CharcoalTimes™ August 2008

WELCOME to the Fourth Issue of CharcoalTimes, a courtesy newsletter of We originally hoped to make this a bimonthly issue - we have not given up. In the mean time we want to thank those who responded to our April Issue. This is still a new venture so please let us know what you think, what works and what doesn't. 

In this Issue:

  • Taking the Sting out of Stings
  • New Personal Testimonies
  • Feature: How Activated Charcoal Helps to Lower Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and to Lose Weight

Charcoal the Universal Antidote
Our next Issue will look at Activated Charcoal as the Universal Antidote for Poisoning

Picture of John Dinsley





Sincerely john dinsley

Taking the Sting out of Stings
Yellow Jacket Wasp
When we think of “Nature”, the picture that comes to mind is often colored by our experiences. It might be beautiful scenery, peaceful retreats, exciting adventures, and intriguing mysteries. Or it may be spiders, wasps, bees, hornets, ants, scorpions, snakes, and poison ivy. How often childhood memories of being out in the country are “bitten” with painful recollections. But they need not end on a sad note. Charcoal is ready to take the sting out of our painful experiences, IF we have it ready at hand.
Wasps, Bees & Yellow Jackets
Erna and Kelly live in the country. They have become quite knowledgeable in the use of charcoal. Their experiences are typical of those who know the healing wonders of charcoal firsthand. Erna writes of one of their earlier experiences:
“Sarah was about eight when she was unfortunate enough to receive two bee stings at the same time. We were traveling, and I didn’t happen to have my charcoal with me, so we didn’t do anything at the time. In a couple of hours we were home, and she was no longer complaining. However, by bedtime she said she didn’t feel very good and her bones ached. I took her temperature. It was somewhat elevated but I don’t remember how much. It took a few minutes to figure out that she was having a reaction to the stings, but when I realized what it was, I put charcoal paste (just charcoal powder and a bit of water) and a band-aid on each of the sting sites. I also gave her one heaping teaspoon of powder in a glass of water to drink. She said her prayers and went to bed. When I checked on her later, her temperature was down, and she was feeling normal again.”

Living in the country does expose one to more of nature’s insect traffic. Living in the country also tends to make people a little more independent. Because of time and distance to city services people often learn to wait and innovate. Natural remedies like charcoal fit very well with country living. But, come a long weekend, and countless thousands of city dwellers leave the city limits behind to visit their country cousins and enjoy the wide open spaces for themselves. Natural remedies like charcoal fit very well with city campers too.

Pauline and Leo are a case in point. Pauline’s familiarity of charcoal as a medicinal comes from her work as head nurse in her hospital emergency room setting. However, many emergencies are better dealt with right where they happen. Not long ago, Leo and Pauline purchased a property, at some distance from the city, and began clearing it for their new home. Pauline writes:

“This past Monday Joshua, our six -year old, got stung on his ear by a honeybee. He screamed and screamed. We knew that he has been very sensitive to bug bites, and were concerned that he might have an anaphylactic reaction. While I tried to calm him, Leo went over to the fire pit where we had had a recent fire, and he got a piece of charcoal. He quickly ground it up and made it pasty with some water. We plastered that on Joshua’s ear. He was still screaming up to that point, but soon after the charcoal was applied, he calmed down. The swelling stopped and he had no other bad affects after that.”

It is understandable that working in an ER, where medicinal charcoal is always available, would make it easy for Pauline to forget to take some with her camping. However, in an emergency, the primitive form of charcoal is still a very good first aid.

As an ounce of prevention for the unforeseen, those who know they are always at risk from severe reactions to insect bites should always have charcoal with them. It’s too late to go buy a fire extinguisher when your house is burning. Those who know also tell us that most people who die in fires had no emergency plans. Charcoal will be a part of any well-thought out emergency preparedness, whether one lives in the country or the city or ..... desert island.

Desert Island
Fire Ants
Dr. Wynn, MD, understands how serious a small bug bite can be for some individuals. He told me about his wife’s sensitivity to ants.  
“My wife and her sister have very strong reactions to ant bites. Her sister reacts so badly that one time we had to call 911 because she was having an anaphylactic reaction. When my wife had her next bite, she immediately took some charcoal orally, and then put some directly on the bite. She had no adverse reaction to the bite at all.”
Aware of the dire results of some insect bites, Dr. Agatha Thrash, MD, takes no chances and makes sure that charcoal is never far away. She shared this personal experience:
“My little grandchild accidentally sat down on a hill of fire ants. Instantly hundreds of ants began biting her. She screamed hysterically from the intense pain. We grabbed her, stripped off her clothing, and ran for a bathtub. As it filled with water, I added charcoal. After being submerged in that charcoal bath for less than two minutes, she stopped crying. The charcoal neutralized the poison, and her pain was gone. Charcoal has amazing healing properties. In fact, if I were stranded on a desert island, and could take only one thing along to protect me from disease, infection, and injury, I would choose charcoal.
Now that is prevention in action. So, for those of you who know you have severe sensitivities to insects or plants, it would be prudent to carry some charcoal with you on all your outdoor ventures. For those of you who are less sensitive, be sure to take some charcoal with you so you are prepared to help others, if need be. One never knows what might be lurking on a limb or under a leaf.
I met Sandra several years ago when I was working in Nepal. She travels extensively back and forth through Nepal and northern India. She gives health lectures, and teaches proper nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and simple home remedies. Ignorance and superstition prevail throughout the area. She has had numerous experiences and shared these following stories in a newsletter.
Sandra writes:
"A couple of days after one incident with a scorpion we were at a cottage meeting. A man entered and greeted everyone. He then put his hand up on a beam in the house, and was immediately stung by a huge white scorpion. This man had been questioning whether the witchdoctor or God was truly stronger. Now he had a chance to see firsthand.
Immediately his hand started to swell. He put a constricting bandage on his wrist, but the pain continued up his arm to his heart. He felt a burning sensation in his stomach, and he knew he would soon die. After killing the scorpion, this same sister, who helped the first man, quickly gathered some hot coals from the fire, cooled them, and then ground them to a powder. With the help of others, she made a charcoal poultice and put it on his hand. She then gave him charcoal water to drink. The man was sure he would die from drinking water. But with the help of charcoal and prayer, by the end of the meeting, an hour and a half later, he was fully recovered.”
Whether you're bitten by ants or spiders, or stung by wasps, hornets, bumblebees, honeybees, or scorpions, charcoal will quickly relieve the pain… IF you have some at hand to use.
To read about how Charcoal works for other things just CLICK on the following pictures.
Poison Ivy   Brown Recluse Spider  Cape Cobra
Charcoal Mortar & Pestle


Your Stories

We want to thank the many who have shared their personal testimonies with us and apologize that we are unable to post all of them. Each are a witness to the efficacy of activated charcoal as a simple natural remedy for a wide number of conditions - for people and for pets. We would invite you to the Your Stories pages to read some of the many touching stories we receive regularly. We have included a number of stories from April, May, and June.

Abscessed Tooth
"Greetings ! Thought I would tell you about something that I deal with off and on. I have a tooth that has had a root canal and needs the crown put on. Due to my procrastination and the considerable cost of a crown I have put this off. Now and then this tooth will begin bothering me. Intending to make an appointment for a crown, I go ahead and temporarily deal the ache by emptying a tea bag of it's tea, filling it with charcoal, wetting it, and then putting it beside my gum near the aching tooth. It works ....quickly. I know, I do need to go and have this taken care of, and I will, but the ready fix is very welcome. Secondly, last week I travelled out of state. I try to always carry charcoal with me. My friend and I bought ice cream from a well known ice cream shop. In about an hour we were both nearly doubled over in stomach/intestinal pain. We both took a charcoal caplet [capsule] and were very quickly fine again."
April, 2008

Pedro learned about charcoal not long ago and quickly began experimenting with its many benefits. He writes from France how charcoal has helped with two of his mother's afflictions (she is a nurse). English is a third language for Pedro:

Eye Pad
"I would like first to present some testimonies about charcoal: 1) Your Eye Pad is worth at. I was worried when my mother was loosing sight and thought to a inter tumor somewhere against one of her eyes (she has diabetes). But from the day she received and use the Eye Pad up to now, the pain surrounding her eyes is leaving and little by little she again can read Bible letters.

Tooth Abscess 
"My mother suffered also from abscess. She had infection and constant pain. The dentist had set an appointment already between weeks to take off 6 of her teeth. That urgent was it. Then I read in your site the recommendation of Dr. Dana on tooth abscess with the tea bag [put charcoal from a capsule into an emprty tea bag] . And after trying that, my mother tried each time one whole capsule on both sides by the offending teeth, even without tea bag. That worked even quicker as the capsule where placed. The pain was relieving so rapidly with al that doings. Arriving by the dentist for him do his job -taking off teeth-, he was astonished, because there was no infection, no abscess and even no probability for these problems to occur again. And that's how my mother preserved 6 of her teeth that are now healty, thanks to the amazing charcoal our God have provided." 
April, 2008

We receive many questions if charcoal will work for this or that. Recently Michele emailed us asking if charcoal would work for hemorrhoids. Her friend had colon cancer and because he was taking chemotherapy she was cautious about using charcoal for fear it might interfere with the chemo. But the hemorrhoids were "VERY bad, but since he is doing well with the treatment, they don't want to do surgical intervention at this time."

We were glad that we could recommend one of our products specifically formulated to help hemorrhoids  FREE-dHEM. Michele purchase some for her friend and reported back.

"Yes, it (FREE-dHEM) did work, thank you. The relief is not 100 percent with one treatment, but neither is it so with his prescription medicines. I plan on ordering more and will confer with you as to the recommended frequency of use in order to improve the level of relief. Thank you!"
April, 2008

Acute Kidney Failure
"Another story of hope! My sister called to say our mom was not acting right (she went into a nursing home in December of 2007, has Alzheimer's and is 85 years old) but in fairly good physical condition. So I called her doctor and he said the nurses had said she had been acting strange the last week to ten days (they had also put her on a medication for agitation about a week to ten days ago) but of course that had nothing to do with it? At my sisters request they started running tests, our mother had acute renal failure. They put her on an IV, the doctor said, “Give it 24 hours and lets see”. The next day I called and got the same answer, I hung up and called the airlines. Flew from Texas to Illinois on Wednesday and went straight from the airport to the nursing home, not knowing if I would see her the next day. The next day Thursday, we went straight there and spoke with the doctor, the minute he said she was so full of toxins and there wasn't much they could do and they took her off of the IV. The minute he said toxins I knew I had to try charcoal. I had taken a bottle with me to give to my sister for her bowel problems. I broke open a couple of capsules and mixed them up in some pudding on her tray, tiny bite by tiny bite I was able to get them into her. The next day we noticed clear yellow urine in her bag but the prognosis was no better. I did the same thing the next day. Still clear urine but no change in the prognosis. When we left the nursing home Friday night my sister and I both thought that was the last time we would see our mother alive. Saturday grandkids and great grandkids came to visit her and we warned them how bad it was. When we walked in she opened her eyes looked around a lot and pointed to my nephew and said his name. I was speechless and the tears started, first I thanked God and then it hit me the charcoal! I continued the use daily while I as there for the next four days. The doctor said it was a miracle! Her kidneys have completely recovered.”
April, 2008

Wound Dressings
"I am an RN, CWCN (certified wound care nurse) and have used charcoal to clean up necrotic wounds. I have mixed charcoal and ground up flax seed with great success, and read how someone had used ground psyllium seed also with success, and will try that too. Of course, I can’t use charcoal when I am treating someone in the hospital even though dressings are made with charcoal in them.
April, 2008

Licken Simplex Chronicus - Severe Itching
"I was very hot all the time much more so than anyone that I worked with in my office job for years. It was quite unbearable because everyone else was cold. So I had multi acupuncture treatments to supposedly help this situations but where 2 different needles had been placed on my left ankle on the inside I became so itchy, it was driving me crazy. I was finally diagnosed by my medical doctor with Licken Simplex Chronicus which is usually caused by insect bites. All the medical doctors want to do is to get a person to use cortisone cream. I chose to try charcoal poultices instead and am very thankful that I have done so. I have had relief for a few months and have just started to use these charcoal poultices again. I am so thankful for charcoal."
Jean in Red Deer,
Alberta, Canada
Apr 2008

Editor's note: The relief from itchiness with activated charcoal experienced by Jean has been well documented in the relief of another itchy condition called "Pruritis" associated with liver and kidney disease. Read abstract: Institute of Clinical Medicine I, University of Pisa, Italy
Conclusion: "It is concluded that activated charcoal per os [by mouth] is a safe, effective, and low-cost therapy for patients with uremic pruritus, but its mechanism of action is unknown."

Lyme Disease
"I have Lyme Disease. LD treatment is worse than the disease itself. It requires high dose antibiotics and that creates a die-off of lyme toxins. My Lyme MD recommended activated charcoal to adsorb the "die off" (which turns to ammonia and creates pain) I have NEVER in my life seen anything like this substance, what a miracle! I am recommending Activated Charcoal at forums to Lyme patients who suffer and need detoxing that is safe. I was soooooo skeptical, but I have been made a believer. My son also with LD, was so sick from "die off" I was going to take him to the hospital, I gave him AC and within hours started to return to "normal" within 4 days he was completely himself again. My husband had a drug interaction, I gave him AC within 30 minutes he was fine. It eliminates nausea, creates clearer thinking ...I can't name it all. I have my own Lyme website and have done thousands of hours of study regarding lyme and detoxing and never heard of AC until my Lyme Md told us about it. All I can say is AMAZING!!"
May, 2008

Ovarian Cyst
"I wanted to let you know that I used charcoal capsules for my ovarian "golfball" size cist. I took the capsules for 3 days, 3 times a day, 2 pills, and at the end of the 3rd day, my ovarian pain was gone. I have just had an ultrasound to confirm the size and was told to go back in 2 months to see how the cists was doing. I have had cists for the past 15 years and Dr.s say there is no answer except if they open up, you need to go to the emergency room for pain meds. A friend told me to try this and he was correct. It actually worked!!! I now don't have to say no to golf or all my other activities. I use to have to stop running or whatever spots I was doing, so as to make sure the cists did not burst. Now, thank God, I can live a normal active healthy life... I can actually plan an event,,, and attend. What a relief to have your life back again!!!!! It's an answer to alot of prayers.”
May, 2008

Severely Infected Wound
Fred called looking for a granular charcoal for the homemade water filter he wants to make. But he also familiar with using charcoal medicinally. Here is another amazing story of healing using charcoal in conjunction with other well known healing herbs.

"My wife tripped and fell on the tines of a rototiller giving herself a severe gash to the bone. She is a severe diabetic. After treating the wound for 3 days she called from work to tell me something was wrong and her leg was very painful. The leg had swelled up very quickly, became red and inflamed and oozed gobs of pus. I brought her home and  packed the wound with golden seal and slippery elm, and wrapped the entire area with a charcoal poultice made from crushed charcoal and water. By the next day the wound was on the way to healing."

May, 2008

Varicose Ulcer
After reading our article on Varicose ulcers in our February Issue of CharcoalTimes, Deb decided to try Activated Charcoal for her husband's varicose ulcer.

"Hi, Just wanted to thank you for the quick mailing of the charcoal. I needed it quickly and was very pleasantly surprised to receive it yesterday. I made a poultice last night, for my husband’s varicose ulcer that has been very slow to heal and he kept it on all night. This morning the healing was already evident and we are very thrilled. Thanks for being there. Will be recommending your company to everyone I know."

June, 2008

Gum Disease
It is not uncommon for someone to find read some of the amazing facts about medicinal charcoal or the diverse testimonies and decide to purchase some activated charcoal for themselves with no clear idea how they will use it when it arrives. Here is some email dialogue with Lida.

Lida, "I got a box of powdered charcoal. How do I use it to cure gum disease, or even just for cleansing my mouth at night?"
We wrote, "For infections of the mouth, what has worked for some is to mix 1 Tablespoon of AC powder into water in a glass to make a thick charcoal slurry. Take enough slurry into your mouth so that you can easily swish it around, then hold it in your mouth as long as you can then spit it out. If you swallow any it will not harm you. You can also dip your toothbrush into the powder and lightly brush your teeth.

You can also make a thick charcoal jelly (1 T charcoal powder + 1 T flax meal + enough hot water to make a thick jelly). You can pack the cheeks with this or put it into a gauze pouch and place it between the cheek and gums during the night.

You should do these treatments regularly for at least 2 weeks.

Type "Teeth" or "Tooth" in the Search window - it will show all the references to teeth on our website.

Lida wrote back, "I thank you so much for helping with this. It really works! I feel more comfortable with my mouth now! I used a teaspoon of a activated charcoal powder. Put it into a big cup of water. Brushed my teeth with it. And yes, dipped my toothbrush in it too. Did it 3x daily.
"I have been having a bad taste and a burning mouth or tongue feelings for some years now. Have been to the dentist, used strong mouth washer, it helped a little. But only for some hours. Brushed my teeth nearly every time I eat. Used toothpicks and zinc tablets, it helped too, but only for a short time. But after using activated powder i really felt a big difference in my mouth. I have been feeling better for a week now, ever since I started using it. Feel more comfortable with my mouth now. I'm really glad about it, coz it's terrible to suffer from bad breath when one works and talks to people everyday.
I really thank you so much."
Sincerely Lida
June, 2008

We too are so thankful to all those who take the time to tell us of their experience. We want them to know that hundreds of people read these stories every week and it is the catalyst for them to try charcoal too. Thanks again!!
Charcoal Mortar & Pestle
Worldwide shortage of activated charcoal.
Because charcoal production in China is such a major air polluter, to clear away some of the reputation of polluted skies over China's major cities, all production of activated charcoal in China has been suspended during the three months of the 2008 Summer Olympics. This, coupled with China's growing domestic need for coal for more and more coal-fired generating stations, has lead to a dramatic shortfall in China export of coal-based charcoal. As well, stiff duties imposed on imported Chinese coal-based charcoal into the USA has lead to a sharp increase in prices for coal-based charcoal, in some cases tripling in price since last year. The ripple effect has consequently driven the prices of all charcoals up dramatically as companies scramble to meet the every growing domestic market for charcoal. For the first time in its history coconut charcoal is now less expensive than coal-based charcoal. But that is of little comfort as the demand for coconut charcoal to meet the overall shortfall is driving up those prices as well. What does this all mean? Like everything else we can expect charcoal prices to continue to increase over the short term until the demand begins to level off, if in fact it does. But, do not despair. In an emergency you can easily make your own charcoal powder. It may not be as effective as the activated charcoals but it still works in many of the same applications.
We get quite a few guests who are interested in knowing how to make their own charcoal. We do have such a page posted - Making Your Own Charcoal and invite you to check it over. But we also posted it on an interesting How-To-Do-It -Yourself site called We would like to invite our readers to visit our Instructable and leave a comment - the more comments the more visible it will be. Thank you for your help!
We regularly are asked for measurement conversions "How many grams in an ounce?" "How many capsules equal a tablespoon" Please take a look at our Measurements page.
Feature article:
 Activated Charcoal aka Fat Blocker

As early as 1926 researchers noted that activated charcoal (at that time still a relatively new product) had an amazing ability to adsorb cholesterol. But it was another 50 years before more extensive testing was done to determine just how effective activated charcoal was in lowering blood lipids (fats).

In 1976 Friedman and fellow researchers reported a striking finding: four uremic patients who had been daily given large amounts of oral charcoal and oxidized starch (35gm of each) in an attempt to bind urea and other uremic metabolites (uric acid, creatinine) showed a decrease in blood cholesterol from an average of 200mg/dL to an average of 166mg/dL within one week. All the patients tolerated the charcoal and oxystarch without complaint. A year later in a subsequent study, the researchers gave 3 uremic patients 35gm/day of oral activated charcoal by itself, for two weeks. The charcoal reduced all blood fats and reduced cholesterol by 18.4%
(D. Cooney PhD Chemistry, University Wyoming, Activated Charcoal in Medical Applications, Dekker, 1995, pp. 456-460)

More studies followed over the next ten years confirming that activated charcoal does lower serum cholesterol as well as triglycerides. But a Finnish study in 1989 saw that the reduction of lipids by activated charcoal was indirect. The authors of the study concluded from their results that in fact the reduction of cholesterol was due to the adsorption of bile acids by the activated charcoal. These bile acids play a leading role in lipid metabolism and absorption in the intestines. In essence, no bile acids/salts no cholesterol absorption, resulting in a decrease in blood cholesterol levels.

There is however one other mechanism thought to play a major role in fat adsorption by activated charcoal. Activated charcoals are not all created alike. Besides the internal surface area of the particles there is the pore structure - the hallways that lead into the internal matrix. These pores range in size from very small to even smaller (from 50nm in diameter down to less than 2nm). These have been conveniently subdivided into macropores (largest), mesopores (midrange), and micropores (the smallest). Color bodies are generally large molecules and so charcoals with macropores are generally used for their removal from liquids. On the other hand gases are relatively small molecules and the microporous charcoals work best for them.

So, in the adsorption of fat molecules it has been suggested that the mesoporous charcoals have a pore structure large enough to accommodate fat molecules with a correspondingly large internal cage structure to hold a significant amount of them.

Capitalizing on these two features of activated charcoal (the adsorption of bile acids/salts and pore structure), pharmacist and creator, Todd McFarland is marketing a charcoal capsule to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, and, as a side benefit, claims it helps people lose weight. These claims are supported by testimonies from customers reporting they lost: six pounds in two weeks; sixteen pounds in two months post-pregnancy; seven pounds in ten days without any lifestyle changes; as well as lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.

McFarland claims his activated charcoal has a unique mesopore structure that actually targets those bile salts which emulsify fats. No bile salts, no emulsification of fat, and thus no absorption of fat can take place. In other words, charcoal adsorbs the bile salts, less fat is absorbed from the food, and people lose weight.

McFarland rightly notes that most popular fat blockers on the market today (including Orlistat) are nothing more than stimulants with all their attending harsh side effects. On the other hand, activated charcoal is not a drug and has no known adverse side effects. A plus plus.

While the success stories testify that his product is doing what he claims it will, does McFarland’s activated charcoal actually have a unique pore structure? Perhaps. But the activated charcoals used in the research trials were common USP grade charcoals and they also exhibited a significant ability to adsorb certain lipid fats. As recent as 1986, the prestigious health journal The Lancet reported that “two tablespoons (8 gms) of activated charcoal taken three times a day for four weeks, lowered total cholesterol 25%, lowered LDL cholesterol 41%, and doubled their HDL/LDL (high-density lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol ratio. (P. Kuusisto, et al., Effect of activated charcoal on hypercholesterolemia, The Lancet, 16: 366-67, August 1986)

So, what is one to make of all this? Simply, activated charcoal has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, improve the LDL/HDL ratio, and, for some individuals, help to lose weight.

We would very much like to hear from any of our readers who have had personal experience with this aspect of charcoal therapy – whether it did or did not help you. It would be most helpful if you could document before and after levels of serum cholesterol/triglycerides and or body weight.

In the mean time, once again we want to promote our book The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal & Its Applications. Not only does it include 150 unique stories form health care workers around the world, but it is also salted with history and scientific research, such as that above, to demonstrate just how qualified charcoal is to work in hospitals and in homes around the world, including yours.
Charcoal Mortar & Pestle