What is Activated Charcoal? Activated charcoal is well known as a antidote as it adsorbs most organic toxins, chemicals and poisons before they can harm the body. Some Emergency Rooms administer large doses of activated charcoal for certain types of poisoning.
According to this article, activated charcoal has a long history of medicinal use:
It was 1831. In front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to tell the tale. He had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal.
That’s how powerful activated charcoal is as an emergency decontaminant in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. Activated charcoal is considered to be the most effective single agent available. It is used after a person swallows or adsorbs almost any toxic drug or chemical. Activated charcoal is estimated to reduce absorption of poisonous substances up to 60%. It works by adsorbing chemicals, thus reducing their toxicity (poisonous nature), through the entire length of the stomach and small and large intestines (GI tract).
Activated charcoal itself is a fine, black powder that is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic.
Activated charcoal is often given after the stomach is pumped (gastric lavage). Gastric lavage is only effective immediately after swallowing a toxic substance (within about one-half hour) and does not have effects that reach beyond the stomach as activated charcoal does.
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