Volume 26 Number 1
By Frank Hubbell, DO
What is activated charcoal for?
Activated charcoal is used to treat certain types of ingested poisonings as well as in water purification filters to remove toxins and unwanted tastes.
How does it work?
Activated charcoal works by having a large surface area and being highly absorptive. After absorbing and binding the poison in the stomach and small intestine, thus, preventing it from being absorbed into the system, it will then pass out of the digestive tract along with the feces.
How is it made?
Charcoal is finely ground and heated in the presence of oxygen. This causes the charcoal to become very porous, increasing the surface area of the charcoal and creating a large number of traps that will absorb and hold other compounds, especially poisons.