SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Paracelsus (1493-1541), Swiss alchemist and physician. Born Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, Paracelsus was a name he gave himself, meaning "better than Celsus", referring to Celsus, the famous Roman physician. Paracelsus travelled widely, absorbing the medical knowledge of many cultures. He advocated that physicians should not interfere with natural healing processes, and that pharmacists should be careful to control doses of drugs. He studied tuberculosis and silicosis, was the first person to recognise congenital syphilis, and advocated that lunatics should be treated kindly. He also tried to find a magical medicine or elixir of life.
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