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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 16, SUMMER 2005

ASHES TO ASHES, dust to dust… we are all familiar with the words describing our composition, and they are literally true. The ashes are the 12 mineral salts that are essential to health and life itself – the tissue salts. Our bodies also contain other substances – minerals, proteins and fluids, but these depend upon the presence of sufficient tissue salts to function, and if any of the 12 tissue salts becomes severely depleted, our physical bodies lose the ability to sustain life.

Prepared tissue salts have become more widely known and used in the last decade, but have been around since the 1870s. They evolved from the work of Dr W H Schuessler of Oldenburg, who was inspired by the prior theories of a few European physiologists of the time. They theorised that health began with the cell and that the actual constituents of the body’s cells and tissues must have an effect on promoting and maintaining health. When Dr Schuessler analysed biological ashes he identified the 12 principal tissue salts. He found that they are common to all living things and are found in the earth itself.

Our Creator meant for us to sustain our life force from plant foods grown in ideal soil conditions – the Garden of Eden. Plants grown in balanced organic soils absorb these vital inorganic mineral tissue salts from the earth via the filtration of their roots, while through their leaves they absorb light, creating a resonant blend of chemical and radiant energy producing nutritious foods to sustain life. Today many of the plant foods available may not have even seen soil or natural sunlight and are lacking the vitality required to keep us healthy even if we were 100% vegetarian and stress free. Over the years, with the introduction of industrial farming methods, the soils have been overburdened and become depleted. It has been estimated that to obtain our mineral requirements from plant foods available today, we would need to eat a balanced combination of at least four pockets of organic fruit and vegetables a day!

When the 12 tissue salts were identified, a large problem existed in that by supplementing with the raw, crude substance itself, the body experienced toxic results. The molecular size of the salts was too large for the cells of the body to assimilate. A good example is that of table salt, or Nat Mur in its tissue salt form. Too great an intake of crude table salt will cause physiological problems, whereas Nat Mur in a tissue salt form will not. Dr Schuessler realised that in plants these minerals exist in a finely diluted form – for example you don’t bite into a chunk of calcium or magnesium when biting into a fruit or vegetable. He applied his knowledge of homeopathic trituration methods to prepare the tissue salts in a more diluted, easily assimilable form. Tissue salts are therefore minerals in an energy form, held in a lactose base and released into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes when they are dissolved in the mouth. They thus become available to the cells and tissues of the body in a very short time, and are not dependent on digestive processes to release the beneficial nutrients.

It is important to note that tissue salts are not homeopathic remedies when in a D6 formulation, which defines them as tissue salts. D6 denotes a dilution of one part per million of the tissue salt to the lactose base. The action of tissue salts is biochemic, operating according to a Law of Deficiency, and not homeopathic, operating according to a Law of Similars. The cells of the body absorb what they require by natural affinity, and simply reject what is not required.

Tissue salts consist of the natural elements occurring in the body itself – homogeneous substances. They form the basic constituents of the cells, tissues and organs, and the body uses their energies for metabolic functions. When tissue salts are required for these functions, there should be an adequate supply available in the body and its fluids to draw upon. If there is an insufficiency the cells convert their material structure to provide the energy, and the cell goes into a depleted state. Should this cycle continue, namely of material substance converting to provide energy without nutritional replacement, the cells lose their ability to function correctly.

The first signs of tissue salt deficiency are any signs or symptoms of stress or ageing. When extremely depleted, the body develops symptoms of dis-ease. Signs of deficiency can be seen in the face, and if identified, the deficiency can be corrected before the onset of any bodily symptoms or dis-ease. With regular supplementation with the appropriate tissue salts, the cells can regain their vitality and function, leading to health and wellbeing. It is much like making the appropriate investments into the correct accounts taking one out of the red ‘overdraft’ and into the black, and thus not paying punitive interest.

Wrinkling, loss of elasticity resulting in sagging, dark or milky-blue colouring below the eyes, red cheeks or face, red or very pale waxy ears, grey, bronzy or waxy undertones to parts of the face, enlarged pores, and pigmentation on the face or hands all give vital clues to tissue salt deficiencies. They are all signs we can learn to notice by simply looking in the mirror. Initially it is a good idea to consult with a trained facial analyst who will be able to point out these areas and advise the appropriate supplementation. Many of us are so used to seeing our face looking back at us that we do not look as acutely at these little telltale signs. With some practice and awareness of the signs disappearing or re-emerging, one can certainly learn to optimise health and the ageing process.

A brief summary of the 12 tissue salts

Calcium Fluoride

Calc fluor maintains the essential quality of elastic tissue and is also found in the enamel of teeth and periosteum of the bones. When deficient it results in a loss of elasticity, and over-relaxed muscular or supportive tissue. These include dilated blood vessels, varicose veins, poor circulation, haemorrhoids, constipation, strained tendons and ligaments, prolapsed organs and chapped or hardened skin. It is a useful salt during pregnancy in that it helps to reduce the formation of stretch marks and to maintain and restore the elasticity of the breasts and vaginal tissues after birth. It is also useful for maintaining the elasticity and firmness of penile tissue.

Calcium Phosphate

Calc phos is the most abundant tissue salt in the body and is a constituent of bones, teeth, connective tissues and blood corpuscles. It assists with the digestion and absorption of food and is important for the building and repair of sturdy bone and body structures. It is an excellent restorative, helping to speed up convalescence. Calc phos is helpful for blood and bone disorders including anaemia, osteoporosis and growing pains. It is an excellent tonic for growing children and the elderly and is also beneficial for feelings of fear and anxiety.

Calcium Sulphate

Calc sulph functions as a blood cleanser and controls suppuration. It is indicated for conditions associated with the discharge of pus, such as pimples, boils and abscesses and also for ulcerations. It is useful in promoting healing in slowly decaying or weeping wounds.

Ferrum Phosphate

Ferrum phos is an oxygen carrier and has an anti-inflammatory action. It is the principal biochemic first aid remedy and immune booster. Key indications for Ferrum phos are shortness of breath (including asthma), weak immunity, colds and influenza, viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections, pain, fever, anaemia and heavy menstruation.

Kalium Muriaticum

Kali mur is the principal biochemic remedy for catarrhal conditions accompanied by the discharge of thick, white mucus or phlegm from the mucous membranes or skin. It is essential in the treatment of burns and is the salt deficient in those prone to emboli (e.g. blood clots).

Kalium Phosphate

Kali phos is a brain and nerve cell nutrient and acts as a strong antiseptic. Its deficiency may present in symptoms such as lack of concentration, hyperactivity in children, memory loss, insomnia, any offensive body odour, mental or physical exhaustion and conditions of the nervous system.

Kalium Sulphate

Kali sulph is an epithelial tissue conditioner and oxygen carrier that works in conjunction with Ferrum phos and is important for the maintenance of healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes.

Magnesium Phosphate

Mag phos is the antispasmodic, analgesic tissue salt. Symptoms of deficiency may include flatulence, nervous tension, hunger pains and muscle cramps. It is indicated for all spasmodic pains, hiccups, spasmodic palpitations, cramping menstrual pain and tension headaches. Note: Mag phos will often act more rapidly to relieve colic pains when the tablets are dissolved in hot water.

Natrium Muriaticum

Nat mur is the water-balancing tissue salt and its deficiency is characterised by symptoms of excessive moisture or dryness. Itchiness of the skin or eyes, lack of vitality, tearfulness, feelings of depression, swelling of any area of the body, proneness to insect bites and constipation or diarrhoea are all indicative of Nat mur deficiency. This salt is deficient if you are prone to cold sores.

Natrium Phosphate

Nat phos is the acid-neutralising tissue salt. It is indicated for heartburn, acid indigestion, gout, cholesterol problems, sweet or chocolate cravings, smelly feet or body odour, constipation and any yellow-coloured body discharge.

Natrium Sulphate

Nat sulph is a liver conditioner and promotes the elimination of excess water from the body. It is the chief biochemic remedy for water retention and is recommended for disorders such as biliousness, alcohol overindulgence, jaundice, hepatitis, malaria and cholera.


Silicea is a connective tissue conditioner and cleanser. It is an important antistress tissue salt and helps to insulate us from the effects of electromagnetic pollution. It is therefore a wonderful tonic for those who spend time in front of computers, televisions and other sources of electromagnetic smog. A deficiency results in symptoms that could include irritability, feelings of aggression, clamp-like headaches and sensitivity to noise or light. Silicea also removes degenerative matter from the body and maintains a healthy condition of the skin, hair and nails - a must for nail-biters!

This article appeared in SAJNM Issue 16: Summer 2005