They're inexpensive, taste fine and seem to be able to counteract just about every common ailment from pimples to period pain, headaches to hangovers. Meet the 12 tissue salts that many swear are all you need to balance your body, and keep you healthy for life.
What are they?
Tissue salts, also known as "cell salts" or "biochemistry salts", are the same minerals that are found in rocks and in soil. What's interesting is that they already occur naturally in the human body, which means that an imbalance or lack of certain ones opens the door for illness and disease.
The key, therefore, is to keep the body in balance. But this is easier said than done, as homeopath Eva Schoenfeld of the Academy of Tissue Salts and Facial Analysis explains:
"In the past we could easily replace lost minerals through our normal daily nutrition, but in modern life 'empty' food harvested from drained soil leads to constant mineral depletion in the human body."
She adds that the soils in South Africa are completely depleted of minerals, and believes that this is one of the reasons there are so many immune diseases in the country.
"The British Institute of Science in Society in London did much research regarding the mineral selenium and discovered very interesting geographical connections. Most notably, they found that the soil of the whole southern hemisphere is actually devoid of zinc, magnesium and selenium - the latter being one of the most crucial natural immune boosters. They also compared this situation to the North-African country Senegal, and found that their soil is very rich in selenium, and it is fact that immune diseases and many other ailments and syndromes are almost unknown there."
Why your body needs them
Modern lifestyles drain even the most health-conscious of us, and if you consider that you lose minerals through stress, worry, bad nutrition, industrially tainted foodstuffs, electro-pollution (from cell phones, microwaves, computers), through environmental toxins (insecticides, pesticides, preservatives etc), as well as exposure to heavy metals such as amalgam dental fillings, lead, aluminium and contaminated drinking water, it really is a wonder there's anything left.
This is why Schoenfeld believes humanity is becoming weaker and more disease-prone from generation to generation. The missing minerals are not being replaced.
"This tendency is very much in evidence nowadays. If we only consider the worrisome increase in babies that are already born with allergies and other deficiencies, you can see that a mineral deficiency has been transmitted by the mother. What the mother lacks in minerals during pregnancy, the child will be lacking at birth.
"This is one of the reasons for the ongoing and increasing generational deficiencies, and will continue indefinitely until people are ready to accept the necessity of a regular mineral-replacement policy in life. With application of the correct amounts of tissue salts, the body can heal and restore itself from within," she says.
History of tissue salts
We can thank Dr Willhelm Scheussler, a prominent 19th century German doctor, for the "discovery" of tissue salts. He conducted research that established that each human cell contains 12 minerals or biochemic tissue salts when reduced to ashes, and that these minerals should be present in all living cells in perfect balance to ensure good health.
Using a form of medicine known as biochemistry, he deducted that any imbalance of these salts, or a deficiency of any of the tissue salts, causes malady. The body then begins to develop symptoms associated with the tissue salts that are lacking. Therefore, he established that restoring the accurate balance of tissue salts in the body would remove the symptoms of illness and restore health.
Wikipedia asserts that biochemic cell salts are alternative remedies based on inorganic salts that were elaborated by Scheussler, and which are not classed as homeopathic remedies, since they're not purported to act according to the "like cures like" principle of homeopathy.
It also states that inorganic salts were first used as homeopathic remedies by Samuel Hahnemann, and further developed by Scheussler, who identified 12 different salts in human tissue based on his analysis of the inorganic constituents of cremated organs and remains.
According to Wikipedia, "even though water and organic matter make up a greater portion of living cells, the inorganic matter is the only substance that the organism/cells cannot produce by itself. Since the life of living cells is relatively short, the creation of new cells depends on the presence of minerals. Mineral deficiencies will inhibit the proper functioning of living cells."
How the body uses them
According to Schoenfeld, most people are rather ill-informed when it comes to the benefits of, and how to take, vitamins and mineral supplements, believing that minerals on the cellular level can be replaced by vitamins and nutritional supplements.
"Vitamins and supplements can only get cellular acceptance provided the cells are adequately mineral-enriched and balanced in the first place. If these minerals (tissue salts) are absent, the body will battle to absorb even a tiny fraction of these 'intruders'. In this case, the supplements will rather become a stress factor for the cells, which are missing the minerals for their intra- and extra-cellular balance to pave a smooth entry for vitamins and other substances," she explains.
Schoenfeld uses the example of anaemic people and their iron intake to illustrate her point, and says that iron tablets or shots represent a big strain for the body. So, the easiest way would be to take the iron from our food, which can again be a problem unless you're eating guaranteed organic food that is still rich in nutrients.
"If the iron level in the cells is depleted, the body won't be able to absorb the iron. But once one has had sufficient tissue salts and refilled its deposits, the body will be able to absorb the iron, and that is the same case with every vitamin or food supplement. The body has to be enabled to receive any benefit from them."
12 basic tissue salts
There are 12 basic tissue salts that can be used on their own, or in recommended combinations, to treat a very wide variety of ailments. They are:
- Number 1: Calc fluor - Tissue elasticity restorer
- Number 2: Calc phos - Cell restorer
- Number 3: Calc sulf - Blood purifier, purulent agent
- Number 4: Ferr phos - Anti-inflammatory
- Number 5: Kali mur - Detoxifying agent
- Number 6: Kali phos - Nerve and brain cell agent
- Number 7: Kali sulf - Metabolism, pancreas conditioner
- Number 8: Mag phos - Pain and cramp killer
- Number 9: Nat mur - Water distributor
- Number 10: Nat phos - Acidity neutraliser
- Number 11: Nat sulf - Liver cleanser
- Number 12: Silicea - Skin and connective tissue conditioner
Click here to read more about each tissue salt in detail as well as which herbs and foods it can be found in and the many different ailments it works on.
Schoenfeld adds that there are another 15 supplementary substances (numbers 13 to 27), which Dr Schuessler did not determine because his analysis methods weren't advanced enough. They are well known in Europe and now also available in South Africa.
Who can use them?
One of the major benefits of tissue salts is that they're very safe. They're also very inexpensive. However, as with most health matters, it's always best to check with your health practitioner beforehand.
That said, tissue salts are generally suitable for everyone from babies to diabetics and even animals.
Margaret Roberts' book Tissue Salts for Healthy Living is perhaps one of the best buys if this avenue of healthcare appeals to you. Not only does she go into easy-to-read detail about each tissue salt - what it contains, what it works best for, what other tissue salts it can be taken with - it also contains important information on how to take them.
What is the best way to take them?
Tissue salts generally come in tablet form and are comprised of lactose powder. This is similar to homeopathic products. Each inorganic salt is ground with lactose powder in a ratio of 1:9 and this mixture is then ground with fresh lactose, in the same ratio. This process is repeated either three or six times, yielding a 1 000 000 to 1 dilution or 1 000:1 dilution.
Schoenfeld recommends that all tissue salts be combined with each other and taken throughout the day. She explains that the absorbing of the active ingredients happens through the laryngeal mucous membranes of the mouth. The more urgently the body needs the tissue salts, the faster they dissolve or the sweeter they taste. This can also happen simultaneously.
The best way to take tissue salt tablets:
- Mix all tablets of the required numbers together in a dish and shake it. Take one by one during the day. Let them dissolve in your mouth – as the best absorption is through the mucous membranes. It is not true that you must take one number and then another – the body knows exactly where to go with the different numbers.
Do not take more than three tablets at once, as the capacity of absorption is limited.
The best way to take tissue salt powder:
- Dissolve the required amount of powder in a glass of water and sip it. Keep the sip in your mouth for about 30 seconds before swallowing.
Sources: Eva F. Schoenfeld, Academy of Tissue Salts and Facial Analysis. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.facialanalysis.co.za or phone 076-819-4590.
Tissue Salts for Healthy Living by Margaret Roberts, visit www.margaretroberts.co.za
(Amy Henderson, Health24, February 2009)