Activated Charcoal – The Toxin Magnet


Do you remember those little sticky magnets we played with as kids? We were fascinated by the attraction between the charged rocks, and how they would bond together with such strength. As described in Real Detox and in my seminars, I’ve had much experience with the ultimate modern day holistic health magnetic, whose bonding capacity (like those magnetics we were in awe of as kids) is very strong and works to cleanse, adsorbing toxins with its magnet-like qualities.  This modern day super health magnet is called Activated Charcoal.

In a nutshell, activated charcoal works like a magnet to attract toxins and release them from our bodies. Years ago, when I was suffering from severe mercury toxicity, it was this unique supplement that contributed to the elimination of the built up mercury in my system.  Because the agent pulls and binds positive elements to its porous surface, essentially scrubbing away what is harmful to our bodies, the charcoal pulled heavy mercury from my systems for over a year and a half’s time, and was a large factor in what brought me back to a natural state of health. (1) I’ve sworn by the supplement since that time, as its detox capabilities are limitless. Let’s discuss the layers of activated charcoal.

What is Activated Charcoal?

It’s abrasive, it’s gritty, (not to mention messy when using it for external cleansing!) and it’s a maximized detox agent derived from common, raw charcoal that does the ingenious-adsorbs toxins from the body. Activated charcoal binds unwanted substances like a magnet to its surface and releases them through fecal matter. The alimentary canal (the pathway from your mouth, which leads through the stomach and into your elimination systems) is the medicinal charcoal’s highway to detox heaven. By way of this canal, the pressurized charcoal tugs harmful toxins to its surface without absorbing the toxins into the vital body channel.  The unique makeup of activated charcoal is favorable, as it does not irritate or harm the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. (2)

Our body systems stay safe and unharmed, as this dynamic detoxifier does its work. Any toxins pulled through the alimentary canal by way of the activated charcoal are removed through fecal waste as mentioned, leaving your body systems unharmed. Built up toxins ushered out of your entity without being absorbed into the body systems, which is why the coal detoxifies in such a unique manner. Toxins are adsorbed and not absorbed, which means they are fixed into the charcoals porous surface until they are removed from the body, keeping your inner systems safe.

Cleansing with Charcoal?

Don’t mistake activated charcoal with your typical coal, or charcoal! Activated Charcoal is quite different.  To create this modern day toxin magnet that has been known to cleanse everything from burns, heavy poison induction, drug overdose to coffee stains, manufacturers take the black substance we use for summer barbeques and add heat. Yes, the same charcoal we use for cooking is heavily steam heated, oxidized and pressurized, which then gives the material different qualities, and a surface area that is rough. It’s seems quite impossible, but the extremely porous surface of just a small amount of activated charcoal holds a strong negative charge that attracts positively charged toxins and poisons (which are cancer causing and harmful to the body systems.) This attraction helps to expel the unwanted substances through elimination. (3) That’s the kind of maximized detox we’ve been talking about in Real Detox.

Several forms of activated charcoal are available to us depending on our detox needs. As a result of the heating and pressurizing process, activated charcoal has a higher surface area (especially if it is super activated charcoal), so we only need a small amount to detox. The supplement is supplied in capsule, powder, soap, and gel forms. You’ll want to match the form of charcoal with your detox desires. If you’re looking to cleanse internally, the capsule or powder (mixed in water) is most appropriate. To heal external wounds, detoxify the skin, or optimize oral health, the gel, powders or soaps are your best bet.

Activated Charcoal isn’t some new aged fad. It has been used in cleansing procedures for centuries. From the ancient Egyptians who treated intestinal issues with the agent to the time of Hippocrates who used it to treat serious illness like epilepsy, people have reaped the healing rewards of the tar-like cleansing material. In modern day health, we likely recognize the substance from what it is commonly known to aid alcohol and drug overconsumption. (4)

In the 1960’s, activated charcoal became commonplace in hospitals nationwide to remedy drug and alcohol poisoning. Doctors used the dark, thick agent in patients’ mouths, stomachs and throat canals alongside nastrogastric tubes to pull and flush potentially life-threatening poisons out of the body systems. The material worked so effectively because instead of absorbing harmful toxins through the body systems, activated charcoal binds the toxins into its surface area and pulls toxins away from the body as a magnet would. (5)

Adsorption vs. Absorption

When a substance is absorbed, we think of what happens when a sponge sucks liquid into its entity. The liquid is soaked into the qualities of the sponge and engrossed by it. The two substances become one entity. Adsorption is quite a different process, where a substance moves from it’s bulk phase and is drawn and bound to the surface of another substance (instead of being soaked or completely pulled into it entirely.) When we talk about activated charcoal, its job is to adsorb, where its porous surface allows toxins and unwanted waste to bind onto its surface area and release through fecal waste.

Emergency Uses for Activated Charcoal 

1. Drug or Alcohol Poisoning

Often used in combination with ipecac syrup (6) or nastrogastric intubation, activated charcoal has been administered for decades to treat drug and alcohol poisoning. Adsorption in the case of alcohol removes toxins related to serious poisoning; however, the actual alcohol is removed poorly. (7) It is actually the excess sugars and toxins around the alcohol (not the alcohol itself) that are removed by the activated charcoal, which relieve harm and restore the body systems.  Toxins and poisons associated with overdose are pulled from the alimentary canal before they are absorbed into a patient’s body systems, removed by the activated charcoal without causing any damage.

In less serious cases, individuals who’ve had one two many beverages after a big night out of partying may take activated charcoal in it’s pill form to relieve the toxic side affects of overconsumption. Studies have proven the positive reception from the body systems after having used activated charcoal post party or over indulgence.

2. Heavy Burns

People have been using activated charcoal (specifically carbon cloth dressings) as a remedy for burns in the military for decades!  If you’ve suffered from an extreme burn, activated charcoal dressings can be quite a successful tool in the relief of pain and cleansing post burn.  It may sound improbable that the same substance used to create a flame would be used to heal a burn wound, but mix activated charcoal with boiling water and gelling agent and you have a remedy that will relieve the pain associated with your burn. Any risk of infection will also decrease, as the activated charcoal removes bacteria and infectious microbes which prevent healing correlated with burns. (8)

3. Emergency Toxin Removal

If administered in time (typically 1 hour post poison ingestion) activated charcoal can be a serious lifesaver in cases of poison, toxin, or over the counter pharmaceutical ingestion. This is because the charcoal remedy will gather toxins in the GI tract before they are absorbed, adsorb them into their cleansing entity, and remove them before they can do any damage to the individuals’ organ structures.  It’s important that the activated charcoal is given within 1 hour of ingestion, as it may be too late for its detoxing capability to take effect. (9)

Activated Charcoal is powerful treatment tool in emergency situations, however in my own experience I’ve used it as a daily detox supplement and for preventative maintenance.  (I also utilized it a great deal when aggressively detoxing from heavy metals, years ago.)  The daily detox uses for activated charcoal are endless, and I’ve found many ways to incorporate them into my life. Let’s discuss a few of them.

How to use Activated Charcoal in daily life 

1. Charcoal Soap and Skin Health


Activated Charcoal Soap – I use it!

Your skin is the largest organ of the body and can typically become blocked by bacteria, dirt, unwanted oil, or excess sebum on its surface. New research shows that phenomenal detoxifying products like charcoal soap (comprised of the gritty, black substance, activated charcoal) benefit the skin greatly, as it penetrates deep below the surface to pull toxins and remove stagnant waste that causes acne.

Many use charcoal soap to cleanse the surface area of the skin, which can be purchased at health food stories and holistic markets across North America. However, skin can also be cleansed with a topical, raw version of the magnet-like detoxifying agent.  So how is it done? Many advocate for a version of cleansing with this detox material that involves mixing a tablespoon (or two) of activated charcoal into a thick paste with water, and spreading it along the skins surface. This method has proved to remove impurities from the skin, pull oils, dirt and bacteria from below its surface, as well as increases circulation. (10)

2. Dental hygiene

Holistic health fanatics worldwide have been raving about this new (and quite messy) oral health regime. It may be a little messy, but using the powdered form of this supplement to optimize oral health is a tried, true, and safe method for oral detox. Individuals who have used activated charcoal to clean, whiten, and detoxify their teeth as well as mouths have found teeth are brighter, infections clear and mouth health improved. This is because the agent’s natural adhesive qualities bond any impurities, pull stains, toxins and unwanted bacteria from the mouth. (11) The material is also safe to swallow, so users shouldn’t worry as they apply the black substance to their teeth and gums.

3. Digestive Cleansing

Many use activated charcoal in pill form to cleanse the intestines, kidney, and liver, as well as to relieve unwanted bloating.  For best results, food should not be consumed an hour after charcoal or two hours before the charcoal is to be consumed. Integral nutrients from food, absorption of vitamins and needed meds may be removed in the process if the charcoal is taken to soon after or before food consumption.

Individuals have benefited highly from a regular digestive cleansing practice with activated charcoal. Reposed stomachs, healed kidneys and livers as well as higher functioning digestive pathways were each notable results of taking the charcoal pills to cleanse. (12)

4. Water Filtration

Typically, common tap water is harmful to the body because it is filled with unseen chemicals, fluoride and toxins. Clean drinking water is essential to a thriving, healthy body, so it’s imperative to find a great water filtration system. Activated charcoal has dynamic cleansing capabilities and is routinely used in filtering water. It binds solvents, pesticides, waste, harmful toxins, and some fluoride into its core, leaving water fresh. (13)  The agent is so powerful in water filtration that systems around the world use it as a commonplace cleansing material for water. Be sure to filter tap water and drink enough water every day. (How much water do you need? We will save that for another blog!)

5. Mold Removal

If you’ve been experiencing unnecessary wheezing, rashes, coughing, watery or puffy eyes, it could be the result of mold exposure. Mold is a serious concern to your health. It can grow in damp, water-damaged homes or in environments with little ventilation.  The fascinating fact about mold is that it can actually be the leading cause of many serious, untreated illnesses like epilepsy, chronic depression, decreased brain function, kidney and liver failure, and the list goes on. (13) To protect your family from the sneaky bacteria that can wreak grim havoc on your health, use activated charcoal. The charcoal will aid in disinfecting and removing the mold from your home.

6. Detox

As a daily detox method, activated charcoal is the cream of the crop detoxifier. Because of its adsorbing abilities, our internal systems are safe from absorption in the detox process when toxins are eliminated from the body. One can use activated charcoal capsules, soap or powder on a daily basis to eliminate toxins that have built up in the body systems.  The charcoal stays in the alimentary canal and achieves extracellular detoxification, but not intracellular detox. This is important to know in the detox process, as we must have both extracellular and intracellular detox to achieve full detoxification. You can learn more about this process and start detoxing with us at Real Detox.

Try Activated Charcoal Today

There are many phenomenal forms of detox that we discuss in Real Detox that restore your body systems and encourage them forward to their optimal, highest potential. With its dynamic and hugely diverse qualities, activated charcoal is top on our list of cleansing methods. Be it a daily detox routine, a needed cleanse from built up toxins in the body, or aid in an emergency situation, activated charcoal will help to cleanse the body systems. I swear by this health supplement, as I believe it was key in restoring my body after suffering from mercury poising. Its adsorbing capabilities give it the function to detox safely for many individuals, and this is why we recommend it. To dip a toe in and try the method today, pick up a bottle of affordable activated charcoal tablets from your local health foods store and see the tremendous benefit it has on your system!


Dr. B.J. Hardick

About Dr. B.J. Hardick

Dr. B.J. Hardick is a Doctor of Chiropractic and internationally-recognized natural health author and speaker. His health journey began as a child — alternative medicine is the only medicine he has ever known. In 2009, he authored his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans. In 2018, he authored his second book, Align Your Health. An energizing and passionate speaker, Dr. Hardick shares his lifestyle methods to numerous professional and public audiences every year in the United States and Canada. His teachings encompass the principles of ancestral nutrition, detoxification, functional fitness, mindfulness, and green living. Learn More