In 1834, an American physician used activated charcoal to save the life of a patient who accidentally ingested mercury chloride. Since then, many safe and effective uses of the substance have been discovered, including using it to brush your teeth.
But I’m not talking about the charcoal that’s commonly used on the barbeque—although they are both made from the same base materials.
Activated charcoal is a finely milled black powder made from coconut shells, bone char, olive pits, coal, sawdust, or other materials. The charcoal is processed with high heat, which “activates” it. This changes its internal structure, making it more porous than regular charcoal.
It’s also processed in this way to rid it of any additional substances that are harmful to humans. It has a chemical composition that makes it a useful substance in a variety of situations.
Here’s a basic chemistry lesson on activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal has a negative electrical charge, which attracts positively charged molecules. Toxins and gases have a positive charge, causing them to be absorbed by the charcoal.
You’ve probably heard of nasty free radicals and the damage they can cause in your body. Yep. Charcoal traps those too.
Since it also has a porous texture, this adds to its efficiency in trapping unwanted substances. The best part is that activated charcoal cannot be absorbed by the human body; allowing it to carry toxins out of the body through excretions.