Charcoal Soup, Anyone??

Ingesting a slurry of charcoal doesn’t sound appealing, but, if your digestive system is turned upside-down while stranded, without access to a store, pharmacy or medical facility, it may just be the solution. Charcoal is often used for filtering air and water because of it’s microscopic porous structure. It absorbs organic chemicals, nitrates and toxins. Charcoal is composed of carbon which is the central element of organic matter such as plants, and when combusted, can be collected and ground into a fine powder for use.

Scientific techniques have led industry to enhance the porosity of charcoal in a variety of ways using gases, chemicals, and extreme heat and/or steam to create “activated” charcoal. In terms of collective surface area, it is said that one gram of activated charcoal would be able to cover several football fields if it were rolled flat. Activated charcoal is used in hospitals worldwide for patients who ingest drugs or chemicals and have saved countless lives.

I recommend that you visit a local pharmacy and purchase some activated charcoal for your emergency kit or bug-out-bag (BOB). In lieu of activated charcoal, many military survival instructors teach soldiers to grind up the charcoal from their campfire and make a slurry with water to ingest. It works in both the stomach and the intestines while being eliminated through the digestive tract. Some home remedies also suggest burning your toast to create charcoal, then scraping into a small pile to grind. In the end, don’t be alarmed when your stool is dark, it just shows that the charcoal has finished it’s course, and be thankful for the task that it has accomplished.

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3 thoughts on “Charcoal Soup, Anyone??

  1. nasty tasting for sure but very helpfull in emergency situations. I have heard some reports of it being used regularly to “Detoxify” your body since most of what we ingest today is tainted with chemicals.

  2. Activated charcoal or charcoal slurry should not to be used for fun(!) or for ‘detox’ as the charcoal will also absorb nutrients from food and drink. Ie. If you use this stuff to try and detox then you will get less nutrition from the food you eat while it is in your system. Quite possibly a lot less nutrition.

    However if you have a stomach ache or intestinal issue this may sort you out.

  3. Oh, and I suggest that you make sure you get the charcoal, not the wood ash. As a wood ash and water mix can produce Lye (which is an alkali and can burn) I figure you want to minimise the ash content in your soup or else you may end up adding to your stomach troubles :).

    On the other hand the Lye can be useful for washing dishes or making soap…. But that’s another story.

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