Who is Paracelsus?

Who is Paracelsus?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

Paracelsus (Phillipus Theophratus Bombastus von Hohenheim) is a Swiss/German doctor and chemist. He is considered to be one of the important scientists of the 16th century and one of the founders of modern medicine.

He was born in 1493 near Zurich. After receiving the first basic information from his father, who was a doctor, he went to university, but because the information he gained there did not satisfy him, he traveled to various science centers.

Paracelsus opposed the treatment of the day, the medical theories of the authorities, and as a result, with his somewhat crazy attitude, he turned into a kind of symbol. Their frenzy is an indication of his reaction that the traditional medicine of that time was obsolete and needed to be renewed. It has challenged everything academic. He opposed and struggled against the practice of medicine applied in his time throughout his life. He is a person whose mind is constantly working and producing theories.

The most concrete form of his war with the past is the burning of the works of authorities such as Ibn Sina, Hippocrates and Galen in front of everyone in the traditional fire lit by the students. Thus, Galen, who became dogmatic in the Middle Ages, symbolized that he put an end to old medicine in the identities of physicians, whom he saw as obstacles to new developments, such as Ibn Sina.

Paracelsus, who caused a great reaction with this move, could not stay in almost any place for long and wandered from city to city. Paracelsus gave his lectures in German rather than the traditional Latin used in medical education.

Paracelsus is one of the important scientists of the sixteenth century. After getting the first basic information from his father, who is a doctor, he went to university, but because the information he gained here did not satisfy him, he traveled to various science centers.

He opposed the treatment of the day and the medical theories of the authorities, and as a result, Galen burned the works of authorities such as Hippocrates. Paracelsus, who caused a great reaction with this move, could not stay in any place for long and wandered from city to city.

Paracelsus argued that all beings have a common basis; this basis consisted of salt, mercury, and sulfur, which he called materia prima (primary substances), as well as the four previously asserted elements. As it can be understood from the information given before, mercury and sulfur were presented as two basic elements in the Islamic World within the scope of transformation theory. These seven basic elements constituted the basic substance of all existence, animate or inanimate. Therefore, living and non-living things do not differ in essence; They are basically the same in structure. So there must be a parallelism between their functions as well. Acting on this principle, Paracelsus argued that the laws and principles we accept in chemistry are actually valid for living things as well. If a living thing has a certain chemical structure, then the defects that will occur in that structure will actually be of chemical origin and can be explained by chemical principles; In this case, the correction of the structure is only possible with chemical substances. This understanding is called iatrochemistry.

Based on this understanding, Paracelsus suggested that bodily functions, such as the functioning of the stomach, constitute a chemical process. The stomach does not perform its digestive function by heating, soaking, or breaking down the nutrients; It undergoes some chemical changes by means of some liquids secreted by the stomach. In the following centuries, based on this understanding, some scientists focused their attention on the glands.

Paracelsus is described as the founder of modern pharmacology (pharmacology). He has done research on various chemicals. As a result, he discovered antimony, which later in the 17th and 18th centuries was often used as a medicine or in pharmaceutical compositions by supporters of iatrochemistry; These types of drugs are called arcana-type drugs. Paracelsus is said to have borrowed some terms from Arabic, citing the term alcohol as an example.

Paracelsus influenced many scientists in later periods. Of these, van Helmont especially studied the digestive and respiratory systems. We know that he found the carbon dioxide gas he called Silvester gas.

In addition to the iatrochemistry view, views based on the science of physics and the principles of physics in the explanation of living structure developed in the 16th century, among which Galilei, Descartes and Steno can be counted as representatives of these views. Their views are called iatrophysics. It is seen that the representatives of this school are mostly active in the development of the technique. For example, Galileo and a group of friends founded the Academia del Cimento; Thanks to their work, studies on the lens were developed in the following years, and the microscope and telescope began to be used for scientific research.

His views on iatrochemistry and iatrophysics formed what later formed the school of mechanics.