Finding a stomach flu remedy is hard. Especially if you have kids that can’t keep anything down. These activated charcoal gummies are a great natural remedy to stop a stomach bug in its tracks. Don’t forget to try my easy and healthy homemade gummy recipe and elderberry gummies.
The stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) – a.k.a. stomach virus, a.k.a. stomach bug – is zero percent fun.
My family and I have caught the bug twice last year, and both times I thought it was never going to end.
We didn’t want to take Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, any medications, or antibiotics for the stomach flu.
But there was one 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 about it!
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 this miracle stomach flu remedy, let me explain how activated charcoal works.
- Activated charcoal does NOT come from the charcoal you use in a grill. 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 Stomach Viruses?
Just like any other illness, 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 cure 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. 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.
- Activated charcoal is a great stomach flu remedy. We used these gummies to help stop the last bug that hit our house. No mess, and easy to keep in your tummy.
Charcoal Gummies Supplies
- 100% grape juice (no sugar added – read the ingredients!)
- unflavored gelatin (I use this grass-fed gelatin)
- 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)
How to Make Charcoal Gummies as a Stomach Flu Remedy
Step 1. 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.
Step 2. 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.
Step 3. 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 them in the freezer overnight so they’re easier to unmold.
Step 4. Store in the freezer and dose as desired.
Stomach Infection Remedy FAQs
According to Mayo Clinic, the length of time you’ll have symptoms with the stomach virus is one or two days. It is possible that it could last up to 14 days. Watch for signs of dehydration.
The stomach virus is actually not caused by the influenza virus. It’s an intestinal infection. You can get sick from parasites, toxins, bacteria, and viruses.
Viruses are the most common cause of stomach flu. The Norovirus is often the culprit for adults. The Rotavirus is often to blame for the stomach bug in children. These viruses make your stomach and intestines irritated and inflamed.
You need to let your stomach settle and take small sips of water. Take charcoal gummies. Ease your way back into eating and eat blandly.
The BRAT diet works great and consists of rice, bananas, toast, and applesauce. Avoid caffeine, this can make diarrhea and pain worse. Rest is very important as well. Rest is very important as well.
The stomach bug will usually heal itself within a few days. The pressing concern is for infants, toddlers, children, and the elderly, is dehydration. If you cannot rehydrate at home, seek medical advice from a doctor.
More Natural Home Remedies
- Homemade Elderberry Syrup
- DIY Whipped Magnesium Lotion
- How to Heal Chapped Lips Naturally
- 5 Simple Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
Stomach Flu Remedy: Charcoal Gummies
Finding a stomach flu remedy is hard. Especially if you have kids that can’t keep anything down. These activated charcoal gummies are a great natural remedy to stop a stomach bug in its tracks. Don’t forget to try my easy and healthy homemade gummy recipe and elderberry gummies!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 25–75 gummies 1x
- Category: home remedy
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 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)
- 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.
- Store in the freezer and dose as desired.
You will need:
- Gummy molds (I used these, but you can use a 9×13 glass dish as well)
- Whisk (I used this flat whisk)
The longer they freeze, the easier it is to remove from the mold. They need 10 minutes minimum to gel, but I suggest leaving them in the freezer overnight so they’re easier to unmold.
- Serving Size: 2 gummies
- Calories: 15
Keywords: stomach flu remedy
My bottle of activated charcoal capsules says not to take activated charcoal within two hours before or after having food. Dr. Axe says, “Activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and other supplements. It can also interfere with prescription medicine by decreasing how much medicine your body absorbs, which can reduce the effectiveness of the medication. Take activated charcoal 90 minutes to two hours prior to meals, supplements and prescription medicine.”
This is true, but this isn’t something you want to take all the time. You only want to take the charcoal when you’re sick to absorb the viral elements causing your stomach upset. I’ve used charcoal for my children when they were sick and it did help. Its used in the hospital also for poison cases.
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Hi Tiffany, thank you for the recipe! I am very excited to try this out. May I know how effective is this?
Hello Tiffany thank you for the wonderful recipes and your research and information is excellent – I came here for your elderberry syrup recipe and was thinking as I have charcoal and gelatin what do you think about using a watered down version of elderberry syrup instead of grape or would that be a waste of the inherent goodness as charcoal is a chelator?
Thank you again so much
Hi Shakti! It might be a waste of goodness, but it’s hard to tell since we don’t know exactly how much, of what, charcoal binds. But if you’re going to throw it away anyway, I’d say re-use it!
I am using the glass baking dish as the molds haven’t arrived yet. I’m just going to put it in the fridge and hope it gels. How do I determine size of “gummy” when not using a mold?
So excited! My daughter has Celiac Disease and so we use activated charcoal to help belly pains if she has a surprise gluten attack, but her being 8 and the capsules aren’t easy for her to take. So I made these and bought the molds (super cute)!!!
They are made and now sitting in the freezer! Thank you so much 😊
You’re so very welcome, Michelle! ♥
How long can I keep these in the freezer? Does it expire?
I’m surprised a gummy will work. The adsorption process, you would think would be….sorry, lol….gummed up with the gummy constitutents.
One reason people claim you shouldn’t take it with milk, the fat globules could possibly interfere.
Absorption vs. Adsorption. Absorption is the process in which a fluid is dissolved by a liquid or a solid (absorbent). Adsorption is the process in which atoms, ions or molecules from a substance (it could be gas, liquid or dissolved solid) adhere to a surface of the adsorbent.
This is an older post, but I wanted to post something that helped my kids take activated charcoal when their tummy’s have felt funky and I needed something ASAP (tho I’m totally going to be making these bears…so brilliant!). I put 3/4 ish tsp of raw honey in one of those little plastic medicine cups (that come with some kids meds) and then add 1/2 a capsule of actives charcoal and stir it up well. My kids love it, and always ask for “black honey” when they’re feeling off! 😆
What a cute idea Allie! Thank you for sharing!
Activated charcoal can not come in contact with metals otherwise it deactivates it and you lose any benefits it has. So using a metal whisk or pot makes the charcoal not work anymore.
I’ve never heard this before, and it’s actually quite contrary to everything I’ve read about activated charcoal. Do you have a link to a reputable article to back this up Kris?
Can I use jello instead of gelatin?
I’ve never tried it with jello, but I wouldn’t recommend it personally because of all the sugar.
Do you give them frozen or unthaw first? How doesn’t he gelatin hold up to being frozen?
Frozen or thawed is dependent on the age – if the kids are older, they can chew frozen (they’re small). For small kids, I’d let them thaw for a couple minutes. Ours are holding up great!
I added two caps of ACV to the mom x as well. Will see if taste is affected.
Not a believer in activated charcoal my family ended up getting this stomach bug started with my oldest kid I started taking activated charcoal every day well Sunday night comes along and guess what I ended up with wasn’t just a few hours I finally started feeling better around Monday night. I was even a believer in the grape juice that didn’t seem to work either.
I’m sorry this didn’t work for you Kenny! Dosage can be tricky, but as an adult, you can take quite a bit of activated charcoal! The links in this post have more details.
You may need to take that charcoal repeatedly the same day, it’s not take one capsule and that’s it. You may need to dose several times.
Just as an aside, Andrew Saul, PhD was diagnosed with pneumonia some years ago. Had a fever and a very bad cough. He took 2000mg of vitamin C every. six. minutes. Yes, he took 2000 mg every six minutes that he was awake. Within 3 hours his fever was coming down and his cough was improving. By the 3rd day of that protocol the viral pneumonia was gone.
The general advice with high dose of vitamin C is that you don’t just take one mega dose. You must keep taking it throughout the day. And also taking it to bowel tolerance. Bowel tolerance may be surprisingly high when your body is actively fighting a bad infection and burning through that vitamin C very quickly.
I’m not saying to take charcoal like that, but when something is acute people underestimate how frequently they may need to dose until the symptoms start improving. In Dr. Saul’s case he kept up that protocol for 3 days even with improvement. Vitamin C is non toxic. It’s been studied for 8 decades. It’s very safe. Activated charcoal is also very safe, in an acute situation you may need more than you think and keep reasonably drinking water.
Afterwards I personally would think about electrolytes to replenish the body.
Hi Tiffany. I’m 9 weeks pregnant. A horrible flu epidemic is swarming my area right now, so naturally I’m very nervous. I also have a 3 year old who loves gummies, and I’d like to have these on hand in hopes we don’t need them. But first I need to know if they’re safe for both children. Is there any information about AC hurting a baby in utero? I read here that the AC doesn’t absorb, so I’m hopeful that also means it can’t reach the baby.
Hi Kindel! AC is safe for children. There is so specific dosage for the stomach flu, only poisoning. You’ll have to determine what you believe is safe for your child, but my kids are 8 and 10 and I give them each 1/2 capsule (or 5 gummies) when they’re already sick, and then more as needed. As for in utero, I would recommend talking to your doctor!
I have to ask: based on the links you provided for dosing, my kids would need to eat a TON of gummies. Like the entire batch per person. Help me!
I used the same charcoal and gummy molds as you. 😊
Hi Jenn!! There is not definite dosage for charcoal, but I definitely wouldn’t give 10 capsules to each kid. I’d start with one, which is about 10 gummies. The beauty of this recipe, is that you can start with less and work your way up as they keep more down.
Another option too, is to actually give the kids the capsules (if they can swallow them) OR make this in a 9×13 glass pan and cut into larger squares.
I don’t understand how to figure out dosing When you make the recipe you use 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal which is about 10 g but if you look at the dosing chart but it’s 1 g per kilogram of a child’s weight. If I have a child who 70 pounds that’s 31 g of activated charcole?
Kelly – the dosage in the link is referring to in cases of poisoning, not a minor (at least in comparison to poisoning) case of the stomach flu. Personally, I give my kids the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 capsule when they have a bug. My kids are around 50 lbs, if that helps. There’s no hard line with dosage for non-poisoning cases, so we as moms have to use our best judgement. Sometimes the child may experience relief in just 1/2 capsule (5 gummies in this recipe). Sometimes it may take more. But it’s always best to err on the side of caution, and to underdose than overdose!
How long do you think these would last in the freezer?
I’m going on several months so far Leigh. I’d say if stored properly, you have 6-12 months.
The Mayo Clinic link you posted to look up dosage said Do Not Freeze. I tried searching elsewhere to confirm or deny this but didn’t really find anything…have you found links that say it’s still effective after freezing AC?
I haven’t seen any other documentation supporting this claim Anisha. We keep ours in the freezer and we use them earlier this year – they were still effective!