Schüssler cell salts, also called tissue salts, were developed by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schüssler, who was born in Zwischenahn, Germany in 1821. Dr. Schüssler was born and raised at a time when the conflict of material science and natural science was at its peak.
During his medical studies in Berlin (~1853), Schüssler was exposed to the teachings of Justus von Liebig, a chemistry teacher. Von Liebig developed the understanding of the law of minimum, also called Liebig’s law, which states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource (limiting factor).
Dr Schüssler was also influenced by Rudolf Virchow, the founder of cellular pathology, who taught that all illnesses are based upon a change in function or condition of cells in the body. He continued his studies in Giessen where he attained a doctorate. After this promotion he continued to study in Prague, since this was a location well-known for its homeopathic teachers (Altschul, Hofrichter).
Dr. Schüssler was granted permission to practice as a homeopathic doctor in 1858. This came about after 309 citizens of Oldenburg petitioned the doctor’s association to have a homeopathic doctor permitted to practice. As Schüssler was exposed to both the homeopathic teachings as well as material science and the biomedical workings of the organism, he was in the unique position to take both sides into consideration.
Another big influence in his life were the teachings of Jacob Moleschott (1822 -1893) who taught physiological chemistry. His prime focus was the totality of all biochemical processes that run in the body or cell, with all their intermediate steps within the metabolism. Moleschott was a materialist in his approach.
In 1874, Schüssler’s “Abridged Therapeutics, founded upon histology and cellular pathology,” was printed and released. Here we find his understanding of the role of the cell salts, and their place in the system of Heilkunst explained.
At the time, Dr. Schüssler undertook studies to see which mineral elements would remain after a person or animal had died. He burned cadavers and examined the contents, establishing that 12 minerals would remain and depending on the state of health of the cadaver before its death, certain minerals would be lacking.
The 12 minerals are Calcium flouraticum, Calcium phosphoricum, Calcium sulphuricum, Ferrum phosphoricum, Kalium muriaticum, Kalium phosphoricum, Kalium sulphuricum, Magnesium phosphoricum, Natrum muriaticum, Natrum phosphoricum, Natrum sulphuricum and Silicea.
Dr. Schüssler used the idea of diluting (and succussing or dynamizing – on the decimal or 1/10 dilution scale) these minerals, as he had learned from homeopathy, but with the understanding that the Law of Similars was not being used. He knew that the body requires time to break down crude minerals, as this is accomplished through the digestive tract, but if the minerals have already been partially assimilated they are in a state such that the blood can transport them quickly and easily to each cell. Dr. Schüssler refered to these as “coarse minerals” and “fine minerals,” respectively.
The advantage of the “fine minerals” is that they are absorbed much faster and more efficiently than the coarse/crude minerals, which can take up to three months before a difference is noticed in the organism.
The diluted minerals that Dr. Schüssler used to treat conditions or malfunctions of the physical body mimic the state of the fine minerals in our body, and have the same advantage as the fine minerals our organism produces naturally (which are also dynamised by the digestion, absorption and assimilation functions). Upon ingestion, they are rapidly transported into our bloodstream and from there into the cells that require nourishment. Hence, shifts and changes in acute situations are quickly noticed.
From this we can conclude that the key to the “fine minerals” is the fact that they have been de-natured in terms of their crude aspect, and dynamised by the life force of the organism through the process of digestion, an important aspect of the dynamic physiology of Heilkunst. We can further see that the action of the cell salts, as prepared according to Schüssler’s directions, themselves influenced by Dr. Hahnemann’s teachings on pharmacodynamics, is dynamic in nature and not due to any crude matter left in the particular dose.
Chronic conditions require replenishment of not only the fine, but also of the coarse minerals, and by their very nature, improvement in such conditions will take longer.
Our organism uses these salts on a daily basis to provide the proper balance within, to guarantee organ function and the elimination of toxins, oxygen transport, fighting inflammation etc. so that we can stay healthy. Each of these minerals has a certain job within the organism and the prescription of the salts depends on the symptoms observed. These are the functions of the minerals and where they have their main action in the organism. The list is by no means complete, and provides only an overview.
Calc fluor is used to promote elasticity to connective tissue and skin. It also gives form to bone and all surfaces of the organism.
Calc phos is found in bones, muscles, blood, dentin, spine, nerves. Its main function is to process protein.
Calc sulph acts upon the liver, gall bladder, spleen and testicles. It loosens mucous, is acid-reducing and acts on hardening processes in the organism.
Ferrum phos is the oxygen transporter into the body and is found in the blood, in all vessels and in the intestines.
Kali mur is the fuel for the glands. It binds toxins but does not eliminate them, and its main action is on the mucous membranes, connective tissue and glands.
Kali phos is an energy carrier. It builds new cells, regulates metabolism in muscles, has an antiseptic function, binds with some toxins, prevents cell break down and is found in muscles, tissue and nerves.
Kali sulph facilitates the conversion of oxygen from the blood into the cell. It eliminates deposited toxins and has its main action in the spleen, liver and GI tract. It is also found in the skin and mucous membranes.
Mag phos excretes through the kidneys, activates enzymes, binds gases and helps to eliminate them. Its main action is on all involuntary functions of the organs (all hollow muscles). It is a great nerve remedy, and for cramping pain in general.
Nat mur regulates the fluid in the organism. It is a heat regulator, and works on regeneration and renewal of tissue, cells and fluids.
Nat phos transforms uric acid into urea and has its hand in fat and sugar metabolism. It regulates blood pH. Its main action is on the stomach, lymph and tissue.
Natrum sulph eliminates toxins from the body and removes wastes. It balances body temperature and acts mainly on the liver and gall bladder.
Silicea is the fuel as well as the construction material for the connective tissue. It acts on nerves, skin, nails, hair, connective tissues, cells and intracellular substances.
Cell salts are prescribed based on the disturbance or impediment of a function in the organism. Biological function is a dynamic event, occurring at the level of the life body, and does not involve matter as much as substance, which is the dynamic content of matter. Substance is expressed in living functions. Matter is expressed in biochemical processes. Cell salts are prescribed to help balance the sustentive side of the living power. The missing cell salts would be combined in formulas as indicated by the body’s depletion.
The term “missing” refers more in the sense of the functional capacity of the cell salts rather than missing in their crude form. The dynamic or “fine” cell salt acts to provide a temporary model for the normal organic function of a given salt, which function has been broken, impaired or lost to greater or lesser “degree” through regimenal deficiencies or excess, or through disease(s).
Also, the cell salts can be prescribed prophylactically, often as a 12-in-1 formula, to keep an organism in homeostasis.
There are occasions when the use of a cell salt is also covered under the Law of Similars, such as when a dual approach is needed. On one hand the salts are used to feed the organism and on the other, they are used to treat a disease condition that has taken hold, such as when we prescribe Calc phos in the case of a disease state as set out in the materia medica.
The indications of the cell salts in a given case will determine why and how they are used, whether for an imbalance in the sustentive side of the Living Power or a disease impingement of the generative side of that same Living Power.
There is another aspect of the application of the cell salts that can be mentioned here, though it cannot be elaborated on in this space, and that is the ability to use cell salts to treat disturbances at the various levels of the human being or animal being. These levels take us into the deeper and detailed understanding of the supersensible members, which Hahnemann also provided to a degree, found in the teachings of Rudolf Steiner.
For example, in practice we are confronted with patients who have issues/blockages in one of the supersensible bodies, referred to as the astral body, and have a difficulty with dealing with anything that is threatening them from the outside/ external world. This is expressed in different ways in the physical body through symptoms. These symptoms can vary from allergies, anemia and increased mucous to rickets and general weakness. When you compare these symptom to the symptoms produced by the lack of the cell salt Calc phos, you will become aware that they show a similar disturbance. The knowledge of how a cell salt interacts with the four bodies gives us another tool to approach treating the functions within the four bodies.