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.