The stomach flu – a.k.a. stomach virus, a.k.a. stomach bug – is zero percent fun.
My family and I have caught the bug twice this year, and both times I thought it was never going to end.
In the land of nothing stays down, carry a barf bucket everywhere you go, stay up every night helping the kids knowing eventually you’re going to get it too, there was one stomach flu remedy that actually worked: charcoal.
If you’ve never heard of activated charcoal, you’re not alone. After being on a natural living journey for several years, I had only heard of it in a detox face mask. I didn’t know it was a natural stomach flu remedy until my sister-in-law told me just a few months ago!
How Activated Charcoal Works
I believe it’s important to know WHY you’re doing something, not just HOW, so before you jump in and make these little miracle stomach flu remedy, let me explain how activated charcoal works.
Activated charcoal does NOT come from the charcoal you use in a grill. According to this article, it’s made from a substance (usually bamboo, wood or coconut shells) that is burned without oxygen to create char. This char then goes through a multi-step process to make it extremely porous, i.e. “activated.”
This porous substance – activated charcoal – pulls toxins into itself adsorption (not absorption) and is flushed out of the body as waste (the body cannot absorb activated charcoal).
In fact, activated charcoal is so effective at removing toxins, that this study found that giving activated charcoal to a poisoned patient FIRST was more effective than the more common method of medically-induced vomiting!
Grape Juice for the Stomach Flu?
Just like any other sickness, the top stomach flu remedies include lots of fluids and rest.
But what if this isn’t enough? What if your child can’t keep anything down, including water, and can’t sleep well because of the constant vomiting?
My sister-in-law recommended grape juice, and it seems to be a common solution from moms across the internet, at least according to this blogger and this one too. While there’s no concrete science supporting grape juice as a remedy for the stomach flu, I can’t ignore the advice of moms – after all, we’re the ones in the trenches, right?
Stomach Flu Remedy: Charcoal Gummies
So here are my thoughts behind charcoal gummies as a stomach flu remedy.
1. They contain activated charcoal.
As I mentioned above, activated charcoal is great at getting rid of the junk in our bellies. If you take it at the first sign of the stomach flu in the house – that means EVERYONE takes it even if they’re not sick yet – then you stand a good chance of not getting sick.
Your chances diminish slightly if you are already sick, BUT we used it anyway and it definitely shortened the length of the sickness.
2. They contain grape juice.
Again, not a scientifically proven method, but all these moms can’t be wrong. Besides, when my son and I were struggling to keep food down, the grape juice didn’t come back up.
Note: Juice in general often contains added sugars. When you’re shopping for grape juice, read the ingredients to ensure it’s ONLY grape juice. From concentrate is okay, just avoid added sugars.
3. Activated charcoal is black.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine weren’t keen on the idea of eating something black. Throw in the fact that they’re throwing up, and black food REALLY ranked low.
Making gummies with grape juice masks the fact that activated charcoal is black.
4. Activated charcoal stains.
Even if you can get your kid to drink activated charcoal in a glass of water, this isn’t something you want them to drink while laying down on the sofa, on the living room carpet.
Charcoal gummies make dispensing charcoal as a remedy so much easier, and cleaner all around.
5. Gummies are fun!
When you’re not feeling well, food in general doesn’t sound good. Making charcoal gummies is an easier way to get a child (or adult!) to take the activated charcoal, even if it’s in small doses.
Besides, have you ever met a kid who didn’t like gummies?! When we’re not sick, we make our own using this homemade gummy recipe.
6. Activated charcoal gummies let you control the dosage.
I’m not a medical doctor, so I’m going to refer to the University of Michigan the Mayo Clinic for specific dosing suggestions. However, by making gummies, you don’t have to mess with figuring out if you should dose ½ a capsule or ¼ capsule or even less.
On a practical note, when you have one kid throwing up and dealing with black activated charcoal that stains, dealing with the capsules on the kitchen counter is just a pain.
With charcoal gummies, figure out how much charcoal you put in the recipe, divide by the number of gummies you made and then you know how much is in each one. I keep all the gummies in a bag in the freezer, and write on the bag how many gummies equals one capsule.
How to Make Charcoal Gummies as a Stomach Flu Remedy
Charcoal Gummies Supplies
- 1 cup 100% grape juice (no sugar added – read the ingredients!)
- 8 tsp unflavored gelatin (I use this grass-fed gelatin)
- About 1 Tbsp activated charcoal, pre-measured (I have this kind and ended up opening 10 capsules)
- Gummy molds (I used these, but you can use a 9×13 glass dish as well)
- Whisk (I used this flat whisk)
Charcoal Gummies Method
- In a small saucepan, measure grape juice and gelatin. Slowly bring the heat up to medium low and whisk together to thoroughly dissolve the gelatin.
- Remove from the heat and add the activated charcoal. Whisk in the activated charcoal, taking care not to make too many bubbles. The charcoal will not dissolve entirely.
- Carefully pour the liquid into the molds and freeze for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has gelled. (Note: the longer they freeze, the easier it is to remove from the mold. They need 10 minutes minimum to gel, but I suggest leaving in the freezer overnight so they’re easier to unmold.)
- Store in the freezer and dose as desired.