A recent study found that activated charcoal is an effective remedy to be used for diarrhea management. The authors searched across the Pubmed MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases for studies involving charcoal in diarrhea management.
They found that “the main precursors of diarrhea include drugs and bacterial infection. Activated charcoal has a firm history in its ability to attract and expel ingested toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. It acts to prevent system absorption of these adverse entities, adsorbing them on the surface of its particles, making it a suitable diarrheal treatment.”
Diarrhea can be caused by chemotherapy treatment, primary malignancy, intestinal, colorectal and pancreatic cancer, bacterial infection (stomach flu), and irritable bowel syndrome. The good news is that charcoal can work as a potential therapy in any of these conditions. And compared with other common anti-diarrheal treatments, activated charcoal has very few side-effects. Overall, further research is necessary in order to wholly determine the effectiveness of charcoal in the management of diarrhea.
If you suffer from diarrhea, take two tablespoons of activated charcoal powder, mix it well into water, a juice or a smoothie and drink it all up. Make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day if you take charcoal as it can constipate you if you are not well hydrated (the diarrhea is also dehydrating so you want to drink a lot of fluids if you have diarrhea). Take two tablespoons of activated charcoal mixed with the beverage of your choice, twice a day, or every twelve (12) hours for no more than two days. In most cases, the activated charcoal will help restore you to good stomach health within 24 hours (ie. You only need to drink it once or twice).
Activated charcoal powder can be found in most health food stores. You can also get it in capsule form or tablets. Coconut shell based charcoal is best for ingesting but any wood based activated charcoal is fine. The fine powder is the best choice but capsules are fine if you can’t get the powder (8 capsules equal one tablespoon) and charcoal tablets will do if you have no other options. Tablets are mixed with fillers so are less effective. Note that activated charcoal is different from the charcoal briquettes used for cooking. Those are infused with chemicals to help with burning so they are not ingestible or to be used medically.
The ancient Egyptians had written remedies for eating charcoal as a stomach remedy. Modern science is only confirming what humans have known for centuries—that charcoal helps with diarrhea and upset stomachs. If you’re suffering, give it a try.