CharcoalTimes™ NEWS July 2010

Editor's Notes

Clearly, activated charcoal is a potent medicinal if - if one uses it. Having activated charcoal in your home (Recommendation of Poison Control Centers) and not using it in a poison emergency is like having SEATBELTS (click link) in your car and not wearing them. Buckle Up and Charcoal Up and embrace life.

 Our last issue of CharcoalTimes was December 2009. We have to apologize to all those people who have written requesting to be placed on our newsletter list thinking another issued would surely be forth coming. But the last six months have been a whirlwind.

Australia Tour 2010
The most notable event was our winter trip south to Australia for the month of March to videotape a series of talks and to conduct a series of meetings entitled “Super Natural Remedies – Your Gateway to Optimum Health.” The programs briefly looked at a number of therapies that are availbale today and some of their questionable features, and how we can recognize which components are SAAFFE. The audience was introduced to the Eight Doctors. With all the talk of conspiracies today and apocalyptic events is there also a health connection? What natural remedies like herbs, light, and hydrotherapy, is there good scinece and research to back them up? Medicinal Charcoal once again was a popular topic followed up with some demonstrations of how to make and apply a charcoal poultice. Lastly an hour of simple hydrotherapy demonstrations for which we thank those in the audience who volunteered to be our "patients". The meetings were well attended with 300 to 500 people in the audience. We want to especially thank our host Steps to Life for their kind and thorough care of us for the three weeks that we traveled north from Melbourne to Sydney and lastly to Brisbane putting on our seven-part program.

The several talks were also videotaped in a studio and are available as a 9 DVD set for those who would like to learn more about taking persoanl control of their own health. To review the titles please click the link “Super Natural Remedies DVDs”.

Since returning in a snowstorm in April we have conducted several more programs and a radio interview with the Power Hour. We are encouraged as we see an increasing awareness and interest in the benefits and uses of charcoal as well as in a whole-istic approach to health in general.

BIOCHAR 101  - Feature Article
In our last issue we anticipated focusing next on charcoal/biochar for gardens and flowers. Even though we missed the spring window we have included a basic Biochar 101 class on understanding what it is and how to know what makes a good biochar.

Charcoal Testimonies
By far the bulk of this issue will focus on some of the amazing testimonies we have received over the last 6 months. We apologize that we cannot share them all. While some are similar, each is a personal experience that defines a point at which someone had exhausted other options and turned to the most unlikely of remedies – medicinal charcoal.

New Products -
There are always some innovative activated charcoal product coming on the market. has added another product to their Charcoal Green® lineup: SOIL DETOX™. What do you turn to when you have over sprayed your rose garden, over fertilized your fruit trees, used too much pre-emergent on your new lawn, or accidently spilled something toxic in your nursery? Well, activated charcoal of course, and SOIL DETOX™ should be your first choice. Every householder, every golf course manger, every landscaper should have some on hand for the unthinkable - you just poisoned your... Having SOIL DETOX™ in your garden shed is like having a fire extinguisher in your house. You hope you never have to use it but you know you are prepared if the emergency arrrises.

UNSCENTED ORGANIC Charcoal Soap made from Coconut oil and with USP Medicinal Grade coconut activated charcoal, (Detox 1600)

For those planning a hiking trip or some exotic trek no doubt you are asking "Which activated charcoal water filter or water bottle should I get?" We have added a new book that will interest the recreational camper/hiker/trekker/traveler: PURIFICATION of Wilderness Waters - A Practical Guide by David Cooney PhD (Chemical Engineering Univ. Wyoming and avid back country hiker)

From time to time we come across some new or archived medical news report about the benefits of charcoal as a medicinal. We have posted two articles below.

 Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster
More and more we are recieving emails with concerns about the impact of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster - "How can we purify our water. What do we use to protect us from the fumes from the oil and the dispersants and other contaminants?" We have copied the response to one customer who wrote with their concerns to Be sure to follow the link to "Benzene Poisoning".  

For those wanting to design their own water filter for private use here are some pointers:

  • If you are concerned about filtering rainwater for drinking then you should use a granular charcoal either 8x16 mesh or 12x30 mesh.

GAC8x16 mesh granular coconut charcoal

GAC12x30 mesh granular coconut charcoal

GAC12x30 mesh granular coconut charcoal, acid washed


  • The size of the granular charcoal will determine how deep your charcoal filtration bed needs to be. When you compare different sizes of granular charcoal, the larger the granular charcoal (less densely packed) the shorter the water contact time, or, the smaller the granular charcoal (more densly packed) the longer the contact time. "Contact time" is the time the water is in actual contact with the charcoal. The faster the water passes through the charcoal bed, the less contact time. The water needs a some amount of contact time with the granular charcoal to be able to remove impurities. The deeper the charcoal bed, the longer the contact time and the more pure the water will be.
  • There are thousands of different designs and applications. You will have to do your own experimenting. You will be able to find some designs on If you design a home version, send us a picture and we will post it for others to see.
  • Or you may want to purchase a Recreational Water Filter These units filter an amazing amount of water for their size. Be sure to check out the other links on water purification.
  • We recommend the book Purification of Wilderness Waters.
  • As for the air contamination from the combination of oil and dispersants that is making many sick, you will want to read this page and let your friends know as well. Benzene Poisoning
  • For those working or living with constant exposure to the oil fumes we recommend the Carbosorb C+ Mask that works even more quickly that the large cumbersome charcoal cannister masks - and if you store them properly when not in use, they will last for months.

I hope this will be of some help.


Activated Charcoal Fights Heart Disease in Kidney Patients

Friday, April 30, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer for

“Activated charcoal may reduce the risk of heart disease in patients with kidney disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from Vanderbilt University and presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition of the American Society of Nephrology.

"We found that oral activated charcoal lessens atherosclerotic lesions in experimental mice with kidney damage," researcher Valentina Kon said. "This is especially important because there is no effective treatment to reduce the high rate of cardiovascular mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease."

Patients with advanced kidney disease suffer a significantly elevated risk of developing hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), as well as a heightened risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Charcoal has a long history of use as a poison antidote, due to its ability to bind to molecules (adsorption) and remove them from the body. In modern times, activated charcoal -- designed to have a larger surface area and correspondingly higher adsorption capability -- has shown benefits far beyond poison control. It was shown success in reducing oxidative stress (linked to a number of chronic diseases); lowering levels of lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, brain, heart and liver; and slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease, perhaps by removing toxins before they reach the kidneys.

In the current study, researchers administered the chemotherapy drug adriamycin -- which can cause severe cardiovascular damage -- to rats that had been genetically engineered to develop heart disease. They then surgically removed each animal's right kidney. Two weeks later, they began to treat half the rats with activated charcoal. Ten weeks later, all the rats were killed for analysis.

Although kidney function and blood pressure were similar between the two groups, rats that had been treated with activated charcoal had significantly lower levels of the oxidative stress markers that are correlated with blood vessel inflammation.

Because it binds to vitamins, minerals and hormones as well as to unhealthy substances, activated charcoal should only be taken under medical supervision.

Editor's Comment: this is facsinating research but not unexpected given, as the author notes, charcoal's ability to indirectly lower blood lipids and bind hundreds of known vascular irritants. But his final caution is completely without foundation. There is no research (that I have seen to date) that shows conclusively that vegetable-based activated charcoal binds essential natural food nutrients and hormones. There is some indication that charcoal may bind man-made food supplements, as it binds thousands of other man-made chemicals.

MRSA Infections treated with Activated Charcoal and Silver

The following report ( May 5, 2005) discusses the use of ACTISORB Silver 220, an antimicrobial wound dressing, used to reduce MRSA infections. ACTISORB Silver 220 (Johnson & Johnson) is composed of an activated charcoal wound dressing impregnated with metallic silver. The silver is bound to the charcoal and so does not leach out and potentially enter the body. The obvious question is, “Can I make my own activated charcoal/colloidal silver wound dressing, and can I expect similar results? The obvious answer is “yes”.

It should be noted that while the article plays up the antimicrobial characteristic of silver, it studiously ignores the long established antibacterial characteristics of charcoal. As clear evidence of charcoal’s ability to stop many bacteria in their tracks please note the difference in these two pictures of tree stumps. The bacteria and fungus-free stump on the left with a layer of charcoal after being scorched by a forest fire, and the other without the same antibacterial, antifungal benefits of charcoal.

Fire Stump  Fungus Stump

New protocol to reduce MRSA using antimicrobial wound dressing ACTISORB* Silver 220

A new treatment protocol to reduce MRSA infections using an antimicrobial wound dressing ACTISORB* Silver 220 at open treatments sites is so successful that it has been made standard policy across the Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Hospitals Trust1. Actisorb Silver

The procedure was developed by two nurses, who were concerned at the level of MRSA infections at open treatment sites such as, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomies (PEG), tracheostomies and central venous catheters. They carried out a small open study in nine patients with MRSA infected PEG sites. With good wound care, wrapping ACTISORB* Silver 220 around the wound entry site eradicated MRSA and the majority of wounds improved in one week. Since implementation of the peri-PEG skin policy, hospital admissions due to PEG problems have been markedly reduced with being people cared for in the community2,3.

Sisters Kathy Leak, and Sue Johnson Doncaster Wound Care Service say: “Evidence shows that silver is a good antimicrobial agent. ACTISORB* Silver 220 was the logical choice as it is effective against MRSA and is the only dressing that does not deliver silver directly into the body, avoiding potential toxicity problems.

“MRSA often lives completely harmlessly on the skin. However, when a patient's immunity is low during illness intravenous catheters or PEG sites give bacteria access to the tissues, where failure to manage colonisation can lead to serious infection problems and subsequent bacteraemia. The key to dealing with MRSA is to prevent its spread by good hygiene. In wounds and other breaches in the skin, MRSA can cause infection. In such cases it is vital to implement standard wound care and nursing practices to control the problem. Early action can reduce morbidity.

Infection is common at PEG sites where a tube is placed through the wall of the abdomen to feed the patient. This can remain in place for a month or more. An examination of all inpatient PEG sites at Doncaster Royal Infirmary found that 90 per cent had tissue maceration or overgranulation2 - an ideal breeding ground for MRSA and other bacteria4,5. The majority of the patients were from nursing homes, so the pilot study was carried out at one nursing home where swab tests revealed a high prevalence of MRSA3.

In all nine patients ACTISORB Silver 220 was applied around the tube at the wound entry site. All patients were swabbed at the first visit and then weekly until 3 clear swabs were obtained (according to infection control policy). As the dressing cannot be cut it is folded around the wound entry avoiding skin-tape on application. The dressing was changed as needed to manage exudates and rotated at each dressing change to ensure that all of the skin is covered. In every case a negative MRSA swab was obtained by week 3 and in 4 cases by week 13.

ACTISORB* Silver 220 is clinically proven to manage bacterial infection and critically colonized wounds6. This silver charcoal dressing adsorbs toxins and other agents, which have an inhibitory effect on wound healing7. Its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity is effective against 151 bacterial pathogens, including MRSA8. It has been shown in PEG sites to visibly reduce infection, MRSA colonisation and overgranulation of wound tissue2.

Kathy Leak remarks: “As this simple economical method is non-invasive it could also be used as a preventative measure in those patients most at risk, including the immunosuppressed, diabetics and those with a history of infection problems.”

MRSA infection

MRSA is a form of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to methicillin, an antibiotic commonly used in its treatment.

The antibacterial properties of silver have been known and applied for centuries9. The large body of research shows that it produces structural changes in bacterial cells and interacts with DNA to inactivate bacteria9.


 1. Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust. Policy for the Management of Peri-Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Skin (PEG). 2004

 2. Leak K. PEG site infections: a novel use for Actisorb Silver 220. British Journal of Community Nursing 2002; 7: 321 - 325.

 3. Wound Care Service, Doncaster Royal Infirmary 2005.

 4. White et al. Br J Nurs 2001; 10(9):563-78.

 5. Hoiby et al. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2000; 44(10):2855-7.

 6. Morrison et al. The effect of a silver impregnated charcoal dressing on delayed-healing wounds: analysis of open, multicentre, observational studies. J&J UK data on file: presented at SAWC Las Vegas 2003.

 7. Mûller et al. Antimicrobial activity and endo-toxin binding capacity of Actisorb Silver 220. J Hosp Infect 2003;53(3):211-14.

 8. Rennison et al. Antimicrobial Efficacy of Silver Impregnated Activated Charcoal Wound Dressing. J&J UK data on file: Presented at ETRS Amsterdam 2003.

 9. Russell and Hugo. Antimicrobial Activity and Action of Silver. In: Progress in Medicinal Chemistry, vol 31; 1994.