The History of Activated Charcoal

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The history of activated charcoal

Are we truly that much smarter than the minds of our world’s historical past? Ehh, no not really. We just have easier access to accumulated research thanks to the internet. Today we’re going to learn about some of the historical discoveries and uses of activated charcoal that go back thousands of years.

Before I get started I would like to mention this video is sponsored by Sungazer Herbs. By purchasing activated charcoal and other supplements from you can support my YouTube channel and your wellness. Also, if you like the information I’m providing in this video then please hit like on this video like your life depends on it and subscribe to my channel if you’re new. Okay, now let’s get started.

There are numerous records of charcoal being used all around the world throughout history. Todays activated charcoal supplements and charcoal air filters are directly inspired by those discoveries. All we’re doing differently today is utilizing thousands of years of activated charcoal use by applying some modern science to it. Otherwise, not much has changed except the c60 anti aging discovery and modern methods for creating quality charcoal products.

Let’s take a look at the history of activated charcoal and see how it found its way to popularity all around the world.

3750 BC: The earliest known use of charcoal by the Egyptians and Sumerians. They used wood char for the reduction of copper, zinc and tin ores to manufacture bronze. They also used charcoal as a smokeless fuel.

1500 BC: The first known recorded medicinal uses of activated charcoal was in the egyptian papyri. They used it to adsorb odors from rotting wounds and the gastrointestinal tract.

As you can tell, activated charcoal has been used as medicine for quite a while.

400 BC: During this time period, charcoal was used to treat epilepsy, chlorosis and anthrax.

Hippocrates and Pliny knew charcoal could be used as medicine as long as it’s prepared properly. Pliny specifically wrote in his epoch work Natural History (Vol. 36): “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.”

450 BC: Wrecked Phoenician trading ships were found to have barrels used for storing drinking water. These barrels were charred on the inside to create charcoal and in return kept the water safe for drinking.

Also around this time, Hindu documents refer to charcoal and sand as filters to purify drinking water.

157 AD: Claudius Galvanometer created 500 different medical treatises. Many of those uses referred to carbon made from vegetables and animals to treat a variety of diseases.

297 AD: The roman emperor Diocletian unfortunately decided to order the destruction of all scientific books in the Roman Empire. Obviously slowing down the progress of scientific research by at least 1000 years. No one will ever know how many of those records had uses with charcoal. Brrrffttttt dhumb humans, idiots UHH, “rolling eyes” “napoleon dynamite video clip”

1773: Sheele measured numerous volumes of gases that could be adsorbed by carbons made from different sources.

1777: The effects of heat was found to be associated with the adsorption of gases with charcoal. This discovery eventually lead to the condensations theories of adsorption.

1785: Lowitz reviewed charcoal’s abilities to adsorb odours from medical conditions. He published accounts of charcoals ability to adsorb various vapours from organic chemicals. He also may have been the first who studied charcoal’s effectiveness in decolorizing liquid solutions. Or more specifically the commercial applications to produce tartaric acid.

Right around this time the sugar industry was looking for a way to decolorize raw sugar syrups. Charcoal was not of high enough quality to do so at the time.

1793: Kehl mentioned using chars to control odours from gangrenous ulcers and discovered charcoal made from animal tissues could remove colours from solution.

1794: An english sugar refinery finally successfully used charcoal from wood to decolorize sugar syrups. They kept their carbon preparation method a secret, obviously in hopes to have an advantage in the sugar industry.

1805 – 1808: In France, Gruillon began the first large scale sugar refining facility using ground and washed wood charcoal to decolorize syrups.  

Delessert was successful in demonstrating charcoal’s ability to decolorize sugar beet liquor. The sugar beet industry in France grew because of him. Within only a few years to 1808, all sugar refineries in Europe began to use charcoal as a decolorizer.

1811: Figuier discovered bone char has far superior decolorizing capabilities compared to wood char. The sugar refining industry quickly substituted wood char for bone char.

Methods to regenerate bone char with heat was discovered and granulated bone char was developed which is able to be quickly regenerated.  

1817: Joseph de Cavaillon created a method to regenerate used bone char and patented it. His method was not a complete success.

1822: We begin to see some greater scientific discoveries. Bussy was the first to produce activated charcoal with a combination of thermal and chemical methods. He showed that the decolorizing properties of carbons was dependant on the source material, thermal processing and the particle size of the finished carbon product. He showed carbon made at too high of a temperature or for too long lowered the adsorptive properties and the importance of porosity. He even showed carbon made from heated blood with potash had 20-50 times more decorizing abilities compared to bone char.

1841: Schatten arranged the use of hydrochloric acid wash before heating in the regeneration of bone chars. This method removes minerals salts adsorbed by carbon. Also, in Germany, he introduced the first vertical kiln to continuously manufacture and regenerate bone chars.

1854: Stenhouse stated the application of using carbon to eliminate vapours and gases in the London sewers ventilation system. Let’s thank Stenhouse because he’s the reason why we have carbon air filters in our homes.

1862: Lipscombe used carbon to purify potable water.

1865: Hunter discovered charcoal made from coconut shells has gas adsorbent properties. Most charcoal supplements today are made from coconut shells thanks to Hunter’s discovery.

1881: Kayser was the first person to use the term adsorption in regard to carbon’s ability to uptake gases.

1901: Von Ostrejko set the standards for the commercial development of activated carbons through a process using metallic chlorides with carbonaceous material before carbonization and the mild oxidation of charred materials with carbon dioxide or steam at raised temperatures.

1911: The first industrially produced activated carbon “Eponit” from Austria was marketed. They used Ostrejko’s gasification method to manufacture Eponit from wood. The product was used as a decolorizer in the sugar refining industry. Prior to this, the sugar refining industry was using their own patented processes.

1913: Wunsch found that a heated mixture of Eponit and zinc chloride increased carbon’s decolorizing capacity.

1914 – 1918: Activated wood chips with zinc chloride which create granulated carbons with low resistance to airflow was used to protect the military from poisonous gases in the battlefield of the First World War. During this time, a study found that charcoal from coconut shells worked best for gas masks.

Post-1918: War continued to influence the development of activated charcoal gas masks. In Europe they found coconut and almond shells with zinc chloride further improved the mechanical strengths and adsorptive capacities for gases and vapours.

1985: C60 was discovered. C60 is activated carbon shaped like a soccer ball.

1996: a Nobel Prize was given to Harry Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for the discovery of C60.

21st Century: Activated Charcoal is being used in hospitals for toxic poisonings. It’s also commonly used as a detox supplement for gas, bloating and environmental toxins.

Research of the more pure version of carbon called C60 is starting to reach the surface on social media because of its possible anti aging properties. If you would like to learn more about the anti aging properties and health benefits of C60 and activated charcoal, be sure to watch my other video “The health benefits of activated charcoal – anti aging discovery”

Well! That’s it for this video. Be sure to hit like on this video like your life depends on it, subscribe to my channel if you’re new, I upload numerous health and lifestyle videos that you won’t want to miss. Join my newsletter for free product giveaways and additional health tips that you can’t get anywhere else. Share this video with someone you feel needs to know this information.If you’re interested in purchasing activated charcoal and other supplements, consider purchasing from my store This supports my YouTube channel and your wellness. But wait, before you purchase an activated charcoal supplement, make sure you watch my other activated charcoal video. There are a few things you may need to know before you decide to supplement it. As always, I’m Brandon Goji and I’ll see you in the next video. Stay motivated you Urban Survivors!



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