By Stephanie Walker Tallent
Before marriage, I knew nothing about activated charcoal. When my husband Steve and I were first married, he had a big container of the loose, tarry-black and very messy looking powder in his bare bones of bachelor medicine cabinet. He mentioned that it was really great stuff. “Ick” was all I could think the first time I opened the container and tried to picture actually eating any of the grainy stuff. I had no way of knowing then that this amazing substance would earn my heartfelt respect and a permanent place of honor in our medicine cabinet for all time!
One particular event in our lives caused me to gain firsthand experience with activated charcoal. Until last summer I didn’t have a thing against spiders. As far as I was concerned, all spiders and I had a mutual contract. The terms of our agreement were that they stay out of my way and quietly eat flies, and I would not squish them. Live and let live. Spider Kind very nicely honored our unspoken understanding until that fateful summer day.
“Ouch” I thought, feeling a twinge on my leg as I got dressed one morning. “Wonder what that was?” Looking at my calf, I didn’t see anything and, after a quick brushing down just to make sure nothing was there, proceeded on with my day. Several hours later, I started to feel kind of odd, like I might be coming down with the flu. A bit later, I began to notice a rather dull ache in my calf. It finally bothered me enough to take a look. A raised pustule and a swollen area that looked like a huge fire ant bite explained the irritation. Puzzled, due to the fact that I had been nowhere near fire ants or any other biting bug, insect, or creepy crawly, I began searching the list of symptoms and pictures of bites.
A few websites and book resources later, I came to the unpleasant conclusion that I had been bitten by a spider, likely a Brown Recluse. After talking to a couple of medical professionals, it was explained to me that, since I had neither seen nor caught the horrible beast that had so generously decided to bestow it’s poison upon my leg, my treatment options at the ER would be limited. I learned that the poisons of the Brown Recluse and Black Widow are bacteria based venoms that rapidly erode skin (my skin in this case) and cause the classic “crater” sign of poisonous spider bites. There are anti-venoms for these spider’s bites but, without a positive identification, the ER would not be able to give me a specific anti-venom treatment because the risk for side effects was too great. All they would be able to do is administer a broad spectrum antibiotic.
After carefully weighing my options and taking into consideration that the bite was not near any major arteries or blood vessels (thus making it less likely for the poison to spread to the main parts of my body), I decided to try some treatments at home while carefully monitoring the situation. My ever helpful and wonderful husband Steve aided me in figuring out a treatment protocol. I immediately and aggressively started taking every immune boosting supplement Beeyoutiful carries and, in addition to that, added the following:
– 1 Clove of Raw Garlic, finely chopped (and eaten every hour to act as a powerful, natural, broad spectrum antibiotic)
– 1 Capsule or tablet of Activated Charcoal, taken internally to bind with the poison in my system as my body tried to flush it out (alternating times with the garlic and other supplements so that it did not bind with the supplements and render them less effective)
– A straight essential oil blend applied directly to the bite every other hour (recipe in side bar)
– Activated Charcoal paste/poultice applied every other hour, alternating with the essential oil so that the charcoal would not bind with the oil and make it less effective.
I was happy to discover that charcoal not only comes in the large loose quantities that are ideal for poultice making, but also in capsules and tablets, which makes it tremendously easier for those of us with texture sensitivities to swallow.
The following few days were very rough. I got as sick as I have ever gotten before in my life and ran a high fever for three days. The bite, however, never appeared to be infected and we carefully cleaned away the corroded tissue to help prevent any secondary infection. Never have I been more grateful for Steve and his calm helpfulness! From the pictures I could find, I knew that my bite was doing amazingly well compared to most that were treated the traditional way in the hospital. The erosion of the flesh was not nearly as severe as most Brown Recluse bites get.
On day four, my fever broke and I felt immensely better. The erosion of the skin stopped. Now, the only thing I have to remember the whole experience by is a small scar on my calf that looks as though I caught a stray BB. My brother assures me that it is a very cool look, like I might have been shot…even if it was by a BB. I choose to think of it as a trophy commemorating the first time I have been able to deal with a very serious health problem using exclusively all natural products and remedies at home.
A couple of months after my incident with a Brown Recluse, my brother-in-law Paul had the misfortune to encounter one as well. His bite was far more severe than mine and in a more dangerous location, near his femoral artery. This bite location put his whole body in great danger should the poison spread even one inch too far in the wrong direction. His wife, Steph, started putting recommended essential oils on it and, on the advice of his doctor, he immediately started taking a powerful antibiotic. Although this helped with his systemic reaction to the bite, it did not seem to help the actual bite location very much at all, and it continued to spread and deteriorate. Since Steve and I still had most of the natural supplies on hand with which to wage war on the venom, Paul’s wife Steph packed their family up and made the several hour trip to our house.
As we worked to formulate the oil mixtures and mix and prepare the poultices, Steph and I joked about opening an in-home Emergency Spider Treatment Facility. We set timers and were very careful to alternate his charcoal treatments, both internal and external, with the essential oils applications and his antibiotic and other internal immune boosting products.
Due to the very dark and very fine nature of activated charcoal powder, some warn that use of the charcoal with an injury or bite can permanently “tattoo” the damaged skin. The concern is that, as the wound heals, it traps some of the charcoal under the skin resulting in a darkish tint. This is something to keep in mind and an incentive to keep a wound well flushed out between charcoal poultice applications. I personally did not experience any charcoal tinting of my scar and neither did Paul. Even if we had, I would still feel that the risk of a slightly darker scar is very much worth the amazing benefits of using the activated charcoal.
Within 24 hours of starting the activated charcoal and essential oil treatment, the continued deterioration of Paul’s bite had halted, and by 48 hours, it looked incredibly better. Much of the inflammation and swelling had gone down and the necrosis of the flesh stopped. We marveled again at how phenomenally well and fast these amazing had products worked.
Inspired by our rather dramatic experiences, I was encouraged to start researching more about this marvelous substance. I found that activated charcoal is beneficial for a staggering array of ailments and maladies, both internally and externally. It is safe not only for very small children, but also animals. As I learned more, I became increasingly convinced that this is a product that no home should be without.
One of the recommendations I read was in regard to how effective it is for individuals who suffer with extremely severe acid reflux or other acid related stomach problems. The charcoal binds with the extra acid providing immediate relief when taken as needed. Intrigued by this information and wondering just how well it worked, all I needed was a guinea pig to try my new favorite product on. An ideal test subject presented itself in our Dr. Pepper loving, coffee drinking, severe acid reflux and bleeding-stomach-ulcer suffering cowboy friend. He was on two strong prescription medications to help with his acid problems, yet he still suffered on a regular basis from the symptoms. Some meals were pure misery for him, sometimes for hours afterward. Pretty much willing to try anything at that point, he was elated and not a little surprised by how rapidly the activated charcoal tablets neutralized and, in time, eliminated any after-mealtime acid related pain. He has let his prescriptions expire and keeps a bottle of activated charcoal on hand for any unexpected flare ups.
My husband Steve’s family has successfully used activated charcoal for years in treating stomach viruses, diarrhea and food poisoning. I found out that, because of its amazing ability to bind with such a broad spectrum of toxins and poisons activated charcoal is often used in Emergency Rooms if poisoning of some kind is suspected.
Even some of the most miserable side-effects from dietary cleanses can be mitigated with the internal use of activated charcoal. Richard Kaufman, PhD is a bio-nutritional chemist. He states, “Activated charcoal can be an effective adjunct to any regimen for the treatment of systemic Candida albicans infections.” The toxins produced by Candida, absorbed by the blood and carried throughout the body are effectively absorbed by charcoal. When, as a result of successful treatment of Candida Albicans overgrowth, there is a large die off of yeast cells, there can be a severe, short term aggravation of Candida symptoms due to the increased amount of toxins produced by the dying bacteria. Taking activated charcoal is one option for alleviating the symptoms of yeast die-off so that the cleanse can be continued and the individual not suffer.” Dr. Kauffman suggests 20-35 grams of activated charcoal a day in divided dosages on an empty stomach until the problem is eliminated. The larger amount should be taken for more severe situations. Activated charcoal should not be taken internally within 2 hours of supplements or medications.
An excellent resource on the subject is Charcoal Remedies: The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal and Its Applications, by John Dinsley. This is the most complete and thorough how-to guide for the safe and practical use of activated charcoal that I have been able to find anywhere. I suggest requesting it at your local library if they do not already have it or, if you find the information it contains as valuable as we have, purchasing a copy for yourself to have on hand.
Charcoal products offered at Beeyoutiful.com:
Activated Charcoal- capsules
Activated Charcoal- powder, 10 oz.
Charcoal Remedies – book
Charcoal Colic Calm Gripe Water
Bamboo Charcoal Unscented Soap