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Story TIME! Activated Charcoal

If you don't have this in your bag of health tricks then you need to up your game!

I've been into natural remedies for most of my life. From early on I've had a healthy distrust of drugs in any form. That "just say no to drugs" campaign from my childhood stuck with me and included pharmaceutical drugs too! :-D So fast forward to adulthood, I was always interested in natural remedies for most minor ailments, well beyond the "ginger ale and soda crackers" remedy, that we all know so well!

On trips I would travel with a few natural remedies in case of insect bites, food poisoning or general upset stomach from eating unfamiliar food or water. On one trip to Costa Rica, I packed citronella oil instead of Deet to keep the mosquitos away. Some other travelers at the resort were adamant that you must use the strongest commercial repellant available to "survive" the mosquitos. Well, being the knowledgeable rebel that I am, I put on my non-toxic citronella oil and called it a day. Not only did I not get bitten by the mosquitos the whole trip, the folks with the Deet got eaten alive!! LOLOL

Ok, so on to the activated charcoal. I was on another trip to a beach in Mexico. I was fully stocked with lots of natural remedies, just in case! While at the beach one of my friends dives into the ocean and comes up screaming and yelling! I'm thinking, is there a shark and if so, should I run away or towards them to help! He was not drowning so I yel back, what is happening?!!! He yells back, "something is biting me" and starts screaming and swim-running toward the shore. Once he gets to the shore, I see that there is a jelly fish stuck on his back! I quickly grab a stick and help knock it off, as he continues to yell hysterically. At this point, since I see he is not in any more danger, I start to laugh hysterically! It was especially funny since he had just gotten an attitude with me over a disagreement immediately before he ran and dove into the water--instant karma!! I still crack up thinking about this. So after the laughter, I see his face and back are turning red and welting. He got stung by more than one jelly fish. A few people are around and make some suggestions on what to do to soothe the pain, but none sounded viable. However, I was pretty sure that I had a solution in my bag of health tricks.

We make our way back and I get out the activated charcoal powder that I brought with me. It works for a variety of ailments, and I had brought it in case of stomach upset or insect bites. I decide to make a paste and put a mask of it on all of the stings on his face, neck and back. Meanwhile, he appears to be in real agony and is whining dramatically. So I get the paste ready and slather it on... within 2 or 3 minutes, the pain completely stops! There is no more swelling. He leaves it on for an hour or so and by the end of the day, its like nothing ever happened, no more welts, swelling or pain! So 2 lessons learned: don't get sassy with Dr. Ruby and don't leave the country without some activated charcoal!

More about activated charcoal. First, it is not the charcoal used to start fires in your grill. That type of charcoal is made differently and full of chemicals. The medicinal activated charcoal is processed without chemicals and is made from burned wood, coconut shells or bamboo. It works through an electrostatic charge that binds toxins, poisons, lead, mercury, metals, alcohol, etc. to it, and is often used in hospitals to treat drug overdoses. I've used it to stop the effects of food poisoning. Other uses include aiding recovery from colds, flu, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, and more. You can get the loose powder form or in capsule form. Many use it occasionally as an internal cleanse by taking 1.5 teaspoons of the powder in 16 ounces of water --this is called slurry water. It should not be taken within 1.5 hours of medications or supplements--it will lessen the affects of those items. It should be taken on an empty stomach and should not be taken for more that two weeks at time. It is best for short term use, as long-term use could strip you of much needed nutrients that could be bound by the charcoal. As noted in my story above, it is great for extracting toxins from jelly fish stings, insect stings or bites, etc. For stomach upset or food poisoning, the capsules may work best to get it down quickly. Its also become pretty popular to put activated charcoal in face masks and toothpastes. I would also suggest short term use for those applications. Before use, consult with a health professional if you have severe health conditions and are on a number of medications.

Where can you find activated charcoal? Most health food stores will have it. You can also order it online from Uchee Pines at: They make it themselves and bottle it by hand as they have been for decades.


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