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Raeannon
05-01-2014, 03:53 PM
Hi

I was hoping someone could help me.

I have a fantasy medieval(ish) world where my MC has ingested a deadly poison (from an invented flower). I have my other character force-feed him charcoal to help delay its effects until the cure can be sought.

From my research I know that activated charcoal can help with poisonings but I was wondering could ordinary charcoal (gathered from a fire) do something similar? I reckon that it would be less effective but still work but wanted to check I wasn't barking up the wrong tree.

Any advise greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Raeannon

mirandashell
05-01-2014, 03:54 PM
Isn't the charcoal to make you sick?

Raeannon
05-01-2014, 03:59 PM
Honestly, I thought it acted as a way to absorb the poison. In my head and I think I read that it attaches itself to the poison, preventing it being absorbed by the blood stream. Therefore it is passed through the body. Activated charcoal is finer, has more surface area so can attach it to more of the poison therefore a good way to stop the poison spreading.
I could be wrong though, which is why I said I would check here. :D

King Neptune
05-01-2014, 05:33 PM
Hi

I was hoping someone could help me.

I have a fantasy medieval(ish) world where my MC has ingested a deadly poison (from an invented flower). I have my other character force-feed him charcoal to help delay its effects until the cure can be sought.

From my research I know that activated charcoal can help with poisonings but I was wondering could ordinary charcoal (gathered from a fire) do something similar? I reckon that it would be less effective but still work but wanted to check I wasn't barking up the wrong tree.

Any advise greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Raeannon

Plain charcoal will absorb things nicely, especially if it is ground to a suitable size; chunks would be hard to swollow and less effective. Activated carbon (charcoal) a form of carbon processed to be riddled with small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for absorption or chenical reactions."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_carbon

King Neptune
05-01-2014, 05:34 PM
Honestly, I thought it acted as a way to absorb the poison. In my head and I think I read that it attaches itself to the poison, preventing it being absorbed by the blood stream. Therefore it is passed through the body. Activated charcoal is finer, has more surface area so can attach it to more of the poison therefore a good way to stop the poison spreading.
I could be wrong though, which is why I said I would check here. :D

You are right.

Wilde_at_heart
05-01-2014, 05:52 PM
Burnt toast can work as well.

asroc
05-01-2014, 06:34 PM
Unactivated charcoal doesn't adsorb remotely as well as activated charcoal. You already need a fairly large amount of activated charcoal to treat poisonings, so I doubt the regular kind is going to be particularly effective (or clean.)

MythMonger
05-01-2014, 08:19 PM
Burnt toast can work as well.

I asked a vet about that once, when I tried it with my dog that had ingested a toxin.

The vet said that wasn't the case. FWIW

sheadakota
05-01-2014, 09:05 PM
Honestly, I thought it acted as a way to absorb the poison. In my head and I think I read that it attaches itself to the poison, preventing it being absorbed by the blood stream. Therefore it is passed through the body. Activated charcoal is finer, has more surface area so can attach it to more of the poison therefore a good way to stop the poison spreading.
I could be wrong though, which is why I said I would check here. :D

This is correct but it can cause you to puke big time too. Drug over doses that ccme in get charcoal but when they come to us in the icu I have yet to see one that didn't puke. The trick is to see who can jump out of the way first, you or or partner. The smart nurses wear isolation gowns to take care of these patients because if you don't you are going home covered in regurgitated charcoal

MDSchafer
05-01-2014, 09:45 PM
Unactivated charcoal doesn't adsorb remotely as well as activated charcoal. You already need a fairly large amount of activated charcoal to treat poisonings, so I doubt the regular kind is going to be particularly effective (or clean.)

I'd go one step farther and say that forcing raw charcoal into someone's digestive system could be deadly.


A more era-appropriate response might be to use a tincture of bloodroot. Also, bloodroot just sounds cool and is totally real.

Raeannon
05-03-2014, 12:40 PM
Thanks all, some great advise, will have a look at alternatives to see if I can find better, bloodroot does sound cool!

mirandashell
05-03-2014, 11:39 PM
This is correct but it can cause you to puke big time too. Drug over doses that ccme in get charcoal but when they come to us in the icu I have yet to see one that didn't puke. The trick is to see who can jump out of the way first, you or or partner. The smart nurses wear isolation gowns to take care of these patients because if you don't you are going home covered in regurgitated charcoal

Ah! That's where I got the idea that it was to make you sick. Cos every time I've seen it used the person was extremely puky.

King Neptune
05-03-2014, 11:59 PM
Ah! That's where I got the idea that it was to make you sick. Cos every time I've seen it used the person was extremely puky.

It still is my impression that it to absorb toxins so they will be expelled when one barfs.

mirandashell
05-04-2014, 12:03 AM
Makes sense.

sheadakota
05-04-2014, 12:50 AM
It still is my impression that it to absorb toxins so they will be expelled when one barfs.

absolutely and what doesn't get puked up goes out the other end. it is a lovely process. (We put NGT -nasal gastric tubes- in to help prevent aspiration)

WeaselFire
05-04-2014, 01:25 AM
You made up the flower, you made up the poison, is there a reason you can't make up the antidote?

Jeff

nikkidj
05-05-2014, 12:37 AM
Just remember that charcoal only works when given within an hour of ingestion. If it's given after that, the poison has already passed through the stomach and/or been absorbed.

And agree with the above, charcoal puking is nasty. So is the diarrhea that results from the added sorbitol to prevent constipation. Neither comes out of clothing. Ever.

Roxxsmom
05-05-2014, 09:02 AM
Isn't the charcoal to make you sick?

Nope, that would be the emetic. Ipecac (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrup_of_ipecac) is one such, or an apomorphine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apomorphine) injection. Activated charcoal/carbon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_carbon) is carbon that's been processed so it has very high porosity. It's often given to bind any remaining toxins after vomiting is induced, though there's some debate about its utility, and it doesn't work for all toxins. I suppose it could be given before vomiting is induced too.

It's my understanding that the induction of vomiting and stomach pumping are not as widely used as they once were, though, as some poisons can do even more damage coming up than they did going down, and there are data that suggest that the induction of vomiting does not improve outcome.

Of course, they wouldn't know that in a medieval environment, and they'd probably try to find some way to purge her. Natural emetics (http://www.myspiceblends.com/glossary/herbal_properties_glossary/Emetic.php) do exist, however.

Canotila
05-05-2014, 10:32 AM
Ah! That's where I got the idea that it was to make you sick. Cos every time I've seen it used the person was extremely puky.

But is the nausea/puking from the charcoal or from ingesting poison?

My dog ate an entire box of rat poison (warfarin). I didn't realize it until 9 hours later. Far too late to make him puke it up. Rushed him into the emergency vet. They gave him some massive vitamin K shots to start with, decided making him puke would do no good that long after ingesting it. Then they stuck a tube down his throat and fed him a huge pouch of liquid charcoal on the off chance anything was lingering in his digestive system. He thought all the attention was pretty awesome and never got remotely urpy.

mirandashell
05-05-2014, 01:19 PM
I honestly don't know.