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Theophrastus von Hohenheim

1493 or 1494
Egg, near Einsiedeln, Schwyz (present-day Switzerland)
Died 24 September 1541(1541-09-24) (aged 47)
Salzburg, Archbishopric of Salzburg (present-day Austria)
Other names Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus, Doctor Paracelsus
Alma mater University of Ferrara
Era Renaissance philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Renaissance humanism
Notable ideas
"The dose makes the poison"

Paracelsus (11 November or 17 December 1493 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland – 24 September 1541 in Salzburg, Austria) was an alchemist, physician, astrologer, and general occultist. The name "Paracelsus" was a nickname: it means "equal to or greater than Celsus", and refers to his medical skill. He was born Phillip von Hohenheim.

He gained his doctorate degree from the University of Ferrara in 1515 or 1516.

He gave zinc its name (in Latin as "zincum"). He also named the cyanobacterium Nostoc, which is a long-chain colonial bacterium. The adjective "bombastic" comes from his family name. It refers to his arrogance.

Paracelsus was responsible for the creation of laudanum, an alcoholic herbal opium preparation. It was in common use up to the 19th century. Like most of the alchemists, he was a notable botanist. He wrote various books, but especially his major work (title translated as: On the miners' sickness and other diseases of miners). This listed the occupational hazards of metalworking, including treatment and prevention strategies. He also wrote a book on the human body which contradicted Galen's ideas.

During his lifetime

  • Die große Wundarzney, 1536.
  • Vom Holz Guaico, 1529.
  • Vonn dem Bad Pfeffers in Oberschwytz gelegen, 1535.
  • Prognostications, 1536.

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