Is charcoal the key to curing your hangover?

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
Can activated charcoal help a hangover? [Photo: Instagram/activcharcoalaus]
Can activated charcoal help a hangover? [Photo: Instagram/activcharcoalaus]

The health-set are all about charcoal right now (think charcoal lattes, charcoal ice cream cones, charcoal burgers, er, charcoal fish and chips …).

Activated charcoal – the secret ingredient that gives the blacker than black colouring – has long been hailed by experts as aiding better digestive health.

It’s also meant to be pretty good at whitening teeth, cleansing skin and looks pretty cool on your Instagram feed.

But the black stuff has another secret super power: it helps to cure a hangover.

“Most of us have experienced the pain and the frustration of a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that once in your blood; your body needs to put its water supplies in your blood to dilute it,” explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at

“This creates an increase in blood volume and pressure. To bring your blood pressure down, we then need to excrete the water down the toilet. The problem being, now our cells are lacking the water that they need. Our brain is around 70% water, and dehydration can lead to brain shrinkage, which is what causes the pain.”

Petai + Blue Cheese = Stinky Goodness #myburgerlab #charcoalburger #petai #bluecheese #malaysianfood #malaysia

A post shared by شفيق حافظ (@shafeqhafez) on Nov 20, 2017 at 6:00am PST

What’s more your body also has to deal with a mountain of alcohol toxins.

“They all need processing and excreting, which puts strain on your liver and kidneys,” Shona continues.

So how can charcoal help? Well, as well as helping with digestion, activated charcoal is also detoxifying so can help to remove toxins from the body.

“It is actually used in the treatment of some kinds of poisoning, because it absorbs toxins and helps them to be removed from the body,” explains Shona.

Blackonblackonblack • @little.damage’s ice cream gets its coloring naturally from charcoal, and tastes like CARAMEL COFFEE!

A post shared by Little Damage Ice Cream shop (@little.damage) on Nov 19, 2017 at 12:11pm PST

But before you rush out and stockpile the charcoal for the morning after, Shona advises that it is better to take the chalky substance during or shortly after drinking alcohol rather than the next morning. It binds toxins in the gut before they can be absorbed, you see.

And just in time for the party season, a charcoal detox drink has arrived to help soothe your pounding head and swirling stomach.

A new charcoal drink promises to help ease your hangover [Photo: WOW]
A new charcoal drink promises to help ease your hangover [Photo: WOW]

Dark Detox, made by health drink brand, WOW, acts as a natural purifier, absorbing impurities, gas and toxins in your body.

Though the drink won’t remove the alcohol from your system, the activated charcoal will help absorb unwanted acids and other toxins, and reduce nausea and dehydration.

“The beauty of activated charcoal is that it isn’t absorbed by the body, but is instead consumed, acts as a natural magnet to trap all the existing impurities, and then moves out,” explains Oliver Dickinson, co-founder of WOW.

Hangovers be gone!

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Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

Hangover-free cocktails are coming

A ‘booze bangle’ exists so you can drink on the go

Six unexpected health benefits of tequila

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