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The Swiss-Austrian physician, alchemist, philosopher and natural scientist Philippus Aureolus Teophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) was born near Einsiedeln in Switzerland. From 1515 he called himself Paracelsus. In 1527 he became a city doctor in Basel. He settled in Salzburg (today Austria) in 1524/25 and made himself unpopular with Salzburg's Archbishop Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg by supporting the rebels in the German Peasants' War. Paracelsus criticized the prevailing doctrine of humoral pathology (the so-called "four-juice doctrine") of the Greek physician Galen (129-216) and the mere "book wisdom" of medical scholars of the time. He placed scientific experimentation above pure book lore and demanded that the healing power of nature be supported by a natural life. He was the founder of pharmaceutical chemistry and refined alchemy by incorporating medicine.

Paracelsus: Kupferstich, Gedenkstein bei Einsiedeln und Gedenkmedaille anlässlich seines 500. Todestages

His great importance has long been misunderstood. There is much speculation about Paracelsus' early death. He had been poisoned, he had been thrown down a rock, he had died of liver cancer as a result of his alcohol consumption, or he had fallen down stairs in a frenzy and a few more. After examining his bones, however, he probably died of mercury poisoning. He wrote over 200 writings; one of his most important works was "Books Archidoxis". Paracelsus was the first to use the term "spiritus vini" (spirit of wine) for the result of a distillation, which later made the term spirit of wine and alcohol synonymous.

Middle picture: By Martin Sauter - photographed by himself, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, Link
Picture right: By Werner F. Kunz / H87 - Own work, GFDL, Link

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