Friday, November 7, 2014

I Sing the Praises of Charcoal

Before you wonder if this post will be about grilling or barbecuing--I'm speaking of activated charcoal and how it helped me with a terrible case of diarrhea (and I promise not to get too graphic).  A week ago my dear hubby started to get run down--what started with his own case of the trots has grown into a miserable flu.  I'd been managing to avoid it for five days when I woke up in the middle of the night to my own gurgling in the guts.

Drowsy as I was, I did the usual thing and reached for the pink stuff.  I was up three or four more times following the same procedure till morning.  Then, when I was finally wide awake, I remembered that charcoal was supposed to help with that sort of thing.  I'd seen the information in several resources, but the first one I found that morning was Karen Weaver's book Be your Child's Pediatrician so I'm giving her the credit.   She says"

Mix one tablespoon of powdered charcoal into one glass of water and drink the whole thing quickly, through a straw if your child minds the color and grit...Follow this dose with another glass of water, since charcoal can be constipating. Repeat the dose after each run to the bathroom and the problem is soon history.

This really is better a remedy given at night time when things are dark because drinking a glass of black water is unappetizing.  I actually used some mango juice I had on hand and did use the recommended straw.

Amazingly, within 15-20 minutes the pain was gone.  I had one more run to the bathroom (so I repeated the dosage) and that was it!  Yes, it is disconcerting to see an inky black toilet too but I felt so much better I didn't care.  It's now been two days and I'm felling great--I never did catch my husband's other flu symptoms if that's what I had.

According to another Weaver book, Be Your Own Doctor,  activated charcoal was used for treatment from the birth of America until the 1950's when drug companies started pushing their own over the counter remedies.  I guess people prefer drinking something pink rather than something black which is a shame because charcoal is good for treating so many things: drug overdose, counteract poison, diarrhea, intestinal gas, bad breath, vomiting, jaundice, bites & stings, infections, and draining wounds.  It's cheap, easy to use (albeit messy), and simply passes through the body once it's absorbed what's bothering you.

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