Wood Charcoal. Wood charred by exposure to a red heat without access of air.
Med. Prop. and Action. Antiseptic, disinfectant, and deodorising. In a minor degree it appears to be tonic and febrifuge. When taken internally, it is said to be absorbed into the system; Prof. Oesterlen|| stated that he discovered it in the blood of the mesenteric veins and the vena porta, and in the liver and the lungs of animals which had been fed on food containing it. The surface of the intestinal canal was found perfectly healthy. Eberhard also believed that he had detected its presence in various parts of the body; but M. Mialhe failed to discover it. It is much used as a toothpowder, and is thought to check caries of the teeth. Externally, mixed with Linseed Meal, it forms an excellent poultice in gangrenous and foul ulcers.
Qfflc. Prep. Cataplasma Carbonis. Charcoal Poultice. (Wood Charcoal in powder oz. ss.; Bread oz. ij.; Linseed Meal oz. iss.; Boiling Water fl. oz. x. Half the Charcoal to be mixed in the poultice, the remainder to be sprinkled on the surface.)
Dose of Wood Charcoal, gr. x. - gr. lx. or more.
* Pharm. Journal, vol. v. p. 325, 1846.
See an interesting summary in Ranking's Half-Yearly Abstract, vol. xiii. 1851, p. 360.
J On Poisons, p. 84. § Mat. Med., vol. i. p. 326. || Constatt's Journal, band i. p. 27, 1848.
In Dyspepsia attended with obstinate Constipation and Gastrodynia, Charcoal was formerly much employed, but it fell into disuse. In 1849, M. Belloc* again called attention to its efficacy; he found it successful in many instances, when Bismuth, Iron, and Lead had failed. He also found it speedily remove the Gastrodynia, and insure a regular action of the bowels. He advises a dessert-spoonful after each meal. Charcoal lozenges have become of late a popular remedy in dyspepsia, flatulence, fetid breath, &c.
Chapman (U.S.) found Charcoal, internally administered, entirely removed the acrid and offensive character of the stools. It is also advised by Jackson and Crawford, in 3j. doses. In the Diarrhoea of Measles, Dr. Wilson used common Wood Charcoal with advantage. He also speaks of its efficacy in Cholera.
Calagno,§ an Italian physician, first called attention to the efficacy of Charcoal, and advised it as a substitute for Cinchona. He gave it in doses of j. - 3j. three or four times daily. Dr. Calvert, || physician to the British forces at Palermo, also employed it with success. He states that it appears especially useful where a marked disturbance of the digestive organs, nausea, flatulence, and diarrhoea are present. It is best given combined with Rhubarb.
724. To Foul and Gangrenous Ulcerations, a Charcoal poultice (a common Linseed poultice to which Charcoal is added) is highly serviceable in correcting the fetor of the discharge, and in arresting theprogress of the ulceration. In Gangrene and Phagedna it is a valuable application. The many valuable purposes to which Charcoal may be applied as a disinfectant have been fully pointed out by Dr. Stenhouse.¶ Dr. J. Bird, and others.