We talk about detoxing a lot- removing heavy metals from the blood stream, killing candida overgrowth in the digestive system, eating to eliminate odor causing body odors, detoxing to boost immunity, etc. What we haven’t really talked much about is emergency detoxing- as in removing something toxic before your body absorbs it and causes harm, even death.
Let us begin by saying…
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW INGESTS SOMETHING YOU BELIEVE TO BE TOXIC OR LIFE THREATENING CALL YOUR LOCAL POISON CONTROL.
Activated Charcoal (AC) otherwise known as activated carbon has been used for centuries to treat poisoning. AC has been used in medicine since the ancient Egyptians used it to treat infected wounds.
Activated charcoal IS different than the common charcoal we know, used in grills. What makes ACTIVATED charcoal so effective is its very small and porous granular structure and its ability to absorb and adsorb hundreds of times its own weight.
Adsorption is the function of AC that makes it so special. When a substance adsorbs something, it bonds by way of chemical attraction. AC adsorbs organic (carbon-based) compounds and other chemicals like chlorine. Since the granular structure of AC is so porous, there are countless bonding sites for such chemicals. Once the chemical are bonded at these sites they do not detach.
This is why taking AC is great for absorbing toxins and chemicals, they will not be re-released back into the bloodstream. Which is also why water filters that are made with AC can last for months of use.
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL RIDS BODY OF TOXINS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
While anecdotal, and not used on a human, this is my lifesaving story and the reason I will NEVER have a day without AC in my house.
I stepped away from the cacao pudding I was making to stir something on the stove in the other room. When I returned to the dining room, my 12 lb. dog had eaten half of the pudding. Chocolate is poison to dogs. Cacao is lethal.
The chemical theobromine is present in raw cacao. In large enough quantities it is even poisonous to humans as well, however, you’d have to ingest a ridiculous amount. For dogs it doesn’t take much raw cacao to make them sick or even kill them.
Poisoning symptoms for dogs include hyperactivity, excessive drooling, dehydration, refusing to eat or drink, loss of bladder control, seizures, shaking, rapid pulse, breathing difficulties, nerve damage, heart failure, and death. Knowing this, naturally I freaked out.
My first instinct was to make him vomit. I gave him a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and that didn’t work. I remembered reading that a big danger associate from theobromine is dehydration so I gave Mason water with chicken broth in it (to make it more appetizing). I’m sure that helped but later on when he lost control of his bladder, my poor little Mason could barely make it 5 steps to the door before peeing on the rug.
I called animal poison control, they informed me that the amount of cacao he consumed was very dangerous and on the cusp of lethal. By that point he had started to develop the shakes, along with symptoms of confusion, and lethargy– very scary!! I was informed that he MUST vomit the cacao and that if I brought him to the emergency center for treatment he would be given an injection to make him vomit, followed by some tests to see if he would need intravenous fluids. I had given him copious amount of fluids, but as for the throwing up part, peroxide wasn’t working. An hour had gone by, I knew I had to act and fast.
My next course was to try to give him something to adsorb the chemicals before they entered the bloodstream any further. I gave him one capsule of AC, knowing that is can adsorb toxins in the system. Within minutes he began to vomit and then he vomited 3 times in the next 15 minutes. At that point, I made a second call to the emergency line and was informed that he didn’t have to come in to be seen, we just needed to keep an eye on him.
Even though he appeared to have gotten rid of all the cacao in his stomach, I was concerned about any remaining cacao in his digestive system. I gave him another AC capsule (since he threw up part of the first one). After his second dose of AC he got progressively better. He stopped excessively drooling and became more alert. Within 24 hours he regained his strength and control of his bladder. We have not noticed any long term effects, suggesting that we stopped the progression of the poisoning just in time.
AC has the same effect on humans and is kept on hand in every hospital, emergency room and ambulance to remedy poisoning. I happened to have it on hand because I was doing some personal research (for Healthy Homemakers) about its use as a tooth whitener- which it does work well for, by the way. It absorbs and adsorbs staining agents in and on the tooth. It is one of the active ingredients in our ALL NATURAL TOOTH WHITENER: available here.
AC can be consumed regularly before or after meals to help with gas and bloating, although I would caution against excessive use as it may adsorb some vital nutrients. I take a couple capsules if I know I ate something that might upset my intestines (like going out to eat somewhere with less than quality ingredients).
It is important to drink plenty of water to help carry the AC through the digestive tract. I have taken AC at the on-set of a 24-hour stomach flu / food poisoning and have been able to nip the unpleasant symptoms in the bud… or the butt.
With so many uses, and its lifesaving potential, there is no reason not to have a bottle of AC capsules around the house. They can be ingested in whole capsule form or you can break the cap open and make a slurry with it in water.
Consult your physician before starting an AC regiment, especially if you are already on medication, as the AC may adsorb some of its active ingredients.
Cheers to health and healing!