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Medical ArticlesTemperature Of The Sick-room
The _temperature of the sick-room_ should not be much above 6...
For healing wounds, burns, ulcers, irritation of mucous membr...
Polarization Of The Circuit
I have said, in effect, a little above, that, while the curre...
Symptoms Of Laryngeal Foreign Body
1. Initial laryngeal spasm followed by wheezing respiration...
Resume Of Emergency Tracheotomy
The following notes should be memorized. 1. Essentials: Kn...
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Eyes Cataract On
This disease has been arrested, and in earlier stages even cur...
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See Children's Healthy Growth. ...
This is inflammation of the Pleura of one or both lungs, gene...
See Bran Poultice. ...
Mild Reaction Erethic
If the poison is not virulent, and the body of the patient in...
Tests Of Heart Strength
If both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are taken, and ...
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Probably most acute infections cause more or less myocarditis...
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See Child-bearing. ...
Lues Of The Tracheobronchial Tree
Compared to laryngeal involvement, syphilis of the tracheobr...
is valuable as a _palliative_ upon cancerous tumors. As a _cu...
This is a severe pain in the lower back, shooting sharply down...
Pain is often felt in parts of the back or sides which will yi...
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