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Charcoal


 

Charcoal or charred wood is formed when wood is heated in the absence of air. Charcoal has the unique ability to adsorb or remove poisonous gases, drugs, toxic chemicals, infectious bacteria, and viruses. A good quality of charcoal can be made from coconut shells and any wood such as eucalyptus, willow, pine, and oak. Charcoal can be easily made at home. Cut the wood to a uniform size and remove the bark. Stack the wood tightly together in a hole in the ground and start a fire. After the wood begins to burn, cover it with earth or a piece of tin. (If tin is used, pile earth on top of the tin.) Leave a small vent or opening for admitting limited amounts of air in order to maintain a slow burning process over several days. After the burning process is completed, leave the charcoal inside the covered hole until it cools, as heated charcoal will burst into flames when exposed to the air.

For medicinal use, break the charcoal into coarse pieces. Sterilize the charcoal by heating it in a clay pot or in an oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Grind the sterilized pieces into fine powder; store in a dry, tight container.

The Charcoal Advantage

• It is simple to make and to use.

• It is inexpensive and easily available.

• It is harmless but highly effective.

METHODS OF USE

Oral

Charcoal has no toxic effects. Use charcoal as much as needed and as often as it is needed. Carefully stir 1 to 2 large spoonfuls (tablespoons) of charcoal powder into a small amount of water; fill the glass with additional water. Charcoal is best taken between meals. If food is the cause of the ailment, take charcoal whenever it is needed.

Poultice

Charcoal powder can be mixed with water and used as a poultice. Directions for preparing a charcoal poultice are as follows:

1. Mix the charcoal powder into a little water until the mixture has the consistency of a paste.

2. Ground flaxseed or cornstarch may be added to the charcoal mixture to keep the poultice from becoming too dry. Mix 1 to 3 large spoonfuls of charcoal powder with 3 large spoonfuls of ground flaxseed or 2 large spoonfuls of cornstarch to a cup of boiling water. 

3. Spread the charcoal paste on one half of a cloth or paper towel. Fold the other half of the cloth or paper towel over the charcoal paste.

4. Place the poultice on top of the affected skin area. Cover the entire poultice with a piece of plastic to keep it from drying out. (See Table 1, page 48 for preparing a charcoal poultice.)

Caution: It is best not to put the charcoal powder directly on the skin if the skin is cut or broken. Sometimes charcoal can give a tattooing effect if the skin is broken.

COMMON USES OF CHARCOAL

1. Poisoning or Drug Overdose

Charcoal is the best treatment for poisoning or drug overdose.

• Induce vomiting unless petroleum products (gasoline, kerosene), alkali (lye), or strong acids have been swallowed. In these cases do not induce vomiting.

• Neutralize acids with baking soda in water. Neutralize caustics with vinegar in water.

• Stir in 1 to 2 large spoonfuls of charcoal in a small amount of water and swallow quickly. (See Table 3, page 50 for charcoal dosage schedule.)

2. Diarrhoea

Charcoal is one of the most effective treatments for diarrhoea.

Treat severe diarrhoea in an adult by adding 2 large spoonfuls of powdered charcoal to a glass of water. Drink one glass of charcoal water plus one glass of clear water 4 times per day. Drink one more glass of charcoal water followed by one glass of clear water for each additional, watery stool. (Use one half of the adult dose of charcoal for a child.)

Watch for signs of dehydration: thirst; dry mouth; scant, dark yellow urine; loss of skin elasticity; and a sunken, soft spot in infants.

If dehydration occurs, a simple rehydration drink can be made by adding ½ to 1 small spoonful (teaspoon) of salt to 1 quart of vegetable broth or rice water. Give fluids in small sips every 5 minutes-even if vomiting occurs--until there is a normal output of urine.

3. Nausea and vomiting

Charcoal is very effective for nausea and vomiting. Give the full adult dose 1 to 2 large spoonfuls in ½ glass of water each time vomiting occurs. (For a child use ½ the adult dose.) If the charcoal is vomited, give another dose immediately. Always follow the dose of charcoal with a full glass of water.

4. Intestinal gas or bloating

Charcoal relieves intestinal gas or bloating. Take 1 to 2 large spoonfuls of charcoal in 1/2 glass of water as needed to control symptoms.

5. Eye and ear infections

Infections of the eyes and ears can be treated with a charcoal poultice. Put the poultice over the infected eye or ear, and leave it in place for at least 4 hours or overnight. Applying heat to the poultice increases its effectiveness.

6. Skin and joint infections

Infections of the skin and the joints can be treated with a charcoal poultice. Leave the poultice on for several hours or overnight.

7. Bee stings and spider bites

For single bee stings and inflamed mosquito, ant, or chigger bites, apply a charcoal poultice directly over the affected area. For severe allergic reactions to a bee sting, change the poultice every 10 minutes for one hour. Then leave a charcoal poultice in place for 8 hours or until pain and swelling are gone.

Directions for treating multiple bee stings and venomous spider, scorpion, or insect bites are as follows:

• Immediately wash the area of the bite or sting thoroughly with soap and water.

• Submerge the bitten area in cool charcoal water for 30 minutes to one hour. Prepare the cool charcoal bath with 1/2 cup of charcoal in 8 liters (2 gallons) of water.

• After soaking in cool charcoal water, apply a charcoal poultice. (See Table 2, page 49 for bee sting and spider bite treatment.)

8. Snake bites

If pain and swelling occur within 10 minutes of a poisonous snakebite, venom has entered the body.

• Immediately wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.

• Submerge the bitten area in cool charcoal water for 30 minutes to one hour (1/2 cup of charcoal to 8 liters or 2 gallons of water).

• Apply a very large charcoal poultice covering almost the entire extremity that has been bitten. Center the poultice directly over the bite. Keep the poultice moist by covering it with plastic. Remove the old poultice and place a new poultice over the snakebite every 10 to 15 minutes until swelling and pain are gone.

• Take charcoal powder by mouth as well. Take about 2 large spoonfuls in 1/2 glass of water every 2 hours for 3 doses, then 1 small spoonful every 4 hours for the next 24 hours. Each charcoal dose should be followed by 2 glasses of water. (See Table 2, for snakebite treatment.)

9. Jaundice in the newborn

If the newborn baby is very yellow, give a small spoonful of charcoal stirred in enough water to pass through a nipple every 2 to 3 hours. Place the undressed baby in the sunlight before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. (avoid hot, midday sun to prevent burning the skin). Cover the baby's eyes to protect them from the sun's rays. Continue treating the infant until the jaundice decreases or disappears.

10. Liver and kidney disease

Charcoal can benefit people with diseases of the liver and kidneys including liver or kidney failure. Give charcoal by mouth to help prevent toxins from accumulating in the body. Apply a large charcoal poultice to the mid-back for kidney disorders and to the abdomen for liver disorders.

11. Toothaches and gum infections

For gum infections, mix charcoal powder with enough water to make a paste. Brush the charcoal paste between the infected gums and the teeth. Leave the charcoal on the gums all night. Rinse the teeth and gums in the morning. For toothaches, spread the charcoal paste on a piece of gauze; roll up the gauze and place it between the cheek or tongue and the infected tooth.

Uses of Charcoal

Internally Charcoal powder, tablets, capsules

• Poisoning

• Nausea and vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Intestinal gas

• Sore throat

• Bad breath

Externally Poultice, bath

• Bee, wasp, and insect stings

• Spider and snake bites

• Skin lesions from poisonous plants

• Skin infections

• Eye and ear infections

• Deodorizing agent

Table 2. Charcoal Treatment Schedule

For Multiple Bee Stings, Spider, and Snake Bites Multiple Bee Stings

Spider Bites

Snake Bites

Initial Treatment

Wash bite area thoroughly

1/2 to 1 hour charcoal bath

Followed by a charcoal poultice

Wash bite area thoroughly

1/2 to 1 hour charcoal bath

Followed by a charcoal poultice

Wash bite area thoroughly

1/2 to 1 hour charcoal bath

Followed by a charcoal poultice

Drink 2 large spoons of charcoal in a glass of water every 2 hours for 6 hours

Continued Treatment

Change poultice every 10 minutes for 1 hour

Then leave on for 8 hours

Change poultice every 30 minutes for 8 hours

Then change every 2 hours for 8 hours

Then change every 2 to 4 hours until healed

Change poultice every 10 to 15 minutes until swelling and pain are gone

(Add ice packs if pain and swelling persist)

Drink 1 small spoon of charcoal in a glass of water every 4 hours for 24 hours

Table 3. Charcoal Dosage Schedule

For Poisoning Estimated total amount of poison (or medicine) taken

Charcoal powder to be used if person has not eaten in last 2 hours

Charcoal powder to be used if person has eaten in last 2 hours

1 small spoon

1 to 2 tablets

1 to 2 capsules

1 to 2 large spoons charcoal stirred in a little water

Rinse glass and drink the contents

Follow by 2 glasses of water

4 to 10 large spoons charcoal stirred in a little water

Rinse glass and drink the contents

Follow by 2 glasses of water

1 large spoon

3 to 5 tablets

2 to 5 capsules

3 to 4 large spoons charcoal given as above

6 to 15 large spoons charcoal given as above

Unknown

1 to 5 large spoons charcoal given as above

5 to 15 large spoons charcoal given as above

Repeat all dosages within 10 minutes. Repeat all dosages anytime thereafter if the patient worsens.