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Charcoal Tablets

Charcoal Tablets

Charcoal tablets have a wide range of applications, especially in the medical field. These tablets are made with activated charcoal, which is a form of extremely porous carbon. This HealthHearty extract gives you information about their benefits and side effects.
Chandramita Bora
Charcoal tablets are activated coal or activated charcoal, which is a form of extremely porous carbon. It is treated with oxygen to open up the spaces between the pores, as a result of which, activated charcoal becomes porous with a large space available for adsorption and chemical reactions. Activated charcoal is basically renowned for its excellent adsorption capacity, for which it can attach itself to various types of impurities. This is the reason why, it has found a number of uses and applications in the health or medical field. Activated charcoal is mainly used for treating poisoning and drug overdose in the health care field. The charcoal tablets and capsules are also used for some digestive disorders.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Benefits
Activated charcoal, due to its strong adsorption properties can hold certain chemical molecules to its surface. Therefore, it is effective in binding with some harmful substances in the stomach and intestine. This is how it works in treating poisoning. In case of poisoning, activated charcoal can absorb or hold the toxin to its surface, and prevent its absorption in the digestive tract. Due to the same reason, it can be used for the treatment of drug overdose as well. But, it may not work for all types of poison. However, the one that is used in the case of poisoning usually comes in powder form or just suspended in a liquid.
They are also used for digestive ailments, especially for indigestion, diarrhea and flatulence. Their use for reducing gas and flatulence has been a very old practice. Activated charcoal can absorb excess gas in the stomach and intestine and thereby, alleviate bloating, flatulence and heartburn. It can be used for treating skin abrasions as well. For topical application, the tablets are crushed and mixed with water to make a paste.
When used on a regular basis, these tablets have been observed to lower the level of cholesterol in the body. Air filters with charcoal tablets inserted, can trap or adsorb the pollutants in the air. This may be quite helpful in preventing frequent episodes of asthma and allergies. On the other hand, many pet owners use these tablets for dogs in order to eliminate bad breath in them.
Side Effects
Activated charcoal can cause a few side effects when taken internally. The most common side effects are―diarrhea and vomiting, constipation, darker stools, and pain and swelling in the stomach. These side effects usually resolve within a short time. Though rare, allergic reaction can develop in some individuals after ingesting activated charcoal, in which case one can observe skin rash or hives, swelling of the mouth, lips and tongue, tightness in the chest and breathing problems. Eye contact with charcoal can cause corneal abrasions. If not administered properly, activated charcoal can cause pulmonary aspiration, which can prove fatal at times. It can also cause emphysema.
Activated charcoal can interact with certain medications or affect their absorption in the intestinal tract. Therefore, it is better not to take medications one or two hours before and after taking these tablets. The medications with which activated charcoal is more likely to interact are, acetaminophen, barbiturates, birth control pills, anticonvulsants, tetracycline, tricyclic antidepressants and phenothiazines. The same precaution needs to be maintained while taking supplements and nonprescription medications. On the other hand, dairy products can reduce the effectiveness of charcoal to absorb gases and toxins. Therefore, dairy products should also be avoided a few hours before and after taking these tablets.
It is better to take these tablets only under the guidance of your health care provider. People taking medications for an underlying health condition should also talk to their doctors before taking activated coal.