Sporting its signature black colour, activated charcoal may look nothing like anything you need. But here is the thing, it is everywhere, and it is doing wonders! A real diamond-in-the-rough kind of discovery, today, one can find this ingredient in all sorts of beauty and food products. Why the hype? We will let you in on its powers:
Once upon a time...
Activated charcoal was first used way back in 3750 B.C. by the Egyptians for smelting ores to create bronze. The Egyptians soon realised its antibacterial properties and started using it for medical, embalming and burial practices. As word spread, its uses grew in several parts of the world.
The super element came to be used for water purification, treating intestinal and stomach ailments, combating bee stings and poisonings, and more! Famed for its brilliant capacity to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has been considered a universal antidote.
What's different about it?
Before you go activated charcoal hunting in tandoors, stop! It is not just any charcoal; it is a specially processed kind. Essentially, activated charcoal is a fine, odourless, black powder which is "activated" at extremely high temperatures. This renders it more porous and absorbent.
This charcoal attracts toxins and gases, because of the former's negative electrical charge and the latter's positively charged molecules. Thus, activated charcoal gets a hold of toxins in your gut and wipes them away.
Black magic powers
Don't get spooked, there is no kaala jaadu here, just attempts at wordplay. However, the claims users have made about activated charcoal are indeed quite unbelievable. We are talking improved skin, better digestion and even whiter teeth! Have a look at its benefits:
- Maintain kidney health
Activated charcoal is said to help make it easier for the kidneys to function, by filtering out undigested toxins. Though the current evidence is not very conclusive, some case studies show that activated charcoal might be great for those with chronic kidney disease.
- Hangovers, begone!
Are you struggling to get rid of every memory of that party, especially the nagging hangover? Not as popular a notion just yet, but activated charcoal holds the potential to be a hangover cure as well!
- Reduced cholesterol
Quite a few studies have shown signs that consuming activated charcoal can help with reducing cholesterol. By binding cholesterol and cholesterol-containing bile acids, it can prevent the body from absorbing them.
- Whiten your teeth
Smearing black goop on your teeth may not sound so appealing, but it can whiten your teeth. Yep, we see the irony, and so should you. There are many activated charcoal toothpaste available in the market for you to choose.
- Combat symptoms of fish odour syndrome
Trimethylaminuria (TMAU), also known as fish odour syndrome, is a condition wherein the body accumulates an odour. Activated charcoal is said to have the ability to reduce unpleasant odours due to its porous surface.
- Good for the stomach & intestines
Keep your insides feeling good, as activated charcoal can reduce intestinal gas. It is also helpful in combating diarrhoea.
- Healthy inside and out
Don't you worry, activated charcoal has something to offer for your skin as well! It has become popular as a key ingredient in skincare and is said to have effective dirt and acne removal properties.
- Stay hydrated the right way
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate -- it is our favourite health chant because water is just good for your whole body. What's even better? Water purified by activated charcoal, which has reduced heavy metal and fluoride content. They did it centuries ago, and the legacy lives on.
Put those powers to use
Now that you know everything activated charcoal can do, you should also know how to really avail its benefits. Here is how:
- DIY Teeth Whitener
For using the charcoal to get a sparkling set of teeth, simply mix it with water and apply the mix on your toothbrush. Spread it evenly across your teeth and brush away.
- Shots that detox
Activated charcoal can be consumed and ingested in various forms. Try Akiva's Activated Charcoal Aloe Vera shots that combine the detoxification powers of activated charcoal obtained from coconut shells with the soothing qualities of aloe vera, to keep your body healthy and happy.
- Self-care with skincare
Charcoal powder is a brilliant addition to face masks. Get Googling and find the right mask for you!
Phew, with all this information overload about activated charcoal, we are sure you can't wait to try it. Do share your experiences with us!