ó One of the most requested drinks at Pure Raw Juice in
Federal Hill is black lemonade, a concoction of freshly
squeezed lemon juice, agave, water and charcoal.
thatís right ó charcoal.
have used the black powder in emergency rooms for years to
treat drug overdoses and poisonings. Some pediatricians even
tell parents to keep a bottle in their medicine cabinets in
case their kids accidentally ingest toilet bowel cleaner or
bug spray. And now the ingredient is becoming more mainstream
and promoted by some for regular use, with applications that
include whitening teeth and zapping acne away.
Armstrong, the general manager at Pure Raw Juice, recommends
it to customers who have stomach troubles.
is a super-scrub for the digestive tract and food digestive
system," Armstrong said. "There are a lot of people
who have digestive issues."
despite the growing popularity of charcoal, some doctors warn
against taking it regularly, and the Food and Drug
Administration has approved it as a drug only for limited use
as an over-the-counter poison treatment.
agency regulates dietary supplements, the way charcoal is sold
in many stores, but it treats them like foods rather than
medications. The manufacturers of supplements donít have to
show their products are safe or effective before selling them
on the market.
should be mindful of products that claim to prevent, treat, or
cure diseases or other health conditions, but are not proven
safe and effective for those uses," FDA spokeswoman
Andrea Fischer said in an email. "Relying on unproven
products or treatments can be dangerous, and may cause harmful
delays in getting the proper diagnosis and appropriate
the major medical associations, including the American Dental
Association or the American Academy of Dermatology, has
endorsed it for dental or skin needs. The dermatologist group
said it does not endorse products.
many people swear by its claims to draw toxins out of the body
to reduce stomach bloat, clear up skin and take stains off of
teeth. Bottles of charcoal-filled capsules or bags of the
black powder can be found at stores, like retailer GNC and Momís
Organic Market, that specialize in supplements.
products were featured at the Natural Products Expo East held
in Baltimore in September. And black lemonade is also a
popular menu item at Plantbar Powered by Ziaís at Belvedere
Corsaro, Plantbar managing partner and holistic health coach,
said the drink is popular with people looking to detox and
calm digestive problems. She has also created a deodorant with
charcoal that she hopes to launch soon.
of charcoal lauded by some for its health benefits isnít
that found at the summer cookout. Typical charcoal is made
from coal, wood, coconut and other materials. The type
purported to provide health benefits is similar but made
especially for medical use. Itís heated in the presence of a
gas that activates the charcoal so that drugs and toxins can
bind to it, helping to get rid of substances in the body.
Miriam Alexander, medical director for employee health and
wellness at LifeBridge Health, said that if charcoal is taking
toxins out of the body, it could be taking nutrients as well.
She also pointed out there are few scientific studies to back
up the health claims, outside of the way hospitals use it for
poisonings. The studies available are not strong, she said.
feel like, as a consumer, I want to always check that there is
good-quality evidence that it is something that will help me
and not harm me," Alexander said. "Just because
something makes sense, or seems logical, if it has not been
demonstrated that it works I would be wary."
not to say activated charcoal doesnít work, she said. There
is just no evidence to back up claims that it does.
director of research at the Center for Integrative Health at
the University of Maryland School of Medicine, thinks charcoal
can be OK in some cases and even keeps some in his home. He
suggested not taking it within a couple hours of eating or
taking medication because it could deplete nutrients and drug
effectiveness. He also said people can take it on occasion for
ailments such as an upset stomach, but not on a daily basis.
I were somebody with some form of gastrointestinal distress, I
would stop eating the foods causing it ó or find out what is
causing the issue," he said.
Organic Market at the Rotunda in Baltimore has seen an uptick
in people asking for products with charcoal, said wellness
manager William Crowther. The store stocks it in capsule form
and has some facial masks and scrubs with the ingredient. They
are looking for a good-quality powder to sell and plan to
stock a charcoal toothpaste in the near future.
recommends people use it when they drink too much alcohol or
eat something not so healthy. He said combining it with
coconut oil makes a good face mask.
will just gather all the bad stuff and get it out of
you," Crowther said.
STORY CAN END HERE)
Arman of Texas created Magic Mud toothpaste when looking for
something to remedy her daughterís weak enamel seal. The
enamel wasnít protecting the inner core of her daughterís
teeth, making them very sensitive. After using the toothpaste
three times, the sensitivity problems subsided, she said. The
toothpaste is in dental offices across the country and was
recently featured at the Natural Products Expo East.
holistic dentists also use charcoal for tooth whitening, said
Roberta Glasser, executive director of the Holistic Dental
also uses charcoal in her own life for pimples, canker sores
and other health issues.
I have charcoal in my medicine cabinet in every
bathroom," she said.
Raw Juice recently, Armstrong poured charcoal from a plastic
bag into a mixer with agave and lemon juice. He then poured in
a gallon of water before turning on the mixer. He said the
juice is grainy at first until all the charcoal is absorbed
into the liquid.
are often thrown off by the color of the lemonade at first,
but Armstrong said you canít taste the charcoal.
people shouldnít drink the juice everyday, but that it can
be used from time to time to detox the body. Armstrong and
others warned that people should drink lots of water with the
charcoal because it flushes out the system and could lead to
will move stuff right out of you," Armstrong said.