Dr. Schüssler's Cell Salts

The 12 cell salt remedies are:

Calc. fluor.

Calc. phos.

Calc. sulph.

Ferr. phos.

Kali mur.

Kali phos.

Kali sulph.

Magnes. phos.

Nat. mur.

Nat. phos.

Natr. sulph.



The present wide adoption of the Tissue Remedies or Cell Salts in the treatment of disease is the fruit of the seed sown on homeopathic ground as early as 1832, although its development was slow until Schüssler gave it a wonderful impetus by bringing physiological chemistry and physiological and pathological facts to bear on his therapeutic procedure.

According to Schüsslerís theory, any disturbance in the molecular motion of these cell salts in living tissues, caused by a deficiency in the requisite amount, constitutes disease, which can be rectified and the requisite equilibrium re-established by administering the same mineral salts in small quantities.

This follows the Law of Contraries rather than the Law of Similars showing that he tried to remain a conventional physician while borrowing from homeopathy. Standard, the Los Angeles homeopathic pharmaceutical firm, produces and markets the cell salts more than most and can thank the popularity of them and their combination remedies for much of its survival through the dark years before 1960.

The study of Dr. Schüssler's cell salt theory and results of the practice of it can be beneficial to the homeopath. Even though the theories diverged at the theoretical level, the results that the followers of this theory through their provings and testing have added to the entire knowledge of the Materia Medica have been substantial and worthwhile.

William Boericke, M.D., the compiler of a very popular materia medica, wrote a book with Willis A. Dewey, M.D. entitled "The Twelve Tissue Remedies of Schüssler." In their words, "The clinical evidence of the truth of Schüssler's indications is overwhelming and since his time they have been largely confirmed by homeopathic and eclectic physicians. . ." [i] The book compiles all of the literature that Schüssler himself wrote on the subject, homeopathic experience from professional and lay practitioners, a materia medica, a therapeutic guide and a repertory.

Boericke and Dewey's interest in the matter was making public the information about the cell salts in much the same way that Hering had introduced the cell salts to American homeopathy. But following in classical homeopathy, they would not accept the remedies as being anything except part of the whole scheme of things as laid down by Hahnemann.

Schüssler denied any relation to homeopathy and was a rebel in the camp being trained a homeopath himself. The historic sense provided much fertile ground for a nutritional and therapeutically based system of cure rather than the stranger and more complex system of Hahnemann's similia similibus. However Hahnemann would have turned his rhetoric against Schüssler and called him a mongrel homeopath.

Schüssler considered his cell salts to be entirely distinct from homeopathy with no relationship at all. He thought that 12 remedies were an all-sufficient therapeutic procedure and chemical hygiene as opposed to the several hundred in homeopathy at the time. He essentially simplified the remedies to a choice few based on chemical and physical facts and theories and devised one of the early therapeutic guides to homeopathy before the therapeutic branch became popular.

If anything, Schüssler thought his system superior to homeopathy for being the building blocks of the drugs that were given in homeopathy. His idea was that 12 chemicals make up the entire active components of the Materia Medica and that the combinations of them are what give the resulting symptoms. Schüssler says "it is a question to be decided whether we could obtain the same results by giving the inorganic salt constituents of a drug as by giving the drug itself. It seems to us, were it possible, that the former would be a more elementary homeopathy, and this, an indirect Biochemistry."[ii]

Boericke and Dewey thought "that Schüssler throws away a great and necessary complement to his Materia Medica in discarding all organic drugs." [iii] Also, "these Tissue Remedies are too precious to be used only on the pathological indications laid down by Schüssler."[iv] Using the cell salts in Schüssler's method is as easy as looking up your symptom and taking the cell salt is says in proper dosage of which there are few. No more extensive repertorizing or miasmatic disturbances.

Of thinking that this system is merely a simple form of homeopathy Hahnemann has said in his Organon, "homeopathy is a perfectly simple system of medicine, remaining always fixed in its principles as in its practice, which, like the doctrine whereon it is based, if rightly apprehended will be found to be so exclusive, that as the doctrine must be accepted in its purity, so it must be purely practised , and all backward straying to the pernicious routine of the old school is totally inadmissible, otherwise it ceases to deserve the honourable name of homeopathy." [v]

Of thinking that this is a new system of medicine which is better than homeopathy and does away with the complications of it, Hahnemann saw only three systems, the allopathic , the antipathic and the homeopathic. He thought that the homeopathic system was nearly perfected in his lifetime and saw no need for any other system.

Hahnemann said that homeopathy must "be the only proper one, because, of the three possible modes of employing medicines in diseases, it is the only direct way to a mild, sure, permanent cure without doing injury in another direction, and without weakening the patient." [vi]

Schüssler said that there are more than twelve cell salts occurring in a cell but that the twelve are the ones that are constantly present in the cells. The other ones are now known as trace elements and are essential to the life of the organism. I couldn't determine if they were constantly present in the cell as Schüssler said. Does this mean that the twelve should be more? This definitely is a problem for those who think that a deficiency related disease state can be cured by a triturated salt because the deficiency may be not one of the twelve cell salts but a trace element. It is also a problem for those who relate astrology to the cell salt theory.

Esther Chapman, a contemporary English authority on the cell salts, confirms the fact that something is missing from the small Materia Medica available to the Schüssler disciple. She states that "some sufferers with rheumatic and arthritic conditions will need compound prescriptions of biochemic nutrients which incorporate certain trace elements. These trace elements have a special relationship to the main constituents of the prescription and function as catalysts and synergists in achieving the required chemical processes of regeneration."[vii]

Since Schüssler thinks that "it is highly probable that we . . . could easily explain why the symptoms of one drug are so often found under the pathogenesis of another, why one is characteristic in one drug and only generic in another, when, indeed, it may not rightly belong to either, but to an inorganic tissue salt, a constituent of each drug"[viii] then it should be possible to relate some of the cell salts and homeopathic remedies together as shown in his table.

Selecting out the most probable correlation by percentages of their inorganic constituents (the organic is a major part but not an issue with cell salts) the table below lists some similarities and some opposites of their symptoms.

Cell salt 

Remedy (Percentage of cell salt)

Calc. phos
Coloc. (27)
Headache  Headache
Great hunger  Canine hunger
Colicky pain in abdomen  Agonizing pain in abdomen
Green, hot, slimy stool  Jelly-like stool
Better: warmth  Better: warmth
Equisitum (nearly 18.2)
Involuntary urination  Involuntary urination
Worse: left side  Worse: right side
Worse: lying down  Better: lying down in afternoon
Graphites (13.)
Sensitiveness of external parts  Sensitiveness of internal parts
Dry itch  Humid itch
Scars sore to the touch; break open  Scars burn; break open
Distention of veins of hands  Distention of veins of feet
Pulse small, hard, quick at night  Pulse full and hard
Thirst, esp. during heat  Thirst, esp. during heat
Sweat confined to back of body  Sweat confined to front of body
Chill increased in open air  Chill lessened in open air
Paralysis - Apoplexy  Rarely paralysis - No apoplexy
Gentleness - fancies  Mood changing
Optical illusions in black or dark colors  Optical illusions in bright colors
Complaints of external ear  Complaints of internal ear
Loss of smell  Acute smell
Loss of appetite  Hunger
Bitter vomit  Sour vomit
Remission of belly-ache after stool  Belly-ache after stool
Urine too often  Urine scanty
Sediment yellow or reddish  Sediment whitish
Catamenia both late and scanty, and too soon and profuse  Catamenia too late and scanty
Hard-edged fistulous ulcers remaining after mammary abscesses  Hard scars are absorbed
Expectoration during day  Expectoration during day and evening
Complaints about hip joint  Complaints about shoulder joint
Remission before midnight  Remission of complaints during day
Worse: growing cold  Worse: growing cold or warm
Worse or better: washing  Worse: washing
Worse or better: in bed  Worse: in bed
Better: warmth of bed  Worse or better: warmth in bed
Worse: after good meal  Worse: hungry
Worse: weeping  Worse or better: weeping
Worse or better: exertion  Worse: exertion
Ailments from Sulph., Merc Ailments from Ars

Notes: First two are taken from Boericke's Materia Medica and last one is from Gross' Comparative Materia Medica.

About the only thing that can be inferred from the data that is collected above is that there is no correlation positive or negative for Schüssler. There are too many unknowns when dealing with homeopathy and when trying to reduce the system down to a technique and basic components or theories, many stumbling blocks get in the way. Hahnemann didn't try to explain the way that it worked, but on the other hand said that it was impossible to try and to get on with curing people.

Boericke and Dewey also ignore the fact that there might be problems with the system of Schüssler and recommend that the cell salts be thoroughly proved and welcomed into the Materia Medica. Because of the strength of cures that Schüssler and others claimed, Boericke and Dewey possibly see the cell salts as becoming polychrests.

My opinion after reading through all of the materials that were available to me on the cell salts is the same. There is more basic exactitude and common sense in Hahnemann's system than Schüssler's. Just because Schüssler was swayed by the prevailing tendencies towards eliciting cures through chemicals prescribed through therapeutics doesn't mean that the results are poor. He saw and made others see some very powerful homeopathic possibilities.

Points that diverge:

  1. Cell salt theory says that disease is chemically based. Therefore the therapy is based on a chemical nutritional level. Homeopathy says that disease is due to a morbidly deranged vital force.
  2. Cell salt theory ignores the vital force in both the diagnosis and prescribing.
  3. Cell salt theory uses only 12 remedies to effect the cure of any health problem. Homeopathy has well over 400 major remedies.

Similar points:

  1. Both systems use dynamicized remedies. However the reason for using them are different. Homeopathy does not rely on just the diluted nature of the chemical, cell salt theory recognizes nothing else.
  2. Both systems base a remedy recommendation on symptoms of the whole patient. However cell salt theory focuses more on one symptom.

[i] Búricke,William, M.D., and Dewey, Willis A., M.D., The Twelve Tissue Remedies of Schüssler, B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, India, 1914,reprinted 1986, p. 4.

[ii] Ibid, p. 3

[iii] Ibid, p. 6.

[iv] Ibid, p. 7.

[v] Hahnemann, Samuel ,Organon of Medicine, sixth edition, trans. R.E.Dudgeon, Roy Publishing House, Calcutta, India,1970, p.27.

[vi] Ibid, p.98

[vii] Chapman, Esther, How to Use the 12 Tissue Salts, Thorsons Publishers Limited, Whistable, Kent, Great Britian,1960, p.117.

[viii] Boericke and Dewey, op cit., p. 30-31.

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