Castor beans, sometimes used in traditional therapies, contain ricin one of the most toxic substances known. It may cause an acute and potentially fatal gastroenteritis as well as neurological and ophthalmological lesions. Poisoning may also lead to delayed visceral damages; however, the latter is quite rare. The toxicity is dose related and depends on the amount of castor beans ingested. There is no specific treatment and symptomatic management to reduce the load of the toxin needs to be initiated quickly and early when a case of poisoning is suspected so that serious complications will be avoided.

Why do you care?  You care because when I was very small, I ate some!  I actually took the jar to my mom and told her I ate them.  I was rushed to the ER and guess what they did?  Well, my stomach was pumped – they used…  charcoal.

How many uses are there for this wonderful black magical stuff?  More than you may think!  It’s good for grillin’…  but I think we all know that.

  • Mix charcoal into your compost pile to increase its carbon content. (If the pile smells like ammonia, it needs carbon.)
  • Using activated charcoal, you can make a teeth whitener. Just open a capsule and dip your wet toothbrush into it and brush your teeth.  Note:  if you have sensitive teeth, don’t do this more than once a week.  It can increase your sensitivity.
  • Make cut flowers last longer in the vase.  Put a lump of coal in the water underneath the stems to keep the water clear and fresh.
  • Zap your zits!  Mix 1/2 teaspoon each:  activated charcoal powder / water / Aloe Vera gel.  Mix with a Q-tip until it forms an ink-like texture.  Paint it on your face and let dry completely before rinsing off with warm water.  Charcoal draws the bad stuff from your pores and leaves you with clear, healthy skin.
  • The best way to remove rust from a cast iron skillet is to let the rust burn off over a charcoal grill.  After the rust is gone, let it cool completely and then re-season the cast iron as soon as possible.
  • I keep a charcoal briquette in my cedar chest.  It keeps my precious heirlooms, which includes photos, linens and clothing, from mold, mildew and musty smells.

Charcoal, whether activated or not, serves a greater purpose than providing a fire for the grill in the summertime, or pumping out a stomach.  I just thought you might like to know.  🙂