The act of burning; the state of being burnt; [from] Latin ustus, to burn. [Related to] ustorious, having the quality of burning.--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850
Feast Day of St. Alexander,
a third-century patron of charcoal burners. George Wood's Vitalogy: Food Remedies for All Diseases (1896) described some medical uses of charcoal: "In many cases of headache, two teaspoonfuls of pulverized charcoal, in half a teacup of milk, will effectually relieve the patient. ... In cases of costiveness, many persons are cured by taking a tablespoon three times a day. It is of great utility in arresting mortification of the bowels, taken in large doses. ... It will usually regulate foul breath. Dose, from one to three teaspoonfuls, one to three times a day; in urgent cases, it may be used every two or three hours. ... Mixed with corn-meal and wet with a strong ooze of oak-bark, it is a good application to parts in a state of gangrene or mortification. Charcoal prepared from the young shoots of willow is preferable for most medical purposes. This preparation can now be found in all drug stores."
Warning: 19th-century medicine has been found to be harmful or fatal if swallowed.