In which Truffula embraces color in her life, just not in things she or her family might ingest...
In my continuing self-education about supporting our health, activated
charcoal kept popping up. I added it to my mental list of things to
get for my ever-evolving "home pharmacy." After my sister suffered
through 36 hours of, um, episodes following a meal with some now-suspect
coleslaw, I decided I needed to have that charcoal on hand sooner
rather than later, just in case a situation hit in my own household.
On Monday, I walked to the chain-store pharmacy near my office, wallet
in hand. I went to the counter, and explained for what I was looking.
The aide remembered that she'd seen some charcoal in an
over-the-counter aisle, but that it might have had its formulation
changed. She strode expertly right over to the aisle location, plucked
off a box, and... confirmed the change. She then turned me over the pharmacist for
I told the pharmacist my story: I was looking for activated charcoal.
My mom had some, but it had senna in it. I wasn't sure that a laxative
ingredient would be the bees' knees if I had to use the charcoal in a
case of, shall we say, already acute bowel motility. Therefore, I was
on a quest for plain old charcoal. The pharmacist nodded, saying he
knew just what I wanted. He reminisced about simple charcoal powder.. (Ah, perfect, I thought!)
He padded back to his computer, typed away, and came back to let me know
that his supplier had charcoal tablets. He could order them and have
them for me the next afternoon. Great, I said.
Tuesday afternoon, I walked expectantly back to the pharmacy. The
pharmacist remembered me, and had a little box waiting. He
handed it to me for my inspection. I went right to the ingredient list.
Oh! In fact, it WAS a list. This wasn't just charcoal... it had some
homeopathic remedies mixed in. I tried to overlook that fact, and my
finger continued tracing along the back of the carton... FD&C this,
and FD&C that... (Why the heck would I want fake colors in a black
product whose job was to go into the gut, do its thing, and then pass
back out?) I looked up at the pharmacist, who sensed that I wasn't
liking where this was going. He quickly assured me that I didn't have
to buy it. He would have no problem sending it back to the warehouse.
Especially since he had gone through the trouble of ordering this just
for me, I really wanted to like this product and to buy it from him.
That nagging gut (pardon me!) feeling told me otherwise. Stoically, I
kept reading... propylene glycol... proplylene glycol?! Are you kidding
me? Now, we had a deal-breaker. What part of
just-activated-charcoal-please was not getting through? Was it really
that hard to find a single-ingredient item?
With the confidence from my internal nagger, I looked back at the
pharmacist, who kindly reassured me that sending the product back was no
problem. Very well, I told him. Please do return it. I then thanked
him effusively for his help, and headed back to work.
My non-internet options are
not exhausted -- there are two other stores which I'm quite certain will
have a product for me. It's a drive, not a walk, to get there, but I
can chain the trip there with other things.
I'm enthusiastic about the power of such a simple remedy. I'm far less
enthused about the challenge of trying to find it in its pure form.
Signing off on another installment of "Less is More"...
To our health!