What is the difference between natural hardwood charcoal and activated charcoal?

‘Activated’ charcoal is made when raw material (often nutshells) goes through a forced process. It is carbonised at temperatures up to 12000C and acid-washed to produce a very fine super-absorbent powder. This type of charcoal is created through industrial processes and does not occur naturally. The end product, after carbonisation, contains no oxygen, nutrients, or fibre. The downside is that the super-absorbent properties of ‘activated’ charcoal, with prolonged use, are known to take nutrients out of living structures. However, ‘natural’ charcoal is produced when the raw material (often hardwood) is carbonised at 500 – 5500 for a few days. At this temperature vital nutrients in the wood are not driven off / carbonised. The charcoal is in chunks and can be rendered into smaller pieces by crushing. Charcoal produced by this traditional method is naturally active, i.e. it has a normal level of absorbency. This kind of charcoal is what humankind has used for thousands of years to good effect.

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