What is Activated Charcoal? – Part 1

Activated charcoal is a wonderful natural remedy for many health issues. But why does it work so well? Part of the answer has to do with its adsorptive properties. Adsorption is the process in which molecules adhere or bind to its surface area. While in production, electrostatic properties develop in activated charcoal which gives it the ability to efficiently bind most poisons, rendering them ineffective.

Note: Adsorption is an electrical action not to be confused with the mechanical action of absorption, the filling of pores in a solid.

Just how large is the surface area of a gram of activated charcoal? A single gram of activated charcoal can have a surface area of 300 to 1,500 square meters per gram. Folks, on the high end, that’s more than 16,000ft² (16,146ft² to be exact)—in one gram! Wow!

In fact, activated charcoal is so effective in binding most organic and inorganic compounds that in several states it is illegal NOT to equip ambulances with it. Activated charcoal is used as a part of the standard treatment for poisoning victims. Doctors also use activated charcoal to prevent and treat intestinal infections, and as a cleansing and healing agent. Even dreaded spider bites, snakebites, and poisoning from mushrooms can be treated with activated charcoal.

Would you like to learn more about the uses of charcoal? Click here for part two.

Part 2 | Activated Charcoal Uses->

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Jon Ewald, MD

Jon Ewald grew up in Minnesota and has a love for the outdoors. He obtained his medical degree at Loma Linda University, graduating in 2020. He is currently completing his residency in Radiology at University of Pittsburgh.

1 Comment
  1. Great post, Jonathan! Thanks for keeping this fact-based rather than opinion heavy. It’s hard to find good info on activated charcoal (most of it’s just “it works miracles!”).

    Even though your post is about 4 years old, the facts still hold up. I especially appreciate the bit on “electrostatic properties” and how it’s “illegal NOT to equip ambulances with it.” I was presently surprised by that one.

    Thanks again, and keep up the amazing work!

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