Theophrastus Paracelsus

[Theophrastus Paracelsus] Catholic chemist, physician, and reformer of therapeutics. Born December 1493 at Sihlbrücke, Switzerland; died 24 September 1541 at Salzburg, Austria. His family, named Bombast (humanized Paracelsus), belonged to Würtemberg. After studying alchemy under Joannes Trithemius, Abbot of Sponheim, and metallurgy under Sigmund Fugger at Schwaz, he was named city physician of Basel, but his opposition to the Galeno-Arabic medicine led to his dismissal and thereafter he spent a vagrant life, composing his writings meanwhile. His important part in the history of medicine has been tardily recognized, for though his theories show no advance on the ancient practise, he was the founder of modern materia medica and a pioneer in scientific chemistry. He made great use of tinctures of herbs, was the first to employ mercury in treating syphilis, and to recognize the value of mineral springs.

New Catholic Dictionary

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