Spotlight on: activated charcoal
Ingesting charcoal may sound like a one-way ticket to the ER, but it may just save your life. Unlike regular briquettes that you use to grill your veggies, activated charcoal has been processed at extremely high temperatures, that change its internal structure, to create a substance that is more porous. The product is a natural resource that can be used to remedy both cosmetic and health issues.
Activated charcoal, also known as animal or vegetable charcoal, has been most commonly used as a preventative treatment for food poisoning, since the 1800's. When the charcoal is pressurized by oxygen, it becomes nonpolar, allowing it to bind to hydrophobic toxins and odors from both gases and liquids up to 1,000 times its weight.
If you accidentally took too many aspirins for your leg cramp, or you ate some bad burritos, just 50-100 grams of activated charcoal, can reduce drug absorption in adults by up to 74%, if taken within the first five minutes. Vets even prescribe it to dogs that eat the tiniest amount of chocolate, to absorb lethal toxins, before they permanently damage their brains. This binding component may be beneficial if you suffer from body odor or excess flatulence.
There are even carbon fiber briefs on the market now, to prevent socially awkward moment. If underwear is too excessive for you, you can find activated charcoal in the forms of pills or powders at your local pharmacy. Activated charcoal is also popping up in grocery stores and restaurants, in everything from burgers to ice cream.
If your goal is to detox, consuming activated charcoal promotes kidney function, by binding to urea and other toxins that pass through the bloodstream into the gut, and then can be naturally excreted. Activated charcoal can also bind the acids that contain cholesterol, before they are completely absorbed into the body.
One study found that regular consumption of activated charcoal reduced cholesterol by 25% over the course of four weeks. Besides cleaning out your body, activated charcoal can be a natural solution to household problems. You can leave it in your kitchen near the garbage can, or hide it in the bathroom, to naturally deodorize the air of unpleasant smells. You can also purify your shower and drinking water with carbon filters that trap pesticides, chlorine, and heavy metal. For double-duty action, you can wash your hair with charcoal shampoo, and exfoliate with charcoal face wash, that act like a magnet for dirt and oil, without harming your skin.