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Activated carbon

In today’s article, we are going to talk about activated charcoal , an exceptional product, with a good number of benefits for those who consume it. In this guide, we explain what those benefits are and how you can use activated charcoal.

What is activated charcoal and how is it used?

Activated carbon, also called activated carbon, is a porous carbon that has the ability to trap different types of compounds that may be in a gaseous or liquid environment, especially organic ones.

It should be noted that it is the most widely used purifier by humans, given its effectiveness in capturing these compounds.

These organic compounds, which are the ones that activated carbon captures the best, are compounds that are derived from the metabolism of living beings, with a structure consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms .

Within this type of compound are all derivatives of the animal and plant world. Probably the most widely known by-product compound is oil and gas.

The solids that have the capacity to adhere these molecules to their walls are called adsorbents, and the capacity itself is called adsorption capacity (note that it is not the same as absorption). The molecule responsible for this is adsorbate.

Activated carbon is the purification process with more uses and more applications that exists after filtration (filtration basically consists of retaining the solids that are in a liquid, as you do with a strainer, for example).

A section below, we explain what are the most common uses of activated carbon.

How is charcoal activated? Where do you get your adsorbing property from?

It should be mentioned that any carbon particle has, naturally, the ability to adsorb. That is why, traditionally, one of the ways to avoid bad odors was through charcoal .

However, these properties are not at their best. Higher adsorption capacity can be achieved through the activation process, which results in activated carbon itself.

Activating a carbon consists, essentially, of making it porous, so that its adsorption capacity is increased . For example, a gram of charcoal has a surface area of ​​about 50m2, while with activation it increases to 600 or 800m2.

The physical and chemical explanation of how carbon is capable of adsorbing molecules is a bit complicated, so, in order not to make this article too heavy, we are going to save it. If you are interested, it is information that is easy to access with a simple Google search.

Activated carbon, in theory, can be made from any carbon particle. This would include carbon itself, diamond, or graphite. However, the latter generate some problems .

The problem is that the diamond and graphite atoms are very ordered, which makes it difficult to remove the atoms to generate pores (necessary for adsorption). Also, the diamond would be very expensive, of course. For this reason, there is a characteristic of coals, called coking, which measures the ordering of carbon atoms, in such a way that it is possible to have “qualities” of carbon to activate.

What are the common uses of activated charcoal?

Here are some of the most common uses for activated charcoal . As you can see, since it has been used to purify for so long and does it so well, a good number of procedures have been developed.

Water purification

The first of the uses of activated carbon is for the purification and purification of water . Activated carbon can retain pesticides, fats, oils, detergents, toxins, organic compounds produced by algae and plants, animal waste … It is, in short, a product that is used in a large number of industries and situations to make water not It is dangerous for the health of what is going to consume it (not necessarily humans, also animals or plants).

Deodorization and air purification

On the other hand, activated charcoal is also used to deodorize (remove the odor) and purify the air . The situations in which this application is used are extremely varied.

For example, it is often used in cartridge respirators, in air recirculation systems in different public spaces, in paint application booths, organic solvent storage spaces, etc.

Treatment of acute poisonings

Another of the uses that is normally given to activated charcoal is to treat acute poisonings . In fact, for a long time, activated charcoal was considered the most universal antidote possible.

It is a product that can be found in hospital emergency rooms, for example, and since ancient times it was used to heal people who had consumed something and did not know what it was.

Sugar refining

During the refining of sugar , activated carbon is also used , since it allows to retain the proteins that give color to the cane juice. The objective of this process is to prevent the sugar from starting its fermentation process and spoiling.

There are other foods in which activated carbon is used in a similar way, but we focus on sugar because the easiest to understand for those who are not very familiar with these refining processes.

Some other uses

Another common use of activated carbon is the discoloration of vegetable oils , such as coconut, corn glucose and other liquids that are going to be used for food. It is also used to discolor and deodorize some alcoholic beverages , such as wine, but also most distillates, regardless of their origin.

Another fairly frequent use is that of gold recovery . If gold is found together with other minerals and cannot be separated by flotation processes, it is usually dissolved in sodium cyanide, and adsorbed with activated carbon.

How is activated carbon presented?

Activated carbon can be produced in the form of powder, granules or cylindrical pellets, depending on its use . In general, the powder is used exclusively in the purification of liquids. In this case, the charcoal is dosed into a tank with stirring, and then separated from the liquid by a filtration process.

Granular carbon is produced in different thicknesses, and is used in the purification of liquids and gases. Each liquid and gas needs a specific thickness for optimal purification, it should be noted.

Finally, peels are used for gas treatment, since their cylinder shape allows a lower pressure drop, which is good for purifying gases.

Why should you have activated charcoal at home?

Next, we are going to mention some reasons why you should have activated charcoal at home . And it is that, after the above, surely you have already convinced yourself that activated carbon is a great way to purify your home.

An important note before starting

Here are different reasons why you should have activated charcoal at home. Some of them involve its intake. Although the intake of activated charcoal is not dangerous, you should keep these two aspects in mind :

  • Activated charcoal tends to be dehydrating . Therefore, it is recommended that you consume a couple of liters of water a day to ensure that you do not suffer from any dehydration problem when consuming it.
  • Activated charcoal can nullify the effect of medications . Therefore, it is recommended that you do not take it until two hours have elapsed since ingesting the medication.

Reduces high cholesterol levels

First of all, it should be mentioned that activated charcoal has been analyzed in multiple scientific studies and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels, as well as increase good cholesterol . In one study, for example, total cholesterol was shown to have decreased by 25%, while good cholesterol had increased by 8%. And this, using activated charcoal for only four weeks.


The adsorbing properties of activated charcoal can also be helpful in removing venom from some stings. Of course, if you have been bitten by something particularly dangerous, you should go to the doctor, but for bee or mosquito stings, it works very well.

In addition, it reduces pain and inflammation caused by the sting or bite.

The best way to use activated charcoal in these cases is through a paste that mixes a little aloe vera with the activated charcoal. If you don’t have aloe vera, you can mix it with water, but aloe vera works better.

Activated charcoal is anti-aging

Another use of activated charcoal is to prevent cell damage in the kidneys and liver , which helps to reduce the aging process and feel better about yourself when it comes to your health.

Activated charcoal, when consumed, will be responsible for supporting the main cleaning organs of the body, helping to eliminate toxins and chemicals that can harm the human body.

The best way to consume activated charcoal for this is by ingesting half a gram of activated charcoal after meals.

Teeth whitenerAnother interesting use for activated charcoal is to whiten teeth . In addition, it is one of the best known and traditionally used by people around the world.

It may seem a bit gross, but the truth is that it works. Brushing your teeth by adding a little activated charcoal to your toothpaste will allow you to have better teeth.

Of course, it should be mentioned that, after using it, you have to rinse your mouth well, because, otherwise, you will have the feeling of having sand in your mouth throughout the day.

It is also important to note that, compared to other teeth whitening techniques, activated charcoal does not damage tooth enamel. Therefore, it is a fantastic way to keep your teeth free from wine or coffee stains.

Digestive detox

As mentioned before, activated charcoal is used in the medical world to solve acute poisoning problems . In fact, it is even used to combat oral overdoses.

It is important to mention that, even if you have not had an acute poisoning, it is advisable that, periodically, cleanse your body with activated charcoal. The reason for doing this is that the different toxins in processed foods tend to build up inside you.

You don’t need to consume activated charcoal continuously over time to do this. It will be enough for you to take ten grams 90 minutes before each meal for two days.

If you want to keep yourself clean inside, you can do this once every two weeks, and you will notice how you feel more energetic having eliminated all kinds of toxins from within.

It is also important that, during this interior cleaning process, you only consume organic fruits and vegetables, as well as meats that have not been processed. In this way, you will multiply its effect.

Relieves gas and stomach bloating

If you suffer from gas, stomach bloating or heartburn, activated charcoal will also be a great ally for you . Also, activated charcoal is much cheaper, safer, and with fewer side effects than digestive pills or antacids.

You can take 500 milligrams an hour after having a particularly large meal, or on a regular basis if you tend to have these problems. You will notice the improvement in no time.

Purify the water and air in the home

As we have already mentioned throughout the article, activated carbon is used to purify gases and liquids. Therefore, it is a great way to purify the water and air in your home .

In fact, you have surely seen, on occasion, some jugs that have a filter inside, with small black specks floating. Well, those black specks floating on the filter are active carbon particles.

Thanks to activated carbon, you can capture impurities from the air and water, such as pesticides, industrial waste and different chemicals. Of course, you must bear in mind that it does not trap bacteria, viruses, or minerals from the water.

Activated charcoal also helps remove some fluoride from the water, although it does not remove it completely. Keep in mind that avoiding fluoride is very important for good oral health.

On the other hand, activated carbon filters for the air are often used to capture odors, although they also eliminate particles that could become toxic, such as some organic solvents (which is why it would be very good to have it in your DIY room) .

As you can see, activated charcoal has substantial benefits for the health of those who consume it, and the most varied uses. We hope you get the most out of it and that this guide has been helpful to you.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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