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5 Surprising Ways To Use The Detoxifying Power Of Activated Charcoal

Naomi Teeter
mbg Contributor By Naomi Teeter
mbg Contributor
Naomi Teeter is a nutritionist and health and wellness coach practicing in Spokane, Washington. She has a bachelor's in psychology from Gonzaga University.

Activated charcoal is one of the most nontoxic, adsorptive substances known to man. It binds to and eliminates poisons from the body, as well as improves intestinal health through a process called "adsorption" which means "to bind to" rather than "to absorb." It's commonly used by some hospitals and naturopathic doctors for many ailments and drug overdoses.

In an effort to eliminate toxins from my life this year, I've been implementing activated charcoal in many ways to detox my life. Here are a few:

1. Teeth whitening

I was seriously considering harming myself with those nasty teeth whitening strips this year to add a little sparkle back to my coffee-stained teeth. Six or seven years ago, I used those things back and they seemed to work great, but left my teeth highly sensitive for a long time.

Then I came across an article about using an open capsule of activated charcoal and brushing it into your teeth for a nontoxic whitening solution. I've been using this method every day since January 2, and while it can be a bit messy, my teeth are definitely whiter ... it actually works! If you're not a fan of the messy way, you can always purchase (or make) a paste that's easier to apply.

Pro tip: Do this at night. If you accidentally get charcoal on your face and clothes, it won't matter if you're about to get into bed.

2. Air purification

Activated charcoal doesn't just rid toxins from the body; it soaks them up in any environment. It naturally helps remove odors, bacteria, mold, harmful pollutants and allergens.

I purchased a set of air purification sachets full of activated charcoal to hang in bathrooms and bedrooms in my home and love them so much that I'm planning to buy more for my vehicles, laundry room, closets, office and kitchen. Air purification sachets typically last two before they need to be replaced.

Pro tip: After two years, pour that charcoal into your garden beds to help them retain moisture.

3. Face mask

Activated charcoal is great for skin care as it literally pulls the gunk out of your pores to purify skin. Be warned, though: the first time I applied a charcoal face mask, I broke out within a few hours. I had to deal with zits and mild redness for a few days, but I ultimately got the results I wanted. The mask made my skin much smoother with each application and it also reduced the appearance of my pores.

Pro tip: When I first started using the mask, I applied it for 20-25 minutes three times a week. Once you feel your skin clearing up, reduce usage to twice a week.

4. Shampoo

If you're like me, you've tried lots of shampoos: uber-natural (just baking soda), chemical-laden and everything in between. From my own experience, the natural ways to shampoo hair are always the most tedious and time-consuming, especially for long, thick hair like mine. But when I tried a charcoal shampoo bar, it lathered perfectly and did a great job cleaning my hair without any harsh chemicals.

Pro tip: Make sure you pick a charcoal shampoo bar that stays black after each use. Many soap bars turn gray as the nourishing ingredients are sucked out with each shower, which means after a while, they're not transferring to your hair.

5. Internal detox

Activated charcoal is the world's oldest and most trusted detoxifying remedy.

Our food supply is very suspicious these days and you can't be sure what you're putting into your body (especially when traveling and eating out). If I know that I may be consuming a meal that has gluten or drinking alcohol, I immediately take some activate charcoal capsules. Doing this reduces my chances of bloating, gas and diarrhea as a result of food.

Just be careful not to take activated charcoal every day as excessive consumption (especially without magnesium and a lot of water) can result in constipation.

Pro tip: Be careful not to take activated charcoal your other supplements or medication before consulting your doctor — the charcoal may render them ineffective.

MindBodyGreen listed activated charcoal as one of seven food trends to watch for in 2015 for a good reason. Have you tried using activated charcoal yet?

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