Ultimate Guide to Activated Charcoal: Benefits and Uses

Spider Bites
Posted by Sandy (In the sticks, Nevada) on 07/12/2008

A huge thank you to Elizabeth from Woodbury, TN, for posting the charcoal remedy for spider bites. I was sweeping webs off my house & must have been bitten, but didn't notice the bite until the next morning. It itched like a mosquito bite, but felt hot & was beginning to swell. Long story short, I went away on business and could not treat it until 36 hours later. It had swollen up terribly and had been weeping off and on -- it was also very hot. When I got home,I treated it with activated charcoal mixed with colloidal silver as a paste applied to my arm, changing every 30 minutes or so. At bedtime, I covered it with a thick paste & then with a bandage. The next morning, the heat & the swelling were almost completely gone. I continued to apply fresh paste to the bite throughout the day & bandaged it again at night. The recovery from this bite was just short of miraculous -- I wish I had taken photos. Also, I did take several activated charcoal capsules each day along with the application of the paste. I never found out what bit me, although I suspect a hobo spider or brown recluse. Activated charcoal is my new favorite remedy! Thank you earthclinic for providing this information.

Charcoal Side Effects
Posted by Connie (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) on 08/13/2009

Maybe drinking more water with the charcoal would help?

Charcoal Side Effects
Posted by Diamond (Salisbury, Usa) on 06/19/2011

Jeanne;I think the inscription might read take only 1/2 a teaspoon of Activated Charcoal, then work your way up gradually to one tsp. Most people will have negative results to anything, even food, but our bodies will let us know when enough is enough or that it's not good for one person but is for another.

True? good luck

Viruses, Charcoal and Cayenne
Posted by John (New Zealand) on 03/04/2008

It is like a well known saying declares "Truth is stranger than fiction."

I have seen people over the last 12 years react both ways, the skeptical go on suffering and the open minded get the same benefit as myself.

For those too far away to see me personally and try these things out, I would say this, "That at the end of the day personal judgment that is built up on the solid rock of knowledge plus experience, enables one to tell with much greater certainty than those who haven't bothered, which of the only three possible categories that I and what I am claiming fall under. A lie, some form of delusion or the truth.

It is easy to tell if you are truthful yourself and organized because of another self evident truth: "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

So if I pass consistency tests in my explanations and even better if you happen to be very honest yourself (It is true that it takes one to know one, so that if one has the Spirit of Truth in them they certainly can recognize someone else that does) but for the benefit of those yet to aspire to that blessed moral estate, but who well could, given time, the consistency test is as effective, as it is readily available, to people that are consistently truthful themselves, after all it is a privilege to know the truth at any time.

So, essentially, for me, as an illustration of what I am saying: "When I read the Bible, I come to the conclusion that the people that wrote down each book come across as; too honest to be lying, too wise to be fooled, leaving only the option that they are telling the truth."

In conclusion this is my account of why cayenne pepper 150,000 - 300,000 BTU's kills the flu virus in significant numbers within 20 minutes, and with the use of activated powdered charcoal, is able to continue to do this, yet without hardly any hint of a burning sensation while yet maintaining the same power to kill the flu virus, as though one had taken the same amount of cayenne without the charcoal. It is one thing to know that powerful cayenne tincture or powder is sudden death to the flu virus that attacks so many tens of millions or more times a year around the globe, but just as vital is that mixing of it in a ratio of at least 1cay:4char making this remedy available to everyone other than the "super human's" that only could prefer the hot mix to the flu symptoms, besides, those kind of freaks of nature are unlikely to succumb to the flu anyway, so you can see how important the inclusion of charcoal is, if the remedy is to be of any use to the average person that has too much apprehension of the burn to take it in sufficient quality and quantity to kill the flu virus.

Fact one is merely a matter of observance: That if one is fortunate enough to be in a position to take at least one heap teaspoon of African Bird's Eye pepper (good quality and condition that is), and it has been mixed with at least four equally heaped teaspoons of activated powdered charcoal, and even better, had at least one to four spoonfuls of powdered barley green added (making sure that there is enough water in the mix to make a watery slurry rather than a paste, because this is to be drunk not eaten), that aesthetically removes the grittiness and helps lessen the need for as much charcoal, if it has been obviously a flu virus, the headache and fever symptoms drop off 100%, with loose stools possibly remaining, for 3-7 days but more in the case of the less serious flues. It seems, to my experience, that the more deadly flues have been the easiest to kill. Like the common cold the milder and more common varieties seem to cause diarrhea (although losing headache and fever just as quickly, as the more serious strains).

Fact two is: Anyone denying this assertion, while at the same time not supplying a better account, for why this observable fact one occurred, is telling us more about themselves (and the insufficient way that they view the world) rather than truthfully disproving the efficiency of cayenne and charcoal to painlessly and healthfully solve a very uncomfortable problem with horrible headaches, fever and loss of work time either in the work force, home care or the school attendance.

Just think of the number of hours lost to a nation's economy from all of the strains of the flu virus alone let alone other possible "bugs" that this remedy could also deal to. One I know for sure is pneumonia, which I think is bacillus. I think that it is unacceptable that there is many container loads of the best quality African Bird's Eye cayenne in the pods still exported from Africa at around $4/kilo, making $70,000 a container, to disappear into the confusion of middlemen, certainly never to be seen in health shops or such like where it can save lives more than as bottled hot chilli sauce or something useless like that.

Feel free to post anything that I say at any time. Like Martin Luther, I am prepared to stand for what I believe in and be honest enough to put it to any test, while assuming responsibility to either defeat all comers or admit if someone can really show me where I am wrong. You cannot lose with an honest attitude because where you are right you have offered an opportunity to your neighbour, where you are on an equal footing you experience the unparalleled joy of sharing with an equal, and where one is wrong one moves up higher than one could otherwise have moved (to a higher perspective) where the price is one of the highest (in terms of human ego in that one has to be prepared to accept being wrong enough to discard where one is wrong and substitute with what has shown up one's error). It is certainly true then that we learn from our mistakes and largely teach from the mistakes that we once made ourselves and still see others making.

Food Poisoning
Posted by Yoda (Dubai, Uae) on 08/18/2010

Charcoal is very effective against food poisoning and diarrhea. It stops the vomiting and trips to the toilet in a matter of hours. Several years ago I had food poisoning and diarrhea after having salad. The cream in the salad had gone bad in the summer heat. Soon after having the salad I started vomiting and after an hour diarrhea. I visted a doctor who prescribed me medicine for the food poisoning. However, I was in the same condition the next day and had become severely dehydrated and weak from the diarrhea. I remembered an article I had read in Readers Digest about a certain Canadian doctor Ben Wheeler. He had saved countless lives in a Japanese POW camp by giving the prisoners charcoal made by burning bamboo sticks and water from boiled rice. I found a piece of wood lying in the shed and burnt it on the kitchen stove to make charcoal (much to my mothers dismay). After having a teaspoon of the wood charcoal, my diarrhea stopped in less then an hour. Then I boiled some starchy rice and and drank a glass of water from boiled rice with some salt. In the evening I repeated the treatment and totally recovered in less than 12 hours. In food poisoning and diarrhea, the intestines become inflamed and cannot absorb any nutrition. The rice water contains simple starches which the body easily absorbs and gets nutrition. It is therefore able to fight the illness and recover much more quickly. The salt in the rice water helps in replacing a part of the electrolytes.

Posted by Mark (Las Vegas, Ca) on 03/30/2012

Activated Charcoal is good for food poisoning, Gas and bloating and Accidental poisoning. Always keep some on the house. I take it fairly often. I have never had a bad experience using it but many times it has saved me from problems such as gas, bloating and bad food.

Those that warn people to stay away always fail to recognize that maybe it will work for others and their problems might be an abberation and not the typical experience. I have never had charcoal cause constipation.

Kidney Infection
Posted by Lucy (Santa Cruz, Ca, Usa) on 03/23/2013

Kidney pain for me is the worst. When I get this pain I open 4 capsules of activated Charcoal mix it in water drink and within minutes the pain is gone. I've always used this with lemons. If I have blood in my urine I do the juice of 4 lemons, the Charcoal, and drink lots of water.

Bee Sting
Posted by Grace (Spring City, Tn.) on 03/27/2012

I have used charcoal for bee stings also. It works good to put this mixture into a pouch: cut from a baby diaper or chuck with medical tape around it, Pull out the stay dry lining because charcoal only keeps drawing if it is wet. Ground Flax seed works best but when my husband became allergic to flax seed I started using corn starch.

This also works on Brown Recluse Spider Bites, Snake Bites, Mosquito Bites, Infected Cuts of any kind and Ear Infections (Tape to the out side of the ear, pulls the infection out). I used this on my children it really works. Put it on at night and the next morning there was yellowish pus on the poultice.

I believe if people knew the benefits of Charcoal and how to use it many lives would be saved. No worries about gangrene.

Bee Sting
Posted by Pam (Southern California) on 05/25/2022 140 posts

I have used AC for cases of infected teeth with abscess, though ... and found it to be very effective!!! However, I keep a spray bottle of white grain-based vinegar handy, & when something stings me, I head straight for that & spray the sting-site a few times ... rubbing it into the skin around & over that area.... I used to swell way up several inches around a sting, with skin turning red & so painful I wished I would die! Since I started immediately spraying with 5% vinegar to treat stings, though, I no longer experience much if any swelling or pain! And it only requires a 1x application, for myself....

Spider Bites
Posted by Elizabeth (Woodbury, TN) on 09/29/2006

We've used activated charcoal many times in our family and friends for the brown recluse spider bite. Even a couple of doctors here were amazed at what it did! We would make up a paste and change the first day about every 2 hours and then the next day just a few times and would keep watching it. Usually the bite was shrunk and just a little scab after a few days. Usually we would also drink some so that we would have any poison from the bite eliminated from our system.

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 02/27/2015


I have used activated charcoal for children as young as 9 months. I give little ones one tablet to suck on or 1/4 tsp. of the powder in juice or applesauce. I repeat in 2 hours if needed.

I actually find turmeric to be even stronger (though still very safe.). I give little ones 1/4 teaspoon turmeric in applesauce and repeat in two hours If needed.

I am guessing the company doesn't want to worry about liability, so they say not to give it to little ones.

I hope your little guy feels better soon!!

~Mama to Many~

Kidney Dialysis
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 09/27/2013


Yes, you can put a poultice over each kidney. Even if one isn't as affected, it is fine to use two and may have extra benefit.

Hopefully someone who has been through this will have some thoughts regarding diet. Otherwise, if you read around on Earth Clinic, you will probaby get some ideas for good items in the diet that are within your wife's diet that will be helpful to maximize her nutrition and health.

May God give you great wisdom in taking care of your wife!

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Isabel (Edinburgh, Scotland) on 07/17/2012

Activated Charcoal Tablets worked like a miracle for me last night. Thank goodness I had them in the cabinet.

For the first time in ages, I landed up with such a painful, swollen, distended stomach, tender and painful to the touch all over so much pain and gurgling noises. Then diarrhea, then feeling sick and woozy. Don't know if it was too spicy a dinner, food poisoning, just an allergy/intolerance or what. But at midnight, what can you do?

These trusty, simple, old-fashioned charcoal tablets (made from coconut shells, I have read) sorted me out COMPLETELY in less than ten minutes. What a miracle cure, when used to treat the right ailment.

Food Poisoning
Posted by Ngok Ti (Busan, South Korea) on 05/22/2011

Last may 10, I accidentally drank tea from a restaurant which might not have prepared it clean. Within 30 mins from when I finished drinking, my stomach started churning painfully and I had severe diarrhea for 3 days. Since I was already alarmed that the condition didn't get better even after taking loperamide, I turned for help from the Chinese drugstore which advised me to take 3 activated carbon capsules before bedtime 3 hours after dinner. As soon as I took the first dose that evening, the diarrhea stopped. My stomach was still a bit painful so I took another dose the following evening. That worked great.

Charcoal Side Effects
Posted by Jeanne (Atl, Georgia) on 06/25/2008


Please be careful if you try activated charcoal! I was getting stomach pain 20 minutes after every meal. I finally figured out that my stomach pain started after I took activated charcoal (heaping tablespoon for 2 days in a row - not a lot!). I located the pain in my stomach, found a little lump in the colon, and then used my fist to move the lump to the left. A day later my husband took over, found the lump,(which had moved slightly) and did acupressure for about 2 minutes on the spot-- ohhh yes, it hurt. But within minutes I had to run to the bathroom and the rest is history. No more stomach pain. So please be careful with the charcoal, especially if you have a sensitive stomach! I think that people's stomach aches can be often be an impacted colon. The same thing has happened to me before after eating bread and another time, after drinking psyllium without enough water!

If you press on your stomach and have a painful spot that moves slowly from one day to the next, you may have clogged your colon/intestines. Tons of water helps, but acupressure massage is best to move the obstruction to your bowels and out. One last note is that I was having normal bowel movements even while my colon was impacted, so don't rely on that (constipation or elimination) to judge, but more on the location of pain and whether or not a little lump exists.

Tooth and Mouth Care
Posted by Debbie (London) on 02/21/2018

Hi, I've been doing exactly the same and it's brilliant. I've been suffering with an abcess which I have used the same method on and it really helps. The only thing, which has thrown me a bit, is I've just read that the paper used for the teabags contain plastic in them! Nightmare! I've decided to start using coffee filter paper instead.

Activated Charcoal for Dogs
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 11/17/2015

Dear Italiandobergirl,

Well, my charcoal source is not a VIP approved pharmacy, as far as I know. But I have used them for years and have always been very happy with the service and products. We use charcoal to treat our people, our farm animals and our pets.


~Mama to Many~

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 05/27/2015

Dear Meg,

I appreciate your tenacity!

I think charcoal would be a great thing to try. It may take some persistence on your part, but you seem to be well researched and persistent!

You could make small poultices (I would make a week's worth at a time and keep them in the refrigerator) and use them daily. One way to make poultices that aren't so bulky in the mouth are to empty a tea bag (or buy empty tea bags if you have a source for this, though really, it may be cheaper to just empty some.) and replace the tea with activated charcoal powder (about 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon). Moisten and hold this in the affected area in your mouth. You could keep in in your mouth for an hour or two during the day, even a couple of times a day. Or, you could buy charcoal tablets (not capsules) and each night, put one against the area and let it sit between the gum and cheek all night. It will slowly dissolve. I have done this and still have remnants of the tablet in my mouth when I wake up in the morning. I would try this daily for at least a month. I have read about charcoal drawing out deep infections over quite a number of days. It can seem like nothing is happening for a while.

You could also continue with some of the other things you have tried at other times a day. You have tried several excellent remedies.

I look forward to hearing how this works for you.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 05/27/2015

Mama to Many, the teabag is a very good idea, but I use a trick I've seen here on EC: cut a small square out of a coffee filter paper. Put a small mound of activated charcoal (or green clay) and fold up. Wet it. When wet, it works like a piece of cloth! One coffee filter lasts for many one- time -use applications.

Kidney Infection
Posted by Grace (Portland, Oregon) on 11/16/2014

I had kidney inflammation, it was kidney infection my MD prescribes antiobiotics for two weeks, sometimes one just must take it. My ND told me to make a thick wet charcoal poultice keep it wet all night and keep in on my kidney to decrease inflammation, I put the charcoal poultice on my skin thick wet and put saran wrap plastic over that and secured it with medical tape. I put a big piece of plastic on my bed and towel over it just in case , put my pajamas on went to bed . In the morning I would just took the plastic wrap off in the shower and gently wash the charcoal off my kidney area this was the easiest, and mess free way. I did this for a few nights.

Kidney Dialysis
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 09/25/2013

Dear Anon from Chicago,

Yes, charcoal will filter toxins from the kidneys. Here is a very encouraging story about the use of charcoal for kidneys.


Also, on that website, if you type in the search box "kidney dialysis" you will get a number of other pages that mention it. You may have to scroll down to find the part about kidney problems on each page, but there are many exciting stories of charcoal being used to treat kidney problems.

Basically, your wife can take charcoal internally and use poultices over the kidneys. Internally, she would want to take charcoal 2 hours after or before prescription medication. You can get charcoal capsules or tablets, or just put 1 t. Of activated charcoal powder into a glass of water. If you can time it properly, you would do this twice a day. But once a day is good to start and see how that goes.

I know a man who used a charcoal poultice over his kidneys overnight and by morning the poultice was soaked with urine! it was definitely drawing out from the kidneys. And I believe the charcoal helped him, but I can't recall the details - it was a long time ago.

To make a charcoal poultice, you will mix 3 T. activated charcoal powder with 3 T. ground flaxseed (you can also use cornstarch, but I prefer the flaxseed. ) Mix this in a paper cup. Add about 2/3 cup of water and mix with a plastic spoon. (You don't have to use disposable, it is just easier than cleaning up the charcoal. ) Let it sit a few minutes and it kind of gels up. You may need to add a little more charcoal or water to get a good consistency. You will get the hang of it quickly. Spread the charcoal over a paper towel. Top with another paper towel. (Try not to let it get to the edges--it is messy if it comes out. ) This will make about 4 poultices. (Not sure if you will need one or two at a time. Keep extras in the refrigerator for a week or two. ) Place a poultice on the back over the kidney area. Cover with plastic wrap. Use an ace bandage to attach to the body. If you could do this over night, that would be ideal. You can do this as often as you like. You may need to do it very often - maybe 4 nights a week.

Be aware that charcoal has been used to lower blood pressure. (I believe charcoal baths were used for this. ) Anyway, it is something to be aware of.

Regarding diet, I am assuming the "white flour diet" is to keep it a low protein diet as protein is hard on the kidneys? I don't want to suggest anything that would counteract what your doctor suggests. You might ask him about fruits and vegetables that would be okay for her to use. I think the nutrients in those would be important. Also, plenty of water is important.

Also, read through Earth Clinic's kidney page and you may find some ideas for diet and other things to help your wife. She is blessed to have you as her advocate!


Please keep us posted and let us know what helps your wife!

~Mama to Many~

Activated Charcoal and Meds
Posted by Rita (Skandia, Michigan /usa) on 02/05/2010

Will the activated charcoal tabs take away the effectiveness of my medicine?

Food Poisoning
Posted by Mitsue (Wishart, Queensland Australia) on 11/06/2008

One late afternoon I bought Sushi with raw salmon in it, it must have been sitting there all day, after eating it I had very bad case of vomiting and diarrhea for almost 3 weeks. I remembered that charcoal helps with the poison, and I had charcoal my mother sent me for purifying water. I just was so desperate I just cracked a small piece and ate it. Surprising as it is, my vomiting and diarrhea stopped almost immediately. I should have taken it sooner.. So I have medicated charcoal tablet in my medicine cupboard now and when I had vomiting the other I took one straight away and I was fine!!

Posted by Annabell (Bakersfield, California) on 08/04/2008

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: I am 33 years old female with a sensitive stomach..Almost everything I consume always result in heavy gas and bloating. A friend recommended to take Charcoal pills..I have tried almost every prescription medications there is and was excited that charcoal is an old asian alternative medications. I take 1-2 capsule 1-2hours prior to eating..I make sure to have water intake at least 8 glasses a day. Within 1wk I felt immediate results, less bloating, irrability and back to having a regular bowel movement.

Happy stomach.

Viruses, Charcoal and Cayenne
Posted by John Bayne (New Zealand) on 03/03/2008

Hello Deidre. My name is John Bayne and I have been interested in cayenne pepper ever since 1991 when I was discharged from Auckland Hospital, after my third and final episode, in about March 1991, of duodenal hemorrhages, after 8 days and 4 transfusions later, and still losing about a pint of blood a day in passing Melina stools, without any reason given, but I knew that it had to do with my refusal to have an operation (no operation no transfusions). The very day I arrived home, on a Sunday, wondering what I would do, a friend gave me two capsules of the hottest cayenne pepper that I have ever seen to date (they advertised them as African Bird Pepper) and I never have seen a Melina since. About six weeks later the surgeon, who had kept me waiting about an hour and a half to soften me up, nearly choked when he saw that my blood pressure was normal, and of course had no desire to know how I had overcome me slow bleeding to death that their cimetidine had been unable to stop. Charcoal is definitely prolife as is shown by the fact that it can take the hottest tincture or powder without any apparent diminishing in its power to kill flu viruses. Usually take only 20 minutes with a cayenne 150,000 or over, to get rid of headache symptoms 100% of the time over 12 years with quite a few people as we have spread the word.

I have been getting my powdered charcoal from within NZ, but considering that I now use the Internet I am looking for other sources in case this one dries up.

So you sell powdered charcoal and in 1KG lots, and if so how much, and what is the range of sizes. Is the charcoal, only the right kinds of wood, no non vegetarian products such as bones. I would think that the right kind of wood, from a tree, is what I am looking for, for consumption of course.

My main use if to take the sting out of the cayenne, tincture or powder, when dealing with flu, especially, it works every time (for the last 12 years since I discovered the use of charcoal with it). Just as important I am finding it exceedingly difficult to find sources for genuine full strength African Bird's eye pepper, in powder or tincture, as near to 300,000 British Thermal Units. Unlike Dr Richard Schultz, my preference in cayenne is for the Bird's Eye pepper over the Habanera.

Can you get hold of this pepper in a bulk like quantity or in industrial strength tincture (with the water removed without heat), and in a larger amounts than usual but not at a price that would cause me to mortgage my house. If so could you give me data on the amounts, hopefully strengths in BTU's if you can, and prices.

Much appreciated.

PS: For nearly 15 years I had a wonderful supply from a local herbalist who used to import this industrial strength dehydrated cayenne tincture, and I found that there is containers full of full strength Bird's Eye pepper for sale in internationally, @about US$70.000 a container load about $4.00/kilo and on the other end much weaker cayenne at anything up to $100/kilo on the consumer's level and I am looking to intercept this special cayenne, if I can before it goes exponential or gets watered down, and charged more for. We can save lives with this and certainly not with anything under 150,000 BTU's so I would much appreciate it if you can be of any assistance.

Charcoal Side Effects
Posted by Toourlady89 (Ca, Usa) on 08/28/2013

Hi, taking activated charcoal on a regular basis as I understand is not really a good idea. It is used for certain occasions for absorption of bad bacteria from the stomach such as: in food poisoning, abdominal distention with gas, or absorption of excess medication in cases of over dose. It could absorb large amounts of liquid from the stomach and thereby cause constipation. There are many other uses of charcoal but Use it as needed only. Not for regular daily use. You would wanna take it separately from your meds or vitamins as it would also absorb some of those. For constipation, hydration is most important, Milk of Magnesia could help followed by 6-8 glasses of water for the day. Magnesium Oxide daily would help prevent constipation in the future.

Posted by Cameron (Brisbane, Qld, Australia) on 12/14/2011

Yes, works very fast. Mix some Activated Charcoal in some juice, about a Teaspoon, let it fall to the bottom before mixing and drinking because it floats and any vigorous mixing bfore it sinks will have it all over the place. Also works for stomach upsets, gas and vomiting. Vomiting may take up to 3 doses but it will work, be prepared as black Charcoal Vomit is awful if you miss the bag or toilet.

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