Beneficial Uses for Activated Charcoal

Recently while feeling sick I learned about the benefits of Activated Charcoal. I started to do some research and was amazed by what I learned about activated charcoal and how handy it can be.

What is activated Charcoal?

Activate charcoal is charcoal that has gone through a special heating process that creates lots of nooks and crannies in the charcoal. It is extremely porous and attracts positive ions to itself. This allows the activated charcoal to absorb lots of yucky stuff. Activated charcoal is sold as a powder, liquid, or in capsules. I am a fan of the capsules because you can swallow them and avoid the mess or you can open up them up for many of the uses I describe below. Please note that activated charcoal and the charcoal you use for the barbeque are not the same thing. Charcoal for grilling has lots of chemicals and should not be used for any of the purposes outlined below. Also charcoal of any kind can stain surfaces or clothing so be aware of that and be careful when using it.

For poisons

Because activated charcoal can absorb toxins, it is used in emergency rooms all over the world to deal with poisons and drug overdoses. It is an incredibly potent detox tool so a little bit goes a long way.

Clearing Out Toxins from Food Poisoning or Food Borne Illness

I have learned first-hand how effective activated charcoal can be for this. When I was traveling in Ukraine in College, I got a bad campylobacter bacterial infection. I quickly became sick while on a train and they stopped it despite there being hundreds of passengers to get me a doctor. They then gave me activated charcoal to soak up the toxins. This patched me up until I could fly home. It was literally a life-saver for me. To date, that is the only time in my life I have ever thought I was going to die. This kind of bacterial infection can be deadly or cause permanent damage and luckily I ended up being okay in the long term.

I later experienced more benefits when I was having a bad reaction to chlorine and fluoride in the water. After taking activated charcoal, I stopped feeling extremely sick. I now travel with activated charcoal and always have it on hand and home for this reason alone. You never plan to get food poisoning so when you get sick, trying to get medicine can be problematic. Luckily you can easily put a handful of capsules in a small baggie or pillbox and take them with you.

Cleaning and Whitening Your Teeth

It may seem strange since activated charcoal is clearly black but it actually whitens teeth. You can use the contents of one capsule or simply get a container of the loose activated charcoal to use for this purpose. Just be aware that charcoal can stain certain surfaces or fabrics so be careful when handling it. Put a little bit from the capsule into your mouth or dip your toothbrush into the powdered charcoal and then brush your teeth gently since charcoal can be abrasive if brushed hard regularly. Afterwards, rinse with water until clear. This whitens teeth, freshens breath, and helps kill bacteria.

*If you have veneers or crowns, it may stain them. Also discontinue this if tooth sensitivity occurs.

As a skin mask for beautiful skin

Activated charcoal is also great for cleaning out your skin through a gentle mask. You can mix the contents of one capsule or use a pea-sized amount mixed with two teaspoons of moisturizer, aloe vera gel, or mud mask. If using a mud mask, you might want to add a drop or two of water to get the right consistency. Spread the mixture onto the face and then rinse it out. Dirt, toxins, and bacteria will bind together and help you get clear and glowing skin.

Spot treatment for bug bites and breakouts

For use with bug bites or stings, mix the content of one capsule of activated charcoal or a pea-sized amount nd mix with coconut oil. Apply to the affected area and reapply every 30 minutes until the itching or burning stops. Use a band aid or bandage to protect the bite and prevent the staining of your clothes or furniture. This can also be used for skin exposed to poisonous plants such as poison ivy.

For breakouts, make a concentrated treatment similar to the facial mask but use one capsule of activated charcoal with 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, moisturizer or skin mask. Double the recipe for use on a larger area.

Treating Alcohol Poisoning or to Help Prevent Hangover

Activated charcoal can help remove the toxins from the body that contribute to a hangover or alcohol poisoning. In addition to toxins from the alcohol, drinks with mixers may contain chemicals including artificial sweeteners and colors or other additives. Activated charcoal can help your body clear out these toxins as well.

While activated charcoal does not absorb alcohol, it does help quickly remove other toxins from the body that contribute to poisoning. Alcohol is rarely consumed in its pure form; mixers that include artificial sweeteners and chemicals are common. Activated charcoal removes these toxins and helps minimize the effects ofhangover.


When using activated charcoal, it’s important to note that charcoal used for lighting fires and activated charcoal is not the same thing. The uses I’ve listed are for activated charcoal specifically.

These are just a few uses for activated charcoal. Because it’s so handy, I always keep it in my natural first aid kit as well as with my toiletries for beauty. Another great thing about activated charcoal is that it is economical, and since it’s so versatile, it’s highly likely that you can use it on a regular basis. If you’ve never tried it, there are many other uses in addition to the ones I’ve listed here.



Dr. Axe

David Wolfe

Wellness Mama