How Charcoal Can Improve Your Life , 0 Comments

Binchotan – you may have heard that this charcoal purifies water, or seen it infused in cosmetics, soap, and even towels. But where does it come from, and how can you really use it in your day-to-day life?  

First created in late 17th century Japan, Binchotan is a type of hardwood lump charcoal made from the wood of the ubame oak. Craftsman Bitchu-ya Chozaemon, exhibiting the creativity that characterized the Golden Age of the Edo period, carbonized the oak of his hometown in Wakayama, where many Binchotan products are still produced. When the wood became red-hot, Chozaemon smothered the embers in a white powder to cool - thus Binchotan’s alternative name, “white charcoal.” The outer wood had burnt away, and the smooth black sticks were as hard as steel.  

Binchotan burns longer and at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal, and produces that smoky, umame flavor necessary for cooking traditional Japanese favorites like unagi (freshwater eel) and yakitori (skewered chicken.)  However, most people in America purchase Binchotan for other uses. The porous charcoal is unparalleled in its ability to absorb chemical substances. The trillions of microorganisms living in binchotan’s pores decompose toxic matter and absorb electromagnetic emissions while releasing helpful minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, making it the most effective charcoal for water filtration.

Enthusiasts also exfoliate with Binchotan, add it to a bath to improve blood circulation, toss a few sticks into bathrooms and refrigerators to absorb offending odors and humidity, or even crush it into the soil to grow a more luscious garden.

Not enough Binchotan in your life? Check out the series from Morihata, a Philadelphia based company that imports a painstakingly assembled array of traditional and modern Japanese products.  Their products range from pumice stones and facial soap to toothbrushes (the binchotan removes harmful bacteria and odors in your mouth) and, of course, the actual charcoal sticks themselves.  

 -Alison Maney