Par·a·cel·sus \ˌpar-ə-ˈsel-səs\ (
) (1493–1541), German alchemist and physician. One of the most remarkable and notorious men of his time, Paracelsus is credited with a major part in applying chemistry to medicine. His introduction of many new chemical remedies—including those containing mercury, sulfur, iron, and copper sulfate—stimulated the development of pharmaceutical chemistry. An argumentative, vitriolic iconoclast, he challenged the medical establishment and questioned the blind adherence to the Galenic and Arabic traditions in medicine. He denounced the widespread belief that the stars and planets control the parts of the human body. He stressed the healing power of nature and raged against the worthless nostrums and treatments of his day. His own notable medical achievements include the best clinical description of syphilis up to that time, the discovery that silicosis results from the inhalation of airborne mine dust, and the first realization that goiter is related to the presence of minerals and especially lead in drinking water.