The Activated Charcoal Detox Guide

After a long and decadent December, we love a good January detox – and what better way to hit refresh on the body and soul than with activated charcoal? We’ve pulled together a quick guide to using our favourite wonder-powder so you can start the new year right.


How does it work?

Ancient cultures loved activated charcoal, and we do too. In fact, you won’t find a paramedic in the land that doesn’t swear by its incredible adsorptive properties.

While absorption is the process of soaking something up (like a sponge dipped into a bucket of water), adsorption is the process in which one thing sticks to another – like wrapping gum in a piece of paper. Instead of absorbing toxins, which would be no good to anyone, charcoal binds to them and makes it impossible for them to pass from your stomach and intestinal tract into your bloodstream. Bueno!


Get the most from your detox

Activated charcoal crops up regularly as a recommended detoxifier – a job it was simply born to do. The thing is, charcoal can only work on toxins – such as alcohol – that are already in your body. A morning shot of activated charcoal when you’re planning on a big night out is like towelling off before you get in the shower: it’s doesn’t do you any harm but you’re missing out on the benefits.


Activated charcoal lemonade

We’re big fans of charcoal lemonade. It’s refreshing, hydrating and detoxifying all in one go – so it’s perfect to sip after a big night out. Simply add the juice of two lemons to a litre of filtered water. Stir in two tablespoons of your favourite natural sweetener, like maple syrup, honey or agave nectar, and add a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder. Pour into a bottle or jug and keep refrigerated for up to three days. Shake well, pour into a glass and sip when you get home from a night on the razz to stave off that hangover.


Activated charcoal and coconut shot

When you’ve got things to do, a dinky shot is the ticket to a quick detoxifying boost. Stir a quarter of a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder into 70ml of coconut water and add a generous squeeze of lime juice. Knock it back midmorning or mid-afternoon between meals to keep your insides feeling brand new.


When to skip charcoal

Remember: activated charcoal will latch onto the good stuff as well as the bad. Part of a successful detox involves eating plenty of delicious vitamin-rich salads, smoothies and juices – but activated charcoal will undo all your good work if you take it at the same time as a vitamin-packed meal or supplement. It’s best to wait at least two hours after consuming those delicious nutrients before you hit the charcoal. Activated charcoal will also adsorb medication (including birth control) so it’s best avoided altogether if you take prescription drugs.

For more ideas of ways to use activated charcoal, take a peek at our Activated Charcoal Week blog!