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Johann Sigismund Elsholtz

    Johann Sigismund Elsholtz (August 26, 1623 - February 28, 1688), (some sources mention his day of birth as August 28, and his death on February 19) was a German naturalist who was a native of Frankfurt an der Oder. He studied at the Universities of Wittenberg, Konigsberg and Padua, where he received his doctorate in 1653.

Elsholtz was court botanist, alchemist and physician to Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg (1620-1688), and in 1657 was put in charge of Friedrich Wilhelm's botanical gardens at Berlin, Potsdam and Oranienburg.

In 1654 his graduate thesis Anthropometria was published, which was an early study of anthropometry. This book was written for the benefit of artists and astrologers, as well as for students of medicine and physiognomy. In this treatise, Elsholtz examines the perceived relationship between proportions of the human body and the incidence of disease.

Elsholtz was also a pioneer in the fields of hygiene and nutrition, and in his writings on holistic health, he stressed the importance of clean air and water, healthy food and drink, and personal cleanliness. In his 1667 work Clysmatica nova, he investigated the possibilities of intravenous injection. He performed early research of blood transfusions and "infusion therapy", and speculated that a husband with a "melancholic nature" could be re-vitalized by the blood of his "vibrant wife", leading to a harmonious marriage.

The botanical genus Elsholtzia is named in his honor. This plant genus includes the species Elsholtzia ciliata.


  • This article is based on a translation of an article from the German Wikipedia.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Johann_Sigismund_Elsholtz". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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