It’s January of 2017. Need something to really flush 2016 out of your system? This trending ingredient might “activate” your interest. Activated charcoal has been used by physicians to treat poisoning, alleviate intestinal gas, lower cholesterol levels, prevent hangovers, and treat cholestasis (an intestinal complication during pregnancy.) Recently, many health-minded chefs and food innovators are using it as an ingredient in cleanse foods and beverages.
What is activated charcoal? Any kind of charcoal that undergoes a special creation process that “activates” it, or makes it extremely porous. Coconut ash, a widely used organic activated charcoal, is made primarily through a super-hot steam charring process, but there are many different ways to produce it, from industrial to DIY, and its applications are multifarious.
How does it work? Activated charcoal is especially porous among non-toxic solids, far more than its inactive counterpart, which gives it peerless absorption and filtration uses. As it passes through or over the body, it gathers troublesome toxins and particles within its pores, and leaves with them. It can also be used to whiten teeth and stymie aging by aiding the liver and kidneys in filtration. These filtering abilities can be applied to water, which is why you see those tiny black specks in your water filter; it also has a broad range of industrial and agricultural uses.
Food-producers of many kinds use activated charcoal as an “active” ingredient in comestibles like digestive biscuits, cleanse lemonades, and even in cheese, bestowing potent cleansing properties and a distinctive smoky color. Activated charcoal is a powerful not-so-secret ingredient with health-goth style, and we foresee it tipping into the mainstream very soon.
A reminder though! Activated charcoal isn’t for everyone, as its powerful absorption qualities have negative interactions with certain medications and conditions. Be sure to contact your physician if you’re interested in a black-ash cleanse.