How to use Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal Uses and Benefits why to keep it on hand

Activated Charcoal powder is used medicinally as well as in air purifiers and water purifiers. Its recorded use dates back to 1550 BC and in modern times is most widely used medicinally as a detoxifier and poison antidote. I always keep it on hand for spider bites, accidental ingestion of toxins or stomach bugs. (I also brush my teeth with it…)

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is well known as a  antidote as it adsorbs most organic toxins, chemicals and poisons before they can harm the body. Some Emergency Rooms administer large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning.

According to this article, activated charcoal has a long history of medicinal use:

“It was 1831. In front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to tell the tale. He had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal.

That’s how powerful activated charcoal is as an emergency decontaminant in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. Activated charcoal is considered to be the most effective single agent available. It is used after a person swallows or adsorbs almost any toxic drug or chemical.

  • Activated charcoal is estimated to reduce absorption of poisonous substances up to 60%.
  • It works by adsorbing chemicals, thus reducing their toxicity (poisonous nature), through the entire length of the stomach and small and large intestines (GI tract).
  • Activated charcoal itself is a fine, black powder that is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic.
  • Activated charcoal is often given after the stomach is pumped (gastric lavage). Gastric lavage is only effective immediately after swallowing a toxic substance (within about one-half hour) and does not have effects that reach beyond the stomach as activated charcoal does.”

How Activated Charcoal Is Used?

I most regularly use charcoal to brush my teeth as it whitens them naturally. I keep it on hand in case any of the kids ever ingest any toxins or household chemicals, though we also do our best to keep anything toxic out of the house completely. In case of any emergency, I would absolutely call a poison control center (we keep the number with all emergency numbers on our fridge) and follow their directions, but this basic use guide is also helpful.

I have personally used charcoal to treat a spider bite on my son’s leg (we had confirmation that it was likely a brown recluse bite and a mix of charcoal and baking soda helped draw the toxin out and he healed with no long term scarring. I’ve also used it  when I got food poisoning (another good reason not to eat out!) and was able to get rid of it within a few hours with charcoal followed by apple cider vinegar and then epsom salt (to avoid the charcoal building up in my system).

As with any substance, you should always check with a doctor or medical professional before use, especially in an emergency or life threatening situation or if there is any other underlying health problem.

Charcoal is not known to be toxic, though it should not be taken within two hours of vitamins or medications because it will keep the body from adsorbing them. Care should also be taken to find a high quality form of charcoal. I personally would not take charcoal on a regular basis and would only use as needed. This article has a full list of precautions.

Also, activated charcoal is NOT the same thing as the ashes from burning wood or other fires at home, so please don’t try to use those type of ashes for these or any other uses!

Where to get Activated Charcoal:

I keep this brand of activated charcoal (click here) on hand because it is made from coconut shells and is the most pure source I’ve personally found. I store in a glass jar and usually keep it on the bathroom sink since we typically just use it for teeth. Fair warning: activated charcoal is EXTREMELY messy if spilled. It will easily wash out of a sink or bathroom counter but isn’t so easy to get out of rough surfaces like tile grout (don’t ask how I know). I recommend keeping this out of the reach of children or messy pets for that reason!

Activated charcoal is also use in the carbon block filters on our water filter as it can pull toxins from the water as well.

Ever used activated charcoal? What did you use it for? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I will be having silver fillings removed and heard taking charcoal will help if I take it befor. Hvae you heard of this? How much?

    • I have used activated charcoal for so many things. I recently had an infected cut on my hand and a charcoal poultice cleared it up overnight. We buy it from which sells it for $17.00 per pound including shipping. Cheapest we’ve found.

  2. I’d like more info on why/how you used the cider vinegar and epsom salt after the charcoal? Thanks!

    • I used apple cider vinegar (a teaspoon in water every couple hours) to help calm the stomach back down and then a regular laxative dose of epsom salt to make sure no charcoal had hardened in my digestive system

      • I’ve never heard of the charcoal hardening the GI tract – that is why I asked the question. I know it can cause constipation – did you need to take quite a bit of it (the charcoal) and that’s why you were concerned? Sorry for the questions, I appreciate all the info you give!

      • I have a question. Do you wait until you’ve already thrown up due to food poisoning or stomach bug to take the charcoal pills, or do you take some as soon as you feel nauseous? Did you only take the pills once, or every few hours?

          • Kim, I did not… A couple times recently I started feeling sick and immediately took a couple charcoal pills. I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do, but I ended up feeling better.

        • how long do you have to wait after taking activated charcoal ”as a body cleanse and detox ”before eating ,Is it two hours before and after .

          • I’m curious about this too! I have some for detox and it just says when eating or drinKing alcohol. No specifics

      • Thank you so much for this helpful info! I have a bottle of activated charcoal which I bought shortly after reading this post the first time. For the past week I have had a stomach bug worse than any I’ve ever had before. I’ve been miserable, and nothing has helped. Thankfully I stayed up long enough today (my youngest had a fever all night and on to today) to get online and look up natural remedies. I’ve had luck using activated charcoal in the past when I had food poisoning, and when my eldest daughter got an infected cut on her arm. I’m hoping activated charcoal will ease the horrible stomach ache and sharp pains I’ve had for the past 7 days. It’s likely made worse by the ridiculous amount of medication I’m prescribed for a 3-year long rare neuralgia, and an incorrectly performed brain surgery. Here’s hoping I can get over this soon!

        You may have replied, but I’ve not come across it yet. I’ve used ACV for years now for all sorts of illnesses and wellness, but I’ve never used Epsom salts for a laxative. Could you please tell me what the appropriate amount to take is?

        Thank you for your amazing, helpful and smart blog. You have helped me learn how to treat my family and myself with natural remedies and have been a huge aid in my goal to living a simpler, healthier life.

        Thanks again,

        • Tracy,
          The epsom salt bag or container should give instructions for how to take it as a laxative, including dosage.
          Make sure you read the precautions in the article Katie linked regarding timing your charcoal dosage in relation to your medications and vitamins—if you take them too close together you can cause your medication not to be adsorbed and that sounds like big trouble with your medical history!

        • My brother in law the smoker had the sharp stomach pains, was a few years over 50 not taking the colon check, and the doc had found blood in his stool on several occasions. In the ER they determined he had advanced colon and liver cancer. He’s on chemo now and its working so far. Just saying to get basic vitals checked and don’t ignore warning signs for years…

          • So sorry your friend decided to do chemo. I wish people would consider alternative ways to heal their bodies. I just lost another friend to chemo and radiation. Doctors frighten us into deadly treatments that they would not do. Please look into raw foods and juicing. I wish you well.

  3. Will it help detox radiation? I recently had to have a CT scan that I’m trying to detox from

    • This is a little late but, no, activated charcoal would not detox radiation from a CT scan. Depending on what body part was scanned and whether or not contrast was used, you may have been exposed to anywhere from 6-20 millisieverts of ionizing radiation. We get, on average 3 millisieverts per year, from cosmic radiation (sun) and radon (soil). One-pack-a day smokers get more >50 millisieverts. Activated charcoal, on the other hand, adsorbs poisons (excluding alcohols, glycol, and a lot of heavy metals) by having the physical poison bind to it so it can be taken out of the body. CT radiation changes DNA, which the cells repair themselves. Cancer CAN occur down the road if patches of cells do not do a good job I self-repair. The best thing to do is eat fruits and vegetables, drink water, and exercise if possible.

      • Kat,
        I had a diagnostic mammogram a few months ago and did a footbath detox the next day (I am a medical massage therapist and have my own machine). When the footbath was done, there were many odd things floating on the water, they looked like 1/4″ aluminum foil pieces that someone had twisted between their fingers. These things even shone in the sunlight! I kind of freaked and dumped it all out but have been sorry every since, but that night I read an article about getting rid of radiation in the body. The article suggested taking a teaspoon of sea salt in warm water several times a day, then it hit me that the footbath machine used sea salt in warm water and is an ionizer. I believe that all those foil-like pieces were actually the radiation coming out of my body.

        • Let the footpath detox run a cycle without your feet in it. You’ll still see all types of things floating in the solution.

        • I’ve got to wonder if it was aluminum in your body from deodorant. I recently took an old suit out of my closet that I used to wear to work and the armpits were all shiny metallic. I no longer use deodorant with aluminum, but if you do, it’s something to think about. I wholeheartedly believe it is a huge cause of breast cancer. My mom used Sure antiperspirant forever. Just ended up with a double mastectomy last week. :(

          • For your comment below:
            I used apple cider vinegar (a teaspoon in water every couple hours) to help calm the stomach back down and then a regular laxative dose of epsom salt to make sure no charcoal had hardened in my digestive system.

            That is a regular laxative does of epsom salt?

          • Years ago I read that deodorant was a common cause for breast cancer because of the chemicals and aluminum. I had been using ACV for many things for 20 years. I read I could use it as deodorant and an exfoliator for my face….for 3 years now I mix 2 parts water and 1 part ACV for deodorant and 3 parts water and 1 part AVC for my facial cleanse AWESOME is the only word that describes the results. Younger looking skin and no smelly pits…. I was also told by a Dr. 20 years ago to put a teaspoon in a glass or bottle of water every day and drink it…keeps blood pressure down and cholesterol.

      • Green Tea-PG from Quantum Nutrition Labs can help detox radiation. I take 1 Tbl in a large glass of water, sipped throughout the morning/afternoon, the day before, the of, and the after I fly. This protocol was recommended by my naturopathic doctor. Hope that helps!

  4. I used it for my dog, he snuck out and ate leftover leek soup Id put out for my chickens and became very sick with loss of use to his back legs. (He is a 100 lb mastiff mutt, It was horrible watching him try to walk.) I figured out what had happened and mixed several ounces with peanut butter and he scarfed it down, within 20 minutes he was able to walk again and after a 2nd dose a few hours later he was fine. And I’m much more careful about leftovers for the chickens.

  5. I currently have used it for making my own mascarra and I am now trying it in my toothpast concoction. I like the idea of a whitener that isn’t a chemical. I am also going to try a facemask recipe that uses it. Definitly worth keeping around.

      • My mom and I both use the mascara and really like it. The only issue I have is that my eyes run to the hot side (steaming up my glasses and such even when it’s not cold) so I have always used water proof and this is not water proof. I end up with spots throughout the day. They are easy to wipe off but I think I will work on a slight change to the recipe to see if that helps.

        • Ok thanks, and please tell me if you figure out how to make it waterproof (I live in a desert so this will be helpful)

          • If you are on facebook add me and I can PM you when we come up with something a bit more heat and water resistant. I am Michelle Wiegel (Hutchens McCall Voth).

          • This looks great! I am having some eye health problems, but have to wear makeup as a performer. Can you possibly share your recipe with me as well? :-)

  6. The link to Amazon’s activated charcoal listing isn’t working. Do you have a brand that you recommend for deodorizing?

  7. It would be interesting to know how to prepare activated charcoal for use. Do I mix it with jam or add to drinking water, what?

  8. Thanks for sharing the miracles of this wonderful remedy! I have used charcoal for years. Our cat was bitten by a rattlesnake and charcoal was the cure!

  9. Thank you!! I’m going to try a charcoal poultice on my eyes. A few months ago, I became pregnant, got several styes and chalazions, then miscarried. It is horrible- not sure why my immune system seemed to let such yuckiness happen, only to my eyes. I didn’t get ill in any other ways. Anyway, it has been two months, and my eyes are still awful. I just got a new stye yesterday, and I wake up to crusty eye. I will let you know how the charcoal works.

    • Is it gone yet? It could be so many other things as well. Like washing your hands, washing your pillowcases, possibly buying a new pillow, etc

    • hi just to say i went through twenties to mid thirties with styes under my eyelids.some were huge. ..some were removed. was often painful. ..then one day the eye doctor told me to take omega 3 6 and 9,.. i did and ive never had them since. If i ever run out of them after a couple of weeks i see my eyes start to get dry/scratchy and less healthy. ..micrbumps appear just inside eye where eyelashes start. Two weeks back on omegas – problems all gone. i was a vegetarian moray of that time and im not now and i find i need less omegas. However i never eat fish.
      make sure you are getting enough of every single vitamin. x

    • I normally use a half of tablespoon in 8oz of water or I take it by itself and chase it with 8oz of water. I really like to take it by itself and chase it with water. I also take mines daily and have not had any bad side effects or problems just make sure you drink plenty of water to keep bowels moving that’s all.

  10. I have heard that Activated charcoal can shrink tumors and cure some cancers like breast cancer. Is this true? Is it because it removes toxins that cause the cancers? Do you have any knowledge of success stories where women have been cured of cancer because of daily dosages of activated charcoal? I feel much better when I take it but I wonder if its real or psychosomatic a bit? Please weigh in here.

    • No. Cancer is not caused by toxins, it is caused by malformed DNA in cells. Sometimes these cells cause the organ they belong to to go into overdrive, other times they do nothing and cause a lack of function in that organ. DNA in cells can be malformed by the environment (such as radiation), but “toxins” have nothing to do with it. “Toxin” is a word used in naturalistic fallacy to point the finger at “bad” substances; it’s sort of an umbrella term that really doesn’t have a meaning.

      • Free radicals are chemical compounds that can alter the cell’s DNA, which causes cancer. Free radicals are the chemical composites of various toxic substances, such as cigarette smoke, pollution, etc. I don’t believe there is enough research to back up the claim that activated charcoal cures/prevents cancer, but I do believe that it may certainly help rid some areas of the body of free radicals! Every article I have read does not recommend frequent use of it. This may be because of the harmful effects on the GI system, and it may also be due to the fact that there is simply not enough research done to evaluate the long term effects of regular use.

    • Like KelseyB said…cancer is malformed DNA cells. But if you do the research….a lot of cancer thrives in an acidic environment. Cancer doesn’t thrive in an alkaline environment. So in the body…what causes an acidic environment? Sugar, meats, dairy, processed foods, stress, lack of sleep. Basically an unhealthy lifestyle. What causes an alkaline environment?….veggies, fruit, beans, sprouts, legumes….. basically healthy foods. Your body needs a healthy balance of acid/alkaline….you can research the different foods that are alkaline/acid causing. With all the junk that’s out there….it’s no wonder cancer and all sorts of health issues are rampant. Most of our health issues are diet related. So instead of drugs: let food be thy medicine. There are plenty of cures to cancer but people are looking for it in the form of a pill or medical treatment.The cure is healthy living….it’s not easy… it’s hard work. And that’s why most of us suffer

      • So true! It’s how we eat and what we eat that protects us. It is hard work. Doing the drive-up window for all your meals just doesn’t cut it.

  11. I use it to ease the pain of diverticulitis. I take psyllium husks and probiotics to keep it under control while eating anything I want to. If I have a “flare up” I take activated charcoal and it takes away the pain.

  12. I got some in capsule form from the natural grocer and use it when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me (I’m with you Katie, just eat at home and not have to worry about it). I am currently out of good quality acv, but I followed it with aloe juice to keep things moving. Perfect combination, I feel much better.

  13. Please i have missed my period for about seven month now,i meet with a doctor and he say is a toilet infection, i have been treating it but nothing seems to work, can i use activated charcoal?

    • Yes you can use the charcoal I use the powder and have been using it for a while and I get my charcoal from and you get about a ounce in a glass jar and it cost 3.95 a jar and I can’t live without. I just drink lots of water to keep bowels moving.

  14. My husband needs to take charcoal caps daily for high ammonia levels. What brand of capsules would you recommend? I would never be able to get him to take anything else…he takes so many supplements and to add a powdered version would be too much. I am trying to look for less expensive though good quality as our naturopaths prices are high

    • Has your husband ever taken lactulose? I’m not sure if it is available over the counter, And it has laxative effects so it may not be ideal for his situation, but lactulose is very effective at lower ammonia levels.

      • I recently read an article that probiotics can be as effective as lactulose without the side effect of diarrhea for ammonia levels.

  15. We are using activated charcoal for a stomach bug that has hit my family of 6. How many days should you take it for ones who had the bug and how many days for those who are taking it to prevent the bug?

    Thanks so much.

  16. One of my friend advised me to use activated charcoal to cleanse my colon.. is it really safe to be taken orally? I really need your advises… I already have an activated charcoal at home but dont know what to do on them.. Thanks!!!

    • I use a daytime/nighttime colon cleanses for myself. I also use Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Olive Leaf Extract, Oregano Oil, and Blue-Green Algae from the Klamath Lake as part of a regular regimen to help keep my digestive tract clean, amongst other things too. I also include plenty of reverse osmosis water as well.

  17. Can you brush your teeth with activated charcoal on a daily basis or is this something you should only do a few times a week/month?

  18. If I want to use thus for my kids that have diarrhea how much do we use and how often. They are 10,7,3? What about helping with toddler diarrhea? Would this help.

  19. I have used AC now for about 6 months. I use a capsule and just break it open and spill it into my mouth. The saliva will activate the charcoal. I just hold it in my mouth and swish it around for about 15 minutes. I get a good whitening this way. I don’t scrub it into my teeth until the 15 minutes are up. I then gently brush my teeth a bit to loosen up anything in my mouth and rinse and rinse with water. There will be lots of stuff on your tongue so brush and scrape your tongue. Then I use baking soda a few times to gently scrub my gums, teeth and sides of my mouth…don’t forget the roof of your mouth either. Rinse and rinse again until its fairly clear. Then I finish off with a good toothpaste and I gargle anything that is left. My teeth have never been so white. I was very skeptical when I first did this but I am a believer now. Each person has to do what works for them. We are not all the same. Just brushing a few times isn’t going to get the black off. In fact the first time I used it thinking I was golden …I smiled into the mirror and laughed my ass off. It was hysterical. I thought OMG! What have I done! But it all worked to my advantage. I have the new fillings etc. and they came out beautiful. I love that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to have white teeth again. I don’t want to pay the big bucks to the dentist and my teeth are also sensitive. It didn’t hurt either. They feel great. Pony up and use ACTIVATED CHARCOAL….other charcoal DOES NOT WORK. I an on occasion used it for gas, and to take out impurities in my gut before I change my diet. Good luck to you all. works like
    a charm.

  20. I really liked AC, but then I went to the dentist and he explained that brushing with it was wearing away the enamel of my teeth. So sadly I’m not going to use it for my once a week brushing. I will still use it for all it’s other properties.

  21. So I’ve been using AC for about a week/week and a half now; sometimes I do it before I brush my teeth with toothpaste and sometimes after. I’m wondering if its kinda pointless to brush with toothpaste after the AC, or is that what I should be doing? And I’ve noticed others brush with baking soda as well…if I’m doing all 3 (toothpaste, AC, & baking soda) is the an order that is most productive?

  22. Hi :),
    Do you know if this form of Activated Charcoal Powder has Sorbitol???
    I have been using the Charcoal Powder from BulkHerbStore and I suspect it does bc it gave my son a bit of a potty problem. (he had ate something yucky so I mixed a tiny bit with applesauce).

    • This one doesn’t contain anything but charcoal but some might. It is an internal detoxifier though, so it can cause some tummy disturbances if there are things that need to be removed from the system

  23. what do you think of charcoal tablets? i’m thinking to use them when i’m traveling with a 2-year-old. any particular brand you’d reccomend?

  24. I read somewhere you should place activated charcoal around your house if you use a humidifier, in order to prevent mold growth. Any suggestions on what type of container to use? (I’m concerned since you said it’s very messy if spilled.) Can it be purchased in any form other than the powder form?


  25. Re: the breastfeeding question: it should be ok for a brief time, but it is designed to bind to anything and everything in your gut, so you will not be receiving nutrients and any pills will not be absorbed (vitamins/antibiotics/birth control). For food poisoning, I recommend it – once, but everything else, I would not. Just my two cents.

  26. I took activated charcoal after a revent trip to the Dominican Republic and returned home with a bout of food poisoning. It help for that, but now I have severe acne that is slowly clearing up. Could this have been from the activated charcoal?

    • yes drinking more water and using a detox agent will clear up acne in many people because toxins are being removed from the body

  27. Here’s a really dumb question, but I’m desperate: I’m now certain I’m allergic to beef. Just had some steak, about half hour later fell asleep almost comatose. After two hours woke up VERY sick and feeling just AWFUL. Would taking charcoal capsules that expired in 07 be a dumb thing to do or would they still help?

  28. Soooo if one does get it on counter tops, any tricks to get it out? It stained our marble counter top when the *ahem* lid wasn’t put back on properly

    • Janny, you might try powdered white dishwashing detergent, like Cascade. Make a paste with a little water and rub it around the stains and rinse off. Repeat, if necessary.

      If that doesn’t work, cream of tartar is a great whitening agent that I add to washer loads of white clothes that have gotten dingy or yellowed…it works every time!! I haven’t tried it for stains like charcoal, but it might work…?? A little goes a long way, too. In my washer I add one teaspoon to a medium load setting. Try it! You’ll like it!

  29. Hi there! Just wondering what the best time of day is to take the activated charcoal? Before bed or first thing in the morning?
    Thanks so much!!

  30. Has anyone ever used AC to get rid of tonsillitis? I’m raw vegan, don’t like using prescribed antibiotics, etc and have been told it’s a bacterial infection so I should take antibiotics for 10 days.

    I just used AC this morning and it felt better straight away, but I cannot find anywhere or anyone who claims it worked for them.


    • Blend grapefruit and garlic in a blender. It’s a natural antibiotic. That what I do for infections and it clears it up all the time

  31. I have been looking for info on AC for along time. So glad to have found this. I am not only lactose intolerant but cannot digest the proteins in dairy either without severe diarrhea and cramping. About once a month I indulge in a dairy treat and follow up with 2 capsules of AC every 2 hours for 8 hours. It works like a charm everytime. I have no adverse symptoms. I drink tons of water through this process and I don’t get constipated. I’ve been trying to find out if this can harm me in anyway or is it good to “detox” this way on occasion?

    • I keep AC on hand for when I eat at a restaurant or am exposed to something that bothers me. It isn’t ideal to do on purpose but I think it is good to have on hand for “cheats” (intentional or accidental)

  32. Great article! If using AC for detox, how much does one take a day? And is it safe to take daily? If so for how long?

  33. If I purchase the AC derived from wood, am I losing out on health benefits? I will be sharing with a friend who is allergic to coconut and am afraid using that source could make her sick.

  34. I have been given the advice to take AC to ward of a bad stomach flu going around my house. We leave on a family trip to TX next week for my cousin’s wedding and I’m fearful (with my luck) it will either hit me while on the plane or while I’m standing up there in the middle of her wedding. Can you please advise how much I should take and how it should be done. And any other supplements (ACV or Epsom salt) I should take with it? Your help, advice and knowledge is greatly appreciated!

  35. I have built my own drinking water system. I put a charcoal filter in the first housing, but fill the whole area around the filter with bulk activated charcoal. The next filter is a white one that removes some other metals and things. The water coming out of these two filters is drinkable but still has a little after taste. So I added a third filter housing in which I put a small lemon, cut into pieces; after that the water is delicious. I also -sort of- redesigned the housings to make sure the water goes in at the top, but leaves the filter housing from the bottom to get better water to filter contact. In front of the first filter there is a (self designed) restrictor that lets only the water flowing at 1 or 2 drops per second, again to get better contact with the media. It takes about four hours to fill a three gallon container. After that I remove the lemon and clean that third filter housing but leave the rest hooked up to the water line for the next use. Is there anything wrong with the water just sitting there for a few days, Charcoal and second filter being in the “at rest” water?

  36. hi, I’d really like to try to use activated charcoal as a teeth whitener, is it safe to use while pregnant?

  37. My son has CVS (Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome) AKA Abdominal Migraines. According to his doctors, there’s no known cause for it and there’s nothing I can do aside from letting it run its course or giving him anti-nausea meds when he has an episode. I wasn’t satisfied with this answer. So I tried giving him a little activated charcoal as soon as an episode hit just to see if it helped. It brought his episodes down from 4-6 hours of vomiting to just a single hour of vomiting and he was his happy, normal self after! This clued me in that something is clearly building up in his GI tract in cycles and then needs to be purged, builds up, purges, builds up, purges…on and on and on. Unknown cause?? Well, it got me started with knowing that it isn’t something that HAS to happen. If we know some substance is building up in his GI Tract, then maybe I can find out what it is and maybe, just maybe, we can heal his body from whatever causes this. This led me to seek out anyone who might know anything more. I finally found a naturopathic doctor who says it is due to an overabundance of hormones in his gut–unbalanced. He said that his metabolism is likely not running totally efficiently and if we can get that in check, then we should be able to get the rest of him in check. Had it not been for Activated Charcoal, I would have just gone with what I was told and not sought out a solution for this problem! We ALWAYS have it on hand! :)

    • My daughter has CVS and I feel like we have tried everything so I was curious about trying this… We will give it a shot now that I hear you have had positive results! Do you use a particular brand?

      • Hi Rebecca,

        I came across your post about trying activated charcoal for your daughter’s CVS. My daughter has CVS and we would love to find anything that helps. Did it work for you? Thanks!

    • Mold allergy? Try to eliminate all food with a vinegar. ( Cheese
      Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup, and pickles
      Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
      Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
      Breads and other food made with yeast
      Pickled and smoked meats and fish
      Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, and raisins
      Soy sauce
      Hot dogs, sausages
      Canned juices.

    • For Rebecca and Kristin. Try to eliminate all food with a vinegar. Officialy it is called mold allergy

      Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup, and pickles
      Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
      Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
      Breads and other food made with yeast
      Pickled and smoked meats and fish
      Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, and raisins
      Soy sauce
      Hot dogs, sausages
      Canned juices.

    • Hi Kristin,

      I just came across your comment. My 2 year old daughter has CVS. We believe she has had it since she was a tiny baby. We were told the same things by doctors – it just has to happen and hopefully she will grow out of it. We have tried many things (low tyramine diets, elimination diets, monitoring sleep/stress/etc ). We are just starting a gut healing approach (GNOWFGLINS courses). Your post is encouraging and makes me hopeful. I was wondering if you have had any continued success with the activated charcoal and if you were able to get his metabolism on track. Has there been anything in particular that has helped? Thanks!

  38. I have been dealing with a host of intestinal issues for sometime now. In addition to many other things, my doctor has me taking a medication called Questran to try and slow down my motility. To some extent I’ve seen success but I don’t like the idea of taking this long-term. What I’m wondering is if AC can be used in a similar fashion. Could I take this daily in order to slow down my motility? You mention that it can lead to constipation in some, and that’s actually what I’m more in need of. As the primary concern I’ve seen for taking this for extended periods is that it may cause constipation, it seems to be a calculated risk to go this route. Do you or any of the other readers on here have any insight in this regard? If I were to use for an extended period, what’s an acceptable daily dosing regiment? I’ve found nothing in this regard online so I was hoping you and your empowered network of readers may be able to assist a bit. Thanks much for all you do!

  39. I had overdosed on my antidepressants, and I had to drink a cup full of activated charcoal. It was black and syrupy. It had a chalky taste, and it was sweet. It wasn’t entirely too bad. By the end of it, I wanted to gag. This was 8 months ago. Even to this day, when I think of the charcoal taste it turns my stomach.

  40. I use the charcoal to brush my teeth with, in case of food poisoning and also as a vegetable/fruit/salad wash. I found that this is the only thing that can remove pesticides from fruit/vegetables if you don’t buy organic.
    I leave the fruit/vegetables in a water bath with the powder for 10min, rinse and leave for 10 more minutes in a water solution of 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to kill any patogen.
    It works a magic!

  41. is it crazy ? someone told me to use ”activated carbon” for aquarium filters sold at walmart for $5.00 ….it supposed to do the same as activated charcoal sold at GNC …..???

  42. Chantal, the stuff for aquariums is too grainy to swallow. Nick, dessicated liver, cheese, bananas are constipating if that’s what you mean. Living (bentonite clay) may also be an option. You may also look into enzymes for your digestion like bromelain, pancreatin, papaya. Hope this helps. :)

  43. Could someone please answer all the questions about stomach virus prevention and such? Can you really take it and avoid the vomiting or prevent it in others? Winter virus season brings on great anxiety with these things for me.

    Thank you!

  44. For food poisoning or stomach bug with young children, how many capsules is safe to give them and how frequently? My six-year old has been throwing up all night :(

  45. I began reading this article to learn of the benefits of using AC for stomach bugs, but am thrilled to learn through the comments that others have used it for CVS. My daughter suffers from CVS and I will be giving it a try for her episodes and for the overall benefits to her gi tract. I would greatly appreciate anyone sharing dosage details, etc.

    • Hi Janet,

      I just came across this post and have a daughter with CVS too. I am wondering if it worked for you? Thanks!

  46. I bought the one you recommended but there are no directions on how to use. I have 4 children ages 2-9 and I am pregnant with number 5. Is there a resource you can direct me to to find out how much to use and general directions? Thank you!

    • For teeth, I just dip a toothbrush in. For internal use, I only use as needed and start with 1/2 tsp and work up (while drinking a lot of water) but I’d check with a doctor of functional medicine doctor in your area of specific instructions for your particular case.

  47. So it gets rid of toxins and bad bacteria, but does it hurt your gut flora at all? Assuming not since you use it, Katie. And I’ve read it helps with candida die off symptoms but does it help with candida itself? You you treat it with activated charcoal or colloidal silver? And does it absorb vitamins and probiotics as well? I’m getting mixed info on these things. And how often is too often to use it? Monthly for stomach bug or intestinal issues or can you use it for a week straight to kill off candida or go through a cleanse? Any answers are so appreciated!

  48. I have an abcessed tooth for which I took a round of cephalexin which didn’t get rid of it so I went to the ER in pretty serious pain so the doc gave me clindamycin 3 pills which total 450 mg 3x’s a day. At first it worked great and my pain went away until I took my first dose today… I layed down and woke up to the most excruciating pain and burning in my chest and throat. I felt like I was going to puke but nothing happened. It felt like the pills were stuck… it still does over 16 hours later. Would taking the activated charcoal help me now? How much should I take and should I take the pills or drink it or what and how often should I take it? Oh and I don’t have my gallbladder so could I even take it?

  49. Hi
    You mentioned Coal-ConutTM activated coconut shell charcoal fine husk powder 8 oz. by prescribed but on your web site like Amazon store you recommend Hardwood activated charcoal powder 16 oz. mylar bag so is it both or what? I see this a lot on your site. Like Tropical Traditions coconut oil you highly recommended it but now when I click on that link it sends me to Thrive coconut oil.

    • Thanks for the catch Angie. In both cases, I think both are a great option. I’m constantly trying to update links to the lowest price/best quality option and it changes occasionally, so that is the reason for the difference.

  50. I’ve been using activated charcoal in my toothpaste but do you think it might demineralize teeth? I’m trying to heal a cavity naturally.

  51. Hi Wellness Mama…. Question.. would you use activated charcoal as a preventative against the stomach virus? I have read a lot of people writing about taking once they have it or the symptoms starts and it works really well. My thing is I don’t even want to get to feeling the symptoms…so can I use it like once a week during the “stomach virus season?” Also, could I do the same for my 5 year old? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  52. Hi,
    I was just wondering you mention not to take any supps within 2 hours of taking charcoal, would that be the same if you were just using it for your teeth?

  53. Hello there, I have a severe Candida issue and it actually is coming out of my face and neck. I know, sounds disgusting because it is and I feel so horrible, my life has seriously been turned upside down. Long story, short.
    I was told to take Threelac and Activated Charcoal. Well in the meantime, I hurt my leg/knee pretty bad and I am on Hydrocodone and a long lasting
    Pain reliever as well temporarily. What I was wondering, can I still take these Meds while I am on AC? Thank you so much . Your reply would be greatly appreciated . Cindy

  54. I would like to know if I can take activated charcoal to remove mold toxins out of my system . And which brands are safer for children age 16 to 11. Is this safe if you have had your gallbladder removed. And if you have adrenal fatigue.

  55. I have a grandaughter,11 years old. When she was 5 she had her colon removed. After having 3 surgeries they were able to make a pouch to hold her waste from the small intestine. She still has a problem with controlling her bowls. Do you think AC would help with this problem. She takes meds on a daily bases to keep infectiom under control. Thank you for any information.

  56. I was also bit by a brown recluse spider and was prescribed “Dapsone” by a doctor in a urgent care on my vacation in Las Vegas. This doctor did not even examine my face but did see the actual spider. I read that what he prescribed is a conspiracy theory and won’t even help to cure the bite. Luckily my skin has not blackened yet as I have been applying “Manuka Honey Bio Active 20+.” I just wanted to ask you in what form did you give your son the activated charcoal. I bought capsules and want to make sure this is the recommended way to try and heal it. I am desperate to find the best solution as it did bite my in the face. Thank you

  57. I used it on my brown recluse bite as well as a separate poltice of bentinite clay, collodial silver and echinacea. They all helped but I read about them after most of the damage had been done unfortunately. I will always have them on hand for future issues though!

  58. What are your thoughts on using activated charcoal in a facemask? How would it be similar or different to bentonite clay?

    Thanks! :)

  59. With the ever increasing cases of Lyme disease, would AC prevent the consequences of a tick bite (if the tick or the bite was discovered in time)? Many people in Australia suffer yet the government fails to acknowlegde the disease, let alone come up with any guidelines or proper care…?
    Thanks! Great site!

  60. I was bitten by I think a wolf spider last weekend. Only yesterday and today it’s really got bad and swollen and very painful. I’ve been dousing it with various essential oils the whole time. Wondering if it’s too late to do a charcoal compress since it’s been about 5 days since the initial bite. I didn’t act sooner as I thought it was just a pimple or ingrown hair.

  61. I was making a face mask on my kitchen table and spilled a bunch of powder on my table cloth and white napkins. I threw caution to the wind and washed them and I swear to god they are whiter and brighter than ever! I should add that I used oxyclean and oxygen bleach also, but I always use those things together with my whites and don’t notice a difference the way I did this time.

  62. I’ve used activated charcoal over the years in capsule form for sick stomach, such as start of the flu, and learned it’s best to take it early when symptoms start, otherwise it may come back up! (Ask me how I know… waited too long?) A pregnant friend had ‘morning sickness’ in the evening, when we were both waitresses on the evening shift. She tried taking charcoal, and it worked better than anything else she had tried. Appreciate the information, I may try the poultice on the dog’s leg since she has a sore I’m trying to heal up.

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