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I Never Travel Without Activated Charcoal — Here’s Why

By Bianca Lambert

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Charcoal is a staple in the beauty industry, with companies making facewash, masks, and toothpaste to help naturally keep your skin clear and your teeth white. But what if I told you charcoal could also be an excellent resource for stomach bugs, food poisoning, and an upset stomach? My dad introduced me to activated charcoal when I went to St. Lucia in January because water in different countries can sometimes upset your stomach if you aren’t a native.

This phenomenon is known as Traveler’s diarrhea — the digestive disorder usually isn’t serious but can cause nausea, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.

RELATED: 5 Tips For Making Your Skincare Routine Travel-Friendly

When my dad gave the activated charcoal, I packed it without thinking I might need to use it, but a couple of days into my trip I was consistently nauseous. Since I was only drinking bottled water, I couldn’t understand why my stomach was so upset, but water is still used in the food that is cooked and served in local restaurants. It’s highly likely that the food triggered my stomach woes.

I took my dad’s advice and mixed a tablespoon of activated charcoal with a glass of water before bed, and the next day I felt better. Activated charcoal is known to absorb toxins in the digestive tract, as they pass through your system — giving you relief from you uninvited stomach issues. The other great things about this remedy are that it comes in three different forms: powder, tablets, and pills. So, its always easy to pick them up for your local vitamin shop or even online.

RELATED: Tips For Eating Well On The Go


If you find yourself with a more severe form of a stomach virus, be sure to see a doctor to get proper treatment. But from my personal experience, charcoal is still the travel essential every wanderer on the go should pack in their carry-on.

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