Do you have problems with your skin, digestive system or perhaps with high cholesterol? It may surprise you to learn that there is one natural supplement that can help you with all of these health concerns. This superfood is called activated charcoal and it is made of charred, organic coconut husks that due to their high absorbency are able to provide relief for many health complaints.
What is activated coconut charcoal?
Activated coconut charcoal is similar to the charcoal that you might find in a fireplace but this is where the similarity stops. Activated coconut charcoal is made of charred, organic coconut husks that have the unique characteristic of being extremely absorbent. In addition, activated charcoal has a negative electric charge and attracts positively charged toxins and other harmful substances, which then bond with the tiny pores of the activated coconut charcoal and are naturally expelled from the body via bowel movement.
Why is activated coconut charcoal suddenly so popular?
Especially over the last few years, activated coconut charcoal has gained much exposure in the media. This is in part due to the popularity of American superfood guru David Wolfe who has a big following in the US as well as in Europe and rates activated charcoal very highly for its many uses.
1. It can help to whiten teeth
Sprinkle a small amount of activated coconut charcoal into the palm of your hand and dip your wet toothbrush into it. Brush your teeth for two minutes and then rinse your mouth with water. Now brush your teeth one last time with water or toothpaste to remove any residue. The activated coconut charcoal ensures that plaque and bacteria are removed from your teeth. Be careful as activated coconut charcoal may cause stains on your clothing.
2. It reduces bloating
Scientific research shows that activated coconut charcoal helps to reduce bloating. (Jain et al., 1986). Stir 1 gram (about one teaspoon) activated coconut charcoal into a glass of (bottled) water about 30 minutes before eating a meal and drink it immediately. Repeat directly after the meal and then rinse your mouth with water.
3. Fights hangovers
It is better to avoid alcoholic drinks altogether but on the occasion that you do find yourself having indulged too much, it is a good idea to afterwards (and even before drinking) use activated coconut charcoal. Researchers have found that activated coconut charcoal helps to block the toxins that occur in alcoholic drinks as well as prevent the colourants and chemicals – but not the alcohol - from being absorbed in the blood stream, which reduces the chances of having a hangover. (Hultén et al., 1986).
4. Helps against acne
As activated coconut charcoal is extremely absorbent, it is also excellent in treating acne because it draws the bacteria from the skin and cleans pores. Make a mask by mixing one teaspoon of activated coconut charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel and dab onto the skin. Let the mask dry and then rinse well with water to wash it off.
5. Lowers cholesterol
Scientists have revealed that activated coconut charcoal has the ability to lower the so-called ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol. In one study, one group of participants received daily doses of 8g of activated coconut charcoal for four weeks. Afterwards it was found that their LDL cholesterol had fallen by 41% while the ‘good’ cholesterol had gone up by 8% (Kuusisto et al., 1986). If you would like to try it yourself, first consult with your physician and remember to wait two hours after or before taking your medicine when using activated coconut charcoal as it may affect your medication.
6. Removes toxic substances from the body
Activated coconut charcoal is able to bind with toxic substances. These are then expelled during the course of a normal bowel movement. If you suspect that you ingested a toxic substance or perhaps have food poisoning, take 25 gram of activated coconut charcoal (children 10 gram). Please note, when dealing with poison or an overdose of medicine, always call emergency services.
7. Helps when you are detoxing
If you are thinking of going on a detox, you may use activated coconut charcoal to help support the process as it absorbs these toxic substances. Then for two days, take 10g of activated coconut charcoal about 90 minutes before each meal.
References Jain, N. K., Patel, V. P., & Pitchumoni, C. S. (1986). Efficacy of Activated Charcoal in Reducing Intestinal Gas: A Double–Blind Clinical Trial. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 81(7).
 Hultén, B. Å., Heath, A., Mellstrand, T., & Hedner, T. (1986). Does alcohol absorb to activated charcoal? Human toxicology, 5(3), 211-212.
 Kuusisto, P., Manninen, V., Vapaatalo, H., Huttunen, J., & Neuvonen, P. (1986). Effect of activated charcoal on hypercholesterolaemia. The Lancet, 328(8503), 366-367.