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Going On Vacation

You are heading to China for a business trip. The family is all excited about going to Fiji for some scuba diving. Your eldest has her tickets for her second year of teaching in Korea. Your “baby” is practicing Swahili for his first mission trip. Your command has been called up and you are scheduled to leave for Afghanistan in two weeks. Your mother is going to Germany to see her failing mother. The youth group from church is going backpacking in Glacier National Park during spring break. Your folks are taking an ocean cruise for their 50th…


It doesn’t matter where, what the season, or what the reason, it doesn’t matter if the place is clean or a dump, it doesn’t matter if you are in good health, had vaccinations, or your running a low fever, if you are traveling near or traveling far, one thing you need to be sure to take with you is activated charcoal.


Even if there is no threat of poor sanitation, when we travel from home we are invariably exposed to different water, strange foods, different climates, and our bodies may react with upset stomach, loose stools, or nausea. It is estimated that 90% or more of illness associated with traveling is preventable by following basic laws of sanitation and hygiene. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims waterborne gastrointestinal infections cause eighty percent of all disease worldwide, and kill more than 50,000 people every day, over 5,000 from diarrhea and cholera. As a traveler, if you believe you are the exception, you are not. Up to fifty percent of all holidaymakers who travel abroad get diarrhea.


In their book Rx: Charcoal (page 73), the Doctors Thrash tell about the experience of one traveler who got sick abroad only to find no help when he returned home.

“A prominent Columbus, Georgia, executive was traveling to Mexico when he developed a bad case of tourista [the common euphemism for diarrhea amongst tourists. It is generally caused from E. coli bacterium in unsanitary food and water]. He was having diarrhea two to three times an hour on the first day of his disease, with much discomfort in the abdomen. A doctor treated him with the usual antibiotics and Lomotil. A week later, when he returned home, he consulted his own doctor because the condition had settled down to three to five diarrhea stools a day, with continuing discomfort. He got a change of medication but no change of symptoms. After twelve days of the disease and eight different medicines, he called us, desperately seeking suggestions for a natural remedy. We began a routine of one tablespoon of charcoal [powder] in a glass of water, followed by a full glass of water every time he had a loose stool. Within two days he was entirely well… and sold on charcoal. Now he never travels without charcoal, and always takes a tablespoon with the first hint of a symptom.”


Then there are the more well-informed travelers, like John and Sharon. They headed off on their trip to Mexico with well-wishers warning them about this and that health hazard. But, tucked into their suitcase, as it is no matter where they go, was a bottle of activated charcoal.

“We traveled with no worries at all, because we knew we were covered. As a precaution, we took a couple tablets every other day. Then we went ahead and thoroughly enjoyed our winter retreat. Sharon even enjoyed a worry-free fresh cut orange from a street vendor.”


What are some of the diseases that threaten travelers besides diarrhea? Cholera, Hepatitis, Typhoid, viral flu, food poisoning, wound infections, reaction to insect bites, to name a few, are very real risks to local people as well as to travelers. So it just makes good sense to carry with you in your purse, your suitcase or backpack a supply of charcoal (tablets, capsules or powder). Dr Agatha Thrash is a licensed pathologist and medical director for the state of Georgia and has promoted the benefits of charcoal for over forty years. She writes:

“Charcoal has amazing healing properties. In fact, if I were stranded on a desert island and could take only one thing along to protect me from disease, infection, and injury, I would choose charcoal.”


Suppose you forget to take some “clean” packaged charcoal along with you and suddenly you realize you need some? Fortunately you are not that far away from the universal antidote for poisoning no matter where you go in the world (except maybe to the poles). In most developing countries charcoal is still a very common cooking fuel. It may not be activated charcoal but it still works as thousands of travelers can testify. Here is a brief entry while working on a remote Pacific island.

“After leaving the island of Kuria, we anchored in the sheltered coral bay of Maiana. One could only suppose the waters to be the purest anywhere in the Pacific. But various diseases have found their way across the distances, and contaminated the fragile water table, and even the bays…. As we visited with the government nurse stationed on the island, I mentioned the use of charcoal for various problems, and asked if she had ever had occasion to use it. “Oh yes!” she replied. “A while back, when all my conventional drugs had failed to help in a severe case of cholera, as a last resort, I administered charcoal and the patient fully recovered.” page 29


Whether it is a remote island, or a trendy tourist resort in Dubai, charcoal will work for you.


Our friend Martha called while on vacation to share her latest ‘charcoal’ story. Martha is staying at a lovely ocean front hotel and one evening hurriedly walked in smiling and saying hi to the young man at the registration desk. As she breezed past him, she realized she wanted to ask him a question and so went back. She immediately noticed that he was acting ill and quickly asked "Joel, what is wrong?” To which Joel replied in broken English, “I don’t feel good and my head even feels weird.” 

Martha suspected an allergic reaction or some sort of food poisoning. Joel, said no, he hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary. “Stay right there Joel, I will be right down,” Martha told him and quickly reappeared with her bottle of charcoal capsules. She had Joel take six capsules and then sat there with him for a while, still questioning him as to what he had eaten. Joel was adamant that he had not eaten anything strange and that the only thing he had to drink was a Coke that one of the hotel’s guests had given him.

He thanked Martha for her help and concern and called a friend to take him home. Later on in the evening his friend suggested to go to the hospital to be on the safe side. It was there that they learned, after taking a blood test, that someone had slipped Joel a very high dose of a schizophrenic drug! The doctor attending him told him, that if he had not taken the charcoal, when he did, he would have died!!

Joel now thinks Martha walks on water and can’t seem to do enough for her. For obvious reasons he is extremely grateful that Martha never travels without her charcoal. Nor should you. Even if you might not need the charcoal you never know who will and you will never regret having it with you.