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by Alison Effting Dip.Bio.Med(D) T.ASIACT(UK) Dip.Diag.Rad(SA)
Published in the South African Journal of Natural Medicine: Issue 128, February 2016

Nowadays most people have heard of, seen or tried tissue salts for themselves – unlike 20 years ago when I first encountered them and was shocked to find out they had been around for over 100 years. ‘Why didn’t my mother know about them?’ I pondered after using them for a few weeks.  ‘They should be in every household!'

These remarkable minerals remain largely misunderstood. For some, it seems too simple to seriously consider that supplementation with these fundamental mineral energies can make a significant difference to health and wellbeing, while for others it’s too much of a mission to discover what the basic 12 are about. However you don’t have to believe that tissue salts work – you simply have to develop the habit of using them, and you’ll soon feel and see the difference.

If you take the trouble to learn a bit about them, you’ll find you have an effective tool to cope with many of the consequences of stressful lifestyle, poor eating habits and many of the conditions prone to occur ‘in the family’. And perhaps, like me, you’ll still have them around and use them daily 20 years down the line ...

I had an iron deficiency problem at the time and had been using prescription iron tablets on and off for about 8 years. Taking iron in its molecular form becomes toxic to the body and has all sorts of side-effects, so there is a need to stop the build-up after a few months. The body doesn’t know how to deal with this excess material, and much of it ends up down the loo. The same is true of most minerals in their bulk molecular form. What is different about Ferrum Phos, the tissue salt form of iron? I never had the side-effects, my energy levels returned and continued to improve, and my blood tests normalised (to the amazement of my doctor). Given that I was allopathically trained, this came as a huge revelation to me.

A Brief History

Hungry for information, I soon found the story of Dr Schuessler, who in the 1870s had tackled this absorption conundrum by applying lateral thinking. He had been trained as a homoeopath, but was fascinated by the theories of certain great contemporary physiologists, notably Virchow and Moleschott, who held that the key to systemic health lay in keeping all the cells healthy. Schuessler studied the components of organs, cells and tissues from the ashes of cremation, and found that the common denominator of all life forms (plant, animal and human) were the 12 tissue salts we are familiar with today. He discovered that if any one or more of them were deficient, this would lead to increased stress, compromised health and ultimately the onset of disease processes.

He realised that the basis of this was cellular nutrition; for the cells to absorb and utilise the minerals without being poisoned, their structure would need to be in sufficiently small particles, similar to the way they are found in plants. He applied his knowledge of homeopathic dilution to the problem, experimented, and found that a one part per million (1 ppm, D6) dilution worked perfectly. Eureka! The Biochemic System was born.

Homoeopathy - or Cellular Nutrition?

This was not without controversy. From the time Schuessler published his articles in 1873 for peer review, he received enthusiastic response from both fans and critics. ‘It has to be homeopathy, not a different system,’ was the view of some homeopaths. Schuessler remained adamant that these 12 stood alone as a Biochemic System that worked within its own integrity, and many others supported this view. This remains one of the fundamental issues causing misunderstanding today.

So what is the difference then? Homeopathy is based on and works according to a Law of Similars, namely the principle that ‘like cures like’. It makes use of many exogenous substances (substances not naturally found in the body) from the entire realm of nature. Generally a D6 potency is considered rather crude for a homeopathic remedy, which prefers much higher dilutions for homeopathic efficacy. On this note, my experience of working with tissue salts is that once they go beyond the 1 ppm dilution, they become less nutritional in action and begin to belong to the realm of homeopathy. Higher potencies bearing the same names should not be mistaken for tissue salts. To spell it out, a D6 is 1:1000000 (6 zeroes after the 1), and a D12 is 1:1000000000000 (12 zeroes). They are very different! And these are considered ‘low-voltage’ dilutions in homeopathy.

Cellular Overdrafts

Tissue salts are not selected according to the Law of Similars, nor is their effect aligned with it. The Biochemic System works by replacing minerals according to a Law of Deficiency. Think of it as if you have 12 currencies of cellular bank accounts to manage. If you go into overdraft, you will incur additional interest, charges and possible penalties. You are unable to spend freely unless you have a reasonably healthy credit balance. It’s the same with the cells. Some deplete more quickly than others due to your genetics, stress levels and lifestyle. If their specific mineral currency goes into overdraft, those cells are unable to pay their metabolic dues, and incur interest and penalties in the form of stress patterning, ageing, exhaustion, and the onset of symptoms or illness. Some of us are nearly bankrupt – I know I certainly was.

Like a bank account, a credit balance of tissue salts is very healthy – it allows for more energy to spend and manage your stress. Your cells begin to resonate at their natural optimal frequency and incur positive interest – they age more slowly, repair more quickly, and resist viral or bacterial invaders more effectively. And because the cells are nourished, vital and resonant, they actually assist the healing process when other remedies are prescribed. They are definitely not alternative substances, but complementary all the way.

Revitalizing the Bio-Energetic Field

For many years now when working with my clients I have assessed their bio-energetic field. This is the energetic ‘bubble’ we exist in and provides a ‘safe space’ and effective boundary for our physical body when in a balanced state – a bit like an electric fence surrounding your house. It is very rare that I find a new client with a perfect energy field – most are stressed or contracted to the point of depletion at the first visit, even when they have come to me without having some kind of pre-diagnosed medical condition. Their bodies are functioning but the energy field is often in a hectic state – exhausted and stressed out.  The body-mind state reflects in the bio-energetic field.

It’s similar to a TV set that isn’t tuned in – lacking clarity and with distorted information. It’s also no good trying to tune into DSTV if you don’t have the appropriate receiver / transmitter (after all the TV set has the potential to display the information). Well, each cell is a receiver / transmitter, and tissue salts help them to tune in, resonate at their appropriate frequency, become receptive to the incoming messages and in turn properly transmit their specific signals. Furthermore, the tissue salts definitely help to balance, restore and expand the bio-energetic field. Any of the 12 has this positive effect on the energy field, but the ones you require most have the best response.

What is unique about the tissue salts is that they carry the resonant energies of our physical bodies and are able to perform this recalibration. Since the bio-energetic state reflects the body-mind, it is therefore hardly surprising to find that the mind and emotional state also benefit from supplementing with tissue salts, enhancing wellbeing. As my clients often report, they’re not sure how it is that while the stress of life does not diminish at all, they nevertheless manage it so much better.

My understanding is that if you are able to be centered and grounded, with a vibrant energy field to filter the stress through, it loses impact and you have a much better chance of coping with the curved balls that come your way. Some of the stress factors are chemical (drugs or lifestyle), loss of vitality and increased toxicity in the overworked soils that our foods are grown in. In addition to the wear and tear of daily life we now have the added stress of electromagnetic pollution. This is probably worse now than 15 years ago with just about everyone, including many children, walking around with and sleeping next to cellular telephones.

Mineral Energies

It is at the 1 ppm level of dilution that the mineral particles become invisible to our current scientific instruments. I have no doubt that in time science will prove that tissue salts have the dual nature of light (wave/energy properties and particle properties) and therefore translate into material form if the cell absorbs it, or energise you from the inside out, radiating a healthy glow from the cellular level through the energy field. I find it amazing that Schuessler drew the analogy to the biochemic salts when he wrote: ‘After all, just because you can’t see the light in the leaf of a plant doesn’t mean it is not there.’ He died in 1898, just after Röntgen discovered X-rays and before Einstein developed his theories of light. Schuessler certainly was a man with a scientific vision far ahead of his time.


Introducing tissue salts into your health routine is making a life-enhancing choice. They are non-intrusive and self-empowering, with no risk of negative side-effects and they can be taken by everyone including infants and geriatrics, regardless of whether or not you have been labeled with a disease.

This article was first published in the South African Journal of Natural Medicine: Issue 45, February 2009 and then revised for the February 2016 issue.