Esteyneffer was born in Iglau, Moravia. His original German name is unclear; Juan de Esteyneffer was its rendering in Spanish, and the last name is also variously given as Steinhofer, Steinhöfer, Steinheffer, Steineffer, or Estainefer. He joined the Jesuits on September 27, 1686, and studied pharmacy in Brno. He was sent to the Jesuit College at Chihuahua to help care for elderly and ill missionaries. While there, he compiled the Florilegio medicinal, completing it in 1711, with a first publication in 1712 (Mexico: Heirs of J. J. Guillena Carrascoso, 1712). The work combined traditional European and New World medical lore with what was then modern medical science, and anthropologist Margarita Artschwager Kay posits that it served to standardize herbal therapy in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
Esteyneffer died in 1716, while visiting Sonora.
^Full title of the 1719 Madrid edition: «Florilegio medicinal de todas las enfermedades: sacado de varios, y clasicos authores, para bien de los pobres, y de los que tienen falta de medicos, en particular para provincians remotas ... Reducido â tres libros, el primero de medicina, el segundo de syrugia ... El tercero contiene vn cathalogo de los medicamentos vssuales, que se hazen en la botica, con el mondo de componerlos». Other editions were published at Amsterdam, 1719; Madrid, [1755?]; Querétaro, 1853; Mexico, DF, 1887; and Mexico, DF, 1978 (edición, estudio preliminar, notas, glosario e indice analítico, Ma. del Carmen Anzures y Bolaños).