Charcoal biscuit

Charcoal biscuit
Charcoal dog biscuit (Winalot Shapes).

Charcoal biscuit is a biscuit based on a powdered willow charcoal or activated carbon[1] mixed with ordinary flour, and made into dough with butter, sugar and eggs.[2]



It was first made in England in the early 19th century, originally as an antidote to flatulence and stomach trouble.[3] The Retrospect of Practical Medicine and Surgery, a medical text published in 1856, recommends charcoal biscuits for gastric problems, saying each biscuit contained ten grains (648 mg) of charcoal.[4] Vegetable Charcoal: Its Medicinal and Economic Properties with Practical Remarks on Its Use in Chronic Affections of the Stomach and Bowels, published in 1857, recommends charcoal biscuits as an excellent method of administering charcoal to children.[5]

Contemporary forms

In modern times charcoal biscuits are made in the form of crackers to accompany cheeses. The biscuits have a slight hint of charcoal taste that is described by some as pleasing.[6][7] The biscuits are also been marketed as a pet care product to control flatulence in pets, and as aids to digestion or stomach problem in humans.[1]

Cultural references

In Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh writes of Charles Ryder consuming charcoal biscuits and iced coffee while cramming for exams at Oxford.

See also

  • Activated charcoal


  1. ^ a b Disley, John (2006). Remnant Publications. ISBN 978-0973846409 
  2. ^ Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. pp. p. 76. ISBN 0-19-211579-0. 
  3. ^ Rolland, Jacques L. (2006). The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8,000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People. Robert Rose. pp. p. 148. ISBN 0778801500. 
  4. ^ Braithwaite, James (1856). The Retrospect of Practical Medicine and Surgery. W. A. Townsend Publishing Co.. pp. p. 292. 
  5. ^ Bird, James (1857). Vegetable Charcoal: Its Medicinal and Economic Properties with Practical Remarks on Its Use in Chronic Affections of the Stomach and Bowels. J. Churchill. pp. p. 65. 
  6. ^ Frenette, Brad (2008-04-16). "Impulse Buy: Miller’s Damsel Charcoal Crackers". The National Post. 
  7. ^ Norton, James (2008-06-30). Supertasters: Steppin' up your cheese game. CHOW. 

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