Activated vegetable carbon: uses, benefits and contraindications

Charcoal: benefits for digestion and contraindications

Charcoal: the benefits for digestion and the main contraindications to the use of this natural remedy.

The charcoal represents one of natural remedies best known and requested in herbal medicine, for its peculiarities useful for the digestive system. It is in fact recommended to solve problems of swelling or meteorism, to facilitate the digestion of certain foods and, in the medical field, also as a treatment after the ingestion of toxic substances or poisons. But what are the real ones benefits of this component for the digestion and, above all, what are the contraindications?

Although today it is a very widespread product, so much so that it is also sold in the supermarket, vegetable carbon should never be taken without first examining the opinion of one’s own doctor. In fact, it can interfere with the intake of some medications or, again, it may not be compatible with various health conditions. Furthermore, it can never replace the treatment prescribed by the specialist.

Charcoal: what is it?

For charcoal – also known as Activated carbon or activated – a particular powder used mainly in the medical field. This is the product obtained from the combustion in the absence of oxygen of some types of wood – poplar, willow, coconut shells and others – and chosen for its high porosity.

The wood is heated to over 600 degrees, also using specific gases. The process leads to the creation of a very porous carbon and crumbly, so much so that it can be easily reduced to powder. The remedy can then be used directly in powder, although there are numerous formats on the market such as tablets and tablets, capsules and supplements.

Activated carbon: what is it used for?

White vegetable charcoal

The uses of activated carbon are the most varied, particularly in the medical field. Thanks to its high porosity, the device is able to incorporate and retain even small molecules. This ability is particularly useful in case of accidental ingestion of toxic substances o di poisoning, to prevent the body from absorbing dangerous chemical elements through digestion.

Yet over the years the compound has also found other uses. Still on the health front, it is chosen to reduce the symptoms of some digestive disorders. In fact, it helps to retain and dispose of excess air in the stomach and intestines, reducing swelling. Furthermore, charcoal is also indicated for some forms of gastritis, so that it can absorb excess acids in the stomach, but also as an ally to combat the annoying symptoms of flatulence and meteorism.

In recent years, the derivative of wood has also become the protagonist of numerous experiments in kitchen, because of its color. In fact, it is used in bakery products to obtain black bread, pizza, cakes and sweets.

Charcoal and gastritis: when is it needed?

Stomach pain

In popular tradition, charcoal is considered the grandmother’s remedy more indicated to calm some symptoms of the gastritis. Given its high porosity, it can in fact help in absorbing excess gastric juices, thus reducing irritation to the mucous membranes of the stomach and esophagus and making the burning sensation less oppressive.

Yet, useful as it is, charcoal may not always be the most suitable solution. First of all, it should always be taken at a certain distance from meals: in addition to gastric juices, it could in fact also retain the nutritional principles of ingested foods. Furthermore, it may interact with other medications recommended by the doctor – such as some antacids or proton pump inhibitors – reducing their effectiveness. For this, it should always be hired after consulting your referral specialist.

Charcoal and diarrhea: benefits


The diarrhea it is a common disorder in the population. In most cases it is an unpleasant but momentary, albeit debilitating, condition. In others, a chronic condition occurs that requires the support of the gastroenterologist.

Given its adsorbing and compacting properties, activated carbon can guarantee an astringent effect on the colon, making the disastrous more full-bodied and solid and making evacuations less frequent. Not surprisingly, it is often recommended for those suffering from irritable colon with a diarrheal prevalence of discharges. Even in this case, however, it must be remembered that the natural remedy is also able to retain nutrients useful for the body. A fact that should not be underestimated in the presence of diarrhea, when the absorption of nutrients and water is already altered by the ongoing disorder.

Activated carbon and intestines: flatulence and meteorism

Stomach ache

Flatulence e meteorism represent two particularly annoying ailments. Not only because those who are at all perceive a perennial sense of bloating in the abdomen and digestive difficulties, but also and above all because of the embarrassment that the problem can cause.

In recent years, EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has confirmed the effectiveness of taking activated carbon to reduce the frequency and intensity of flatulence. The benefits would be greater when the drug is taken both an hour before and an hour after the meal, but for the methods of administration and the quantities we cannot ignore the opinion of the doctor. Again, taking it could reduce the absorption of nutrients by the body.

Other uses for digestion

Inguinal hernia pain

Vegetable charcoal can also guarantee numerous benefits for other common digestive problems. For example, it represents a real buffer solution for the symptoms ofalitosi, as it is able to retain germs and bacteria in its pores that are responsible for the bad smell. Obviously, charcoal alleviates the symptom but does not resolve any underlying bacterial or viral infections.

Still, the natural remedy is sometimes recommended to absorb it bile in excess – for example, due to a hyperactivity of the gallbladder, while in recent times its possible usefulness in limiting the absorption of bad cholesterol contained in food has been discovered.

Contraindications: what are they?


Activated charcoal is a very popular natural remedy, taken daily by many people. It is generally well tolerated and, in optimal conditions, it should not determine particular side effects.

Yet there are precise ones contraindications the assumption to be followed, always to be evaluated in consultation with the treating doctor. As already stated several times, charcoal can, for example, reduce the absorption of nutrients or drugs, so it should always be taken between meals or at the time chosen to take medicines.

In case of digestive or intestinal problems, the cause must also be investigated in advance. In fact, activated carbon does not seem to be indicated in the presence of intestinal blockages, appendicitis or others patologie occlusive stomach and intestines. It is also not recommended for children, while during pregnancy an ad hoc evaluation by the attending physician is required.

Finally, it should be noted that coal could cause the production of very dark stools: it is one physiological consequence due to the intense coloring of the product.

Source: GreenStyle by

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