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What are Charcoal Biscuits?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Charcoal biscuits are medicinal, edible biscuits made with activated charcoal. Never to be confused with charcoal briquettes, which are used for grilling foods outdoors and are not eaten, charcoal biscuits are made with food grade charcoal and are eaten to help relieve bloating and/or pain from flatulence, heartburn and stomach upset. They are often sold in health food stores.

The activated charcoal found in charcoal biscuits is oxidized at a high temperature with steam or air. The oxidation process allows the charcoal to absorb three times better than regular charcoal. This absorption quality is important, as the biscuits are designed to relieve pain and discomfort in the lower body by collecting excess gas in the bowels and stomach. Activated charcoal used for food and medicinal purposes is produced from natural items including wood, coconut shells, olive pits, peat and bamboo. Activated charcoal used to make charcoal biscuits usually comes in either granular or fine powder.

Food grade activated charcoal must have certification by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). Charcoal used in consumable products should have no taste or odor. Activated charcoal is black in color and may cause black stools. Many people find that eating some charcoal biscuits helps relieve some of the discomfort caused by indigestion and gas. Hospital emergency rooms also use them for some cases of food poisoning, but people should never try to treat themselves if food poisoning is expected, as large quantities may be needed and medical professionals should monitor high charcoal ingestion.

Veterinarians may recommend charcoal dog biscuits to help canine gassiness problems and/or cases of "doggie breath." Dogs should eat only the charcoal biscuits made for dogs and not the kind made for humans. Dogs can usually eat small amounts of biscuits, but veterinarian approval should first be obtained. Charcoal may interfere with a dog's absorption of other nutrients.

Charcoal biscuits for people can be found in health food stores. They are sometimes called charcoal crackers or charcoal wafers. Some types may be flavored with rye or celery and may be organic. Some are said to be delicious when topped with cheese.

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Discussion Comments
By anon997721 — On Feb 19, 2017

Did people eat these biscuits during the war? A guy I worked with said they were handed out at school?

By anon992712 — On Sep 25, 2015

@live2shop-- ER charcoal is actually made from burning wood not coal, which is produced by high pressure and millions of years with organic material.

By Clairdelune — On May 31, 2011

Charcoal biscuits, from what I hear, work well for a dog's indigestion. They can be bought at most any pet store and are not expensive. It's a wise idea not to give them too many at once, because it might interfere with getting nutrients into their body systems.

I wonder how well they work on humans, to improve their digestion problems. Has anyone ever tried them?

By live2shop — On May 30, 2011

This information is amazing. I never thought a product of coal would be eatable and be a medical treatment for humans and dogs. And, it seems to have another purpose besides relief for pain, gas. and heartburn. To use such ingredients as coconut shell, olive pits and bamboo, to make the biscuits is really something.

Another post suggests that it is used for emergency situations and camping and hiking.I'll have to try one some day, with a little cheese on top, of course.

By invent — On Apr 16, 2011

We have developed a real edible coal. It is proven it can be eaten safely and lit up for cooking. Designed and formulated to cater to emergency survival situations or for camping and outdoor activities. Feel free to discuss.

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