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Charcoal [message #324] Thu, 15 October 2015 14:49
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For medicinal purposes, fresh charcoal made from the finest woods should be used. The best charcoal is obtained from boxwood, shells of coconuts, willow, pine, and other soft woods. Charcoal is an adsorbent and it will adsorb and condense many times its own volume of various gases. It is very useful as an antiseptic due to its adsorbent and oxidizing qualities. It is excellent taken internally for acid dyspepsia and also for gas, fermentation, and heartburn.

One heaping teaspoonful after each meal. Put the charcoal powder in a cup, add water enough to make a paste, dilute, and drink at once. More can be taken with benefit.
Charcoal is a valuable remedy in cases of colic due to decomposition of foods in the stomach and bowels, and can be used as either a preventive or curative. Give a tablesoppnful in halfaglass of hot water.

As preventive, take a teaspoonful after each meal in a little hot water. For inflammation of the bowels or dysentery, give a tablespoonful in half-a-glass of hot water and repeat as often as necessary. Also give charcoal poultices over the bowels and stomach. Charcoal mixed in a strong smartweed tea makes an excellent poultice for bruises and inflammation. A charcoal poultice is good for relief of inflammation in the eyes. It is also a most excellent poultice for gangrene, old ulcers, and sores. I have used charcoal and olive oil mixed to the consistency of paste, or so that it is easy to take. It is very good for some kinds of indigestion. Charcoal also mixes easily with soybean milk, and may be taken in this way for indigestion. Old charcoal is made more effective if heated before using.

Charcoal is truly a universal antidote. Its use dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates, who lived from 460 to 370 B.C. Activated charcoal is a black, shiny, odorless and tasteless substance made by burning certain types of wood under controlled conditions so that a very large adsorptive surface is produced. All impurities are removed so that it is 100 percent pure vegetable matter. When examined under the microscope, it is seen to be extremely porous, having the appearance of a sponge with rigid walls. Charcoal is adsorptive in its action, rather than being absorptive like a sponge; that is, it acts like a magnet, attracting substances to itself and holding them tightly on its surface, just how this is accomplished no one knows for sure.

Charcoal can adsorb up to 250 to 350 times its own weight. One quart of charcoal can adsorb nearly 90 quarts of ammonia gas. The surface area of all the particles in a small piece of charcoal only 2/5 of an inch square would cover and area more than 33 yards square. It has a strong affinity for adsorbing impure and toxic gasses which makes it a wonderful remedy for use when fermentation accures in the intestinal tract with the production of excessive gas, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, sour stomach, and headache. It also adsorbs many poisonous chemicals, drugs, and toxins, such as opium, cocaine, morphine, nicotine, salicylates, strychnine, kerosene, barbiturates, and antidepressant pills, to name but a few. It is of little or no value in lye and caustic alkalis, alcohol, mineral acids, iron, and cyanides; in fact, cyanide actually interferes with the normal adsorptive properties of charcoal.

A dramatic demonstration, conducted in 1813 by the French chemist Bertrand, vividly demonstrated the almost miraculous adsorptive properties of charcoal when he drank five grams of arsenic trioxide mixed with charcoal and survived. A few years later, about 1830, a pharmacist by the name of P. F. Touery, attempting to prove that charcoal was an excellent antidote, took a massive dose of strychnine (ten times the usual lethal dose) with 15 grams (half an ounce) of activated charcoal before the French Academy of Medicine in Paris and suffered no apparent ill effects. But for anyone to try such and experiment today would be considered very foolhardy and dangerous!

During World War I, charcoal was used as an adsorbent in gas masks to protect the soldiers from poisonous gas. Following the war, the use of charcoal in the United States was largely neglected. Two factors that may have contributed to this lack of interest were: (1) the use of burnt toast as a home remedy for poisining in the place of charcoal gave disappointing results; and (2) the use of the so-called "universal antidote." This consisted of two parts charcoal, one part magnesium oxide, and one part tannic acid. Because of the added substances, is was usually not as effective as using charcoal by itself.

No home should be without charcoal and the knowledge of how to use it effectively. It is a marvelous antidote for many kinds of poisons and is excellent to use for infections. Charcoal is also an excellent air deodorizer when placed in a dish in the refrigerator or anywhere that unpleasant odors are present. It may be used either internally or externally. Charcoal has been found to be harmless when ingested or when used on the skin and may be applied in powdered form directly to skin ulcers or wounds, specially if they are infected.

It can be obtained as a powder, as capsules or as tablets, the powdered form being by far the most effective. Activated charcoal capsules are twice as strong as the tablets, although chewing the tablets before swallowing them increases their effectiveness. The tablets and capsules are used mainly for gas and indigestion. The average adult dose is either 1 tablespoonful of charcoal powder stirred in enough water to make a thick soup-like mixture, or 6 to 8 tablets or 4 capsules twice a day. The charcoal should be kept tightly sealed in a glass or metal container. It is best not to take charcoal when there is food in the stomach if it can possibly be avoided, as the food interferes with its action. In case of poisoning, take five times the weight of charcoal as the estimated weight of the ingested poison. If there is food in the stomach, 8 to 10 times the weight of the poison should be given in the form of finely powdered charcoal. One tablespoonful of charcoal equals about 10 grams. The sooner the charcoal can be taken after the poison is ingested, the more effective it will be. That is why it needs to be readily available in the home, on the camping trip, or whereever it may be needed on a moment's notice. To obtain the maximum effect, it must be ingested before the poison is absorbed from the intestinal tract.

As John Holt, M.D., makes clear in the Journal of Pediatrics: "It is shown that this agent [charcoal], presently somewhat neglected, has a wide spectrum of activity and when properly used is probably the most valuable single agent we possess... as an emergency antidote for the treatment of ingested poisons... A bottle of charcoal on every medicine shelf would go a long way to combat serious poisonings in the home."

A four-ounce jar of activated charcoal powder can be purchased at nearly any drug store for about $3.50. An even more convenient way to have a charcoal mixture ready right when you need it is to purchase a suspension of 30 grams of activated charcoal in four ounces of water already mixed and sealed in a plastic container. All you have to do when it is needed is to shake the carton a few times, remove the lid and drink the contents. The cost for this premixed, convenient way to have charcoal imediately available is about $5.50. It should be kept in the home emergency medical kit in a conspicuous place.

For a long time there has been some difference of opinion as to whether or not charcoal will adsorb necessary nutrients as well as poisons. Dr. Holt states: "It is now very clear that activated charcoal will adsorb not only poisons but also vitamins, digestive enzymes, amino acids, and other valuable nutrients from the gut. Such loses if continued will seriously affect health, but are of no importance in situations of acute poisoning."

Poultices made of charcoal are excellent for insect bites, stings, poison oak, inflammation around the ears and eyes, to dress and disinfect wounds, cellulitis, boils, carbuncles, and abdominal pain. They also act as a deodorant and antiseptic.


1. Place equal parts of pulverized charcoal and flaxseed in a pot. Grinding the flaxseed into a fine
powder first will make the mixture form a paste faster. This can be done in a blender.
2. Add enough water to form a thick paste and bring it slowly to a boil while stirring.
3. Spread the paste as rapidly as possible on a piece of cotton or muslin of sufficient size to
completely cover the area to be treated.
4. The paste should be spread about one-quarter-inch thick and kept about one inch in from the
edges of the cloth.
5. Cover this with another cloth of the same size and then place the poultice on the area of the
skin to be treated.
6. Cover this with a piece of plastic at least one inch larger on all sides than the poultice.
7. Place a towel over the entire poultice and hold it in place with a roller bandage, strips from an
old sheet or towel, and Ace bandage, etc. Pin securely in place with safety pins.
8. Leave on overnight or for 8 to 10 hours during the day.
9. After removing the poultice, rub the skin with a cold cloth.

The amount of material needed for the poultice will depend on the size of the area to be covered. A large area will require about 3 tablespoonsful of charcoal and flaxseed. For small areas, such as a bee sting or spider bite, use only charcoal to make the paste. Charcoal can be very messy, so be careful as you assemble the poultice.

Source: Back to Eden By: Jethro Kloss

2SM Selected Messages Book 2 (1958)
Chap. 30 Ellen G. White's Use of Remedial Agencies

One of the most beneficial remedies is pulverized charcoal, placed in a bag and used in fomentations. This is a most successful remedy. If wet in smartweed boiled, it is still better. I have ordered this in cases where the sick were suffering great pain, and when it has been confided to me by the physician that he thought it was the last before the close of life. Then I suggested the charcoal, [IT IS OF INTEREST TO OBSERVE IN CONNECTION WITH THE SEVERAL E. G. WHITE STATEMENTS CONCERNING THE VALUE OF CHARCOAL, THAT AS WELL AS BEING A PRODUCT OF FREQUENT MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION, A 1,160-PAGE PROFESSIONAL WORK, CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY OF COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS (WILLIAMS AND WILKINS, 1957, $16.00) ADVISES AS AN ANTIDOTE FOR MANY KNOWN POISONS AND FOR ALL POISONOUS SUBSTANCES OF UNKNOWN INGREDIENTS A "UNIVERSAL ANTIDOTE" OF FOUR PARTS, TWO OF WHICH ARE ACTIVATED CHARCOAL.--COMPILERS.] and the patient slept, the turning point came, and recovery was the result. To students when injured with bruised hands and suffering with inflammation, I have prescribed this simple remedy, with perfect success. The poison of inflammation was overcome, the pain removed, and healing went on rapidly. The most severe inflammation of the eyes will be relieved by a poultice of charcoal, put in a bag, and dipped in hot or cold water, as will best suit the case. This works like a charm. {2SM 294.2}
I expect you will laugh at this; but if I could give this remedy some outlandish name that no one knew but myself, it would have greater influence. . . .But the simplest remedies may assist nature, and leave no baleful effects after their use.--Letter 82, 1897 (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg). {2SM 294.3}

On one occasion a physician came to me in great distress. He had been called to attend a young woman who was dangerously ill. She had contracted fever while on the campground, and was taken to our school building near Melbourne, Australia. But she became so much worse that it was feared she could not live. The physician, Dr. Merritt Kellogg, came to me and said, "Sister White, have you any light for me on this case? If relief cannot be given our sister, she can live but a few hours." I replied, "Send to a blacksmith's shop, and get some pulverized charcoal; make a poultice of it, and lay it over her stomach and sides." The doctor hastened away to follow out my instructions. Soon he returned, saying, "Relief came in less than half an hour after the application of the poultices. She is now having the first natural sleep she has had for days." {2SM 295.2}
I have ordered the same treatment for others who were suffering great pain, and it has brought relief and been the means of saving life. My mother had told me that snake bites and the sting of reptiles and poisonous insects could often be rendered harmless by the use of charcoal poultices. When working on the land at Avondale, Australia, the workmen would often bruise their hands and limbs, and this in many cases resulted in such severe inflammation that the worker would have to leave his work for some time. One came to me one day in this condition, with his hand tied in a sling. He was much troubled over the circumstance; for his help was needed in clearing the land I said to him, "Go to the place where you have been burning the timber, and get me some charcoal from the eucalyptus tree, pulverize it, and I will dress your hand." This was done, and the next morning he reported that the pain was gone. Soon he was ready to return to his work. {2SM 295.3}
I write these things that you may know that the Lord has not left us without the use of simple remedies which, when used, will not leave the system in the weakened condition in which the use of drugs so often leaves it. We need well-trained nurses who can understand how to use the simple remedies that nature provides for restoration to health, and who can teach those who are ignorant of the laws of health how to use these simple but effective cures. {2SM 296.1}

I will tell you a little about my experience with charcoal as a remedy. For some forms of indigestion, it is more efficacious than drugs. A little olive oil into which some of this powder has been stirred tends to cleanse and heal. I find it is excellent. Pulverized charcoal from eucalyptus wood we have used freely in cases of inflammation.... {2SM 298.5}
Always study and teach the use of the simplest remedies, and the special blessing of the Lord may be expected to follow the use of these means which are within the reach of the common people.--Letter 100, 1903. {2SM 298.6}

Other Experiences With Charcoal

A Rapid Recovery.--A brother was taken sick with inflammation of the bowels and bloody dysentery. The man was not a careful health reformer, but indulged his appetite. We were just preparing to leave Texas, where we had been laboring for several months, and we had carriages prepared to take away this brother and his family, and several others who were suffering from malarial fever. My husband and I thought we would stand this expense rather than have the heads of several families die and leave their wives and children unprovided for. {2SM 299.1}
Two or three were taken in a large spring wagon on spring mattresses. But this man who was suffering from inflammation of the bowels, sent for me to come to him. My husband and I decided that it would not do to move him. Fears were entertained that mortification had set in. Then the thought came to me like a communication from the Lord to take pulverized charcoal, put water upon it, and give this water to the sick man to drink, putting bandages of the charcoal over the bowels and stomach. We were about one mile from the city of Denison, but the sick man's son went to a blacksmith's shop, secured the charcoal, and pulverized it, and then used it according to the directions given. The result was that in half an hour there was a change for the better. We had to go on our journey and leave the family behind, but what was our surprise the following day to see their wagon overtake us. The sick man was lying in a bed in the wagon. The blessing of God had worked with the simple means used.--Letter 182, 1899 (To a worker in an overseas field. See p. 287). {2SM 299.2}
Charcoal and Flaxseed.--We need a hospital so much. On Thursday Sister Sara McEnterfer [A TRAINED NURSE OF EXPERIENCE WELL QUALIFIED FOR THIS TYPE OF SERVICE WHO ACCOMPANIED MRS. WHITE AND ASSISTED HER BOTH AS A TRAVELING COMPANION AND PRIVATE SECRETARY.--COMPILERS.] was called to see if she could do anything for Brother B's little son, who is eighteen months old. For several days he has had a painful swelling on the knee, supposed to be from the bite of some poisonous insect. Pulverized charcoal, mixed with flaxseed, was placed upon the swelling, and this poultice gave relief at once. The child had screamed with pain all night, but when this was applied, he slept. Today she has been to see the little one twice. She opened the swelling in two places, and a large amount of yellow matter and blood was discharged freely. The child was relieved of its great suffering. We thank the Lord that we may become intelligent in using the simple things within our reach to alleviate pain, and successfully remove its cause.--Manuscript 68, 1899 (General Manuscript). {2SM 299.3}

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