Paracelsus was the name that the German alchemist and physician Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim went by. Born in Einsieden (Switzerland) in 1493, Paracelsus went on to attend a number of Italian universities and practise medicine and surgery.
Paracelsus controversially disclaimed the traditional medicines and beliefs and promoted the new concept of ‘disease’ and the use of chemical medicines to counter it. Perhaps due to his difficult personality and his controversial medical position he obtained neither permanent employment nor academic position.
Paracelsus’ disease theory suggested that external agents attacked te body and caused an upset of the humours. The four humours were yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm. His theory suggested the use of chemcials rather than herbs as the primary way to restore the body’s balance.
Asbecame the main methods of preparing these chemicals so alchemy moved away from the the pursuit of the elixir of life and towards medicine.
In Pure Spirit
How important do you think Paracelsus has been in modern medicine and alchemy?