“Why would I want to drink coal?” is a question you might be asking yourself right now. We always recommend that you ask questions about your food, where it comes from, what is in it, and what it can do for your body, so, great question!
Charcoal is one of the most detoxifying substances on Earth. With medicinal use dating back to 1500 B.C., Hippocrates and Pliny both credited its benefits for odor and disease control, vertigo, and epilepsy.(1) Today, it is known for numerous health benefits and is used in emergency rooms for alcohol poisoning, pharmaceutical and chemical drug overdose, purifying blood for transfusions, and disinfecting wounds.
How does it work? Activated charcoal adsorbs toxins, actually binding and holding onto them until disposal. When consumed orally, it pulls toxins from the stomach and small intestine. When used topically, toxins are removed from the skin (our largest organ!).
Where does it derive from? The most common forms of activated charcoal are derived from either wood or coconut shells. If you know Good Vibes Juice Co. in the slightest, you know we choose coconut shells! The most common method of extraction for coconut charcoal is a steam method. This involves heating the coconut shells to create a char, then heating that char at temperatures of 1,700° to 1,800°F, with steam instead of oxygen. With this steam, millions of tiny pores are opened, and the carbon shell remains. This shell is what captures all toxins, thus creating the detox we love.
10 Reasons Why We Love Activated Charcoal:
1. Whitens teeth
Activated charcoal has been shown to change the pH of the mouth, thus whitening teeth, promoting healthy gums, and preventing cavities and bad breath! To whiten teeth, try these two options:
- Dip a toothbrush into an activated charcoal + water mixture. Brush for 30-60 seconds. Spit and rinse with water (WARNING: Activated charcoal has been known to stain, so you might want to avoid your sink area!). Repeat two to three times per week.
- DIY Toothpaste:
- 1/4 cup aluminum-free baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon activated charcoal
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 5-6 drops essential oil of peppermint
- Mix the dry ingredients together. Melt the coconut oil and stir into the dry mixture. Stir in your essential oil. Brush your teeth and feel the clean!
2. Prevents hangovers
Have one too many last night? It happens. There’s just so much to celebrate in this life, it is easy to get carried away! Don’t fret, just reach for your Black Sea. Not only will the activated charcoal adsorb toxins from your stomach and small intestine, the coconut water will replenish your electrolytes and sooth sore muscles. So next time, don’t be afraid to dance the night away!
3. Relieves food poisoning
Hanger is an ugly thing, and sometimes, it forces us to make not-so-wise food choices. We’ve all seen that scene in Bridesmaids. It can happen to the best of us. So if, or when it happens to you, reach for your activated charcoal to bring your body back to life!
TO USE: Mix 1/2 teaspoon activated charcoal with two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar, and toss it back! Repeat if necessary. May be diluted with warm water.(2)
4. Adsorbs harmful toxins, pesticides, and herbicides
You may wonder what the purpose of cayenne pepper in our delicious Black Sea is. Cayenne pepper is very alkalizing, so it will eliminate toxins from our cells, allowing the activated charcoal to more easily adsorb and excrete them! Tag team for the win.
But seriously, charcoal is an excellent way of removing all kinds of toxins from our body, including (but definitely not limited to!) pesticides, herbicides, mercury, tree tobacco, and so much more. So if you are subject to the occasional non-organic food, just make sure to follow up with a Black Sea to help cleanse your body.
5. Creates beautiful skin
When used topically, activated charcoal will have the same effect of grabbing toxins and ridding them from our bodies! If you think about all of the toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis – air pollution, germs, viruses, bacteria, dirt, grime… we don’t stand a chance! If not removed, those toxins make themselves right at home. Our favorite activated charcoal skincare product is the cold pressed Activated Charcoal + Fennel soap from Swanson Soapworks (made right here in Tampa Bay!). It will leave your skin feeling soft, clear, acne free, and smelling oh-so-fresh.
6. Filters water
Activated charcoal is one of the best water filtration systems out there. When combined with a sediment filter to catch the bigger particles, a charcoal filter will remove some fluoride(3) and purify water suitable for drinking.
7. Reduces high cholesterol
Cholesterol is completely necessary in our bodies, but our bodies already produce more than they need. When we obtain extra cholesterol from our diet, complications can arise. However, activated charcoal has been suspected of reducing the bad cholesterol, and increasing the good.
In one study over a four week period, patients received eight grams of activated charcoal three times per day. By the end of the four weeks, total cholesterol levels had decreased by 25%, LDL-cholesterol had decreased by 41%, and HDL-cholesterol had increased by 8%.(4)
8. Promotes kidney, liver, adrenal, and mental health
Since charcoal adsorbs toxins in the stomach and small intestine, it catches them before they even reach the kidney and liver, thus saving these organs some serious work! Over time, these organs will remain efficient instead of wearing down so rapidly.
As we age, our brain becomes more and more sensitive to toxins. Activated charcoal slows down this rate of sensitivity, thus keeping us mentally sharp. It also keeps our immune system and bodily functions in prime condition by supporting the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands.
9. Neutralizes poison from snake bites, etc.
We are all too familiar with mosquito and ant bites, poison ivy, poison oak, and similar absurdities. Anyone familiar with snake or spider bites?! Hopefully not, but, keep this in the back of your mind (and the front of your medicine cabinet): Activated charcoal helps neutralize the poison from these bites, and ease the pain and discomfort from bites, rashes, and other irritating skin conditions.(5) Two simple options if something like this were to attempt to ruin your day:
- Draw a bath with warm water and activated charcoal.
- Create a compress wrapped twice around the wound with a coconut oil + charcoal mixture. Rinse and reapply mixture to the compress every hour (this method is recommended for more serious bites and poison exposure).
10. DIY Mascara: Vegan, cruelty-free, organic, all natural
Need we say more? Yes. We need to tell you how to make it. Find an awesome recipe here, just make sure to add enough beeswax to create a thicker blend if you live in a sunny place like Florida! The only ingredients required are beeswax, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and, of course, activated charcoal. It is so easy, and so natural!