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Medical ArticlesOil Olive
A little oil only should be applied to the skin at once. Any s...
See Boil. ...
Cardiovascular Renal Disease Treatment
While it is urged, in preventing the actual development of th...
The Roentgenographic Signs Of Expiratory-valve-like Bronchial Obstruction
The roentgenray signs in expiratory valve-like obstruction of...
Frictions With Lard
were used already by Caelius Aurelianus, and recently re-intr...
Dripping Sheet Substitute For The Half-bath
To apply the _dripping sheet_, a tin bathing hat or a large w...
Spine Weakness Of The
See Children's Healthy Growth. ...
Hepatization Of Lungs
Take A D current, pretty strong force. Treat in front, over t...
With the forceps illustrated in Fig. 28 specimens of tissue ...
Rheumatism Acute Inflammatory
First ascertain if the kidneys be morbidly positive--urine sc...
Active and persistent antiluetic medication must precede and ...
This trouble is rather a symptom than a disease. It rises from ...
Spasmodic Stenosis Of The Esophagus
Etiology - The functional activity of the esophagus is depend...
Testing For Electric Defects
These tests should be made beforehand; not when about to com...
Nourishment Cold In
If a person is in fever, and is burning with internal heat, a ...
See Children's Sleep. ...
Chlorosis Green Sickness
This is a disease mostly or entirely peculiar to young women ...
Difficulties In The Introduction Of The Bronchoscope
The beginner may enter the esophagus instead of the trachea:...
Direct laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy, esophagoscopy and gastrosc...
Punctures Case Xii
A servant maid was bitten by a dog in four places--severely o...
Source: Primitive Psycho-therapy And Quackery
JOHANN BAPTIST VAN HELMONT, a celebrated Belgian physician, scholar and
visionary, of noble family, was born at Brussels in 1577. At an early
age he began the study of medicine, and was appointed Professor of
Surgery at the University of Louvain. Becoming, however, infected with
the delusions of alchemy, and being possessed of an ardent imagination,
he inclined naturally to the study of occult science, and was infatuated
with the idea of discovering a universal remedy. He was, moreover, a
follower of the eminent theologian, Johann Tauler (1290-1361), founder
of mystic theology in Germany. Van Helmont has been described as an
enthusiastic and fantastic, though upright friend of the truth. He
adhered to the theosophic and alchemistic doctrines of a somewhat
earlier epoch, and was an admirer of the dogmatic pseudo-philosophy of
The German writer, Johann Christian Ferdinand Hoefer (1811-1878), said
that Van Helmont was much superior to Paracelsus, whom he took as his
model. He had the permanent distinction of revealing scientifically the
existence of invisible, impalpable substances, namely gases. And he was
the first to employ the word gas as the name of all elastic fluids
except common air. Van Helmont graduated as Doctor of Medicine in
1599, and after several years of study at different European
universities, he returned home and married Margaret van Ranst, a noble
lady of Brabant. He then settled down on his estate at Vilvoorden, near
Brussels, where he remained until his death in 1644.
Johann Hermann Baas, in his "History of Medicine," characterizes him as
a fertile genius in the department of chemistry, but denies that he was
a great and independent spirit, outrunning his age, or impressing upon
it the stamp of his own individuality. Van Helmont, like many another
irregular practitioner, achieved fame by some remarkable cures. It was
said of him that his patients never languished long under his care,
being always killed or cured within two or three days. He was frequently
called to attend those who had been given up by other physicians. And to
the latters' chagrin, such patients were often unexpectedly restored to
A lover of the marvellous, and credulous to the point of superstition,
Van Helmont became infatuated with erroneous doctrines. His
contemporaries, dazzled, it may be, by the brilliancy of his mental
powers, regarded him as an erratic genius, but not as a charlatan.
The term spiritual vitalism has been applied to the philosophy of Van
Helmont. He maintained that the primary cause of all organization was
Archaeus (Gr. +archaios+, primitive), a term said to have been
invented by Basil Valentine, the German alchemist (born 1410).
This has been defined as a spirit, or invisible man or animal, of
ethereal substance, the counterpart of the visible body, within which it
resides, and to which it imparts life, strength, and the power of
assimilating food. Archaeus was regarded as the creative
spirit, which, working upon the raw material of water or fluidity, by
means of a ferment promotes the various actions which result in the
development and nutrition of the physical organism. As life and all
vital action depended upon archaeus, any disturbance of this spirit
was regarded as the probable cause of fevers and other morbid