activated charcoal health benefits & uses

activated charcoal health benefits & uses

There’s a buzz about activated charcoal, right now, from ice cream to oral health. It has been used for centuries for food poisoning. Essentially, it acts like a magnet. A highly absorbent substance, it removes toxins from the body (the approx dosage I’m seeing is drinking 1 tbsp of activated charcoal in water – but check with your doctor first).

It is safe to consume in very small amounts; however, taken regularly, when not needed, could cause constipation and block mineral absorption. In large doses, dehydration is also a concern, which is one reason you need to drink plenty of water when consuming activated charcoal. There is a charcoal lemonade at one of our local health food restaurants, and they recommend drinking lots of water after.

Beware – it is very messy and it stains. When I use it to whiten my teeth, I brush and spit very carefully and would not do it wearing any favourite clothing. I always rinse the sink immediately after to avoid staining. It binds to surface stains, bacteria and any toxins in your mouth. It is also helpful in changing the pH balance in your mouth, and preventing cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis. I definitely feel my mouth is fresher after I use it. I wet my toothbrush, then lightly press into the tub of charcoal and then carefully and gently brush my teeth for 2 minutes. I usually stick to the ones that are visible, but I do go over all areas at least once just for overall health. I read that some dentists find it too abrasive for your teeth. Instead, they say to mix it with some water and swish it around your mouth or make a paste and let it rest on your teeth for the 2 minutes. This is something I am presently looking into. In the meantime, I do it only 3x a week and I brush very gently (sometimes, I stop brushing and do the swish thing). UPDATE: One of three dentists I’ve recently contacted has responded giving it the thumbs up. Still waiting to hear back from the other two.

I have also heard that it is used for face masks as well as toothpaste, neither of which I have tried. I will not try the toothpaste until I get confirmation from my dentist that is safe to use. A friend told me her family used to eat use it as a digestive aid. I did read that it can help prevent gas after eating beans and other foods. (I am not recommending you use it for this purpose – again, always check with a doctor before.)

Ok, so the buzz on black ice cream. People are lining up down streets to try this new trend in cities. I recently made it for Halloween and it was amazing! Of course, my recipe uses activated charcoal. The kids and I ate 2-3 scoops of ice cream (I’m lying… I had about 5 scoops), so do not let the above mentioned cautionary points deter you. It was my first time experimenting with activated charcoal in food. It is not something I would want to consume often but it was a ton of fun and tasted delicious. Activated charcoal does not have a flavour, so like tofu, is great because it can take on any flavour you give it. 

I will post my ice cream recipe tomorrow, I needed to post this 101 blog, first. It’s always so important to be informed and make your own decisions for what’s best for you and people you are feeding.