Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a substance that has tiny holes which can capture chemicals. People usually take it by mouth to treat certain types of poisoning. It's made from materials like peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum. To create activated charcoal, it undergoes a process where it's heated in the presence of a gas, forming lots of tiny spaces inside called pores. These pores help trap chemicals.

The main use of activated charcoal is for poisoning. It's also thought to help with high cholesterol, hangovers, and upset stomach, but the scientific proof for these uses is not strong.


It is rated as "possibly effective" for treating poisoning. It should be used with guidance from a healthcare provider along with standard poisoning treatments.


When taken by mouth, activated charcoal is generally safe for short-term use. Long-term use is possibly safe, with common side effects like constipation and black stools.

When applied to the skin, it's likely safe for most adults when used on wounds.


If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a healthcare provider before using activated charcoal.

Avoid using if there's any gastrointestinal blockage or slow movement of food through the intestine.

Interactions with Medications:

Moderate caution is advised when using activated charcoal with alcohol, birth control pills, and medications taken by mouth. It may decrease the effectiveness of these substances.


In foods, activated charcoal is used as a black food coloring.

In medicine, it's often taken as a single dose of 100 grams by mouth for specific conditions, under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

It's essential to talk to a healthcare provider before using activated charcoal, especially during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or if there are concerns about interactions with medications.

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