The activated charcoal or activated carbon is known since time immemorial for its many uses as they are surprising, in fact, was already used by some Asian populations to purify the river water and make it potable in this way.
What is activated charcoal and what is it?
It is simply the product of the combustion of plant material, mainly wood, which is transformed into an environment with very little oxygen, which acts as a combustive, helps to reach a high temperature (500-600°C) in an environment without live flame.
The transformation process was in most cases in a charcoal, or hut, called canine, built with branches, which was later covered with foliage. The whole operation, carried out by an expert charcoal burner, required a lot of precision to obtain, within the canine, the right amount of oxygen: too much, it would have burnt wood, too little, would have prevented reaching the right temperature. At this stage the activation of the coals followed, by further combustion and in the presence of water vapor. To date, the method of producing vegetable coal is still based on the same principles: in fact, the process has undergone very few substantial changes.
What are its properties?
The result of the process of carbonification, which occurs naturally over millennia thanks to the high pressure and action of fungi and bacteria, is a product able to absorb certain substances, making them adhere to its surface and, therefore, “cleaning” and holding back those toxins that you want to eliminate.
This property, is given by a physical characteristic of activated carbon: and consisting of porous material, this causes its specific surface to increase exponentially making it an effective absorbent material, very useful as anti-toxic and anti-poison.
Continue Reading: Why use activated charcoal?
Thousand uses of activated charcoal
Thanks to its capacity to absorb, in cases of bloating and abdominal tension, vegetable carbon proves to be a useful ally: with its microparticles it absorbs excess air, helping to reduce the discomfort due to the increase of gas in the stomach or in the stomach. Intestine and contrasting phenomena of meteorism. However, in the event of meteorism, it is advisable to simultaneously take substances with carminative properties (for example anise, cumin and fennel) that are able to facilitate the complete elimination of gases.
It also has good soothing properties, combating gastric burns and stomach acid due to the presence, in its composition, of basic mineral salts.
Vegetable carbon also fights the absorption of toxic substances and contributes to the elimination of heavy metals that can accumulate in the body over time; its use can be a great way to reduce the quantities in the body, as our ancestors knew, that used it as a remedy for all the problems of the abdominal area.
Being able to retain too many poisons, vegetable carbon is also used in more serious cases, as in fungal poisonings, obviously only as part of the specific medical treatment.
Another problem, which this surprising natural substance fights, is halitosis, often caused by an excess of gastric juices and resulting reflux, with an increase in bacteria that result in the occurrence of bad breath. Activated carbon reduces the production of gastric juices and partially eliminates bacteria due to its mild disinfectant properties.
There are several products based on activated carbon, which can be bought in tablets, in which it is mixed together with other natural substances such as fennel and cumin, or in tablets containing only pure vegetable carbon.
Its properties are also exploited in other areas, in addition to the medical one, and in fact its applications range from the industrial field, where it is used for example in filters for water purification to that of aesthetics, where it is used for the production of skin care products. It is also added to toothpastes because vegetable charcoal is a valuable ally in removing coffee and smoke stains. Furthermore, thanks to its mechanical action, it is not considered to have contraindications in long-term use, unlike other bleaching agents, such as example, bicarbonate which can alter the normal composition of the enamel and reduce it.
Contraindications: When it is not necessary to use it?
Activated carbon has several contraindications, mainly due to its ability to absorb. In fact, this feature could prevent the assimilation of many drugs, which should not be taken within two hours after the ingestion of activated charcoal and in the previous half hour.
Another disorder, which the excessive use of charcoal involves, is a lasting constipation and the appearance of black feces, which, however, do not constitute, in this case, a cause for concern.
Furthermore, it is not recommended to take even small doses in cases of intestinal obstruction and appendicitis.
Its absorbent properties can turn out to be a double-edged sword because even various nutrients are assimilated by activated charcoal, so it is not recommended for use by children, pregnant and lactating women.
Activated charcoal can be very useful for a multitude of small health problems and, as it is a natural substance, the contraindications are minimal. It is always advised to consult a doctor, who will recommend the most effective way, taking full advantage of the enormous potential of this extraordinary product.