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Mirror Mirror On The Wall Theology Religion Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Theology
Wordcount: 5442 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This lovely phrase reminds us the enchanting story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where the wicked queen peeps into a magical mirror and asks about her undoubted fairness in the whole world. As an innocent child I was deeply inspired by the fairytale as the world of fantasy attracted me. I would often pressurize my mother to buy me a magical mirror from the market thinking it to be easily available. My mother would laugh at my innocence and explained me that such magical mirror exists only in stories and fairytales and not in the real world.

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As time flew by, the thoughts of magical mirrors began to fade away from my mind and with age and maturity, I began to experience highs and lows of life. Sometimes there were colors of happiness and joy and sometimes sorrow and misery. When any problem became aggravated, I began to consult astrologers who blamed the adverse situation on the bad influence of the planetary positions. They would advise me to wear rings and amulets of precious and semi- precious stones to ward of the evil effects of the sun, the moon and other planets in our solar system. How do these rings and amulets work? Are they magical just like the magical mirrors in fairytales. Again my mind raced back to my childhood and once again a plethora of questions lay staring at me.

All these little anecdotes have two things in common and that is magic and miracle. Is there anything called magical mirror where you can peep into your past, present or future? Do the planetary positions of our solar system affect human form positively and adversely?

If my answer is positive, you may call me crazy and brand me superstitious as modern science do not believe in the supernatural powers of the universe. But you have to give me one chance to prove myself right and for this I have to narrate the life story of a strange man who was a distinguished alchemist, physician, astrologer, magician, philosopher and so on. His life story is simple but his unique ways of practicing occult science, magic, alchemy, medicine, astrology, cosmology and pneumatology was simply incredible and each trait needs to be highlighted to give this great man justice and recognition.

So let us fly on a magical carpet into the world of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus, nicknamed Paracelsus which simply means in par with Celsus, a Roman Encyclopedist who wrote a lot on medicines. It was Paracelsus who advocated that magical mirrors can be created, planetary positions can be a cause of worries and happiness. But above all this, as a devout Christian he firmly believed in the supremacy of the almighty and once quoted, “Everything that happens takes place through the will of the supreme and faith into the things of the earth should be based upon the holy teachings of Christ.”


William Bombast of Hohenheim was a distinguished physician who was successfully practicing medicine in a hospital near Maria-Einsiedeln, Switzerland. It was here that he fell in love with the matron of the hospital (name is not known) and the two exchanged wedding vows in the year 1492. Their marriage soon blossomed and the couple was blessed with a bonny baby boy on the 17th of December 1493 in the vicinity of Maria-Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

William’s happiness knew no bounds and he named his precious bundle of joy as, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus. But their joy was shortlived as tragedy struck the Bombast family when young Theophrastus lost the warmth and affection of his mother who expired after a brief illness. William was devastated by the loss of his beloved wife but soon gathered courage and began to pull the strings of his life. His sole objective was to nurture his young son and to fill his life with joy and happiness. Young Theophrastus was the apple of William’s eye and both lives not only began to revolve each other but also completing each other.


Not much is known about the primary and secondary education received by Paracelsus so we have to move to his adolescence age. As Paracelsus entered into his youth, he received valuable coaching in science from his father who tutored him with the fundamentals of alchemy, surgery and medicine. His father was not only his teacher but also his mentor, guide and best friend. This golden relationship between the father and the son laid a strong foundation which later on became the key to Paracelsus success in the field of medicine.

Paracelsus too did not disappoint his father and picked up the nuances of science with much ease. William was quick to discover that his son had the required potential to become a great physician and decided to impart him formal education. He was soon enrolled in a convent of St. Andrew located in the beautiful valley of Savon, Switzerland and under the supervision of learned bishops, Eberhardt Baumgartner, Mathias Schedydt of Rottgach and Mathias Schacht of Freisingen acquired valuable knowledge on medicine and surgery.

At the young age of sixteen, Paracelsus was enrolled at the University of Basel, where he received instruction from the famous Johann Trithemius of Spanheim who was a master in alchemy, magic and astrology. It was under Trithemius shadow that Paracelsus developed inclination towards occult science. Trithemius was impressed by Paracelsus love for occult science and directed him to gain entry into the laboratory of Sigismund Fugger of Tyrol, who was not only a celebrated alchemist but also possessed valuable secrets of occult science.

Exactly how long Paracelsus studied alchemy, astrology and occult science under Sigismund Fugger is not known and so we move on to the next chapter of Paracelsus life.


After his formal education under the supervision of learned bishops, Paracelsus decided to go on a global spree. He travelled widely to destinations like Germany, France, Netherland, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. When he reached Italy, he received an opportunity to serve the Imperial Army and experienced many warlike situations. This period of globe- trotting can be called as the turning point of his life as he came across many physicians, surgeons and alchemist who shared similar passion for occult science like Paracelsus.

During his stay in Italy, he entered into physical relationships with several gypsies, fortune-tellers, midwives, barbers and shepherds and although it may sound vulgar but he did so to gain knowledge from the act. He was always found in the company of vagabonds on the highways and at public lodges and inns due to which he earned a bad name and was criticized by his narrow minded foes.

Paracelsus was often criticized for his passion for wandering but his critics did not realize that travelling was the fundamental tool to acquire knowledge which according to him cannot be acquired in the comforts of a laboratory or a library. He strongly believed that knowledge cannot be confined within the boundaries of our own country, it does not follow us but waits for us to go in search of it. According to Paracelsus, “Those who remain at home may live more comfortably, and grow richer than those who wander about; but I neither desire to live comfortably, nor do I wish to become rich. He who wants to study the books of nature must wander with his feet over its leaves.” Paracelsus recommended that every part of the world signifies a single page in the book of nature and all the pages taken collectively formed the book that reveals its richness and abundance.


Paracelsus travelled extensively for a period of ten years, sometimes practicing his talents as a physician, or magician or an alchemist. At the age of thirty-two, he returned to Germany where acquired fame as a man with miraculous cures.

He had surpassed all his colleagues with his superior medical skills and was termed as Dr. Miracle by the masses. Many patients that had been termed as incurable by other renowned doctors turned to Paracelsus for treatment and had been cured. Among the many patients were eighteen princes who were pronounced to be incurable by leading doctors.

But what made Paracelsus different from others? Why were his medical skills considered to be superior than his colleagues? Did he possess some supernatural powers to cure the incurables or did he adopt a different strategy for treatment? To answer these questions, we have to analyze his skills of that of a physician, magician, astrologer and alchemist in detail. But first, we have to understand in depth Paracelsus’s views and explanations on the cosmic structure as a whole, mankind and the doctrine of holy spirits. It is rather difficult but not impossible to get a perfect understanding for our readers, unless they use their own intuition, and get into the mentality and skin of Paracelsus.


According to Paracelsus, the entire cosmos is created by God and we are his children. His view is inspired from the prayer in bible, “In the name of our father and our sons and the holy spirit, Amen.” God is the Constructor of the world, Carpenter of the universe and the Sculptor of all forms. God created man from four core elements, namely Air, Water, Fire and Earth. To bring him to life, he added spirit into them. Thus spirit is living and life is spirit which unite together to produce all things.

Nature is that part of the universe which is created by God to essentially provide us a cushion to breathe easy. Thus all living organism in nature have to sympathize and live in harmony with each other. Paracelsus termed all the living products of the constellation as Macrocosm and man as Microcosm, both with one breath, one time, one fruit and above all one authority. Man is dependent on nature for its very survival and nature is dependent on the state of mankind. According to Paracelsus, that part of science which can describe the principles governing the Macrocosm and Microcosm and the relationship between them is termed as ‘Astronomia’.

Paracelsus termed a part of astronomia as magic, wherein he states that magic is a science used to discover the ideal relation or connection of the soul to our physical body just like the way the sun shines through a glass. Further he explained that each organ of our body is in harmony with other parts. For example, there exist harmony between the heart and the lungs and between the stomach and the brain. He also established a connection between the stars and the plants and between plants and human body. Just like a magnetized bar of iron may produce magnetic effects on the other part of iron, leaving copper and brass unaffected, same way some medicinal plants may act as remedies to cure certain diseases.


Paracelsus strongly believed that the constitution of man is based on seven principles which are stated below.

The Physical or the elementary body, i.e. Stool Sharira.

The Mumia or the vital force, i.e. Jiva.

The Astral body or the Sidereal Body, i.e. Linga Sharira.

The Animal Soul or the Kama Rupa.

The Human or Rational Soul, i.e. Karana Sharira Manas.

The Spiritual Soul, i.e. Buddhi.

The Spirit or the Divine Atma.

He has given a very comprehensive explanation regarding all the seven principles constituting a man in his work called, ‘Philosophia Sagax’. But the principle which needs to be mentioned here and which every human being is afraid is the ‘death of a man’. According to him, death is nothing but the end of the daily labour of man. Being a devout Christian, he strongly believed that every human being possesses the elements of earth and earth is his mother. When he dies, he re-enters in to her and loses its flesh. And perhaps referring to Christ he says, “Only the real man will be re-born at the day of the resurrection into another spiritual and glorified body”.

According to Paracelsus, after death, the physical body decomposes into dust but a vital part of the principle which comprises the highest essence of life passes into a higher state called, ‘Olympus Novvs, where they unite with their origin, the Mysterium Magnum, the essence of life or the Parabrahman (mentioned in the Vedas of Hindu Scriptures) Paracelsus cautions that this fate is met by people who die a natural death but not for those who die prematurely either due to accidents or suicides. In such cases, the invisible residues of the human body remains in the state till death would have arrived naturally and according to the laws of nature. They remain in the earths sphere and are full of earthy passions and desires. Paracelsus calls them ‘Caballi Lemures’ and they often lurk in places where they have spent or resided during their lifetime.

People often believe that such spirits cannot be destroyed by sprinkling holy water or by burning incense and even arranging religious ceremonies for the purpose. According to Paracelsus all these have no effect on the spirit and the best way to keep evil spirits away is positive will power. If we stand by good and love the source of good we will never succumb to the evil powers of the force. If however evil spirits causes severe depression to you then Paracelsus recommends wearing of red corals to ward off melancholy as they are stimulated by Sun. A healthy mind is like a temple which cannot be invaded without the will of its priest. Minds that are pure and illuminated by the force of truth cannot be possessed by evil spirits.


According to Paracelsus every vital organ in the human body is in sympathy with certain principles in the universe. The heart is influenced by elements of the sun, the brain with the moon, the gall bladder with planet Mars, the lungs with Mercury, the liver with Jupiter, the kidneys with Venus and the spleen with Saturn. Accordingly, there are various plants and herbs which have a corresponding sympathy with these astral influences. Each herb or plant has to be plucked when the planet to which it is related rules the hour and its substance or the essence should be absorbed when it is fresh. Paracelsus has categorized each planet in conjunction with the plants as follows:

Sun- Rosmarinus officinalis, Lavunda officinalis and Melinda Officinalis for the treatment of acute inflammation, heart disease and rheumatism.

Moon- Thymus majorna, Ruta graveolens and Helleborus niger for the treating patients suffering from insanity, hysteria, and nervous diseases.

Mercury- Pulmonia officinalis, Althaea officinalis and Plantago laureola for the treatment of Pneumonia and inflammations of Mucous Membrane.

Venus- Onosis spinosa, Verbascum Thapsus and Apium petroselinum for curing diseases of kidney and bladder.

Mars- Carduus Benedictus, Urticaria diocia, Erythraea Centaurium for fevers, eruptive fevers and diseases of violent nature.

Jupiter- Ruta graveolens, Hepatica Nobilis, Cannabis Sativa for curing jaundice and other diseases related to liver.

Saturn- Chrysosplenium alternifolium, Scrophula Nodosa for the treatment of piles, hypochondria, etc.)

Paracelsus criticized other physicians as he discovered that they did not pay any attention to the planetary positions and killed more patients than they cure as the medicine that may be effective at one time may be harmful at another depending on the prevailing astral influence.

Thus Paracelsus proved that planetary positions do not directly effect upon the physical body of men but on their essence which constitutes the elements of the universe. In simple words he has repeatedly emphasized that the vital parts of our body are representatives of invisible energy that are circulating in the whole system.


Alchemy is an art that cannot be comprehended without spiritual knowledge and astrology cannot be understood without proper knowledge of mathematics and logic. Just as chemistry is the study of physical matters, alchemy deals with astral ideologies. Astronomy is the study of planets and stars and astrology deals with influences of these stars on man.

Paracelsus defined alchemy as an art in which the fire of nature i.e. the astral light is the main artist. According to him, a human being is composed of three elements namely Sulphur, Mercury and Salt. A person is healthy if these three elements maintain their proportion with respect to their quantity. But the moment any of these elements deviates from its correct proportion, disease strikes the human body. These three elements are not visible to the naked eye but are acted upon the fourth principle which is called Life.

Paracelsus was critical of physicians who prescribed endless list of medicines without discovering the cause of the disease. Paracelsus has mentioned his valuable secret of alchemy in his work called, ‘Tinctura Physica’ which is a bible of alchemy.

He confirmed that composition of pure metals produces a scintillating effect around us. Paracelsus was of the view that if we create a composition of seven metals in a desired proportion and at the proper time, then we will acquire a metal which will contain the qualities of all the seven metals. Paracelsus termed the metallic mixture as, “electrum”. The preparation of electrum magicum is quite daunting task as each metal has to be in its purest form. The metals have to be prepared in its right proportion and during the conjunction of various planets at that time.

Many astonishing devices can be created from electrum such as amulets, magical finger rings, arm rings, bells and other things containing magical powers. According to Paracelsus’s calculations, magical mirrors can be created from the electrum magicum where you can peep into events of the past and the present, see your hidden enemies and long lost friends.


Paracelsus was of the view that astrology is closely connected with magic, medicine and alchemy. He believed that each body attracts planetary influences when in harmony and repels the others. For this man has to understand his own constitution to comprehend the influence of the astral influence which rules the sky.

Paracelsus did not approve of anyone calling him a professional astrologer who simply makes horoscopes. He understood the higher trait of astrology by which the relation of Macrocosm and Microcosm are understood. According to him, “No one needs to care for the course of Saturn: it neither shortens nor lengthens the life of anybody”.

Often we grumble or are envious of other people’s success and riches and blame it on our stars. But Paracelsus refutes such allegations and strongly emphasizes that stars are free for themselves and force nothing into us. It is actually the spirit of oneself that makes a man more appropriate than the others. At the same time he strongly condemned those ceremonies that attract spirits by saying that, “Whatever comes from the ‘spirits’ is sorcery.” According to Paracelsus, our body is created from elements, our soul from the star and the spirit comes from the almighty. Paracelsus refers stars as not merely the physical bodies that exist in our solar system but the principles in the cosmos.

The sun and the moon attract something from our body and our body too attracts something from them as each body is in harmony with the astral influences of the heavenly bodies. This is evident from the use of talisman and amulets which produces an astral form on the bearer.

Man should obey the will of God as wisdom can be acquired from God. If this inner consciousness is awakened then the mysteries of nature will be easily comprehended by spiritual knowledge.


Paracelsus has clearly made remarkable demarcation between magic and sorcery. Magic causes illumination, light and is white in form whereas sorcery is concerned with darkness and black in form. Magic is the study of supernatural powers of the nature and an individual must possess complete knowledge of natural science to acquire the skills of magic.

Strong imaginary power and enormous faith are the two vital ingredients to construct the temple of magic. By imaginary power, Paracelsus refers to creative power of a man. According to Paracelsus, women possess stronger imaginary power because of their compassionate nature and stronger desires as compared to men. This is evident from the fact that if a woman loves anyone, she will love with all her devotion but if she hates somebody, God save him.

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Strong faith has fantastic powers and we human beings do not realize it. An evil spirit, like a spear may try hard to pierce our body and cause some disease but if our faith in the supreme power of God is strong, it will act as an armour and protect us. Diseases can be effectively cured if men understood the power of faith and not superstition. The secret behind Paracelsus magical cure was his enormous faith in the power of the God who acts through him. Paracelsus also cautions that those physicians who cure diseases only with a belief that he will be able to overcome it, beliefs in superstition, but physicians who realize that he possess the power to perform and is aware of his power will perform what is called, ‘a miracle.’


According to Paracelsus, strong reasoning power is a prerequisite to be a proficient philosopher and a true theosophist must possess the knowledge to perceive spiritual powers. To obtain spiritual power, we first have to realize what is good and what is evil and without knowing evil we will never be able to realize what is good. The moment we understand what is good, it becomes a reality and we attain the highest degree of happiness as God resides within the spirit of man.

Often it happens that we are thinking of a person from a long time and all of a sudden that person calls us. The very first expression is, Oh! I was just thinking to call you and see you called. What a coincidence? But according to Paracelsus it is the magical power of will of the person which sends signals to the other person to contact him or her.

Paracelsus also believed that it is possible for us to communicate with the spirit of the deceased by keeping his or her picture under our head with a question you wish to ask. The answer will be interpreted in our powerful dreams. But this experiment should only be initiated if you have undeterred and enormous faith in the spirit, because it is our faith which will strike communication with the spirit.

According to Paracelsus, Man belongs to two spirits- Animal Spirit or Human Spirit. A person who belongs to animal spirit will behave and live like animal during his life and will be animal after he dies, but a man with human spirit will always remain human.

Another important aspect of Paracelsus theological work was his study of medicinal herbs which serves as an Elixir of Life. In the mythological story of ‘Ramayana’, Lord Ram’s brother Laxman, who was seriously wounded in the battle with Ravan, King of Lanka, was saved by a medicinal herb called ‘Sanjivani Booty’, the Life Elixir, prescribed by sage Agastya. Paracelsus believed that a person who has taken birth has to die but there is nothing wrong in protecting himself from evil astral influences, accidents, epidemics and old age. Paracelsus strongly recommended, a remedy called ‘Primum Ens’ for prolonging the age of human being. The Primum Ens Melissae is prepared by a unique concoction of pure carbonate of potash, a plant called Melissa and alcohol.

Finally one of the most secretive and valuable remedy which Paracelsus discovered was, ‘Zenexton’, a unique tablet made by grinding live toads, roots of certain medicinal herbs, pearls, coral, saffron, musk and amber and many other elements. When the mixture dries up it has be to cut in to tablets when the moon is in the sign of Scorpion. The tablet has to be draped in a red silk cloth and to be worn as an amulet around the neck to ward off evil astral influences, diseases, poison and black magic.

Thus from the above, we have discovered the secret of Paracelsus success in the field of medicine, surgery, magic, alchemy and occult science. But as Paracelsus rose to fame he was subject to professional envy as other physicians lagged the intelligence and foresight of Paracelsus. He was also kind enough to treat the poor without any charging any fees, an act which was met with much

resentment among his colleagues. But what an irony, many a times his noble act was not acknowledged and was often ridiculed. Once a rich wealthy, Count Philippus of Baden, who was termed as incurable by celebrated physicians, Paracelsus cured him in short time. But instead of being rewarded for his generosity, he was shown the door. This only gave his oppositions an opportunity to rejoice but that did not discourage Paracelsus as he continued to perform his wonderful cures.


As Paracelsus enjoyed travelling a lot, he visited Basel in the year 1527 and was appointed as Professor of Medicine and Surgery by the City Council for which he received handsome salary. Unlike his colleagues who merely lectured on works written by other medical healers like Hippocrates and Avicenna, Paracelsus designed his own course material. The principles he imparted his students were of his own and hence his popularity among them increased. Also he gave lecture in German instead of Latin which again was not favoured by his colleagues.

As a part of the Office of the City Council, he voluntarily offered his services to supervise the conduct of the Compounders, whether they are aware of their business and whether they have stock of genuine drugs to prevent them from inflating the prices of essential drugs. He would often admonish other physicians to stop digging gold and instead pay attention in the search of new medicines.


No sooner a person gains fame and popularity, his list of foes grow endlessly. The City druggist began to hate Paracelsus for his measures to control prices of essential drugs. Other physicians and professors too grew jealous of his increasing popularity and success in curing diseases. They all joined together and demanded an explanation from the University for hiring Paracelsus’s services. These envious people declared Paracelsus as a stranger, a quack and requested the University to probe whether Paracelsus is a ‘real doctor’ or not.

In order to prevent events from turning worse, Paracelsus resigned from the University and left Basel in the year 1528.

From Basel, Paracelsus arrived at Colmar and later on visited Esslingen in the year 1529 and Nuremberg in 1530. In Nuremberg too, physicians called Paracelsus a quack and an imposter. Tired of being taunted a quack on numerous occasions, Paracelsus decided to confront the situation. He requested the City Council to send some patients suffering from incurable diseases. The City Council obliged and sent few patients suffering from elephantiasis which Paracelsus cured successfully in a very short span of time and free of cost. He


Inspite of achieving success in Nuremberg, Paracelsus efforts and services were drastically ignored. He continued his life as a vagabond wandering from places to places. He visited places like Noerdlingen in the year 1530 followed by Munich, Regensburg, Amber and Meran. In the year 1531 he visited St. Gall and then to Zurich in the year 1535. All this while, he gathered few disciples who were impressed by Paracelsus cures and desired to acquire his secrets and art of medicines. Among his followers were Johannes Oprimus, Adam von Bodenstein, Alexander von Suchten, Peter Severinus, Oswald Crall and many others.

As he continued with his passion of travelling, he reached Salzburg where the Duke of Ernst of Bavaria requested him to join his court as a physician. Finally, Paraclesus acquired a position where his medical skills were recognized and obtained widespread fame.

But fate was not in favour of Paracelsus. This joyous period of richness and fame ended tragically as Paracelsus succumbed to a mysterious death in a small Inn called, ‘White House’ on the 24th of September 1541. His remains were buried the next day in the grave of St. Sebastian.

There is not much evidence to prove that Paracelsus was indeed murdered. Primary investigations revealed that Paracelsus was hit by a blunt object on his head by some anti-social elements hired by local physicians which eventually led to his death. One German physician Dr. S.Th.von Soemmering, who examined the body of Paracelsus, discovered a fracture on the skull believed to be the cause of death.

Paracelsus bones were unearthed in the year 1527 and entombed in the Chapel of St. Philippi Neri, in the vicinity of the St.Sebastian where his monument proudly stands today.


Paracelsus himself was not an avid reader or a writer, a fact which is corroborated by his disciples and followers. He would only dictate his work to them without utilizing any manuscripts and books. According to him, “Reading never made a physician. Medicine is an art and requires practice.” Few of his work were published during his life time namely, ‘De Gradibus et Compostionibus Receptorum et Naturalium published in the year 1526 and ‘Chirurgia Magna’ published at Ulm in the year 1536. To display their affection and gratitude to their master Paracelus, his disciples, Gerhard Dorn, and Martin Ruland composed a dictionary called ‘Lexicon Alchemicum’ which comprises unique terms used by Paracelsus.

However Paracelsus was quite discreet when it came to sharing his valuable secrets as he feared it may be go in wrong hands. One of his disciple, Johannes Oprimus who served Paracelsus for three years was upset with Paracelsus’s secretive nature and connived with his enemies. However after Paracelsus’s death, Oprimus turned remorse and repented for his indiscreet behavior.

Paracelsus did not leave behind him material goods but his work which displays his abundant knowledge of medicine. Even when he died, the only things found in his possession were a copy of Bible, a Biblical commentary on Bible and a book written on medicine.


Paracelsus was among those few who treated patients as his textbook and the sickbed as his course of study. His passion for travelling was instrumental in acquiring knowledge and found his best teachers among vagabonds, gypsies, barbers, midwives and executioners. Phenomena’s of nature were of more value to him and his love for God an essence for survival. If you have read and understood this biography you will be amazed to discover that Paracelsus’s doctrines are based on his study of Bible and bear a striking resemblance to the Vedas.

The main reason why Paracelsus principles and work are not implemented today is that his system has not been completely understood by our modern medical practitioners. Hope a time will come when his fundamentals will be understood and a breakthrough is achieved in the field of medical science. Till then my dear readers, ‘Be Good to Others, have Faith in God and your Life is Insured’.


Medicine rests upon four pillars-Philosophy, Astronomy, Alchemy and Ethics.

But is not He who created it for sake of the sick body more than the remedy? And is not He who cures the soul, which is more than the body greater.

The interpretation of Dreams is a great art.

What sense would it make or what would it make or what would it benefit a physician if he discovered the origin of the diseases but could not cure or alleviat


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