The Health Uses & Benefits of Activated Charcoal


Produced by slowly heating carbon-heavy materials such as wood, peat, or coal, activated charcoal is a highly porous material with a strong ability to attract and trap various compounds. Through a process known as adsorption, the trapped compounds bind to the activated charcoal’s surface molecules, creating a sort of film. Activated charcoal’s properties make it ideally suited to a variety of health-related tasks. Carbon Resources, a leading manufacturer of activated charcoal, sells the material in a range of forms, including those that work best for health uses.

Activated Charcoal

  • Fighting Poisonings:

    Activated charcoal is probably best known for its ability to fight accidental poisonings. When administered soon after the poison is ingested, activated charcoal traps the toxic matter before it has the chance to enter the gastrointestinal tract or make its way into the bloodstream. It also enhances the natural elimination of chemicals that the body has already begun to process. Due to its safety and its ability to bind to so many different compounds, activated charcoal is sometimes known as the universal antidote. It has replaced syrup of ipecac as the treatment of choice for most poisonings. However, it is not effective against some substances including arsenic and alcohols.

  • Reducing Intestinal Gas:

    Activated charcoal has been used to successfully treat intestinal gas since the early 1800s. In some countries, it is routinely sold over the counter in pill form for this purpose. It is still under investigation for this purpose in the United States, and studies are thus far inconclusive.

  • Lowering Cholesterol:

    Research into activated charcoal’s efficacy as a cholesterol-lowering drug has been mixed. Some research indicates that the charcoal is quite effective, while other studies do not report a dramatic effect. Clinical research will continue until a conclusion is reached.

  • Hemoperfusion:

    Activated charcoal plays a very important role in hemoperfusion, which is the process of removing blood from the body to clean it of toxins and then returning it to the body. Removing the toxins requires an adsorbent material, and polymer-coated activated charcoal is the most commonly used. Hemoperfusion is typically performed in patients with renal failure, as well as those undergoing a liver transplant.

  • Personal Protective Devices:

    Activated charcoal is formed into medical cloth that can be cut, shaped, and laminated as needed. It is used in wound dressings and ostomies, and shaped into a wide range of personal protective devices. One of the most common protective uses is in gas masks for the military and first responders. The activated charcoal cloth is often impregnated with other compounds to make it more effective against specific targeted threats.

  • Pharmaceutical Processing:

    The pharmaceutical industry is under extremely tight control, and every stage of pharmaceutical processing must be entirely pure and free from contaminants. Due to its ability to trap so many different compounds, activated charcoal is an ideal material to use in purification. It is used during every step of the drug manufacturing process to ensure that no contaminants are introduced. Besides chemicals and impurities, activated charcoal can also bind proteins, which makes it especially useful in the manufacturing of biomedical products.

  • Water Treatment:

    Safe, clean drinking water is a priority for both individual homes and municipalities. At both levels, activated charcoal is an excellent water purifier. It can remove a wide range of both organic and inorganic contaminants, ensuring that the water is clean and fresh. It also removes various compounds that negatively impact the smell and taste of the water. Activated charcoal can be used alone, but it is often impregnated with compounds that help bind specific, targeted contaminants within a particular water supply.

  • Air Treatment:

    Activated carbon can trap toxic and noxious gases, returning air quality to an acceptable state. It is often used to combat biogases from landfills and cow pastures, as well as the flue gas that develops around crematoriums and incinerators that are used for municipal waste. Impregnated activated charcoal is even used in many high-end museums to provide a level of purification that will help preserve the artifacts.

Are you interested in purchasing activated charcoal for a specific application? Do you require expert guidance in choosing the right impregnation for your needs? With more than 70 years of experience in the activated carbon industry, Carbon Resources is proud to provide the most diverse line of activated charcoal products on the market today. They take pride in their individualized customer service, and look forward to becoming your one-stop shop for all your activated charcoal needs.

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