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by Simona De Pascalis

photo © Simona De Pascalis

photo © Simona De Pascalis

“Everything is poison, there is poison in everything. Only the dose makes a thing not a poison.” (Paracelsus, 1493-1541)

Paracelsus, one of the most visionary alchemists of the Renaissance period, believed that inside every earthly substance there was a sort of ethereal spirit that he called “fifth essence of things”, a condition of original purity which could be used as a medicine and cure any illness. Even poisons, administered in small doses, could have miraculous effects on health: this daring principle led to a number of discoveries that would revolutionize the history of medicine and lay the groundwork for modern pharmacy.