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Activated charcoal is a nearly pure carbon substance produced by the controlled burning of wood and other organic matter. The charcoal is "activated" by high-temperature treatment with an oxidizing gas (such as steam, carbon dioxide, or oxygen), which leads to the development of an extensive internal network of fine pores that enhance the material's adsorptive capabilities.
Dosage recommendations for activated cholesterol vary with intended use. Studies on cholesterol-reduction have used amounts ranging from 16 to 40 grams per day and it appears to be well tolerated at this dosage range. In cases of poisoning, charcoal should only be used after consultation with a doctor or poison control center. Activated charcoal is ordinarily not effective against poisoning by corrosive agents such as alkalis, strong acids, alcohols, or petroleum products, because it does not prevent these poisons from being absorbed by the body.