Friedrich Hoffmann

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hoffmann, Friedrich


Born Feb. 19, 1660, in Halle; died there Nov. 12, 1742. German doctor of internal medicine.

Hoffmann went to school in Jena; subsequently he studied under the well-known English naturalist R. Boyle. He became professor of clinical medicine in Halle in 1694. He was under the influence of the philosophical views of G. W. von Leibniz; in his medical views he belonged to the school of the iatrophysicists. Hoffmann developed the “dynamic” theory, according to which the movement of blood and gastric juices inside the organism is the basis of health and the cessation of movement is the cause of illness.

In Hoffmann’s opinion, all the forces operating in an organism and the processes caused by them are related to matter and manifest themselves by movement, action, counteraction, contraction, and dilatation. The “movements,” or “tonus,” of an organism, according to Hoffmann, are regulated by nervous fluid (ether), which comes from the ventricles of the brain. Surplus of fluid causes contractions and spasms, and shortage of fluid causes atony. Therapeutics became reduced to either sedative and evacuant with heightened tonus and increased fluid movements and no change in systems and tissues or corroborant and irritant with reduced tonus and weakened fluid movements.

Hoffmann often prescribed a diet, bloodletting, and mineral waters. He introduced many new medicines (Hoffmann’s drops, Hoffmann’s elixir, Hoffmann’s balsam). In the 18th century Hoffmann’s system was popular among physicians in many countries.


Medicina rationalis systematica, vols. 1–9. Halle, 1718–40.


Haeser, G. Osnovy istorii meditsiny. Kazan, 1890. (Translated from German.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the early 1700s, Friedrich Hoffmann, chief professor of cardiology at the University of Halle in Germany, claimed that coronary heart disease began as "reduced passage of the blood within the coronary arteries." Nearly two centuries later in 1912, James Herrick, an American cardiologist, invented the term "heart attack."
Other prominent scholars who had important mineral collections included Mathias von Flurl (1756-1823; known as the "Bavarian Werner"), Heinrich Struve (1772-1851; mineralogist and diplomat), Johann Lenz (1748-1832; founder of the Mineralogical Society of Jena), Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859; famous naturalist and traveler), and Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742) whose mineral cabinet was merged with that of Johannes Goldhagen (1742-1788) in 1777 and ultimately acquired by the University of Halle.