreen's
is one that I know of. The most economical way to purchase Activated Charcoal
is in powder form. I purchase it by mail from a health and nutrition place
in Georgia. If anyone would like to purchase Activated Charcoal from them
you can e-mail or call me and I will get their address and phone number
for you. One quart size plastic bottle (10 oz in weight) was around $8
not including shipping the last time I ordered it.
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