Activated charcoal is a remedy for many but not for all: it is useful for food poisoning, meteorism, putrefactive phenomena, gastrointestinal influences but it must be assumed with criterion. Let’s find out more.
What exactly is charcoal? It is a powder obtained from the smoldering of wood such as birch or willow but also from coconut shells, and then treated to increase its porosity and consequently its absorbent functionality.
It was born as an anti-toxic, in cases of food poisoning, because it mechanically adsorbs and incorporates the toxic element: the resulting mass is not absorbed in the digestive phase and passes to the intestine for elimination, without releasing any of the intercepted substances. Let’s see in detail when it should be used, dosage and contraindications of activated carbon.
Activated Coal: Indications
As mentioned, Activated Coal is an anti-toxic in the first place and is indicated precisely in case of poisoning or real food poisoning …
> Inedible mushrooms.
> Expired food.
> Foods gone bad for poor conservation: custard, fish, eggs.
> Drugs overdosed or accidentally taken and dangerous.
> Alkaloids, arsenic.
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The charcoal exerts adsorbent power, that is it absorbs and retains the substances, it does not release them, it englobes them and it leads to evacuation, different from the simple and only absorbing power, which would limit itself just to absorb the toxicities but not to hold them and not make them digest from our body.
To promote this interesting antidote effect, it is essential to take activated charcoal several times during the day, for a daily dose of about 1.5 / 2 grams.
Unfortunately, Activated Coal is not able to absorb metals such as iron, or cyanide salts, solvents or acids, so in these conditions it does not perform any “health-saving” action.
Activated charcoal is also useful in cases of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system, fermentative and putrefactive disorders …
- Gastric hyperacidity
- Bad breath
- Aerophagy and meteorism
Activated carbon, thanks to its adsorbent properties, incorporates fermentative gases, viruses and bacteria, from the stomach and intestines. It also performs a disinfectant action and purifies the body with faeces. This remedy is not carminative, but works with intestinal transit, which is why the consequence of taking charcoal is to produce black stools.
Activated charcoal: Contraindications
We have seen that plant charcoal absorbs many of the substances we ingest. It is therefore contraindicated to those who are following a drug therapy, since its efficacy is at risk. Also as an antidote it should not be associated with those drugs that induce vomiting or gastric lavages, the so-called emetics.
Activated carbon is contraindicated in case of slowed intestinal transit, overt constipation, or even intestinal obstructions. It must not be taken at all in the presence of appendicitis.
To overcome problems related to the slowing of intestinal functions, we can find the association of charcoal and carminative herbs, such as cumin, caraway and fennel, which contrast the formation of gas and meteorism without constipation.