Activated charcoal works because it chemically binds other substances to its surface and can absorb thousands of times its own weight. It also has an incredibly large surface area due to all of its pores – one cubic inch of charcoal has the surface area equivalent to a 150,000 square-foot field. This is why just a bit of charcoal can absorb so many toxins, atoms, and ions What Not to Do You shouldn’t take activated charcoal if you’re taking prescription medication, as it could render your medication useless. It also shouldn’t be taken regularly, like a supplement, because it will reduce your body’s absorption of important nutrients from food. Furthermore, you should never use charcoal briquettes in place of activated charcoal in the event of a poisoning. Dangerous petrochemicals have been added to commercial briquettes, and it is not the same as activated charcoal. This is why you should purchase medical-grade activated charcoal to use in the event of an emergency. You can find safe activated charcoal online at Amazon or in many health food stores. A paper published by I. Makalinao and A.D. Woolf of Harvard Medical School mentions the effectiveness of a charcoal poultice for drawing out poisons from insect and spider bites. Activated charcoal can be effective for reducing gas, especially after eating foods, such as beans, that commonly create excess gas. It can also relieve an upset stomach or nausea. However, it is worth repeating that activated charcoal should only be taken occasionally to relieve these symptoms, and shou6. Body Detox Since charcoal does such an amazing job ridding your body of toxins, some people also use it to rid their body of built-up toxins. The length of these cleanses can vary, but they often last a week or two.