What are charcoal tablets? Charcoal tablets are pills of activated carbon for human use. As such, they are made from food grade charcoal (Mostly coconut based). They are mainly used for absorbing impurities or chemicals from the body in the event of a poisoning or chemical overdose. Those with stomach ailments such as heartburn and indigestion have reported improvement when taking charcoal tablets. The main ingredient is of course charcoal. Charcoal sees many uses in our daily life. These include :-

Charcoal supplements (Tabs, liquid, caps)
Activated charcoal filters (Water and Air purification)
Fuel source (BBQ etc)
Incense Charcoal Tablets (Shisha, Hookah)

What exactly are activated charcoal tablets used for in modern times? Their primary role as mentioned above is to nullify chemicals. This is particularly useful when dealing with poisoning or drug overdoses. However, for this to work, the poison or chemical must be in the stomach.

Once ingested, the charcoal tablet will absorb these chemicals until it runs out of capacity to do so (Which is a problem for all activated carbon products). However, it is not effective against all types of poisons. It has also been said to help with indigestion and diarrhea. But there has thus far been no scientific studies pointing to that fact.

Skin abrasions can also be treated by using powdered activated charcoal. But you will have to combine the powder with water to create a paste that you can apply to the areas affected. Apply the paste to a clean cloth and wrap around the abrasion. Lastly, it treats dragon breath (Bad breath) particularly for dogs. While they may not like the taste, it may be coaxed into thinking they are treats. Use your imagination and combine it with some form of doggy biscuit.

But what is charcoal? Charcoal is carbon that has had its sources of water and other constituents removed. The two main sources are charcoal are vegetable and animal based. However, for commercial purposes, only vegetable sources are used as they are abundant and cheap.

To create charcoal, you will need the material to undergo a slow burn in a very low oxygen environment. This process is called pryolysis. Once produced, the end result is a black, light but brittle substance. These raw pieces of charcoal are either sold or further processed into a variety of shapes and forms. Traditional methods of making charcoal involve placing wood logs in a conical pile and covering them with clay or soil. It is then lit from the bottom. Because only wood is used, it does have an impact on the environment in the form of deforestation. But we have since found methods to produce them cyclically to ensure a sustainable supply of charcoal. Traditional methods needed constant attention during a period of a few days to produce charcoal.

Modern methods however, utilize steel containers to accurately limit the amount of oxygen let in during the process. The Japanese have a technique that removes acids found in the material during the process. This process produces charcoal that produces no smoke and no scent. The uses of charcoal were a lot more widespread in ancient times. In fact, it was one of the earliest used pigments used for drawing. The most obvious (And widespread) use was of course, as a fuel source. The blacksmith that forges a sword only worked with charcoal. It was also used as a source of carbon black, which was an important ingredient in the creation of gunpowder. Charcoal has a very high melting point of up to two thousand degrees centigrade. Conversely, something like iron has a melting point far below charcoal, which is about one thousand five hundred degrees centigrade. Ironically, charcoal was the main source of reducing fuel used to create iron in ancient times.

In fact, it was so important to the production of iron that in the sixteenth century, laws were put in place in England to prevent deforestation. This had to do with the high iron needs of England at that time. However, because of high costs, charcoal was eventually replaced by coal during steel production. Unfortunately, coal is viewed as an inferior fuel as it does not burn as hot and it produces sulfur. Activated charcoal (Or activated carbon) is simply a process that increases porosity of the charcoal tremendously. This makes them effective as a means of absorbing impurities from the air or from liquid sources.

For this reason, charcoal filters (Or carbon filters) are used very frequently from day to day life. In water, it works as a purifier. It removes dissolved organic materials and chemical such as chlorine. Activated carbon is largely used at home (Drinking water) in other industries like the Aquarium industry. When put in an area of high flow within the aquarium, they effectively remove any color tints and dissolved organic waste produced by rotting food and organisms effectively. When used as a filtration, it effectively absorbs harmful chemicals and smoke. For this reason, activated carbon is used extensively in gas masks. It removes unpleasant odors and certain types of gases. Unfortunately, charcoal production is one of the main causes of deforestation today. This is because charcoal production is almost always unregulated in poorer countries. Despite this, charcoal tablets are always handy to have around the house.

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