This activated charcoal is not the kind found on your burnt toast!
Activated charcoal is a highly absorptive antidote for emergency use (and a few other non-emergency uses). It is able to rapidly mop up toxins and chemicals. Toxins adhere or stick to the very porous surface of the charcoal, so nothing is absorbed by the body. Instead, it passes through and out of the GI tract, trapped in the charcoal.
It is a fine, black powder that is odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic, and it has proven its value over and over again!
But you have to know about it, how to use it, and have it on hand for it to do any good!
It was 1831. In front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to tell the tale. He had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal. (source)
Need I say, please don’t try this at home!
In a 2001 study conducted by the Kentucky Regional Poison Center and reported in the medical journal Pediatrics, Henry Spiller, MS, and George Rodgers, MD of the University of Louisville, demonstrated the real value of giving activated charcoal in the home to children as an antidote for most poisons.
The authors of the study concluded the obvious: administering activated charcoal in the home is a lot quicker than taking the time to get to the closest emergency room. They added, “Greater efforts need to be put into educating parents (and pharmacists and pediatricians) about the need to stock activated charcoal in the home in advance of a poisoning.” (source)
Every 8 Minutes, a Child Goes to an Emergency Room for Medicine Poisoning (source)
We have averted full-blown food-poisoning after eating out more than once as well as using it several times here on the farm. I wouldn’t be without activated charcoal in my medicine cabinet – and always keep capsules in the car – for spider bites, mushroom poisoning, accidental poisoning, a stomach bug or food poisoning, or even a snake bite until we can get to the ER. I don’t hesitate to share it if there is a need.
Sometimes, minutes count!
In the case of aspirin poisoning, activated charcoal should be given right away, or if possible, at least within the first thirty minutes.
Powdered charcoal reaches its maximum rate of adsorption in the stomach within one minute. The sooner it is given, the better the chances of successful treatment.
After one hour, charcoal given for fast-absorbing drugs like aspirin is usually only about ten percent effective. (source)
It has also been used successfully as an external poultice (mixed with baking soda and plantain) on brown recluse and other serious spider bites.
Scientific experiments over many years attest to the effectiveness of charcoal as an antidote, both to humans and to animals. In one experiment, 100 times the lethal dose 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 five to ten times the lethal dose.
Contrary to popular belief, activated charcoal does not steal minerals from the body if only used when needed. (source: How Activated Charcoal Works)
Activated Charcoal Dosage:
Activated charcoal can be purchased in tablets, capsules, or powder form.
****Tablets have one-half the potency of the powdered charcoal
****capsules are a bit more expensive but easy to use
****14 capsules equals approximately 1 slightly rounded tablespoon of powder. It is best to take one to two tablespoons of powder in a small portion of water and followed with several glasses of water. (source)
Adequate water is a must to get the charcoal to its target. In the case of a poisoning emergency, I would certainly call a poison control center and follow their instructions. The National Poison Control Center in the US is 1-800-222-1222.
Of course, if your area has it, you can always call 911. Please keep pertinent numbers in a readily visible place such as on your fridge. The information on this site is also helpful.
Pumping the stomach is only effective immediately after swallowing a toxic substance (under a half-hour) and does not reach beyond the stomach as activated charcoal does. Some emergency rooms automatically administer large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning.
For kids who are hesitant or refuse, you can mix powder in applesauce! Its tasteless so kids just think its cool… It’s best on an empty stomach! But in applesauce its less messy, and they don’t complain at all!
John is a minister, and while he believes very strongly in faith and its part in healing, he also believes one should heed the counsel to “add to one’s faith… knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5). For John and his wife Sharon that means understanding how to use simple natural home remedies.
“John and Sharon try to be prepared for any emergency. As a quick simple first aid, they always have charcoal near at hand. Because they were prepared for one emergency, they now know it really does work for aspirin poisoning. “It happened that a baby got a hold of a number of aspirins and swallowed them. Fortunately it was promptly noticed, and we immediately gave charcoal. For some time after giving the charcoal, we watched the baby carefully, and there were no observable side effects at all.”
Can activated charcoal work for you in an emergency? It can if you follow the Kentucky Poison Control Center’s advice and stock activated charcoal, the antidote for hundreds of common drugs and chemicals, in your medicine cabinet. Then, if it should happen to one of your little ones or a neighbor’s, you can quickly give the antidote as you consider the need to go to Emergency. But what if there is no Emergency Clinic nearby?
“While doing development work in Nepal, just before the rainy season set in, the small clinic at which I worked hosted a week long “health camp”. A group of American doctors, dentists, and their spouses made the exhausting six-hour hike up and down, and finally over into the Huwas valley. “After that very busy week, as some of the medical team rested up for the trek out, Joyce, the director’s wife, led a number of the others on a walk down to the river. On the way, they passed a family having a picnic beside a small Hindu shrine. The translator mentioned that the family lived just below the clinic. After stopping for tea in one village, Joyce decided to hike home by a different route. As they passed by the local health-post/pharmacy, the health worker called them over. A small, four-year-old boy was lying there not responding to anything. The group recognized him as one of the children at the family picnic. Joyce, herself a nurse, tells what happened:
“Among the group was a pediatrician. He examined the child and mentioned meningitis and a couple other serious possibilities as a cause for the child’s condition. Not able to confirm a diagnosis, the doctor decided to give a large dose of antibiotic by injection. It would take some time for the antibiotic to take effect, so we stood around observing the child, and conversing. At some point, I described a similar case, but it had been from poisoning. The baby had not been treated and had died. I suggested giving charcoal. After hearing my story, the physician agreed that this child could also be suffering from poisoning, “but poisoning from what?” he wondered. Nevertheless, he decided that charcoal was worth a try.
So I went to gather some coals from the nearest cook fires. We pulverized them as best we could and mixed the gritty powder in a four-ounce glass with water. We strained the mixture through a cloth and, because the child could not swallow, administered it through a small tube. We were able to get some down, and the child began to struggle against it. That encouraged us to keep trying, and eventually we were able to get about two ounces down. It was difficult to get it into the child because it was gritty and the tube was too small. As the others worked, another woman and I quietly offered a prayer that God would add His blessing to our efforts.
Very soon the child’s breathing, which had been shallow and irregular, returned to normal. We removed the tube, and before the child totally refused to take anymore, we were able to get one more ounce down. By then the boy was completely alert. From the time we were able to get the first bit of charcoal down to the time he was back up and running around was no more than five minutes. We were all absolutely amazed! The doctor insisted that it had to have been the charcoal, because the antibiotics could not possibly have worked so quickly.”
I hope those of you who are still skeptical never have to face such choices. But, by the time you’ve finished these pages and listened to those who have, I hope you will have enough evidence to try charcoal yourselves should an emergency arise. Faith is very powerful, but we need to add knowledge to our faith. (source)
Use and Storage of Activated Charcoal
I wrote this post on how to administer charcoal in an emergency.
Should you ever need to use activated charcoal on your self or a child for poisoning, use as soon as possible. Call a poison control center or go to the emergency room as well to make sure the poison has been fully removed as there are several things activated charcoal will NOT adsorb.
When storing it, be careful that young children or pets can’t access it for it is a huge PAIN to clean up from grout or other rough surfaces. The sink or counter, no problem. Think a small plastic container with a tight-fitting lid perhaps.
- Activated charcoal has no side effects or known cases of allergic reactions.
- It has an infinite shelf life.
- It has saved the life of many a child and pet.
No, activated charcoal is not the kind found on your burnt toast. At just the right time, it is worth its weight in gold!
Would you please share your stories (human or pet) with us so we can learn more?
Medical Disclaimer: I am no longer a practicing medical professional, and I am not doctor. I am a mother. I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use. Using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is intended to treat or prevent disease. Consult your own doctor.
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WOW!!!! Seems I have read a little about charcoal but not this much info. Amazing!!!
When I started reading all the many and safe uses for charcoal, I just had to share it! god gave us such amazing helps and gifts! Love you, sweet friend 🙂
We’ve used activated charcoal for decades. Although we never had a poisoning situation, we used it a lot for sour stomachs-when you’re feeling just a little ‘off’ or to halt gassiness. We’ve used it to stop vomiting and/or diarrhea-and it worked every single time. We’ve used it on innumerable spider bites/bee or wasp stings. We’ve used it to draw infections out by applying a poultice of charcoal in layers of paper towel. I buy powdered activated charcoal bulk and make my own capsules and I even send them home with my now adult children. Good stuff.
Thanks, Amy, for sharing about layering charcoal in paper towels as a poultice. It sound helpful to keep it from being such a mess, and it would be easier to keep it moist on the wound, too. Thanks!
That is awesome!
You have two powders in your affiliate links. The hardwood is cheaper than the coconut one. Which do you prefer or recommend?
I put them in as a comparison only. My thinking is that it is so important to have charcoal on hand that I don’t want price to be a factor in keeping someone from having it in case of an emergency 🙂 I don’t think there is really any significant difference. I hope it isn’t confusing to others…
Good question, Melanie 🙂
WOW That is truly interesting. I have never heard of this. Amazing. #friendshipfriday
Just wanted to let you know that I shared this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +. It is so informative that I wanted to let as many people know about it as I could. I haven’t used Activated Charcoal yet but now I am going to purchase it and have it on hand.
Thanks for all the research you do and the time you give us in writing it all down. You are truly a blessing.
Oh yes! Love activated charcoal. Our naturopath gave us some years ago for a stomach bug. We have used it many times since for food poisoning and spider bites.
I’ll have to check that out for sure! I’ve heard of activated charcoal but never used it but given that we have small children and pets (as well as frequent little visitors) its sounds great to have around!
It is worth it if you ever need to have it quickly 🙂
Wow, that’s amazing! I had no idea. I have HEARD of it but really had no idea how potent and effective it is.
When one of my sons was a toddler he was being babysat by his grandparents, and his great-grandmother left some pills out and he took them. It can happen that quickly, can’t it?
We always kept the ipecac syrup on hand but really that’s a nasty thing because it makes them throw up, but that’s still better than being poisoned, of course. I am going to look into that charcoal thing because I’d be interested in it. Especially for when we have grandkids someday.
Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!
Thank you, Nan.
I was given ipecac once and it made me throw up for 3 hours… 🙂 Just remembering that :-/ lol
I enjoy your blog, friend!
I’ve used activated charcoal a lot in the vet field, but never really think about keeping it on hand in my house. It’s probably a good idea though! Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!
Wish you would share how you’ve used it with animals. We have horses, dogs, cats and chickens. Thanks.
Hi, Kentucky Cowgirl! I just emailed you stories from the FB group on how it works super well in pets! ~J
Thank you for the great information. I was not aware of the benefits of charcoal. Visiting you from Beth’s place.
This is good information and something we use here…. I used to pack my own capsules…. then I figured out that it was worth the cost to buy the capsules already made. 🙂
In Ghana we make and have been using AC for centuries too.
For tummy bugs we take it combined with clay powder.
I think you must be much more resourceful than those of us in the West. We are softies, while you know and use more truly natural remedies. So much knowledge is lost, I think 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Homeschool Mama!
Wow! I am so glad for your site. I have enjoyed looking through recipes and great information. I never comment but it is needed!!! You are fabulous. So much great stuff! Thank you!
Thank you, Wendy! That is a great encouragement, friend 🙂
My friends and I have know about charcoal for along time now, use it when ever anyone in our families get sick, we use it to stop diarrhea and help stop throwing up. It is wonderful!! Even have put it on spider bits to draw out the poison.
Thanks for the testimonial, Kelly!
Does anyone have any knowledge of, or experience with AC being used for on going acid re-flux? Thank You,
Also, the powder on a wet toothbrush is a fantastic chemical free tooth whitener.
Yes, it is! Tracy, I learned the hard way to BE CAREFUL with that wondeful black powder! Never sneeze on the toothbrush 😀 Yikes!
Thanks for the reminder here in comments, friend!
Loved your article. Within 18 months we will be producing large quantities of activated charcoal from coconuts. Your article states that the best source for making activated charcoal is from coconuts…I agree wholeheartedly!!! I have a thriving organic coconut oil business producing it by hand and machine…with labels and information distinguishing the pros and cons of each. We continue to research different ways to use all aspects of the coconut…. The different possibilities are almost limitless…as it seems are the health benefits…
We are located in Nicaragua…
PS. One small comment I need to make is regarding the title of your article…it is not just moms that should have it in the medicine cabinet…
Ah, Papa Jim! I am so glad you took the time to share your thoughts here. We love coconut oil and activated charcoal! We also love Nicaragua! We’ve been there on construction trips for church planting three times! Yes, everyone needs coconut oil and activated charcoal!
Two of our sons injested accidental overdoses of Tylenol at the same incident when they were toddlers. They were turning lethargic very quickly. We took themto the emergency room right away. They were given activated charcoal immediately. Subsequent tests showed one of them had eaten a lethal dose if Tylenol. Thank God for this cure. One little side note is that we struggled with getting them to eat the activated charcoal so the dr had us hold them to kind of force feed the boys and everything that was touched by the charcoal had to be thrown away as you can’t get the charcoal out of it… Blankets, clothing…who cares! Small sacrifice! Thank God we were able to get them immediately to the help they needed. I never knew until today you can buy it for home use for humans and animals. I will get some asap to have on hand as we live in the country now on a farm. Thank you for this valuable topic. Ps our sons are in their 20s now.
Oh, MY goodness, Julie! Praise God for your quick action to get them to the ER!
So glad you found this helpful and shared your story!
I’ve used activated charcoal mixed to a paste, with raw honey, externally as a poultice on my daughters wart. Every day for 3 months I put a bit of the mixture on her wart. After 3 months the wart dropped off and the skin underneath was completely healed, without even a mark to show where the wart had been. 🙂 We love it!
Wow! What a neat testimony, Dominique! Thanks for sharing that here. You are a good teacher to your daughter…she’s learning lots from you, I think!
Hi Jacqueline really useful info here I had an incident at the weekend (Saturday ) my 4 year old drank a near full bottle of calpol (paracetamol ) his toxin levels were 83 and they only start treatment at 100 so he was sent home with nothing but since he’s been complaining of pain in his belly on and off so I was wondering if it’s still worth using charcoal even though it’s been 2 days now?
I don’t think it would hurt him at all, and it just might draw out remaining poison in his gut. I will tell you what I’d do, if that is OK. I would go and buy red beets. Remove the stems and put them into a pot of water and boil them until getting soft like cooked potato. Let him drink the juice and eat the beets. I season mine up with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt, blk pepper, etc. Beets are the most wonderful, safe, available, and inexpensive blood cleaner, liver cleaner, and gut cleaner-outer I know, but the gut cleaning won’t be explosive, etc 🙂 He can eat them for a week and you should should know he is getting less toxic. We do this regularly after road trips, etc. I would also be concerned (a little) about the level of toxins in his liver and you can use milk thistle capsules for several months to restore and clean the liver. Make sure it is a standardized milk thistle. It is safe for a 4 year old to take 2 a day, 1 in AM and 1 in PM. This product or one similar http://amzn.to/1W0u1LP is also available at most groceries.
Praying for you and your son. I trust he is in the Lord’s care and will be fine. PS You are a good Mama! Don’t feel guilty!
How much would you give to a 5 year old who is vomiting assuming you can get them to take some mixed with applesauce or something similar? We keep capsules but have never had to use them. Thank God. Thanks for the info.
April, if a child is vomiting, I would not give them charcoal. It could be aspirated into the lungs or they would likely just throw it up and make a royal mess. I’d hike to the ER fast!
Kendra L Davidson
I loooooove activated charcoal, I always have some on hand for several reasons. One of my favorite is that you can use it to whiten your teeth as well! It absorbs the stains in your teeth, my suggestion is brush with it once a week every week or 3 days in a row once a month; it’s a whole lot cheaper than whitening treatments!!! Also makes for a cute reaction when your child sees your with black teeth for a bit 🙂
I totally agree – I don’t know how many times it would have been a godsend to have this ( I come from a large family )
What a beneficial post, I had no idea of the uses for activate charcoal. Wow, so good to know.
Has any one used this instead of an Epi pen for an allergic reaction to food allergies?
Savannah, that is a great question! I would hate to risk it in the actual crisis. BUT if there is NO epipen, I would try it! My thought is no, it would not. ~J
We have used activated charcoal for years. Once my mother ate something very sweet that gave her a sugar rush…i gave her AC and it went away. If there is vomiting going on, i keep giving it until the vomiting stops. We use it for any stomach issues. I have a son with acid reflux. It helps but instead of continue use, really need to figure out the reason for acis reflux. It is amazing. I agree, every Mama should carry it in there purse and have it at home. Along with ginger and cayenne.
Terri, if interested for info on how to address the root cause(s) of reflux, let me know here and I’ll send you that info! Simple and it works!
Hi Jacquie! I seem to recall this post being longer a few years ago. Do you have a link to the longer post? Or a pamphlet perhaps? I am wanting to share with friends all the benefits of activated charcoal. Thank you!
Oh, my, goodness, Amy! I am so thankful you reached out and brought that to my attention. I removed some html text that was causing that, and it is now back to normal!
Blessings and peace,
I’m wondering if you’ve come across any research about using Activated Charcoal as part of a mold detox protocol for children. Specifically, I’ve been trying to find out dosage amounts and duration of use for children. I’ve found some information in regards to short-term use for stomach bugs but not for long-term use for detoxes.
My (almost) 5 year old is constantly sick. We lead a very healthy lifestyle and he really shouldn’t be getting sick so often. I’ve tried all the regular supplements (Vitamin C, zinc, etc.) but he still gets sick, which leads me to think there is something else going on. I am, of course, doing my own research on the matter (and will reach out to his pediatrician, if necessary). Most of what I’ve found so far pertains to adults who’ve suffered from extreme mold toxicity for years and, thus, have gone through intensive mold detoxes, which would not be suitable – at least, at such dosages – for children.
If you have any further websites or books you could point me to, or stories to share, about Activated Charcoal as mold detox for children, I’d love to hear them. Thanks!
Ariel, I am not really comfortable using AC for that age, bc it can cause constipation pretty easily if not dosed perfectly when repeated every day.
I will email you with more details, as I have another thought that will be broad spectrum and also bind with the mycotoxins (have you tested for mold yet?)