Activated charcoal is made from a few different sources but the best is produced from bamboo or coconut shell. (Note to self: don’t head to the backyard BBQ to get your charcoal! This is toxic charcoal and best left for the garbage bin). The process of heating charcoal at high temperatures in the presence of gas causes the charcoal to develop small holes or pores and thereby ‘activating’ it. Activated charcoal traps toxins and chemicals in these pores preventing the body from reabsorbing these nasties. Traditionally, charcoal was used to treat poisonings and for bloating and flatulence but with its ability to remove toxins from the body, it is now the go-to product for detoxing.
Top 3 Ways to Use Activated Charcoal
1. Teeth whitening. Activated charcoal whitens teeth by absorbing plaque and tiny food remnants that stain your teeth. Just dip your wet toothbrush into powdered activated charcoal and brush normally. Focus on those areas with staining. Spit out and rinse mouth until water is clear. Beware if you have crowns, caps or veneers as the activated charcoal could stain them. It can get messy so make sure you have some paper towel ready to clean up so it doesn’t stain your grout! For best results use twice a week. Try My Magic Mud which also contains bentonite clay for a deeper cleanse.
2. Skin and body cleansing. Activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt on your skin to help removal. It’s also great to treat acne and body odour. Skincare products are readily available containing charcoal or you can whip up your own facial cleanser by mixing one capsule of activated charcoal with 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel. Apply to face, avoiding the eye area, let dry and then rinse. The paste is also good as a spot treatment. Make your own paste with Charcoal Me or try the Giovanni D:Tox skincare range for face and body.
3. Detoxing. Activated charcoal removes toxins from your system, particularly the digestive tract, which is great when you have indulged over Christmas. If wanting an internal detox, take 1-2 capsules 30-90mins before each meal for a maximum of 7 days. Always ensure you drink copious amounts of water during a charcoal detox as it can cause constipation. This also helps to flush out the toxins. It is not recommended to consume activated charcoal if you are on certain medications so always check with your health practitioner before using and do not take within 2 hours of any medications or supplements as the charcoal will prevent the body from absorbing them. Try Nature’s Sunshine Activated Charcoal.