When you are out in the bush and you don’t have a full medical laboratory at your disposal, activated charcoal can save lives. Here is all you need to know about what you can use this wonderful natural medicine for, should you require a quick fix in a tight situation.
Activated charcoal is one of those field medicines which has the most uses. Field medicine covers everything from stopping the bleeding with the minimum kit to using plants and herbs to help your patient heal. In the case of activated charcoal, it functions as a tool against poisoning, it negates toxins in the body, and it even sees excellent use as a poultice to draw out harmful infections. When you are out in the wilderness with no help in sight, it is this kind of medicine that could save your life.
Activated charcoal is not the same as a standard charcoal
First things are first: activated charcoal is not the same as standard charcoal. Activated charcoal is not the same material as that which you buy in the brick form to throw into your barbecue. In fact, to activate charcoal, you must cook existing charcoal above 600F, reduce it to a powder, and then use it. Do not ingest charcoal for your barbecue. It is not the same and it contains harmful chemicals. You can see this article to learn how to make activated charcoal for yourself.
What is Activated Charcoal?
This material comes in powdered or pill form. If using this medicine in a doctor’s surgery or hospital, you will likely receive the pill version. If making your own poultice or poison cure in the wild, then you will likely use the powder form. Either way, it is a reduction of charcoal that you expose to higher temperatures. It goes through steps to purify it, removing the chemicals of charcoal briquettes. It is charcoal in a pure form, which the body can use to treat certain illnesses or ailments. It’s a good thing to have in your first aid kit, out in the field.
Field Medicine Uses for Activated Charcoal
Now that everyone knows what it is, let’s talk about how you can use your activated charcoal out in the field. Here are some of the field medicine uses for activated charcoal.
Teeth Cleaning and Whitening
Let’s start with a teeth cleaning and whitening paste. Although it doesn’t sound like a medical use, imagine what would happen to your teeth if you went weeks in the wilderness without brushing? Mix activated charcoal powder with a little warm water and apply it to your teeth.
You can use activated charcoal in a poultice if you need to draw out an infection. Simply mix it with a little water and paste the bandage. This is only for emergency use but could draw out a poison.
The primary use of activated charcoal as a field medicine lies in preventing poisonings. Once swallowed, activated charcoal will negate any medicines you have swallowed in the last few hours. This includes any poisons you accidentally swallowed when you eat from the wrong plant.
If you need to drink clean water and you only have a river to hand, use activated charcoal powder to create a water filtration system.
Rumour has it that activated charcoal can purify the kidneys, helping to dispel undigested toxins.
Activated charcoal has many medical purposes. You could do worse than adding it to your gear bag.