Is Nature’s great toxin remover

overlooked because we can’t see the wood for the trees?

by Phillip Day

 Once a year I get hot flushes when I come across a technique or health aid that really works. And usually behind each story you’ll find a dedicated researcher who’s spent years exploring and refining the techniques before putting fingers to keyboard to tell the world all about it. Such a man is John Dinsley, a redoubtable Canadian who has lived, travelled and worked from South America to the North Pole, from Nova Scotia to Nepal. During the course of his work in overseas development and counselling in some of the planet’s most deprived areas, he quickly learnt what worked and what didn’t. His book is about that most unlikely of remedies, charcoal, and the irony that in our technocratic age where science is now God, the simple truths escape becoming known.

In fact, science knows all about charcoal. As Dinsley writes: ‘We drink water filtered by it; breathe air scrubbed with it; eat food purified through it; wear clothes made with it; preserve things with it; go to war with it; enjoy hundreds of dishes cooked with it; we move mountains with it; we make the night sparkle with it; grow our food and flowers in it; we take it with us to the bottom of the deepest oceans and out into space; and then we call upon it to clean up our many environmental mistakes. Not least and not last, medicinal charcoal plays an increasingly significant role in maintaining, restoring and enhancing man’s level of health. No wonder we naturally warm up to it.’

Unfortunately Medicine has not, since charcoal is commercially worthless and you can’t boost shareholder dividends with the remains of last night’s fire. In 1897, health reformer E White wrote: ‘I expect you will laugh at this, but if I could give this remedy some outlandish name that no-one knew but myself, it would have greater influence.’ The Roman innovator and scientist Pliny knew all about charcoal: ‘It is only when ignited and quenched that charcoal itself acquires its characteristic powers, and only when it seems to have perished that it becomes endowed with greater virtue.’

Back in the old Iron Empire days, of course, who but the Romans knew best with all the poisonings at Caligula’s court? I imagine most senators walked around with smug expressions in those days with pouch or two of charcoal tucked under their togas. These days, who cares? If you can’t drive, drink a cup of coffee and have a doughnut with it, no-one’s interested. And perhaps for that reason alone, many lives have been lost because charcoal’s not sexy and the whole idea of drinking the stuff doubtless gives the housewives of Purley the screaming heebie-jeebies.

For charcoal is, quite simply, one of Nature’s most powerful antidotes for poisoning. It can render harmless thousands of deadly chemicals when taken internally, so much so that it should not be taken with traditional medicines lest it removes them completely from the body (no comment on the grounds that I may incriminate myself).

Accident and Emergency departments use it to treat overdoses and victims of accidental poisoning. In poultice form it has been observed negating the effects of gangrene, boils and sores. In tablet and capsule form it’s used for heartburn, gas, flatulence and wind (I heard they introduced it into the Palace of Westminster bar and the entire House of Commons disappeared).

The wonderfully named Agatha Thrash MD, co-founder of the Uchee Pines Institute and Medical Examiner for the US State of Georgia, remarks, ‘Charcoal has amazing healing properties. In fact, if I were stranded on a desert island and could take only one thing along to protect me from disease, infection and injury, I would choose charcoal.’ Really? I’d choose the QE2.

The pure gold of Dinsley’s book, in my view, are the 150-odd charcoal anecdotes from all over the world and the science to back them up. Food poisoning, spider bites, Crohns, haemorrhoids, vomiting, cancer and miscellaneous ailments – you’ll catch on quickly. Charcoal’s adsorptive surfaces can bind toxins and transport them out of the body, a bit like a courier collecting two computer disks from HMRC, only this time delivering them. As Dr Thrash intones, ‘People need this book. Every family, healthcare worker, every traveller abroad, every health-conscious individual needs a copy in their home library.’

I heartily concur. Even the righteous should be up for evangelist Dinsley and his little pieces of Black Magic.

Charcoal Remedies by John Dinsley
Charcoal Powder (250 g tub)