While eating a chunk of charcoal in order to deal with a case of food poisoning may seem a bit odd to you, the truth is that it actually works. As long as that charcoal happens to be activated charcoal, taking some of it ay actually help stop food poisoning in its tracks.
Charcoal is actually just a form of carbon created when you remove all the water and burn away all the volatile substances from plant or animal matter (wood in most cases). This brittle, light, black and porous substance is generally created through the gradual heating. By treating charcoal with oxygen you turn it into activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is highly porous, allowing liquid and gases to pass through it and interact with the exposed carbon.
How does Activated Charcoal Work?
As liquid or gas passes through the activated charcoal, the exposed carbon will then bind itself to the chemicals and toxins that we do not want to get into our system. Its ability to trap things like chlorine, odors and other contaminants is what makes activated carbon the go to substance in most water purification devices. Besides being in your water filter, activated charcoal is also available in powder form, allowing you to ingest during times when you may have consumed something potentially dangerous. By eating activated charcoal, you can end up absorbing chemicals and other contaminants that may otherwise cause you serious harm.
How to use it
It is not recommended that you eat activated charcoal with every meal just to be safe. Doing so will prevent you from getting the nutrients your body needs because the carbon with absorb it all. Instead, the powdered form of activated charcoal should be kept handy for emergency situations in case you or some other family member (or pet) ends up ingesting something potentially harmful. Activated charcoal can be found in many stores and is a must have in any emergency kit. By taking it within an hour of ingesting the problem substance, it can help reduce your body’s absorption by up to 60% and even end up saving your life in cases of accidental poisoning or overdose.
Activated Charcoal is not a cure for IBS or cases of simple indigestion and is not something you should take with regularity. Also, the stuff in your barbeque is generally chemically treated compressed coal or coke and will not work the same.