Activated Charcoal: The Multi-Purpose Must-Have

Detoxifier, colourant, beautifier – is this black powder really so miraculous? 


Activated charcoal has a long history of medical and cosmetic use. Your grandparents probably kept a bottle of charcoal tablets in the back of the medicine cabinet.

Activated charcoal is made by burning carbon-rich coconut shells at very high temperatures to create charcoal. The result is a black, odourless powder. The charcoal is then “activated” through a special steam process that creates holes in the charcoal particles, increasing surface area and available binding sites.

The amazing thing about activated charcoal is that it can bind to other substances on its surface – this is called adsorption (note: different from AB-sorption). Adsorption works by electrical attraction, pulling molecules, atoms and ions towards its surface and sticking to i.

When taken internally, charcoal passes through the digestive tract collecting toxic substances such as chemicals and poisons before they can be absorbed by the body. Unwanted substances are then able to be expelled from the digestive tract.

The Many Uses of Activated Charcoal

Relieve Gas and Bloating (and other gastrointestinal ills)

Activated charcoal can help ease the symptoms of food poisoning, indigestion and diarrhoea by adsorbing the irritants.  It binds to the byproducts that cause gas and allow them to be expelled from the body.


Treat Chemical Poisoning 

Charcoal is an age-old remedy for removing chemicals, toxins and poisons from the body.  Emergency medical centres may administer a single large dose of activated charcoal to help the body flush out the poison faster. Activated charcoal adsorbs most organic chemicals, many inorganic chemicals, drugs, pesticides, mercury, and even lead, before they harm your body. NOTE: in the event of poisoning, call 111 FIRST!

Detox with a (delicious?) Black Lemonade

Charcoal Lemonade? Yep, people are doing it. “Detox” drinks made with activated charcoal have become a bit of a craze lately. It’s claimed that regular use of activated charcoal helps to remove unwanted toxins from your body, reducing bad breath, body odour, skin problems and other ‘toxic’ outputs.

Activated Charcoal Lemonade

5 cups filtered water
½ Blue Agave Syrup
¾ cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp activated charcoal powder

1. Combine water and Agave Syrup in a jug
2. Add lemon juice
3. Add charcoal powder and stir thoroughly.
4. Drink immediately or store in fridge for up to five days.


Detox Your Face

Got spots? Activated charcoal can draw out the impurities that cause breakouts and other skin irritations.

Charcoal Face Mask

½ tsp activated charcoal powder
½ tsp Rosewater or plain water
½ tsp Aloe vera gel
1-2 drops tea tree oil or Manuka oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients into a paste. Apply to face after cleansing and allow to dry. Rinse off. Done!



Draw Out Skin Infections

Apply externally in poultices, compresses and baths for the treatment of infections, pain, and as a general detoxifier.

  1. Mix 1-2 Tbsp charcoal with little water to form a wet paste.
  2. Spread the paste on one half cloth or piece of gauze cut to fit the area to be treated.
  3. Place the charcoal poultice on the affected body part and cover the poultice with plastic (plastic food wrap works fine)
  4. Bandage or tape the poultice securely in place. Leave it on for several hours overnight.

Natural Colourant

Charcoal works as a fantastic natural black colourant for soaps and other personal care products and unlike mica, it does not need to be dispersed before adding.

Where To Get Activated Charcoal Powder

PureNature has food grade activated charcoal (suitable for ingrestion) which can be used for any of the methods described above. Get it here!

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