Over 4,000 chemicals, drugs, plant and microbial toxins, allergens, venoms, and wastes are effectively neutralized by activated charcoal, at least when it is administered in sufficient quantities. Activated charcoal has this effect as it is a special form of carbon that can bind other substances on its surface (adsorption).
Adsorption is a process in which atoms and molecules move from a bulk phase (such as a solid, liquid, or gas) onto a solid or liquid surface. As activated carbon (activated charcoal) is a crude form of graphite, the graphite structure gives it a very large surface area, which allows the carbon to adsorb a wide range of compounds. Activated charcoal actually has the strongest physical adsorption forces, or the highest volume of adsorbing porosity, of any material known to mankind. For a little bit of context here, 3 grams of activated charcoal can have the surface area of a football field, or a 50 gram dose can have the surface area of 10 football fields. This is due to activated charcoal’s surface area of 1000m²/g or greater.
If you’re really interested in the adsorption process, you have to understand London Dispersion Forces (yes, that is a real thing).
Adsorption is caused by London Dispersion Forces, a type of Van der Waals Force which exists between molecules. The force acts in a similar way to gravitational forces between planets.
London Dispersion Forces are extremely short ranged and therefore sensitive to the distance between the carbon surface and the adsorbate molecule. They are also additive, meaning the adsorption force is the sum of all interactions between all the atoms. The short range and additive nature of these forces results in activated carbon having the strongest physical adsorption forces of any material known to mankind.
These forces are what seem to cause an anti-inflammatory response when mixed with water (in our case hydrogel) and then applied to the skin. When the body is injured, hormones and chemicals are released into the bloodstream at the area of injury. Charcoal adsorbs the toxins out through the skin through a transdermal process, relieving pain and reducing inflammation. This same transdermal process will adsorb insect toxins from mosquito bites, bee stings, ticks and even brown recluse spiders!
Finally, activated charcoal adheres to oxygen, thereby bringing oxygen wherever it goes. The presence of oxygen on charcoal was discovered in hemoperfusion for temporary artificial liver support. So by putting charcoal on the injury, oxygen is transdermally introduced to the injured site, promoting healing.