When it comes to trying some new remedy, we all feel better if someone who is well qualified will give it their thumbs up. Dr. Mervyn G. Hardinge, MD, Dr. PH, PhD, the founding dean of the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, has broad-based experience in the fields of pharmacology, nutrition, and health. Holding degrees from Harvard and Stanford, he has authored more than fifty scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals as well as several books, including the three-volume Family Medical Guide. We would expect he is eminently capable of speaking on the merits of charcoal. In his most recent book on Drugs, Herbs, and Natural Remedies, he places charcoal under the heading of “harmless.” Of its more common uses, he lists it for relief from gas, as a laxative, for inflammation of the bowels, for colic, diarrhea, ulcers and pain.
When I called and talked to him on the phone he assured me that he has always been a strong supporter of simple remedies. When I asked if he had any memorable charcoal stories he replied,
“Yes. An old but very vivid one comes to mind. While attending a camp meeting, our fifteen month-old son contracted a good case of diarrhea. He was, nevertheless, still very active, running around. But as he ran the contents of his diaper dribbled out behind him making no little mess for us to clean up. By the time we were ready to leave, his bottom was so raw, he would scream when his mother tried to change his diapers. Driving through Oklahoma I stopped at several pharmacies along the way to see if they had any charcoal, but none of them carried it in their store.
Finally I stopped in a small village and was able to find some charcoal tablets. We ground them up, but then wondered how we were going to get a fifteen month-old baby to take it. We decided on peanut butter. We mixed it in with the charcoal, and within a short time he was no longer bothered when it came time to change his diapers. I have always encouraged the use of natural remedies and we have used charcoal through the years for an assortment of infections. For instance, for a cut on the hand we would make a simple poultice and wrap the hand completely.”
When I related this story as it is written, I was asked, “Did they give the charcoal-peanut butter combination to their son to eat or did they spread it over his bottom?” Let me test the reader, which would you have done?
If knowledge is a qualification for endorsing some natural remedy then we can surely trust Dr. Hardinge’s recommendation of charcoal. When it is backed up with years of experimentation, we too can take comfort in knowing we are not being rash or presumptuous. Charcoal is more than natural, it is super natural.