Let’s Talk About Diarrhea

We have to because it’s one of charcoal’s best features! Activated charcoal was actually used by soldiers in wartime for both the prevention and treatment of diarrhea.1 French military campaigns reported benefits from charcoal, and at around the same time, German literature carried reports saying the same.2 Soldiers liked the natural remedy so much that they took charcoal back home to their families and, as they say, the rest is history.

So, let’s talk about diarrhea and how to get rid of it – quick.

When it’s caused by cholera: 

In diarrhea caused by cholera, give the patient two heaping teaspoons of powdered charcoal, four times daily, as well as with every loose stool.

All the fluid that you take orally should be supplemented with 1 to 2.5 liters of normal saline intravenously, per rectum, subcutaneous push-in. Since cholera is characterized by severe dehydration, you have to fight it from the very beginning. When cholera patients die, it’s usually not because of toxicity but because of dehydration.3 Treat dehydration with vegetable broth to which ½ -1 teaspoons of salt has been added per pint.

Measure the quantity of fluid lost in stools (sorry, we don’t really have advice on how to go about all of that) and urine and replace that amount, plus the usual 8-10 cups of water daily, with some extra if the patient has is feverish and sweating. Cholera is scary, but it can be helped. 

When you have a camping emergency:

A group of young girls and their leader went for a four-day camping trip in the woods. They built a campfire, ate the picnic lunch they’d brought and went to bed. Then, during the night several girls started to have diarrhea. By morning, the leader and all of the girls felt sick, most of them with diarrhea. By evening they all had it.

The camp counselor wondered what she should do – should she take the entire group home, should they tough it out, or should she call a doctor? She’d heard that charcoal was good for diarrhea, and as she sat next to the fire, she resolved to try to make her own. She took several pieces of partially burnt wood from the fire, rinsed the ash off, and chewed as much of the charred wood into a fine powder as possible. Within an hour she was feeling entirely well!

She convinced four of the eight girls to chew some of the charred wood pieces. Each girl who tried it was well within an hour. Those who couldn’t bring themselves to chew on the burnt wood stayed sick with diarrhea during the entire camping trip.

That being said, they were in a situation where they had little-to-no option but to resort to chewing burnt wood. We don’t recommend this technique at all; just buy yourself a bottle of charcoal tablets instead!

A basic diarrhea dosage:

Stir one heaping tablespoon into water for an adult and a correspondingly smaller dose for a child.4 Drink one dose with each loose stool. 

Photo by Logan Ripley on Unsplash


  1. Ravaut, P. Pulverized Wood Charcoal in Prophylaxis and Treatment of Diarrhea in the Field. Presse Medicale, Paris March 25, 1915 Page 101.
  2. Kelemen, G. Efficacy of Charcoal in Catarrh of Gastrointestinal Tract. Muenchener Medizinische Woshenschrift, [658] (Nr.40): 1378, October 5, 1915.
  3. Journal of the American Medical Asosication 64:1882, May 29, 1915
  4. Thrash, A MD & Thrash C, MD. Rx: New Life Books, Sunfiled MI, 1988.

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