"Black things are good for you” was what my father often said to me. It could be a belief of my father but in any way, he often cooked me dishes with wakame, konbu or nori (different types of seaweeds).
About a year ago, my neighbour who knows “everything” told me about his friend who sells binchotan (備長炭). Apparently it´s a little boom here and people drink the water filtered with the charcoal. That sounded interesting for me. I had heard of the good effects of charcoal and especially binchotan.
There are many beauty products using charcoal in the shops. But what is so good about this charred wood? The secret is its porousness.
1. Control humidity : There are a lot of pores in the charcoal. Imagine if you could open them all, it would extend 300m2 per 1g. These pores absorb and discharge the humidity and keep the room pleasant.
2. Deodorization : Charcoal absorbs excess humidity and prevents an outbreak of mould, ticks and other harmful insects. As a result, the room doesn´t smell damp.
3. Toxic chemicals : The pores inside charcoal absorb toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde or dioxin. Also it´s said that many microorganisms live inside the pores and resolve toxic chemicals.
4. Block harmful radio waves : Charcoals burnt in high temperature transmits electricity. It has a characteristic similar to the metal and can block the radio waves.
5. Increases negative ion : Charcoal absorbs positive ion and as a result, the amount of negative ion increases. Negative ion is believed to help activate our cells, which age because of the stress from our daily life.
6. Rich in minerals : Minerals the tree absorbed from the earth becomes concentrate in the process of being charred. The minerals are easy to dissolve into the water. This is why it´s used as a water filter. I use it too.
You can even cook rice with a piece of charcoal. No, the rice doesn´t get dirty but it gets tastier.
There are different types of charcoals. Binchotan has the highest quality of all because it´s white charcoal, which is made burning the black charcoal in the high temperature of over 1,000 degrees and then takes time to put the fire out in the ash. Binchotan is much harder than usual charcoal and burns longer time.
Chikutan (竹炭) is a charcoal made of bamboo.
Japanese people seem to love Binchotan and there are so many products contains it.
The shops have a section of beauty products made of binchotan. Shampoo and body soap.
But now, I see it in literary anything that you can think of.
Rice cooker for microwaves
Bincho Mont Blanc
Charcoal cheese cake
It´s becoming popular outside of Japan. Apotheke In NY sells different products contain charcoal. The word Binchotan is almost universal nowadays.
Kishu Binchotan : http://www.nagomi-shop.jp/info/bintyotan.shtml
Binchotan power in overseas : http://iemo.jp/24719
Use and the effect of Binchotan : http://www.naxnet.or.jp/~kaneju/kouyou1.htm
Apotheke : http://www.apothekeco.com/charcoal-1