A Natural Health Care Staple: Activated Charcoal

Read why activated charcoal is an important ingredient every household should have on hand for a healthy lifestyle.

A highly effective remedy for occasional diarrhea and food poisoning, activated charcoal has long been used around the world to treat spider bites. Used as recommended, activated charcoal absorbs toxins in the bloodstream and colon. It is available where health foods are sold.

Check out these other ways activated charcoal can help:

  • Diarrhea remedy – Although unpleasant, diarrhea rids the body of toxins. If diarrhea persists, mix a tablespoon of powder in a shaker cup of water, seal, shake, and drink. Tablets may be taken as directed on the label or by your natural health care practitioner, with water. Do not take with other supplements or medications.
  • Food poisoning – Follow directions above to rid the colon and bloodstream of toxins.
  • Teeth whitener – Activated charcoal naturally whitens teeth. Dip a wet toothbrush into the black powder. Brush the teeth thoroughly; rinse mouth with water and spit down the drain. Rinse toothbrush under running water. You may need to brush teeth again with a wet toothbrush to remove charcoal residue.
  • Spider bites, bee stings, and insect bites – Mix just enough water with the charcoal powder to make a paste. Apply poultice directly to the affected area to draw out the poison. Cover with a gauze or a bandage. Brown recluse spider bites can be severe, and poultice must be changed frequently. Consult your physician immediately for poisonous spider bite treatment.

This story is an excerpt from “5 Basic Ingredients For Natural Health Care,” which appears in the 2015 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac. Read about the other 4 ingredients you should have in the medicine cabinet on pages pp. 50-53!

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Deborah Tukua

Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.

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To be Good of glory

Dianne Meeker

Because charcoal is such a good absorber, we are careful to not use it within ~2 hours of any regular medications, so that they are not affected. We have used it for over 35 years and I carry it in my purse–in case of food poisoning/diarrhea away from home. Any time diarrhea hits, usually only a couple doses of capsules (within an hour) are needed to get a good effect. Two of our “must have” topicals are Nature’s Way Black Ointment (a natural drawing salve) and Survival Enterprises’ Colloidal Silver gel (for its healing properties). We use them for spider and other insect bites–especially when an allergic reaction sets in–to take the swelling/redness/pain/itching away. My best friend used both of them on a brown recluse bite many years ago, after her doctor said she would lose flesh and have a hole in her leg that might require plastic surgery. Her alternating applications of ointment and gel took about two weeks to completely heal the wound without any sign of predicted damage. The Colloidal Silver gel also works on my fever blisters–speeding the healing to a few days instead of the normal 10 days without it. We also take S.E. Colloidal Silver liquid daily to build up our own immune systems–just increasing dosage if we feel cold/flu coming on until we feel better (in a day or two instead of a week). We haven’t had a serious bout with any virus since taking Colloidal Silver regularly and we haven’t had any flu/pneumonia shots, either. Looking forward to reading the 2015 Almanac for more “staples”.

Diana L. Owens

I had bad indigestion one night in the 80’s my friend brought over charcoal tablets for consumption. By morning I was in E.R. They could not tell what was wrong becsuse of charcoal tablets obscuring results. I was in hospital 31 days.Never again will I use charcoal tabs.

Kay Williams

My daughter was bit by a spider, we believe it was a brown recluse. After it got so swollen it began to seep she came to us from 300 miles away. We took her to a Dr. He lanced and sent her home with a prescription and instructions to come back in two days. When we got back he had scheduled her for an amputation to our surprise since it had almost healed up completely. He was so surprised and demanded what we had done. Took the medication, my daughter said. No, he replied you did something more. Well, she confessed we also used some silver solution. He dismissed her and she went back to work the next day. Doing great today and with both arms.


I’ve been using the power of charcoal for over 40 yrs it’s in my medicine cabnet and goes with met on all road trips it takes about two hours to get rid of stomach pain but it works.

Nadine Burke

Very useful information. I’m always looking for natural remedies.


I was bitten three times by a brown recluse, All in a small area just behind and below my right knee. I was afraid I would loose my calf muscle as it became as hard as bone nearly with no feeling. But for a lot of prayer and keeping it clean and covered I only ended up with a slight scar.


This is so interesting and helpful!


I too, was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider in 1999! I had no idea it had happened, I was at an Estate Sale and a Nurse burst out to m, and e you have Cestitus setting in on your upper Arm!
I went to the Library, looked up all I could find, and went to the Health food store. Bought Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E; headed to the drug store bought plain Epsom Salts. Went home and soaked my arm in really warm water with Epsom Salt. then made a poultice with charcoal, tea tree, & vitamin E. I put that on my arm with a bandaid. The next morning, it had “Drawn” a poison blister the size of a quarter, and 3/8″ thick! IT had grabbed all the poison out of the bite. That is when I became a believer; otherwise, it would have been a huge gouge out of my skin with an ugly scar!
Thank you for giving the information to the public. Curcumin is another everyone should know about.

Wayne Griffith

Thank you, This is good to know.


I was bit by a brown recluse spider & completely healed it with charcoal poultices. Didn’t even scar. It took 3 weeks of consistence applications but it works.

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