One wellness trend that seems like it's come from left field has actually been around for a long time. Charcoal was used to detoxify and to prevent sickness as early as 1550 B.C. Today, activated charcoal is used in emergency situations to absorb chemicals and poisons before they can harm the body, but it's becoming more and more popular as a regular part of daily health.
Activated charcoal is a fine, black powder that has no odor or taste and is oftentimes taken in the form of a pill. Charcoal is an adsorptive substance, meaning that it gathers the toxins on the particles and binds them to be deposited during the body's bowel movements. Activated charcoal comes in several forms including a liquid drink, tablets and powder. In fact, New York-based Juice Generation is producing juice containing charcoal, claiming that it improves skin, organ function and digestion.
>> New to juicing? Click here for tips on this detox trend.
When charcoal is "activated," that means that it is ground to a finer state and microscopic grooves in the particles cling to the poison and toxins in the body. Wellness Mama keeps charcoal around the house in the instance that someone gets a spider bite or ingests poisonous household chemicals. The problem in activated charcoal arises because charcoal does not discriminate. It doesn't distinguish between good and bad. The good things in your gut could end up being victim to the charcoal; that is why it's important to consult a medical professional, especially if you're considering making activated charcoal a part of your routine.
Another potential benefit to charcoal is cosmetic care. According to Well & Good, charcoal can be used topically to cleanse the skin in the same way that it cleanses your body internally. Many consumers like using scrubs and masks that include charcoal because it's a natural ingredient. Some people swear that if you brush your teeth with charcoal, you'll get a whiter smile. Just put the toothpaste on your toothbrush, dip it in charcoal, brush and rinse. Rinse really, really well.
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There are many claims as to the numerous benefits of activated charcoal, but the proof isn't quite there yet to back it up. Certain advantages like lowering cholesterol, decreasing gas, easing morning sickness during pregnancy and preventing a hangover have not been proven. Many people see this "miracle cure" as too good to be true. It's been around for years as a supplement for improved digestion, so where are all the new ideas coming from? According to Daily Burn, registered dietician Melissa Burton says that the liver and spleen detoxifies the bodies pretty well and if you're having problems with indigestion, it would probably be best to see a medical professional before filling your gut with charcoal. Maybe sticking to a healthy diet and proper exercise would take care of problems and a quick fix wouldn't be necessary in the first place.
>> For more on how to take care of your body by eating healthy, read this article: Clean Eating 101: Change Your Body the Healthy Way