What the Heck is Activated Charcoal?

Peace! Activated charcoal has been a well-known staple in the health and wellness community for a very long time. Now, before you look at me crazy, keep in mind that I am not talking about the stuff you use to fire up the grill outside. Instead, I’m referring to a micro-porous substance that is safe for medical use.

What is it?

If you’re familiar with water filters, you may know that activated charcoal is the agent used to filter out the toxins in the water. When referring to the activated charcoal used for health and wellness purposes (both internally and externally), I’m talking about a 100% natural substance derived from the shells of coconuts. Its’ negatively charged ions attract toxins and heavy metals in your system which then bind with the charcoal and is expended through bodily waste functions (i.e., pooping!). Activated charcoal is available in capsule pill form or as a fine, loose powder (my preferred form to work with). It is extremely potent and absorbent!

 External Use

Activated charcoal has a whole host of external uses; literally more than I can count. It can be mixed with toothpaste as an all-natural teeth whitening agent, which is extremely beneficial if you’re avoiding the harsh chemicals found in traditional whitening pastes and creams. You can also use it with your favorite facial cleansers or masks to remove impurities from the skin’s surface. Recently, I noticed that activated charcoal has become a popular method of lightening the underarm discoloration that we almost all face at some point. You may also choose to add activated charcoal to your bath to negate the effects of prolonged use of daily lotions, fragrances, and body creams that also contain toxins and chemicals. It can also help with stings, insect bites, and skin allergies.

Internal Use

Even in professional medical settings, activated charcoal has long been used to treat patients suffering from alcohol and other types of poisoning. Mixing a tablespoon into your water can help after ingesting mercury or other poisonous substances, and may even help you avoid a hangover after a night of heavy drinking. Of course, if you think you may have consumed poison, it is still extremely important to seek the counsel of a medical professional, but activated charcoal helps in emergency situations. Used internally, activated charcoal can also help ease nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, gas, and acid reflux.


Another use of activated charcoal that I never considered is to clean your fresh produce. Natural lifestyle blogger HeyFranHey suggests soaking your fruits and vegetables in a tub/bowl/sink filled with a water and activated charcoal mixture to draw out the pesticides and other chemicals used on most commercial farms.

Of course, this post is just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of other uses for activated charcoal so it’s definitely worth doing some research. You may find it to be the perfect remedy for an ailment that you commonly experience. It’s very inexpensive, so make some room in your holistic wellness toolbox for activated charcoal.