By Nishtha Shukla September 2003 Two hundred years ago, Dr Wilhelm Schüssler studied the role of inorganic salts in treating diseases and developed the simple system of biochemi It is the small things in life that make a big difference. Especially so in our bodies, so precisely made, so intricately detailed. A small component of the human body are inorganic salts. In the early 19th century, a German physician, Dr Wilhelm Schüssler, studied their functioning. He stated that water and organic substances that make up the rest of the body are simply inert matter, used by the inorganic salts in building up body cells.Practitioners of biochemic tissue salt therapy, or biochemi, call them the vital and active workers of the body. Schüssler’s study suggested that when there is a lack of one or more minerals such as iron, lime, potassium and sodium in the body, it manifests in an abnormal condition called ‘disease’.The fast foods and processed foods increasingly being consumed today lack vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids and these inorganic minerals. Lifestyle and environmental hazards, modern agriculture with its chemical fertilizers, radio, air and microwave pollution have all enhanced the need for these minerals, something that Schüssler had probably not even anticipated.Schüssler was a disciple of Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homoeopathy, who discovered that a substance which could produce symptoms similar to a disease in a healthy person, could also treat that disease. Schüssler went on to study that rather than treating ‘like with like’, tissue salt remedies can treat ailments by correcting imbalances or deficiencies in the body’s cell nutrition.Biologist Gunther Carl Stahlkopf, who validated Schüssler’s findings with further research, said: “If these mineral salts exist in an incorrect concentration, we have a situation we call illness.” Biochemi understands that a deficiency in one or more of these vital elements disturbs the normal functioning of the cells.For instance, if you experience a certain pain or an uneasiness, it indicates the lack of one or more of these inorganic salts. Biochemi then provides those very minerals in potentised form for restoration of health. It involves diagnosing what mineral salt(s) are lacking in the organism to establish the cause and treating it by temporarily supplementing the required mineral(s).Although recent research has thrown up more of these inorganic elements, 12 of these ‘cell salts’ were identified by Schüssler as essential—Calc fluor, Calc Phos, Calc Sulph, Ferr Phos, Kali Mur, Kali Phos, Kali Sulph, Mag Phos, Mat Mur, Nat Phos, Nat Sulph and Silica.According to Schüssler, a normal cell can absorb or reject certain substances, a quality that is diminished or suspended in case the cells lack one or more of these salts.Schüssler adopted the homoeopathic mode of treatment by using tiny amounts of the biochemic tissue salts. It works for all age groups and is effective for pets and plants too.According to biochemi, early signs of tissue salt deficiency are visible on the face much before physical symptoms occur. By reading the face signs and supplementing with the appropriate tissue salts, balance at the cellular level is restored, which enables the body to heal itself.However, in biochemi facial analysis is unlike the diagnostic procedures of the same name in other therapies.An alternative method over a longer period of time to identify the right tissue salt, that is required by one’s body, is to study the components and properties of each mineral and match them with one’s symptoms.“One must not think that these supplements were to replace the missing,” said Schüssler. The minerals are in energy form, the idea being to stimulate the cells so that they start to absorb the necessary inorganic mineral salts from the diet, in order to keep up the internal consistency. The salts then boost the body’s self-defence mechanism to counteract an infection and heal itself.Many homoeopaths today prescribe tissue salts for minor ailments: cold, cough, catarrh, hay fever, headache, indigestion and skin conditions as well as acute and chronic conditions of viral, bacterial or fungal origin. These salts are also said to be beneficial for wounds, burns and inflammations and are used as lotion, gargle and ointment.Although physicians rarely recommend tissue salts alone, homoeopaths, naturopaths and herbalists often include them in their prescription. Chemists and health shops stock these salts, as do homoeopathic pharmacies. But because for each disease the potency of the dosage differs, one should consult a practitioner.Ashim Chowdhary, who has studied the therapy closely, says that the important thing about these salts is that they can “safely be taken in standard potencies of 6x”. The salts that come in the form of tablets are ideally taken in hot water for good absorption.These minerals are said to harmonise the functions of the organism and, therefore, improve the capacity to absorb nutrients from food. Conversely, for a tissue salt to exercise its full healing power, it is necessary to have enough of the right kind of food.Homoeopath Dr B.S. Johri feels that the therapy is often inadequate. “Sometimes one cannot tell why a certain mineral is not being absorbed, necessary for biochem diagnosis.” So he uses biochemi to complement homoeopathy.Dissolved in water, tissue salts promote the formation of minerals in plants, as well as absorption of minerals from the soil. In the case of animals, tissue salts are said to be important for muscle health as they allow the minerals to be introduced to the body in an easily assimilated form, especially with newly-discovered salts like copper, manganese and iodine.Easily available over the counter and uncomplicated to administer, biochemic tablets are increasingly becoming popular. But it is important to keep in mind that in our country, where regulations are inadequate and almost anything can be sold in the name of health, treading with caution is the key.
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