The legendary physician Paracelsus from Basel annoys his colleagues because he does not follow the teachings of the faculties but lays down his own personal theories of medicine. He sees himself as the people′s physician and his maxim is: "The most important reason of medicine is love." When Paracelsus succeeds to cure bookseller Froben who had been given up by all the other physicians, all of a sudden, his teachings are on everyone′s lips. He is overrun by students while the conservative faculty just waits for an opportunity to discredit him.
But Paracelsus′s ambitious medical clerk Johannes almost leads to his downfall when he uses a still untried elixir of his teacher and thereby kills a patient. Paracelsus′s enemies take this opportunity and demand that the innocent physician gets imprisoned. But with the help of the impostor Fliegenbein whom he had once cured, Paracelsus manages to flee. Henceforth, he lives a modest but fulfilled life as a wandering physician.