CharcoalTimes™ December 2007

WELCOME to the very First Issue of CharcoalTimes, a courtesy newsletter of We believe you will find the information useful, timely, practical, and inspiring!

Each Issue will include:

  • News about Activated Charcoal
  • New Personal Testimonies
  • Seminars - dates and places
  • Miscellaneous News

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We invite our readers' comments, suggestions, and experiences. We will do our best to respond to letters but where questions overlap we will post them on a subsequent newsletter.

Picture of John Dinsley

Sincerely john dinsley
Charcoal News

Judging from the many calls and emails we receive and the questions asked, most folks have very little understanding of charcoal as a medicinal - its history or its science. I thought I would begin this First Issue of CharcoalTimes with a trip through time, beginning with ancient Egypt and working our way to the present. This overview is brief. In future issues I would like to share some of the amazing uses of charcoal as a medicinal both past and present. You will see that charcoal was no less potent a remedy 200 years ago than it is today in its activated form.

Charcoal History: 3750B.C. to 2007A.D.

Ancient Egypt
Because it burns hotter, charcoal is superior to wood, and so, historically, it became the fuel used to smelt ores. 3750 B.C. is its earliest known recorded use. The Egyptians and Sumerians produced charcoal for the reduction of copper, zinc and tin ores in the manufacture of bronze. But, it was during that time that Egyptians also discovered a completely unrelated aspect of charcoal - it was a preservative. Posts scorched black by fire, when used for construction along the River Nile, were found not to rot when buried in the moist/wet soils. Without realizing it, the Egyptians began to capitalize on charcoal's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. This early innovation to preserve wood from rotting in wet situations continued down through the centuries, as other uses were discovered.

Water Treatment
Centuries later, wood tars produced from charcoal were used for caulking ships. Recent studies of the wrecks of Phoenician trading ships from around 450 B.C. suggest that drinking water was stored in charred wooden barrels. This practice was still in use in the 18th  Century for extending the use of potable water on long sea voyages.  Wood-staved barrels were scorched to preserve them, and the water or other items stored in them. How ingenious it was, a completely natural, organic, and environmentally friendly preservative! Today we have hundreds of patented sleek chrome water filters and activated charcoal is a major component.

Realizing that charcoal somehow inhibited whatever it was that promoted rotting, early Egyptians saw another application that catered to their suspicions about the afterlife. They wrapped the dead in cloth. They were then buried in layers of charcoal and sand to preserve the corpses. This was later improved upon by collecting byproducts of charcoal for use in their embalming industry.

1500 B.C.
The first recorded use of charcoal for medicinal purposes comes from Egyptian papyri around 1500 B.C. The principal use appears to have been to adsorb the unpleasant odors from putrefying wounds and from within the intestinal tract. Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.), and then Pliny (50 A.D.), recorded the use of charcoal for treating a wide range of complaints including epilepsy, chlorosis (a severe form of iron-deficiency anemia), vertigo, and anthrax. Pliny writes in his epoch work Natural History (Vol. 36): “It is only when ignited and quenched that charcoal itself acquires its characteristic powers, and only when it seems to have perished that it becomes endowed with greater virtue.” What Pliny observed and noted so long ago is the very mystery science continues to exploit today.

In the second century A.D. Claudius Galen was the most famous doctor of the Roman Empire, and the ancient world’s strongest supporter of experimentation for scientific discovery. He produced nearly 500 medical treatises, many of them referring to the use of charcoals of both vegetable and animal origin, for the treatment of a wide range of diseases.

1700 A.D.
After the suppression of the sciences, first by Rome around 300 A.D. and then on through the Dark Ages, charcoal reemerged in the 1700s as a prescription for various conditions. Charcoal was often prescribed for bilious problems (excessive bile excretion). The use of charred wood was mentioned for the control of odors from gangrenous ulcers. ( p. 56-57)

1800 A.D.
By the mid 1800s charcoal, as a medicinal, suddenly became a well known treatment for a number of health conditions. Notice this entry:

    "...Charcoal mixed with bread crumbs or yeast, has long been a favourite material for forming poultices, among army and navy surgeons. The charcoal poultice has also obtained a high character in hospital practice as an application to sloughing ulcers and gangrenous sores, and recently, this substance has afforded immense relief in numerous cases of open cancer, by soothing pain, correcting foetor, and facilitating the separation of the morbid structure from the surrounding parts. It is unnecessary to mention other instances of its utility; for in this form Charcoal is now admitted into the London Pharmacopoeia, and it is in general use in all naval, military, and civil hospitals..."  James Bird  M.R.C.S. (Surgeon - Royal Glamorgan Militia, 1857)

After the development of the charcoal activation process (1870 to 1920), many reports appeared in medical journals about activated charcoal as an antidote for poisons and as a cure for intestinal disorders, and much more. By the end of the 20th century Activated Charcoal was employed by every hospital, clinic, research department, and poison control center in the world in hundreds of varied applications. From wound dressings to ostomy bags, from drug overdose to kidney dialysis units, from hemoperfusion cartridges to drug purification, from the treatment of anemia in cancer patients to breast cancer surgery, the role of activated charcoal as a medicinal continues to grow.

2000 A.D.
Today, charcoal is rated Category 1, “safe and effective”, by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for acute toxic poisoning. It is also listed in the U.S. homeopathic pharmacopoeia as having “marked absorptive power of gases”. A 1981 study, reported in Prevention magazine, confirmed what Native Americans have known for hundreds of years. Activated charcoal cuts down on the amount of gas produced by beans and other gas-producing foods, and adsorbs the excess gas as well as the bacteria that form the gas.  Brand name, over-the-counter drugs may be more commonly used for gas because of their attractive packaging and commercial value, but they are certainly not as effective.

Old charcoal remedies are repackaged today in glistening instruments and catchy packages, but the charcoal inside is still its same humble self - still unpretentious, still black, still dusty and messy to use, still relatively cheap, still ridiculed if not ignored, still largely un-thanked. But in hundreds if not thousands of ways charcoal touches our lives every day though we would scarcely know it. Crafted by the Creator's hands, its history resurrected from the burial sands of ancient Egypt, charcoal is one of the single greatest benefactors to the human race.

No doubt charcoal's utility and fame will continue to grow in spite of its self, but it is our hope that we may have a part in introducing it to those who still have no inkling of how close at hand lies a simple, potent, super natural remedy for many of the diseases of ancient Egypt that still plague us today.

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 posted 3 new stories for this first issue of CharcoalTimes.

Injured Horse
Another of our recent testimonies is of a young girl's severely injured older horse - a badly infected and deep laceration below the front fetlock.
After a couple weeks of vet visits and lots of antibiotics the vet felt it was time to put the horse down. The day before "D" day the grand parents of the girl asked us if charcoal might work. I went over with charcoal powder and flax and showed them how to make a poultice. They applied it, changed it regularly, and asked God to bless their efforts. Two days later the wound opened up and drained a mass of putrid green pus, and the wound began to mend. The vet could not believe the horse could recover and drove out to see for himself. God answered the combination of science and faith and the family are new converts to the wonders of charcoal. They continue to dress the wound as the horse slowly heals.
November, 2007 
Jeremy is a Physician Assistant but also trained for several years in natural medicine. He writes of a recent experience he and his wife had.

"I am writing regarding an experience we had with activated charcoal and an abscess. My wife had what appeared to be a small cyst in her left auxiliary (armpit) region for several days and it kept getting bigger, more painful and more erythematous (red and inflamed). She had no fevers, chills, malaise or night sweats and no streaking was seen radiating out from what we thought to be a cyst. The pain increased and was to the point of not allowing her left arm to comfortably rest by her side - I could not even lightly touch it without causing her a lot of pain. It grew to the size of a golf ball and looked as if it was coming to a head. By this time I began to think we might be dealing with an abscess.
Activated charcoal was the first thing that came to my mind in the form of a poultice that might bring this through the skin more effectively and allow it to drain.
I mixed activated charcoal with ground flaxseed in no 'special' ratio, but simply made a paste with it that would stay on the gauze and not be runny. I taped the poultice down over top of the abscess and left it on overnight.
The next morning when the poultice was taken off the abscess appeared to have a thinner wall in one area. The erythema (redness and inflammation) was virtually gone and the pain was completely gone. My wife very gently squeezed the lump and it burst open and released large amounts of pus. She continued to expel the material until nothing more came out.

We cleaned the area well, dressed it with gauze. She could now rest her arm by her side and had no pain. By the next morning the swelling had decreased to about ¼ inch in diameter and finally disappeared several days later.
Without question, a poultice of activated charcoal holds tremendous value for post-surgical patients as well."
All the Best,
North Carolina
November, 2007
Colic Calm
Our son was born full term but shortly after birth he was diagnosed with a Phneumothorax (hole in the lung). He was admitted to the NICU where he received treatment for the condition. He left the NICU and headed home with a clean bill of health except for some digestion issues which the neonatologists felt would resolve on their own.
After bringing him home we knew something was still wrong as he cried excessively for hours on end, often all day long. We at first thought it was colic. At 4 weeks old he was diagnosed with being allergic to regular infant formulas and milk protein. We've tried every formula on the market and finally settled on one that "worked" the best for him after all others were ruled out. When he has particularly bad crying spells and is very uncomfortable we bring out the Colic Calm. Within 5 minutes he usually improves and is often smiling again. As soon as we administer it he quiets as he loves the taste of it! We consulted our pediatrician and even the pediatric nutritionist about using Colic Calm and both told us it was safe and OK to use. Our son does not have typical colic but we've quickly realized what a wonderful product Colic Calm is as it helps alleviate his discomfort that the allergic reaction causes him. Thank you Colic Calm for a product that really does work, and thank you Kimberly for your top-notch customer service!
Adam's Mom
October, 2007 
Charcoal Mortar & Pestle


Miscellaneous News

Next Scheduled Seminar

March 8th - Life Unlimited monthly meeting - Eagan, Minnesota
    * Charcoal Applications and Home Hydrotherapy Demonstrations

Earlier this year I was invited to speak at the International Activated Carbon (Charcoal) Manufactures Assoc. (IACMA) in Washington D.C. It was a wonderful opportunity to share with the owners and representatives of the various international and domestic companies that manufacture much of the world's supply of activated charcoal. These men and women are well versed in the industrial uses of activated charcoal (including Pharmaceutical) but knew little to nothing of its various medicinal applications in the healthcare industry and even less of its natural home remedy reputation. Judging from the interest and sales of our book ( The Complete Handbook) there was a new appreciation for this little known and much misunderstood Super Natural Remedy.

Following my presentation Stephen Claeys, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce gave a presentation on Anti-dumping Legislation and the Dynamics of Foreign trade. It addressed the logic behind recent regulatory action against imported charcoal and how it will affect all players in the industry. Because China is the largest importer of coal-based charcoal to the US, and because it has been under selling American producers at greatly reduced prices, the Commerce Dept. imposed significant tariffs to level the playing field. Subsequently prices for coal-based charcoal have continued to rise through the year. Coal-based charcoals are primarily used in the water filtration industry and agricultural industry for soil remediation.

Following Mr Claeys was Bob Wayland, of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His talk laid out the up and coming legislation that addresses the constantly evolving environmental protocols with respect to air pollution and how the new laws will dramatically increase the need for charcoal as a major player in controlling green house gases. One of the participants pointed out the obvious, that with the new imposed restrictions on China charcoal there would be even less charcoal to go around at a time when producers are already not able to meet the demand.  How will government be able to impose regulatory laws when the raw product, charcoal, needed to practically implement those laws is in short supply? Other than a shrugging of the shoulders there was no answer. With an unwillingness on the part of industry to curb energy demands fueled by an insatiable demand by consumers for more consumables (with their toxic byproducts), and a drastic shortage of charcoal available to suck up the increasing burden of pollutants, coupled with other factors, the prospect looks grim.

Clearly charcoal is a major player in the environmental debate in America, but it is also a major concern for indigenous Africa. There, from individuals to small coops, people are clear-cutting every available tree to be converted into charcoal to sell on the ever growing Black (Charcoal) Market.  While coal (one of many raw materials for making charcoal) is not renewable, trees are. But, with indiscriminant harvesting with no enforced plan for reforestation, the short term forecast for central Africa seems no better than for the industrial countries clamoring for their charcoal.

We clearly are living in momentous times when even small imbalances in environmental/industrial/political issues are having global repercussions. Will manmade solutions be able to muzzle the growing menace of manmade mistakes? That will have to be a topic for a future newsletter. In the meantime, even though we are a wholesaler and retailers of activated charcoal for medicinal use we want people to know that in an emergency (personal or global) you can still make your own charcoal. Even though simple charcoal is not as adsorptive as the activated charcoals, it still works! We invite you to our "Making Your Own Charcoal" page to show you one simple method of making your own (there are other simple methods).

Charcoal Mortar & Pestle