Medical Definition of Activated charcoal

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Activated charcoal: Charcoal that has been heated to increase its ability to absorb molecules. Activated charcoal is used to help relieve intestinal gas. It is also used to filter and purify liquids, to absorb poisons (as in gas mask filters), and in emergency situations to neutralize swallowed poisons.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018