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Are Tissue Salts "Homeopathic" Remedies?

The twelve tissue salts are finely broken down (triturated) combinations of minerals. They are food supplements based on the key minerals that are present in our bodies. They can, however, also be used like homeopathic remedies.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the approval of a health professional.

Homeopathic remedies are not the same as tissue salts. Both products are taken in the same form as diluted or potentised pills and drops. They both get absorbed by blood vessels directly under the tongue and bypass the digestive system. The more you dilute or break them down, the greater their potency; true again. But this is where the similarity ends.

Tissue saltsCredit: Sue Visser

Almost Alike But Not the Same

Tissue salts are nutritional supplements taken to treat imbalances of minerals in your body. Certain minerals are present in your blood, tissues, bones and all your organs in different proportions and combinations. When there is a lack of certain mineral salts a malfunction occurs that manifests as a group of symptoms. For example: inflammation, nausea, acidity, pain, swellings or discharges. When the correct tissue salt is taken, these symptoms abate. Tissue salts are nutritional supplements, as opposed to a drug, herb, medicine or homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy differs by employing the principle of treating a condition with a fine potency of the very substance that causes this adverse effect (ailment) in a healthy person. For instance, If stung by a bee, you would have a sharp stabbing pain, swelling, itching and redness.

For these symptoms, you would receive the homeopathic remedy made from the bee: apis which is Latin for a bee. The remedy is diluted in such a way that it causes the body to reduce your symptoms. But Homeopathy goes further in taking mental and emotional factors into consideration.

With over 5000 remedies the challenge is to find those best matched to the symptoms of the patient. There are only 12 tissue salts, so it is easier for people to use them at home. Within the homeopathic materia medica we have remedies made from plants, animals and minerals that include the twelve tissue salts but they are used in a different way.

Dr Schussler Makes a Breakthrough

According to research done as early as 1832 by Dr Schussler, all you need is to replace the correct tissue salt and the health problem is solved. Tissue salts are also present in food we eat, especially vegetables. We may crave a certain food for this very reason to address some of our tissue salt deficiencies. We also need all the other nutrients we get from our food such as vitamins and enzymes, etc. for optimal health.

But it is quicker to suck a MAG PHOS pill when you have hiccoughs, chest tightening (angina) or a cramp than to eat a pile of whole grains or a bunch of spinach! Consuming the exact tissue salt in a little pill is a more direct way of dealing with a mineral shortfall in a hurry. Dr Schussler was a contemporary of the father of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, but he broke away from the concept of treating like with like.

Instead he classified the mineral supplements we need in microscopic amounts into 12 types of mineral salts. Then he worked out which ones to use according to how the body was indicating a need for them. As such he developed a simple way to address illness for both acute and chronic conditions.

What are Tissue Salts. What Is a Salt?

Tissue salts are mineral supplements. They are used to provide specific minerals that are presented in a salt form. So what is a salt? When a mineral is combined with an acid a salt is formed. For instance, sodium and hydrochloric acid make what we call common or table salt. There are twelve such salts known as biochemical tissue salts or cell salts. Minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium combine with acids that are potentially lethal, like sulphuric acid or phosphorous or hydrochloric acid to from what we call our tissue salts.

But again, these salts are not safe to gobble down and can still have disruptive or toxic effects on the body. Many people get themselves into trouble when they consume too much salt on food and not enough potassium. These tissue salt minerals are present in many of our common foods and vegetables give us most of the potassium we need. This is why we are reminded to eat more vegetables. If you crave salt then add more herbs like parsley, celery, oregano, marjoram, and thyme to your food because they are rich in sodium chloride, known as salt.

How are Tissue Salts and Homeopathic Remedies Triturated?

Some of the mineral based homeopathic remedies and their twelve "cousins", the tissue salts have to be converted to finer or more diluted forms by being pounded (triturated) with a chemically inert substance such as lactose. They are usually made into pills in a potency (dilution) of D6.

This means that 10% of the salt is processed with 90% lactose. Each time 10% of the result is taken out and again mixed with 90% lactose. D is the code for 10%. the number, like 6, means how many times this process is repeated. In the case of a nutritional substance it is at a lower potency called: D6 or even a more basic one like D3.

Tissue salts can now be taken as micro nutrients that bypass the digestive system and are conveyed by the bloodstream to the exact location. This makes it easier for cells and tissues to absorb what they need in the right amounts at the right time and overcome the ailment that was indicating a specific deficiency. They can correct imbalances both inside cells as well as in the fluids that surround them. This is an elegant interaction and explains how quickly they can act in an emergency.

Kali PhosCredit: Sue Visser

Take the example a twitching eyebrow.

The twitching will stop when the supply of magnesium is restored by sucking MAG PHOS tissue salts. The same goes for muscle cramps, hiccups, spasms and indications that nerve fibres are contracting instead of relaxing. In some acute cases the dose is repeated after a while until the condition eases off. For chronic ailments the doses are taken a few times a day for weeks at a time. It depends on what goes wrong, if there is congestion, inflammation, water imbalances and so on. Magnesium is very important for diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Tissue salts are provided in twelve combinations. Although lactose based pills are the preferred format there are liquid alternatives available in dropper bottles to accommodate people who are lactose intolerant. Cell membranes have nutrient receptors that latch onto the vital components and pull them in or they act in the intracellular fluid between the cells. The correctly prescribed tissue salt should address the mineral disturbance.

Unlike other minerals, vitamins or essential fatty acid supplements that are taken in larger quantities if more action is needed, tissue salts are stronger when hardly any of the mineral is present in the pill you take. It is more like a message.

The finer the dilution the more powerful a remedy becomes at the molecular level, and even at a deeper or what people call quantum or energetic level. This elegant form of communication depends on absorption of the nutrient under the tongue (sublingual) where fine blood vessels absorb what you are sucking in your mouth. Once in the bloodstream they are transported to the places that need the remedy.

If you need a finer tissue salt dilution then some Naturopaths advise one to add the pills to a bottle of filtered water and shake it up. A lotion can be made out of the tablets dissolved in a little water and this can be applied to the skin or a bandage for topical treatment. Some salts like table salt (sodium chloride), potassium chloride and sodium sulphate (Glauber's salt) are available to us in the crude form. Could we then take our drinking water with a pinch of salt?

When the body is deficient in any of the 12 mineral salts we have present in and around all the cells of our body, then a diseased state is manifest. Conditions such as redness, swelling, pain, cramps, coughs, inflammation or congestion are indicators that certain combinations of mineral salts are in short supply. When replaced, health returns. That sounds so simple!

Are Tissue Salts Expensive or Difficult to Find?

They are inexpensive and available at health shops or pharmacies. They are safe to take, even for babies and can be used according to symptoms that show which ones are needed. Tissue salts are prepared the same way as homeopathic remedies but at the low potencies of D3, D6 or D12 they are considered to be nutritional supplements.

Their names are based on the Latin words for the mineral salts. So NAT MUR means: natrum muricatum and that simply means sodium chloride, known as table salt. It is one of the tissue salts. Some manufacturers sell them as tissue salt No 1, No 2, etc. I have provided the three forms in which they are classified. Here are some of the reasons you may need them from time to time.

A few of the original homeopathic observations of disturbances are included for your interest. They formed part of the original research as far back as 1880. Early doctors found that tissue salt disturbances manifest differently throughout the body. They studied mental and emotional disturbances that could be linked to mineral deficiencies. Even today, these guidelines are used by some practitioners of natural medicine to get a better symptom picture.

The appearance of the tongue is also a good indicator as to which tissue salt is lacking. For example, the tongue will have a coating if the digestion is upset or the person is acidic. It will be red if inflammation is present . The tongue tells us a lot about the health of a person and is a unique way of showing us that certain tissue salts may be disturbed.

Tissue Salt No 1: Calcium Fluoride (CALC FLUOUR)

Also known as fluospar, it maintains the elasticity of collagen tissue and controls the hardening of bones and tooth enamel. An excessive intake from water supplies can cause irregular tooth enamel formation known as fluorosis. Common food sources include buckwheat and rye bread, cabbage, pumpkin, squash, onions and delicious fruits like oranges, grapes and lemons.

A lack of CALC FLUOUR, as it is called, causes a general relaxation of connective tissues and hence a lack of support for organs, bloods vessels and muscles. This results in loose flabby skin, sagging breasts, wrinkles, piles, varicose veins and prolapsed organs like the uterus. skin cracks on the hands and is dry and bumpy. In bones, there are “exostoses” where calcium deposits in lumps as in ankle spurs.

Guiding symptoms. (Based on early homeopathic data.) The tongue has a cracked appearance and mental deficiencies manifest as depression, indecision and obsession with money. We like to link these symptoms to the ageing process but many of them can be corrected by replacing the missing mineral salt at prescribed potencies to restore elasticity, good tooth enamel and strong, flexible bones and muscles.

Tissue Salt No 2: Calcium Phosphate (CALC PHOS)

A combination of lime and phosphoric acid creates CLAC PHOS, a tissue salt that is a major calcium controller throughout the body. It helps to build strong teeth and bones as well as support the gastric juice that in turn assists with the chelation and uptake of calcium.

Popular food sources are easy enough to include in the diet: dairy products, eggs, meat, green leafy vegetables, fruit, oats, carrots and lentils.

The tissue salt has a very specific action and is used as a tonic. Children who lack calcium often suffer from frequent colds, anaemia and facial skin with white patches. it is good for all bone diseases, colds, boils and pimples and poor digestion.

Mag PhosCredit: Sue Visser

No 3: Calcium Sulphate (CALC SULPH)

CALC SULPH is actually plaster of Paris. The tissue salt that is made out of it is mainly found in the bile. It is responsible for breaking down old blood corpuscles so they can be excreted. It actually dehydrates them! With a lack of this tissue salt there are problems related to pus and suppuration such as pimples, abscesses, acne, boils and catarrh.

The tongue has a yellow, clay-like coating, especially at the base and is flabby. There may be a soapy, acrid taste. The owner may crave sour, green fruit and have a great appetite regardless of feeling nauseous. Mental characteristics include being absent-minded and irritable, discontented and full of fears.

Guiding symptoms. (Based on early homeopathic data.) CALC SULPH helps the liver to eliminate worn-out blood corpuscles and also to restore oxygen supplies to the skin. Once again, if we eat our vegetables and herbs, we can improve the situation. So load up on onions, garlic, leeks, radishes, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, parsley and of course, green leafy vegetables.

In part 3 of the 12 Tissue Salts we will look at the other nine tissue salts that are based on minerals such as magnesium, sodium, potassium and silica.

Tissue Salt No 4: Iron Phosphate (FERRUM PHOS)

FERRUM PHOS, or iron phosphate, is the major part of haemoglobin. It is the chief carrier of oxygen. A lack of this tissue salt causes anaemia at a chronic level or inflammation in acute cases.

Guiding symptoms. (Based on early homeopathic data.) Shortages may cause one to feel dizzy, or feel confused, falling over words, or annoyed by trifles. Stick out the tongue and in acute conditions you will see it has become inflamed or swollen and red.

Foods that help to boost iron include black strap molasses, liver, red meat, almonds, apricots, parsley, spinach, lentils, yeast and kelp.

Tissue Salt No 5: Potassium Chloride (KALI MUR)

KALI MUR is the common table salt alternative called potassium chloride. It helps form new brain cells and helps to maintain the intensity of stomach acid. It controls fibrin activity and a deficiency of KALI MUR gives rise to glandular swellings that affect conditions such as mumps, ear problems, cystitis and some venereal diseases such as gonorrhoea.

Taking this tissue salt helps to restore digestion, nerves, blood and lymph. Food sources of potassium chloride include ginger, sweet corn, asparagus, celery, peaches, cauliflower, pineapples, kale, beetroot and squash.

Guiding symptoms. (Based on early homeopathic data.) The KALI MUR tongue is coated in greyish white slime. It has a mapped effect. In acute cases there is swelling and inflammation with vomiting and white mucous. There is usually no desire to eat.

Tissue Salt No 6: Potassium Phosphate (KALI PHOS)

KALI PHOS is a great brain and nerve stimulant and prevents tissues from decay. It is good for mental conditions such as brain fog, anxiety, tearfulness, poor memory and depression. It is useful for a paralytic feeling, especially if the pulse is weak and rapid.

Guiding symptoms. (Based on early homeopathic data.) The typical tongue is dry, even sore at the edges where there may be redness. It may be white or slimy or a dirty colour with bad breath.

Apple cider vinegar is a good source of potassium and also the green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, olives, broccoli, apples, dates and green beans and ginger.

Tissue Salt No 7: Potassium Sulphate (KALI SULPH)

KALI SULPH works with iron to carry oxygen to all cells. Without it, the skin forms crusts or scales, it sheds excessively and pustules or watery or slimy discharges or redness appears. Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.) These symptoms are common to most skin and scalp disorders like dandruff and eczema. Internally the mucous membranes also exude and suppurate.

Reach for the molasses, parsley, flax seeds, watercress, sprouts, rye, whole wheat, almonds , cottage cheese and especially leafy green vegetables. The tongue has yellow, slimy coatings with a whitish edge. Even the gums, lips and mouth go white, so attend to that oxygen.

Tissue Salt No 8: Magnesium Phosphate (MAG PHOS)

MAG PHOS is a nerve and muscle relaxant. Cramps or stiffness may be caused by a lack of magnesium. This is an antispasmodic remedy useful for restless legs, seizures, menstrual cramps and hiccoughs. Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.)The tongue may be clean, but red and painful as if scalded. Mentally there may be confusion, sobbing, talking to oneself, complaints about pain.

Food sources also include many relaxant herbs like mint, chamomile, oats, nettle, valerian , fennel and aniseed. But also be sure to eat bananas, oranges, walnuts, lemons, lentils, figs and leafy green vegetables. Anything that is green is rich in chlorophyll and therefore magnesium.

Tissue Salt No 9: Sodium Chloride (Salt – NAT MUR)

NAT MUR is common old table salt. Salt disturbances in the body are usually due to salt excesses. But this tissue salt deals more with water imbalances that show up as dryness as in constipation or dehydration versus problems of excesses as in hay fever and oedema. It affects the mucous membranes throughout the body.

Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.)The tongue is clear and slimy with frothy saliva or it may be dry and sticky. Mentally, NAT MUR disturbances show up as weepiness, depression, feelings of hopelessness and people get called hypochondriacs. Being reactive and hyper sensitive or wanting to be left alone are also common. Foods that contain natural salt are mustard, celery, thyme, oregano, marjoram, spinach, parsley, sesame seeds, meat and seafood.

No 10: Sodium Phosphate (NAT PHOS)

NAT PHOS is a key controller of lactic acid in the blood. It is a bile booster and good for gout, acidic belching, nausea, travel sickness and general indigestion. It helps to emulsify fats. Sufficient NAT PHOS activity ensures good digestion and cell oxygenation due to its alkalizing effects on specific conditions. It prevents acidity in joints and muscles and so helps to prevent arthritis and stiff, sore muscles.

Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.)The tongue has a characteristic moist, creamy golden-yellow coating at the back with an acidic or coppery taste. The person feels nervous, fears noises at night, is vexed, forgetful and exhausted.

Food sources of sodium phosphate include rice, celery. beetroot, apples, peaches, apricots, lemons, papaya, quinces, grapes, carrots and watermelon. Spices that are digestive aids are also rich in NAT PHOS include coriander, cumin, anise and ginger.

Tissue Salt No 11: Sodium Sulphate (NAT SULPH)

NAT SULPH is the potentised form of the common laxative called Glauber's salt. It is not present inside any of our cells as it belongs in the intracellular fluids where it controls the elimination of excess water that accumulates during metabolism. It relieves water retention in tissues, especially in damp living conditions. NAT SULPH stimulates the secretion of digestive juices and is good for nausea.

Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.)The tongue feels slimy, there's a bitter taste in the mouth and it has a dirty greenish-yellow appearance. Cold water is desired. Mental symptoms of NAT SULPH may appear as irritability, depression, insomnia, suicidal feelings and hopelessness.

Food sources of sodium sulphate include parsley, celery, dandelion, chillies, horseradish, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, onions, beetroot, pumpkin, green peppers, cucumber, bananas, apples.

Tissue Salt No 12: Silicea (Silicic Oxide)

Caution: silicea should not be used by patients with foreign implants such as pacemakers, IUDs, or artificial valves or joints. It may cause them to loosen or be expelled. Consult a doctor before using.

Silicea is made out of lime, quartz and hydrochloric acid. Sodium silicate, or "water-glass," is also used. Silicea supports suppuration. It expels foreign objects like splinters or pus. It is the primary remedy for boils, cysts or conditions with infected, yellow mucous. It helps to harden fingernails, strengthen hair and support collagen tissue.

Guiding symptoms: (Based on early homeopathic data.)The tongue may have small ulcers, swellings or infections that are red and inflamed. Mental characteristics of silicea disturbances include lack of concentration, exhaustion, confusion or anxiety.

Food sources of silicea include dandelion, nettle, horsetail, comfrey, all grains, bamboo shoots, spinach, pulses, nuts, seeds, lemons, guavas.

References: " Theory of Dr Schusseler's Biochemical Method." (Accessed March 18, 2011) "What is homeopathy?" (Accessed March 18, 2011)

Hpathy "What is Homepoathy? Definition and Details" (Accessed March 18, 2011) " Biochemic Tissue Salts" (Accessed march 18, 2011)

Handbook of the Biochemic Tissue Salts by Martin & Pleasance with introduction by Judy Jacka, published by Martin&Pleasance, Australia, 1991.

The Twelve Tissue Remedies of Schussler by William Boericke, M.D. and Willis A. Dewey, M.D. Published by M. Bhattacharyya & Co. Private Ltd. 1971

Tissue Salts for Healthy Living by Margaret Roberts, published by Struik. 2004