Activated charcoal powder
Charcoal is a familiar substance that takes many forms, from drawing materials to barbecue fuel. Activated charcoal is one form of this common substance that is making waves in the culinary world. It is made by burning bamboo or coconut shells in an oxygen depleted environment until all the impurities are removed.
The resulting charcoal is then processed to give it a porous surface that is highly absorbent as they form a labyrinthine structure almost like fine lace. A single gram of activated charcoal can have a surface area in excess of 2000 square meters, and this makes activated charcoal powder a truly unique ingredient.
The porous surface of activated charcoal powder means that it causes other substances to form a film on its surface, in a process known as adsorption. It is this process that gives activated charcoal powder its two most sought-after properties.
Activated charcoal powder as a dietary aid
More than two thousand years ago, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates identified charcoal’s potential as a medicinal ingredient. A few hundred years later, Pliny the Elder was recommending it’s medicinal properties in Rome, and today we know even more about the health benefits of activated charcoal.
It can be used in overdose and poisoning cases to prevent the unwanted substances from being absorbed into the gut. The way it bonds with toxins also makes it an excellent aid to kidney function as it helps filter out urea and other waste products before they get to the kidneys.
Most people that add activated charcoal powder to their food do so to improve the function of the digestive system. It can be used to relieve symptoms of indigestion, trapped wind and cramping. Scientists also believe that it may help to reduce incidences of diarrhoea in cases where it could be taken to prevent bacteria from getting into the system.
Activated charcoal as a food colourant
As well as bonding to toxins and waste products, activated charcoal also easily bonds with foods giving them a rich, dark colour. Many prominent chefs have used activated charcoal in their dishes in order to give them a striking appearance.
All over the world, restaurants and cafes have showcased their chic style by serving a variety of jet black foods. These include: ice cream, pizza, waffles, smoothies, coffees, juices, biscuits, and more.
The richness of the colour makes activated charcoal the perfect colourant for dishes where rich colours can be hard to achieve, such as bread, cakes and other baked goods. Activated charcoal can be used to create chic and stylish looking dishes.
Activated charcoal powderis often used in molecular gastronomy, to add strong colour to fluid gels, foams and other decorative elements.
Other uses of activated charcoal
Because it is gluten free and vegan, activated charcoal powder can be added to a range of dishes and used in a variety of ways that are suitable for a range of dietary requirements.
It can be used in beauty products such as skin cleansing masks and scrubs. Because it forms bonds so easily, activated charcoal powder can be used as a cleanser as it removes impurities and toxins from the skin. It can be combined with beeswax and avocado oil to make all-natural mascara and eyeliner and with coconut oil to make a deep cleaning hair mask.
Activated charcoal powder can be used in soaps and candles, even be used to absorb smells in cupboards, fridges and wardrobes. From household products to delicious dishes, there are a wide variety of uses for activated charcoal powder.