중앙데일리

Multi-purpose charcoal

A Korean way to purify the environment

Feb 22,2004
The following is advice on traditional Korean language and customs, in response to a query from a Mr. Adams, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Mr. Adams:
When I first saw several pieces of charcoal placed in a Korean home, I thought nothing of it. But I’ve seen more of them in various odd-looking forms as some kind of decoration in restaurants and offices. I saw a bag of charcoal dangling from a computer monitor.

To me, it’s a strange custom. Would you help me understand the purpose of charcoal in Korea?

A. IHT-JAD:
For centuries, Koreans have believed in the health benefits of charcoal. Traditionally, pieces of charcoal were stored together with fermented sauces and preserved food, such as rice and kimchi, to deodorize and fight against vermin.

After Asian scientists demonstrated the positive effects of charcoal as a natural purifier in the late ’80s, charcoal in various forms ― from charcoal pillows to charcoal deodorizers to charcoal sculptures ― became widely commercialized.

According to a few studies, charcoal, which is high in alkaline and minerals extracted from the earth, kills infectious bacteria, purifies water and air and neutralizes harmful rays emitted by computers and electronic home appliances.


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