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Activated Charcoal

I belong to many natural health groups where activated charcoal is mentioned a lot.  Is it worth all the hype?


What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated carbon or activated charcoal is considered the same thing.  Pretty much any material that was alive at one time such as peat moss, coconut shell, dead wood or other fibrous material can be burned to make charcoal.  It can even come from fossil fuels.  Any of these sources can become activated charcoal after they are heated extremely high or by using a chemical activator.



How is it made?

The most common method is the heat treatment method where wood or coconut husks are heated by using fire.  They are then placed into an enclosed furnace where no oxygen is present but steam is to heat the charred wood and coconut husks up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. (1)


The carbon atoms are then peeled off as the volatile compounds are removed leaving a network of carbon atoms that are hollowed out.  This looks like a cobweb of sorts.  Because of this high surface area, it can absorb and retain almost anything it comes into contact with.