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Frequently Asked Questions About Activated Charcoal


In this article we are going to briefly answer some of the most important questions people have about activated charcoal. If you would like more detailed answers to these questions, you can find all this information and more throughout the rest of this site.

1. How Do You Make Activated Charcoal?

We have put together a comprehensive guide in our article “How to Make Activated Charcoal”.  For full information, we suggest you look at that. In order to make activated charcoal in the comfort of your own backyard, you will need to heat wood up to an extreme temperature. This will create charcoal which is then ground down. The charcoal will then be mixed with a calcium chloride solution before it is ‘baked’.

2. Is it safe to consume activated charcoal?

For the most part, it should be safe. Perhaps the worst side-effect you will suffer from will be blackened stools. However, it is worth noting that if you do consume too much activated charcoal, it may clog up your digestive system. This is a serious issue which you will need to attend a hospital to have treated. Thankfully, this is very rare.

3. Is activated charcoal the same as normal charcoal?

No. it is not. Activated charcoal has oxygen added to it. It is this oxygen which helps to increase the surface area of the charcoal. You will not be able to use normal charcoal in place of activated charcoal as it will provide no benefit.

4. What is activated charcoal used for?

Again, we have a more in-depth guide elsewhere on this website. Activated charcoal is used for several different purposes. For example; it can be used to help remove certain poisons from the body. It can also be used for beauty purposes such as dealing with acne or whitening your teeth.

6. Can you overdose on activated charcoal?

It is unlikely that you will be able to overdose on activated charcoal. As mentioned in answer to another question, consuming too much activated charcoal may clog up your digestive system. This can make it difficult to pass a stool. However, you will need to be consuming a lot of this for that to happen. When you are taking activated charcoal, no matter the reason, we always suggest that you read the label on the packaging. Make sure you take the activated charcoal as directed. This should reduce the chances of an ‘overdose’.

7. Can Activated Charcoal interact with certain medications?

Yes. It can. As you may know, activated charcoal is often used to eradicate unwanted substances in the body. In many cases, the medication will be attracted to the activated charcoal. The activated charcoal will absorb it. If it absorbs the medication, then that medication will have no impact on the body.

Most medications will be absorbed by activated charcoal. If you regularly take activated charcoal, then you may wish to talk to your doctor. They can tell you if there are any risks with the medications that you are taking. It is important to note that in rare cases, the activated charcoal absorbing the medication can have an undesirable impact on your system. The impact could potentially be deadly.

8. How do you take activated charcoal?

It is normally taken orally. However, you can also form a paste and apply the activated charcoal directly to your skin.


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