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Activated Charcoal

What Is It?

Poison control centers often recommend activated charcoal to treat accidental poisonings, making it a useful supplement to keep in the home. Activated charcoal is made from organic materials such as wood pulp and then treated to further enhance its absorptive powers. Once ingested, it binds with certain chemicals in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed into your system and causing harm.

Activated charcoal has also been used–in far smaller doses than what’s recommended for poisonings–to treat such digestive complaints as intestinal gas (flatulence), diarrhea, and stomach ulcer pain. There is good evidence to support some of these uses. A small study published in 1986, for example, showed that people who took activated charcoal experienced less gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort after eating than they did when they took a placebo or an over-the-counter anti-flatulence medication.

Some nutritionally oriented doctors contend that the absorption abilities of charcoal can help prevent fats from entering the bloodstream, thus lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk for heart disease. There are also claims that activated charcoal can rid the body of environmental toxins. To date, there’s little evidence that the charcoal is effective or safe for these uses, however.

Activated charcoal comes in pill and powder form. If you opt for the powder, mix it with a tall glass of water and drink it through a straw to avoid staining your teeth. (If your tongue and teeth are blackened by the charcoal, quickly brush your teeth and rinse; it should come right off.) Avoid taking activated charcoal with milk or other dairy products because they may lessen its effectiveness.

For flatulence, take 500 mg of activated charcoal after meals and every two hours as needed; take care not to ingest more than 4,000 mg in any 24-hour period.

General Interaction

Because activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption or metabolism of various nutrients and medications, take it at least two hours after (or before) other products.

Cautions

For suspected poisonings, consult a poison control center expert before taking activated charcoal. Don’t use activated charcoal at the same time as another common home remedy for poisoning, syrup of ipecac. Charcoal can be used after ipecac has done its job, which is to induce vomiting.
When taken in large doses, activated charcoal can cause black stools, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.

Avoid activated charcoal if you have any type of bowel obstruction.

For product recommendations and orders from the Natural Apothecary click here or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.


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Upcoming Workshops

Finding Unity – Movement & Meditation

Sunday, February 5th
12:00pm to 2:00pm; $40 Registration Fee

Our world is in a constant state of flux and uncertainty. This can cause occasional turmoil in our lives when the fluctuation feels overwhelming. At these moments it is important to pause and reconnect to our true nature, which is to feel safe, content, and whole.  More>>

 

Facial Guasha Class

The Ultimate DIY Anti-Aging Facial!

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself!

Facial guasha is an easy to learn technique that:
* encourages blood flow and promotes radiance
* prevents wrinkles
* activates cells to regain facial elasticity
* drains fluids to detoxify skin and reduce puffiness
* sloughs off dead skin cells
* uplifts and tones skin
* firms up facial muscles
* minimizes dark circles
* promotes a healthy, younger and more radiant look

Your skin will thank you and will look more radiant, smooth and younger!

When: Monday, March 20th, 7-8:30
Where: WholeHealth Chicago, 2265 N. Clybourn Avenue
Cost: $50 includes guasha tool and anti-aging facial oil

Space is limited, pre-registration required by calling 773-296-6700.

Mari Stecker has practiced acupuncture at WholeHealth Chicago for over 20 years. She offers acupuncture facial rejuvenation as well as treatments for many dermatological conditions including acne, psoriasis and eczema. She also treats a full range of conditions including pain, fertility and allergies.
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