Activated Charcoal – Made From Coconut Shells

Activated Charcoal Uses & Benefits

It’s not something you would ordinarily associate with health, nutrition and beauty, but activated coconut charcoal, and coconut charcoal powder that is derived from a mere coconut shell, is on the up and up list of beauty regime and medicine cabinet must-haves.

If you’ve not heard about the scores of charcoal uses and charcoal benefits, you’ll soon discover there are many uses for activated charcoal that you may very well be missing out on. Clear your mind and get ready for some activated charcoal education.


So, let’s start at the beginning. What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a result of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open millions of tiny pores between its carbon atoms.

“The use of special manufacturing techniques results in highly porous charcoals that have surface areas of 300-2000 square metres per gram. These so-called active, or activated charcoals, are widely used to adsorb odorous or coloured substances from gases or liquids.”


Now, more specifically what is coconut shell charcoal?

Coconut charcoal is produced when the shells of coconuts are burned. Just like the description above, the charcoal powder which remains has been exhumed of oxygen resulting in charcoal activated, through the high temperature and gasses. The highly absorbent coconut activated charcoal powder has minute pores that entrap, bind and rid poisons, heavy metals, chemicals and intestinal gases from the body – adsorption is the key. The charcoal attracts molecules to its surface so they stick, allowing toxins to be flushed out and exerted from the body much easier.

What is activated charcoal used for?

Activated charcoal powder has been used for its many advantages for centuries by the Egyptians, Greeks and Native Americans. It is apparent that Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician named the ‘’father of natural medicine”, used the miraculous properties of activated carbon to help cure many patients too.

One of the most popular uses of activated charcoal nowadays is for the effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It is commonly used in emergency medical centers worldwide.

Uses also include to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile problems in pregnant women, and it has been known to prevent the dreaded hangover. There is research that has demonstrated, activated charcoal can be more effective than stomach pumping on some patients as well.

Generally, the benefits of activated charcoal can be enjoyed via charcoal pills, charcoal vitamin, charcoal medicine, charcoal powder for skin, and even used as an activated charcoal filter in water pitchers. You can show off your super white, activated charcoal teeth using active charcoal powder too.

Toxicology studies* have proven coconut shell activated charcoal is harmless to humans. In fact, there is a renowned mind-boggling tale of charcoal use way back in 1831**. It was a French Professor who drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to share his remarkable story. His mixology mastering of the poison combined with activated charcoal, meant he was freed of death as the toxins from the poison were drawn to the charcoal components. Please, do not try this at home!


Activated charcoal benefits and uses.


Charcoal and coconut oil are an ally for great hair and skin. Activated charcoal and coconut oil are made from the very same super seed so you can enjoy it’s many uses.

  • Charcoal mask: deep cleansing, reduces the appearance of pores and blackheads. An activated charcoal mask will help to flush out impurities all over your body, whilst an activated charcoal face mask targets your face specifically for a healthy, natural glow.
  • Coconut charcoal toothpaste: with ingredients so natural you can swallow them, charcoal toothpaste leaves teeth feeling polished and clean. Activated charcoal for teeth is completely safe for enamel with no harmful additives and very minimal flavour. Charcoal teeth whitening means you can put the white back into your smile the natural way.

Health and Wellbeing

Activated charcoal provides many benefits for your health and wellbeing, inside and out.

  • Insect bites and rashes: activated charcoal has been known to relieve discomfort of bites and rashes. Mix one of your charcoal capsules with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the area. Reapply every ½ hour if necessary. Be careful to watch clothing as activated charcoal tends to stain.  
  • Bulletproof coconut charcoal: these coconut charcoal capsules can support relief of gas and bloating.
  • Activated charcoal detox: regular use can leave you feeling vibrant and refreshed. Activated charcoal tablets and activated charcoal capsules are a great arsenal for removing unwanted bacteria before they spread throughout your body.
  • Flush out: coconut charcoal pills or charcoal tablets can flush out heavy metals like arsenic, copper, mercury and lead that are sometimes stashed on your insides for many years.
  • Digestive cleanse: a charcoal supplement is a great way to cleanse the digestive tract from environmental factors like pesticides on our food and chemicals added to our water source. 


Coconut charcoal is great for cooking too.

  • Cook without the harmful fumes: coconut charcoal briquettes meet international standards with no un-carbonized fillers. Coconut shell charcoal briquettes offer a steady heat and long burn time. 

Activated charcoal side effects

Yes, there can be some negatives with the myriad of good points of activated charcol. It can cause dehydration or constipation if your water intake is inadequate. You need to make certain you consume at least 12-16 glasses of water per day.

Activated coconut charcoal may also disturb the regular absorption of nutrients. It is recommended you take your charcoal caps or charcoal activated pills 90 minutes to two hours before meals.

Activated charcoal may reduce the effectiveness or interfere with some medications, so be sure to consult your doctor if you are taking medication or have any pre-existing medical conditions.


Where can you buy activated charcoal?

So, we’ve got your interest and you want to know where to buy activated charcoal, or where to buy activated charcoal powder. There are plenty of places where to find activated charcoal, just remember not all charcoal is of the same purity or quality. When you’re looking where to get activated charcoal, be sure to read the label.

Look for charcoal made from coconut shells. When you find where to buy charcoal powder, make sure it is free from artificial sweeteners too. Artificial sweeteners are a source of nasty chemicals and you’re trying to rid your body of the exact thing! You can sweeten it naturally with juice as an alternative if needed.


Capsules, pills, powder and briquettes are common forms derived from activated coconut charcoal. These are all easily found online and we are happy to recommend stockists if you contact us.

In summary, activated coconut charcoal should be stashed in your cupboard as a back-up for bites and rashes, as it is safe to use activated charcoal for skin. You can reduce bloating and remove toxins with a regular charcoal detox, use activated charcoal for teeth whitening, charcoal powder for face and body, and charcoal to help with your cooking. Charcoal may also be administered if poisons have been swallowed, but make sure you check with an emergency specialist before doing so.

The benefits of charcoal are plentiful and our ancestors cottoned on to it much sooner than us of the modern world.



Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.

One of the most popular activated charcoal uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centers across the world. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.(1)

Research shows that activated charcoal works better than stomach pumping (gastric lavage) in some situations.(2)

So, how does activated charcoal work?

Activated charcoal works Activated charcoal tablet closeupby trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. Typically, however, it’s not used when petroleum, alcohol, lye, acids or other corrosive poisons are ingested.

It doesn’t absorb the toxins, however. Instead it works through the chemical process of adsorption. In the body, absorptionis the reaction of elements, including nutrients, chemicals and toxins, soaked up and assimilated into the blood streamAdsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.

The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. The nooks and crannies in activated charcoal are created through a heating process. It’s important to note that activated charcoalis not charcoal used in your barbecue grill! Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed.

Top 10 Activated Charcoal Uses

Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s imperative to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if adequate amounts of water aren’t consumed in tandem. In addition, this helps to flush out the toxins quickly and prevents constipation experienced by some individuals.

In addition to being a safe and effective treatment for poisonings and the removal of toxins from the system, additional activated charcoal uses include deodorizing and disinfecting, and it’s an important step to cure Lyme disease. Here are the top 10 activated charcoal uses:

white teeth, woman's smile

1. Whitens Teeth

Have your teeth become stained from coffee, tea, wine or berries? Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.

It works to whiten teeth by adsorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain teeth. This activated charcoal use is cost-effective and an all-natural solution for a bright smile.

BE CAREFUL, it can (and will) stain grout and fabrics. Protect counters, floors and clothing before using.

To whiten your teeth naturally, wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear.

For best results, brush your teeth with activated charcoal two-three times per week.

Note: If you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers, it’s possible that activated charcoal will stain them. In addition, if your teeth become sensitive, quit using it.

bloating and gas pain, holding stomach

2. Alleviates Gas & Bloating

One activated charcoal use often overlooked is to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating. It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort.

A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.(4)

Dosing recommendations to alleviate gas and bloating: Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements.

3. Treats Alcohol Poisoning & Helps Prevent Hangovers

While activated charcoal does not adsorb 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.

In addition, when activated charcoal is taken at the same time as alcohol, some studies show it can significantly reduce blood alcohol concentrations.(5) Princeton University’s First Aider’s Guide to Alcohol indicates that activated charcoal is administered in some situations related to alcohol.(6) This includes if the individual is unconscious or showing signs of acute alcohol poisoning.

mold close-up

4. Mold Cleansing

Most people don’t think about mold living in their bodies, but it can. Toxic mold causes depressionkidney and liver failure, decreased brain function, heart disease, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, impaired immune system function, and severe respiratory distress.

Homes that have flooded, or even those with small leaks under a sub-floor or in the walls, can create an environment where mold can thrive. Poor ventilation contributes to the problem, and bathrooms, basements and laundry rooms are particularly prone to mold growth.

If there is visible mold in your home, it must be mitigated properly. It’s important to wear gloves and a protective mask to keep from inhaling toxic mold during cleanup. Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and borax can be used to clean mold off hard surfaces and keep mold from growing in the future.

If you or your family experience symptoms including wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, coughing or headaches that aren’t explained in other ways, your home should be evaluated for mold spore levels, even if no visible mold is detected. It can thrive behind drywall, under floors and in ventilation ducts.

5. Water Filtrationwater in glass, drinking water

Activated charcoal traps impurities in water including solvents, pesticides, industrial waste and other chemicals. This is why it’s used in water filtration systems throughout the world. However, it doesn’t trap viruses, bacteria and hard-water minerals.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Associationactivated carbon filters (activated charcoal), removes some fluoride. (7Avoiding fluoride and detoxing from it is important for oral health, proper immune system functioning, and healthy kidneys and liver.

Drinking water is essential to good health; however, typical tap water is toxic and laden with chemicals, toxins and fluoride. Ingestion should be limited whenever possible. Activated charcoal water filters are available for whole-home systems, as well as countertop models. Drink eight-10 glasses of pure water per day to help soothe the digestive tract, fight fatigue, keep organs operating, and provide lubrication for joints and tissues.

6. Emergency Toxin Removal

As mentioned above, one of the most common activated charcoal uses is to remove toxin and chemicals in the event of ingestion. Most organic compounds, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer and bleach bind to activated charcoal’s surface, allowing for quicker elimination, while preventing the absorption in the body.

Activated charcoal is also used in the event of an accidental, or purposeful, overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It’s effective for aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen. It’s important that the proper amount is administered as quickly as possible — definitely within an hour of ingestion.

In the event of poisoning, call 911 immediately. Proper dosing is imperative. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 50 to 100 grams (not milligrams!) is used in cases of poisoning in adults and 10 to 25 grams for children.(8)

In addition, activated charcoal can be used in cases of food poisoning when nausea and diarrhea are present. Adults take 25 grams at onset of symptoms or when food poisoning is suspected, and children should be given 10 grams. Increase dosage as necessary. Remember, it’s essential that adequate water is consumed when activated charcoal is taken.

woman's healthy skin

7. Skin and Body Health

Activated charcoal uses extend beyond internal applications. For external treatments, it’s effective at treating body odor and acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites.

After a mosquito bite or bee sting, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, and dab on affected area. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone. As activated charcoal stains nearly everything it touches, wrap with a bandage.

To treat bites from snakes and spiders, including the Brown Recluse or Black Widow, you want to cover a larger area than just a small bandage, as the bacteria and viruses that lead to tissue damage need to be mitigated quickly.

Create a wrap out of fabric that’s big enough to go around the affected area twice. Dab the mixture of coconut oil and activated charcoal on the fabric, and wrap. Secure with bandages. Reapply every two to three hours, rinsing well between applications.

To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, and smooth over face. Let dry and rinse off completely. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It’s also good for spot treatments.

8. Digestive CleanseHuman Intestine Anatomy, Digestive System

Activated charcoal uses help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function. By removing the toxins from your system, you can reduce joint pain, increase energy and increase mental function.

Environmental factors, including pesticides on food, chemicals in the water we drink and exposure to mold, create a toxic burden in our bodies. It’s important to routinely cleanse the digestive tract to support overall health and wellness. To complete a digestive cleanse with activated charcoal, take 10 grams 90 minutes prior to each meal, for two days.

During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish. If during the cleanse you find you are constipated, this is a sure sign you’re not consuming enough water! Drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon and a touch of honey every half hour until constipation is relieved.

9. Anti-Aging

Activated charcoal uses include helping prevent cellular damage to kidneys and liver, as well as supporting healthy adrenal glands. It’s imperative to cleanse toxins and chemicals routinely from the body. Activated charcoal benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage.

Aging is a natural part of life, but due to the toxic load we are exposed to through food, our homes and workplaces, and our environment, to prevent pre-mature aging we must get rid of them.

For this activated charcoal use, take two capsules per day after exposure to nonorganic foods, heavy meals or after contact to other toxins. This supports better cognitive function, a reduction in brain fog, healthier kidney and liver function, and a healthier digestive tract.

Clogged Artery

10. Reduces High Cholesterol

Studies around the world show that activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as much as some prescription medications. In one study, total cholesterol decreased by 25 percent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 percent, while HDL increased by 8 percent — in just four weeks.(9)

Study participants took three doses of eight grams each for the period of the study. As mentioned below, don’t take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements as it can prevent proper absorption.


Activated Charcoal Uses list infographic

Activated Charcoal for First Aid

I recommend activated charcoal as a part of first aid kits, both at home and at work.(3) In the event of an emergency where toxins, drugs or chemicals are ingested, it’s imperative to call 911 immediately. If you have activated charcoal on hand, be sure to tell the operator; the operator may advise to administer it prior to the first responder’s arrival.

Depending on the amount of toxins or chemicals ingested and types of toxins, multiple doses may be required. At the hospital, physicians are able to administer more as needed.

Activated Charcoal Side Effects

For the activated charcoal uses mentioned here, it’s generally deemed safe for most individuals. However, it’s always good to be aware of any medical conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, slow digestion, or a recent abdominal surgery, as they may affect how activated charcoal reacts in your body.(10)

Additionally, activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements and interfere with prescription medications. Take activated charcoal 90 minutes to two hours prior to meals, supplements and prescription medications. Potential adverse interactions with the following drugs can occur:(11)

  • Naltrexone (used for alcohol and opioid dependence)activated charcoal tablets stacked
  • Acrivastine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meclizine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Suvorexant
  • Tapentadol
  • Umeclidinium
  • Acetaminophin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Theophylline

Where to Buy Activated Charcoal

When selecting activated charcoal for any of the uses above, it’s vital that you know what it’s made from. Not all activated charcoal supplements are created equally.

Look for activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains. In the powdered form, many products have added artificial sweeteners to make them more palatable; avoid these.

Artificial sweeteners are loaded with chemicals, and frankly it doesn’t make sense to take activated charcoal to rid your body of chemicals and toxins if it’s loaded with chemicals. Sweeten it naturally if desired with fresh juice or one of the natural sweeteners I recommend.


Does Your Lemonade Need Activated Charcoal?

The ingredient comes in a range of jet-black health-food products, but taste (and look) remain obstacles

Food products containing activated charcoal include Juice Generation’s line of beverages.ENLARGE
Food products containing activated charcoal include Juice Generation’s line of beverages.PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

When scouting for ingredients for a new line of juices, Eric Helms,founder and CEO of New York’s Juice Generation, turned to a recent trend in the cosmetic industry: activated charcoal.

Popularity has grown for beauty products containing activated charcoal, or charcoal that has been heated to increase its ability to trap chemicals, and Mr. Helms wondered if the concept also could be applied to beverages. Last fall, he added a line of juices containing the substance in lemonade, a protein drink and a juice made of mixed greens on a trial basis. Within months, they became the best-selling products at Juice Generation’s 15 stores, Mr. Helms says.

Activated charcoal has been showing up in a widening range of products from crackers to tablets and biscuits. Product manufacturers and medical experts say the substance is increasingly being used by health-conscious consumers looking for ways to detoxify their systems. Other health-benefit claims include whitening teeth, clearing up skin and easing digestive problems.

The products aren’t cheap. Juice Generation sells its activated-charcoal drinks online for $58 for a package of six, 16-ounce bottles, the same price as its other juice offerings. A 125-gram (about 4.4-ounce) box of charcoal crackers from Fine Cheese Co., in Bath, England, retails online for the equivalent of about $4.50.

Doctors have mixed reactions to the health claims. Some dentists say activated charcoal can whiten teeth by removing tartar. However,Sejal Shah, a New York dermatologist, says she doubts there is a direct correlation between clear skin and ingesting activated-charcoal products.

“A juice with charcoal may temporarily give you a nice glow” by helping to remove toxins from the body, Dr. Shah says. “But having a diet that is well-rounded and rich in antioxidants is the best way to benefit skin care.”

“Detoxing and cleansing are very popular these days, and I think that’s why there’s so much buzz about charcoal,” says Jessica Marcus, a registered dietitian in New York. “People are always looking for a magical cure-all.”

Still, some people are turned off by the products’ black color and others associate charcoal with barbecue briquettes, which aren’t activated. “We’ve brought them to food shows and sometimes people will seem pretty interested in the crackers, but don’t have the courage to try them,” says Ann-Marie Dyas, owner of Fine Cheese, which has made its activated-charcoal crackers since 2009.

Mr. Helms, of Juice Generation, says the company places literature in its stores to educate consumers about the benefits of activated charcoal. It also holds tasting events.

Annie Atkinson, a 30-year-old beauty blogger in New York, says she is a regular Juice Generation customer. She was slow at first to warm to the idea of drinking activated charcoal, but she now consumes juices containing the substance about once a week.

An executive from Fine Cheese Co. says the company’s charcoal crackers pair well with cheeses and salmon.ENLARGE
An executive from Fine Cheese Co. says the company’s charcoal crackers pair well with cheeses and salmon. PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“The taste of charcoal is not necessarily delicious,” Ms. Atkinson says. “It’s tangy and has an acidic aftertaste. But I think it’s doing something good for my body.”

Activated charcoal has been used internally since the 1800s forpoisoning cases. United Kingdom-based J.L. Bragg created its first charcoal biscuits around 1860 to appeal to the health-conscious in Victorian England. It reintroduced charcoal products in 2007. Since then, biscuit sales have more than doubled, says John Briggs, the company’s owner and managing director.

The activated charcoal J.L. Bragg uses is made from coconut shells, according to the company’s website. “Activated charcoal can adsorb poisons, bacterial toxins, viruses and gases in the intestines” and carry them out of the body, the website says. Mr. Briggs says many of the customers for his charcoal products are pregnant women trying to ease digestive problems during morning sickness.

Dietitians say people on certain medications should be careful about consuming the products. Activated charcoal can bind to and flush out vitamins, minerals and some drugs, in addition to toxins, from the body.

Old Mother Hubbard Baking Co. makes Classic Char Tar dog biscuits with activated charcoal.ENLARGE
Old Mother Hubbard Baking Co. makes Classic Char Tar dog biscuits with activated charcoal.PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“The problem is that it isn’t selective; it sweeps the good with the bad,” says Ms. Marcus, the dietitian. She notes that some research has also suggested activated charcoal can lower cholesterol and help treat cholestasis, in which the flow of bile from the liver slows or stops.

Juice Generation recommends customers use its activated-charcoal products a maximum of two or three times a week, Mr. Helms says. Mr. Briggs of J.L. Bragg says his company’s biscuits don’t contain enough charcoal to neutralize medication.

Activated-charcoal products also are available for pets. Old Mother Hubbard, a dog-food manufacturer in Tewksbury, Mass., introduced its line of Char Tar treats intended to help freshen dogs’ breath, saysChanda Leary-Coutu, a senior marketing manager at the company.

Fine Cheese’s Ms. Dyas says customers for her activated-charcoal products are drawn more by the novelty than any dietary benefit. “Black is so chic,” she says, and the crackers pair well with cheeses and salmon.

“What they’re tasting is a nice, textured cracker,” she says. “It’s a perfect neutral partner, if you just want to taste the other ingredient.”