Making your own Charcoal
The procedure for making different types of Charcoals listed on this page is almost the same. Ignite the raw material and let it burn in a controlled manner till you get coal. If you do not monitor the burning process and let it burn to completion, you might end up with alkaline ash. Once you have converted your raw material into coal you will have to powder with a mortar and pestle or a grinder and then pass it through a fine sieve before storing it in an airtight container.
Given below are a few items you will be needing for making Charcoal.
Indian Oil Lamp ( Can also use Gas Stove )
Small Mortar and Pestle
Fine mesh Sieve
Let us begin with the easiest charcoal.
Charcoal from Cardamom peels
50- 100 Deseeded Cardamom Peels
With a Pair of tweezers hold each Cardamom peel over the flame of an oil lamp till it starts to burn. Move it away from the flame and let it burn till it becomes completely black. Usually the fire will be extinguished by then, else you can gently blow it out. Transfer the burnt peel to another container and continue burning the rest.
Once you have burnt all of the peels, crush them all with a pestle and pass the powder through a sieve so as to separate parts of the peels that haven’t turned to coal. Store in an airtight glass bottle.
Note: When in emergency, you can also take a few peels, hold them over gas burner flame and make the charcoal.
Usage: For addressing Colic, Bloating, Gastric upset, Food Poisoning, Tooth powder etc. Use it as per instructions from your physician / doctor
Charcoal from Coconut Shells
1-2 Coconut Shells
It is best to have Shells from Coconuts that have been broken into two identical halves. You will need a pair of Tongs as well as a cast iron Utensil that would be used for placing the burning shells. Also note that once the Coconut Shell starts to burn, it does so vigorously as it is fuelled by the oil that is present in the kernel. To that end, please be careful and take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe.
The easiest way to ignite a coconut shell is to hold it upturned over a gas flame. You can hold one side with a pair of tongs and place the other half of the upturned shell in the center of the flame. Once it ignites, hold it for some more time, till the flame grows bigger. Then place the burning shell in a cast iron pot and let it continue to burn. Reposition the shell if necessary so that the flame is able to spread evenly. If the fire does get extinguished, then you can gently blow on the embers to re-ignite the flames or you can hold it once again over the gas stove.
Once the shell has burnt completely, let it cool. Separate the burnt pieces of shell from the ones that haven’t completely burnt. Transfer the coal to a mortar and pestle or grind in a mixer grinder to a fine powder.
Pass it through a fine sieve before storing it in a glass container.
Charcoal from Cowdung Cakes
1-2 Cowdung Cakes
These Cakes should be specifically made for Agnihotra, preferably from the dung of the Indian Cow ( Bos indicus). Moreover the cows need to be healthy, should be free range and in an area that is not polluted. They should also have access to good drinking water and a healthy environment so as to ensure that the quality of the dung is very good.
Break the dried cow dung cakes into smaller chunks and place them in an Agnihotra vessel. Use a coconut shell to ignite the Cowdung cakes. Place more cakes around the shell so that you can use the flames from the burning coconut shell to ignite the Cowdung cakes. Use a hand held wooden or plastic fan to ignite the embers as and when the flame start to go off.
After the flames go off, collect only the black pieces of coal from the cowdung. If you want to use the burnt coconut shells, keep them separately.
Grind to a fine powder using mortar and pestle or in a mixer grinder. Store in a glass bottle after passing it through a fine sieve.