Previously I have written about charcoal as a great treatment for flatulence. Yes, I did say charcoal and no I haven’t gone mad!! I’m not suggesting you scrape up a few teaspoons of charcoal from your barbeque to ingest next time you’re suffering from a bit of gas. However activated charcoal is a traditional therapy which has been used for the treatment of excess stomach and intestinal gas for a long time. This medicinal activated charcoal is refined and purified to eliminate any unsafe substances, then is activated by heating to a high temperature.
Activated charcoal is a real saviour for many who suffer from flatulence. It works by drawing excess gas in the stomach and bowel which in turn binds to the surface of the charcoal powder and is excreted with the charcoal in the stools. It also alleviates any problems caused by indigestion, heartburn, flatulence and wind.
As well as binding excess gas to the surface of the charcoal powder, it also actively binds poisons and chemicals which may also be in the stomach and bowel. Activated charcoal is therefore also a great way to help detoxify the gut and bowel. Interestingly this process entails adsorbing not absorbing the toxins. By adsorbing it means the toxins are attracted to the surface of the fine charcoal particles, and not absorbed into the charcoal or the body, however are excreted through the bowel. Don’t be alarmed, this then means you may have black stools.
As the charcoal travels through the intestinal tract it will be collecting toxins along the way. These toxins will not only be those ingested but also toxins accumulated from skin contact or breathing. Obviously it is important to eliminate these toxins from the bowel and to assist this elimination it is important to drink plenty of water and consume soluble fibre to help it along its merry way!
Because activated charcoal is known as a remedy to absorb toxins, it also is effective for treatment of chemicals or poisons ingested into the gut. Some Emergency Rooms use large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning.
A new charcoal product has recently arrived onto the market which I’m very impressed with as it not only contains charcoal but also ginger and peppermint. Ginger has been found to be helpful in helping to reduce flatulence, bloating, IBS, colic, and poor digestion. It is believed to assist in digesting our food and absorption of nutrients by stimulating our digestive acids.
Peppermint has also been found to alleviate digestive problems such as bloating, indigestion and flatulence. It is thought peppermint may relax our digestive system thereby easing gut pain and spasms. You can see now why I think this is a great formula. By added ginger and peppermint it has taken charcoal to the next level in alleviating these gut problems.
Charcoal powder has also become very popular of late as an ingredient in smoothies. In fact, on our new menu at our Nourish on North café, we have included a smoothie known as Super Nova containing banana, activated charcoal, cacao, coconut milk with vegan hazelnut chocolate. I have to tell you, this is my favourite smoothie!!! It is sooo tasty and the surprise at the bottom of the glass is a chunk of vegan chocolate!!
It is necessary to be aware if you are taking prescription medications the activated charcoal may reduce its effectiveness. Make sure you take your activated charcoal at least 2 - 3 hours away from your medications.
For more information on activated charcoal or any other health issue call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita Your Health Shop at 5 North St Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune in to Bev and Marianne on “Go Get Healthy” on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm.