Don’t get tissue salts confused with that granulated white stuff on your table. Biochemical tissue salts, or cell salts, are mineral salts that exist in the cells and play a critical role in cellular metabolism.

The idea that health could be disturbed by an imbalance in the mineral salts, and corrected by restoring that balance, evolved gradually over the 19th century along with the development of chemistry and cellular biology. A German homeopath, Dr Schuessler, took this idea much further. He wrote his first article in 1873 on his theory of the importance of balancing the 12 major tissue salts of the body. Prior to his work, little had been done with the emerging knowledge of the chemical composition of the human body. Dr Schuessler spent considerable time studying the effects of imbalances in individual tissue or cell salts due to improper metabolism. If this balance is upset, there can be a change in the state of immunity and resistance to microbes. He also studied and catalogued various symptoms that can result from any cell salt deficiencies.

The salts are not involved directly in the production of energy in the cell. However, in their capacity to regulate cellular functions, they contribute to the oxidation of various food substances. The regular changes in the cell are dependent on a natural concentration of these inorganic elements. What has also been revealed is that the building and development of a particular type of cell, such as a nerve cell, is determined by the particular mineral salt involved. The same holds true for the cell’s functioning, which is equally dependent on the presence of a particular mineral salt.

The salts are administered clinically in very small doses and are prepared in a way similar to homeopathic remedies. Generally, the decimal (X) scale of serial dilution is used, usually in the 6X. This means that the salts are given in a concentration of 1/1,000,000. They have the advantage of being absorbed through the mouth rather than the stomach and of being in a form that can be directly transported to and used by the cells needing them.

Dr Schuessler’s 12 tissue cell/salts are often referred to by their number and are generally available in most health food stores either singly or in various combinations. They are listed as follows.

  1. Calcarea fluor (Calcium fluoride)

  2. Calcarea phos (Calcium phosphate)

  3. Calcarea sulph (Calcium sulphate)

  4. Ferrum phos (Iron phosphate)

  5. Kali mur (Potassium chloride)

  6. Kali phos (Potassium phosphate)

  7. Kali sulph (Potassium sulphate)

  8. Magnesium phos (Magnesium phosphate)

  9. Natrum mur (Sodium chloride)

  10. Natrum phos (Sodium phosphate)

  11. Natrum sulph (Sodium sulphate)

  12. Silicea (Silica)

Calc fluor is important in the elastic fibres of the body (skin, muscles and blood vessels) and for the surface of bones and teeth.

Calc phos is a major constituent of bones and teeth. It is very useful in childhood conditions such as "growing pains" by helping to ease the bone pain until the deeper cause can be treated homeopathically.

Calc sulph is needed where there is suppuration (pus formation) such as with wounds slow to heal, boils, ulcers, abscesses and acne.

Ferrum phos is very helpful in the early stages of a cold or viral infection, when it is difficult to get clear symptoms on which homeopathic remedies to prescribe.

Kali mur helps in any condition with thick white discharge and in thickening of the blood.

Kali phos is a great nutrient for the nerves and brain and helps with brain-fog, irritability, timidity and muscular debility associated with nerve weakness (usually after an acute illness).

Kali sulph helps to carry oxygen to the cells and is useful in circulatory problems and inflammations. It also helps in skin problems and where discharges are yellow.

Magnesium phos is excellent as an anti-spasmodic and helps in such situations as menstrual cramps.

Natrum mur is used when there is a disturbance of the water metabolism, such as in excessive dryness or edema. It works to distribute water in the body.

Natrum phos is used where there is an excess of acid and where the bile is important (colic, jaundice, gastric problems). It works to create water.

Natrum sulph, like Natrum phos and Natrum mur, regulates the quantity of water in the system. It helps where there is a greenish discharge.

Silicea is indicated in all cases of slow pus formation. It helps to ripen an abscess and promote discharge, such as in resolving boils or tooth abscesses.

Tissue Salts vs. Homeopathy

Many people are introduced to homeopathy through the use of biochemical tissue salts, even though this approach to health is not at all homeopathic. However, it is not surprising that people associate cell salts with homeopathy since the founder of this system was a homeopath. Also, each of the remedies in the tissue salts is used by homeopaths (although on a different basis) and the tissue salts are manufactured in low homeopathic dilutions.

In the case of homeopathy remedies, they are prescribed on the basis of the "law of similars." Thus, if a given remedy is administered to a healthy person and produces certain symptoms, it will cure those same symptoms in a sick person.

The use of cell salts by Dr Schuessler’s method is based on the "law of opposites." If there is a deficiency of a given cell salt, then you must supply a small quantity of that salt to remove any symptoms arising from that deficiency. Let me give two examples of their use, one as a tissue salt and one as a homeopathic remedy.

I often use Calc phos 6X to remove what are often called "growing pains" but are actually pains in the long bones of the leg. This salt can also be used in osteoporosis until the deeper problems can be addressed homeopathically. I vividly remember one case of a young woman who had lost 30 per cent of her bone mass in one year despite preventive measures. When she began using Calc phos along with Calc fluor and Silicea intensively, plus homeopathic constitutional treatment, we were able to stabilize the bone loss within several months.

In terms of homeopathic use, I recall one case of two children in a family who had thalassemia, a genetic iron assimilation problem where there also is a negative reaction to iron supplements. I prescribed Ferrum phos in a 30C potency (this has no material amount of the salt) and found that the chronic anemic condition they had suffered from resolved. What the Ferrum phos had apparently done was to render the use of the existing iron by the hemoglobin in the blood more effective.

Whether as a dynamic nutrient or homeopathic remedy, the cell salts are almost indispensable in our busy clinic.

About the Author

Rudi Verspoor is dean of the Hahnemann Center for Homeopathy and Heilkunst in Ottawa, president of the National Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths and the author of numerous books about homeopathy, including his most recent, The Dynamid Leg