What is the history of Binchotan charcoal?
The origins are not completely clear, but it is believed that a form of Binchotan charcoal (sometimes referred to as ‘white charcoal’) was introduced to Japan by a Japanese monk and scholar called Kukai 1,200 years ago. It was during the Edo Period (17th century) that a man called Binchuya Chozaemon made it popular.
How is Binchotan active charcoal made?
Sustainably sourced wood is placed in a kiln and charred at a relatively low temperature for some time, then, near the end of the process, the kiln temperature is raised to about 1000 degree Celsius to make the wood red-hot. The charcoal is then removed and quickly covered with a special powder made from earth, sand and ash, and this gives the charcoal surface a whitish hue (explaining the name ‘white charcoal’). The rapid rise in temperature, followed by a rapid cooling, incinerates the bark and leaves a smooth, hard surface. If you strike it, you’ll hear a clear, metallic sound.
How does active charcoal actually works its magic?
Binchotan charcoal has an incredibly porous surface with tiny cavities oriented in many directions. Just 1 gram has a surface area in excess of 500 m2 (about one tenth the size of a football field). It is also known as active carbon as the ions of contaminants are attracted to the surface of the carbon, where they will be held. It is also able to release minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium back into your distilled water which enhances its taste and health benefits.
How long will a Binchotan charcoal stick last?
If you use a Binchotan with a 750ml to 1litre capacity bottle, filled daily, then it should last three months. You can then ‘recharge’ it by boiling it in water for ten minutes and then leaving to dry in sunlight (get even better result by using distilled water). You should be able to keep recharging it for a further three months.
What other uses does the binchotan have?
When you have finished using your binchotan as a water filter, it still has many secondary uses. If you break it up and put it in your house plants, it will add nutrients to the soil that will help the plant to grow. Because of its porous surface, it can be used as a deodoriser to remove unwanted odors in your cat litter, laundry basket, nappy bin or shoes. Binchotan is also an effective moisture absorbent, and can help absorb humidity in the air if placed in a wardrobe.
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