Activated Charcoal Uses| Benefits for Health and Poisoning

Charcoal is a natural black-colored pure carbon substance obtained by burning wood and vegetable matter.

It has been used as a fuel, in healthcare, in laundry and for other purposes.

Charcoal pieces

List of products based on charcoal with applications

Sl. NoProductCategoryApplication
1Activated Charcoal CapsulesPure charcoalFor teeth, washing, decoloring, etc.
2Pure charcoal powderPowderFor white teeth and removal of bad breath
3Charcoal ToothpasteFluoridated toothpasteFluoridated toothpaste
4MatchLight BriquetsBriquets for fireFor igniting a fire or as fuel.
5Charcoal BBQ GrillKitchen wearFor cooking grills.

It also can remove the color from any solution. So when the powder is put into any liquid, it can remove the color from it.

Charcoal Uses in Life

Activated charcoal by itself is not a drug and is completely inert. However its properties of absorbance are exploited in medicine.

1. In poisoning

It is especially used in the treatment of acute poisoning. When poison is consumed by mouth, then activated charcoal is given.

This activated charcoal powder adsorbs toxins and poison foods in the digestive tract and prevents further absorption of the poison into the blood.

Thus it prevents further poisoning and thereby reduces toxicity.

Hence, it is used as a gastrointestinal decontamination agent during the treatment of poisoned patients in hospitals.

It also removes poison absorbed into the blood, especially that is still in the nearby vicinity of circulation.

Since it is not absorbed into the body, it gets removed from the gut without any change, along with its adsorbed poisons.

Despite being ingested in high doses, it doesn’t cause irritation or harm to the gut.

It was also a part of the universal antidote. The other two components present include magnesium oxide and tannic acid.

However, it can prevent the action of other drugs like emetics that are given to induce vomiting of ingested poison.

2. As a teeth cleanser.

Before the development of toothpaste, this was used to clean the teeth. Currently, it is present in a few toothpaste preparations.

This is because charcoal can also adsorb bacteria, germs, and other debris from the tooth surface and keep them fit.

Also, it is not harsh on the mucous and other soft tissues in the mouth. So, it is a healthy means to brush your teeth.

Even if swallowed by mistake, like in young children, it is not harmful. So charcoal is one of the oldest remedies for tooth problems.

3. To relieve insect bites

When insects bite, most of them release acetic acid sort of chemical that stings and causes pain.

Applying a paste of activated charcoal helps to remove the compound and reduce pain and swelling.

4. Skin Cleanser

It is used in skin creams to aid dirt removal from the skin surface based on its adsorbent properties.

Hence, you can find many facial beauty creams that have charcoal in them.

5. For Dialysis

Activated charcoal is also used for haemoperfusion.

Here, the blood is allowed to pass into an extracorporeal circulation in which it is exposed to activated charcoal.

This activated charcoal helps remove drugs, metabolites and other toxic substances from the body in chronic kidney dysfunction or systemic poisoning.

6. Charcoal in agriculture

Charcoal can also be used in agriculture to enhance the soil’s organic carbon as well as for detoxification to free the soil from poisonous pesticides and fertilizers used as a part of chemical farming.


  1. Hemodialysis with charcoal haemoperfusion
  2. What are the uses of charcoal in agriculture?

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