Cell Salts – Part 2: The Twelve Salts

What are they good for?

The mini-descriptions below include the most common, everyday indications for the use of the 12 tissue salts, confirmed over a lifetime of using them in my own family and with my patients. More information can be found in, “The Twelve Tissue Remedies of Schüssler” by Boericke and Dewey, which includes all of Schüssler’s original indications and also incorporates symptoms elicited from provings by homeopaths Allen and Hering—thereby increasing the tissue salts’ homeopathic potential and usefulness.

Dem Dry Bones: Calcarea fluorica

Also known as calcium fluoride.
Affinities: bones, ligaments, muscles, teeth, veins.

This salt is a great tonic for muscles, ligaments and/or veins that have become worn out, flabby and lax—for tissues that have lost their elasticity and tone. For example, the prolapsed uterus or bladder (with dragging down sensations), hemorrhoids (that itch and bleed), or varicose veins.

It is useful for building the health and strength of teeth and bones during childhood, and after a serious injury to the bones, especially a fracture. It is also helpful for lumps that develop on bones (after a bad bruise to a bone or a fracture, for example) or around joints (after a bad sprain).

Use this tissue salt along with Calc phos and/or Silica to help build strong, healthy teeth and bones in infants, children, or adults, or to increase the strength of those whose enamel or bones are weak or whose teeth are producing cavities. It is an excellent tissue salt for bones that are thinning with age (osteoporosis or osteopenia) along with Calc phos and/or Silica.

Use it for back or joint pains that are worse on beginning to move and better for continued movement, just like the indications for the homeopathic remedy, Rhus toxicodendron. If Rhus tox is given, but helps just a little or not at all, then Calc fluor will usually help.

General Tonic: Calcarea phosphorica

Also known as calcium phosphate or phosphate of lime.
Affinities: bones, muscles, teeth.

This is a wonderful tonic for those who are mentally, emotionally, and/or physically exhausted after a period of mental work (like studying for exams), for those in the convalescent phase of an illness, or for infants, children, and young adults who are tired from a growth spurt. (See sidebar on page 21, “Dishrag String Bean Kids,” for more.)

Those responding best to this remedy tend to be sensitive to the cold and to drafts, which can cause a stiff neck. I have found it to be almost a specific for simple tension in the neck and trapezius muscles (the triangles between the points of the shoulder and the neck) from exhaustion or after physical stress and strain.

Use this tissue salt along with Calc fluor and/or Silica to help build strong, healthy teeth in infants, children, or adults, or to increase the strength of weak enamel or cavity-prone teeth.

It is also useful for building the health and strength of bones after a fracture—when it can be given in alternation with Calc fluor and/or Silica.

Yellow, Blood-Streaked Stuff: Calcarea sulphurica

Also known as calcium sulphate or gypsum.
Affinities: blood; mucous membranes; skin.

Use this cell salt for boils or abscesses that are discharging, but not healing, or for wounds that have become infected and pus-filled, especially with thick yellow pus that may be lumpy or blood-streaked. If the complaint looks like it should call for the homeopathic remedy Hepar sulph, but it does not respond to Hepar, think Calc sulph. It’s easy to remember this salt if you think of it as “a deeper Hepar.”

Consider Calc sulph for coughs, colds, earaches, and eye infections with discharges that are thick and yellow. Nasal mucus typically drips down the back of the throat or comes out one nostril, while the other side is blocked up. Calc sulph is for a croupy cough that is mostly there only in the morning on waking.

Any Old Iron: Ferrum phosphoricum

Also known as ferrum phosphate or phosphate of iron.
Affinities: blood.

This salt is well known to help in the first stage of a fever or an acute illness (e.g., a cough or cold) before any clearly identifiable symptoms have developed. The person will be listless with flushed cheeks but no other clear symptoms—for example, you would not expect to see the restlessness that indicates the need for Aconite or the shiny eyes pointing to Belladonna.

Alternate Ferrum phos with Calc phos for simple anemia with low energy. The “calcium” helps the body to absorb the iron more effectively. These are wonderful remedies to give to pregnant women who are anemic, but loath to take medicines for fear of side effects. It is especially helpful for those who experience constipation and other side effects from iron supplements.

Think of Ferrum phos for nosebleeds either after an injury or when blowing the nose during a cough or cold.

White Stuff: Kali muriaticum

Also known as potassium chloride or chloride of potash.
Affinities: mucous membranes.

Think of Kali mur for coughs, stuffy head colds, or sinus infections with white discharges. The tongue is also coated white; white ulcers or thrush may be present in the mouth.

This remedy is for earaches, with congestion in the Eustachian tubes so that hearing is affected. It is brilliant for the snap, crackle, and popping noises in the ears after a cold.

Nerve Tonic: Kali phosphoricum

Also known as potassium phosphate or phosphate of potash
Affinities: nerves.

Use Kali phos for those who are worn out following a heavy work or study period. It is a good tonic for those in the convalescent stage of an acute illness (especially after flu) where there is muscular weakness and nervous exhaustion. People who need this remedy feel better for—and desperately need—warmth and rest, and a healthy diet to build themselves up again. They feel emotionally sluggish and can become mildly depressed. They get one-sided headaches, may be sensitive to light and noise, and be easily startled. They are also mentally sluggish and can’t concentrate even if they try. For women in childbirth who have become exhausted, I have given Kali phos, one dose in between every contraction for up to six doses…and their energy usually starts to return.

This remedy is also lovely for the simple insomnia that follows a period of excitement or intense work or mental strain, when a person feels worn out but cannot sleep.

Yellow Stuff: Kali sulphuricum

Also known as potassium sulphate or glaserite.
Affinities: mucous membranes; skin.

The indications for this remedy resemble those for Pulsatilla in that people who need it are generally worse for heat and better for fresh air. They also suffer from thick yellow discharges with a cough, a cold, or an earache, and the tongue is coated yellow, as well. The coughs are loose, but the mucus is difficult to cough up. During an earache, the person has crackling in the ears when chewing and temporary hearing loss from mucus in the middle ear.

A change of weather from cold to warm can bring on symptoms—a cough or a cold or joint pains that move around the body, that are worse for heat and better for a walk in the fresh air.

Homeopathic Pain Relief: Magnesium phosphoricum

Also known as magnesium phosphate.
Affinities: muscles; nerves.

It has been called “the homeopathic aspirin” because of its ability to heal acute pains anywhere such as earache, headache, toothache (including teething in babies), and even sciatica—as long as the pains are better for heat and pressure. These are the key symptoms that will point the way to this remedy. The pains may be “neuralgic” (i.e., sharp pains that come and go).

Mag phos will also help cramps anywhere in the body—again, as long as they are better for heat and pressure. In fact, Mag phos is to painful menstrual periods in women what Chamomilla is for teething in babies; these remedies help so frequently in such cases because the symptoms are so common—to the remedy and to those suffering from the complaint. Mag phos won’t work for all women, but it will relieve a significant number suffering from this miserable complaint. It won’t necessarily cure the problem, but provide much appreciated relief—as long as the pains are much better for heat and pressure—the harder the better. Those needing this remedy can be found lying doubled up in bed with a hot water bottle (or heating pad) pressed into their crampy abdomens. Hot baths can also relieve the pains.

Mag phos works best when taken in warm water (boiled and partially cooled).

Water Balancer: Natrum muriaticum

Also known as sodium chloride or sea salt.
Affinities: mucous membranes; skin.

The water balance of people needing Nat mur is disturbed. They suffer from dryness: of the mouth with a correspondingly big thirst; of the lips, which crack (especially the center of the lower lip); and of the bowels, which become constipated. I have also given it to pregnant women for simple water retention towards the end of their pregnancies, when the ankles are puffy but they have no other symptoms and are feeling well overall.

This is an excellent remedy for acute cold sores (herpes) on the lips and around the mouth, and also for blisters on the tip of the tongue, and/or painful mouth ulcers.
It is indicated in the early stages of a dry cough and for colds with watery or clear but thick, egg white-like mucus.

A person needing this remedy may get back pain that is better for lying on a hard surface—like the floor.

Any of these symptoms can arise after a significant loss—of a loved one, a job, or a dream, for example—one that hasn’t been mourned or healed. The person holds in their tears, and this causes all sorts of problems from headaches to insomnia.

While the herpes and the headaches can come on after emotional stress, they can also be caused by too much heat, especially the heat of the sun, or by hormonal surges like around a menstrual period.

Acidity: Natrum phosphoricum

Also known as sodium phosphate or phosphate of soda.
Affinities: stomach; intestines.

Consider this remedy for those with sensitive, disordered digestive tracts. People who need this remedy cannot tolerate many foods—milk, fats, sweets, or vinegar—which cause acidity with heartburn, indigestion, and gas. They have acid belching after eating. This little remedy is helpful for infants with colic who vomit curdled milk after eating, and who are sensitive to cow’s milk.

This remedy may be used for itching of the anus due to worms, especially in children. They may have obstinate constipation or constipation alternating with sour-smelling diarrhea.

Think of the color yellow when thinking of this remedy! For someone needing this remedy, the back of the tongue (not the whole tongue) may be coated yellow, and the discharges are yellow.The eyes weep a yellow, creamy mucus, which causes the lids to stick together in the morning.Thick yellow mucus may drip down the back of the throat and be worse at night.

Green Stuff: Natrum sulphuricum

Also known as sodium sulphate or glauber’s salt.
Affinities: head, liver.

This is a fantastic remedy for headaches after an injury to the head—after Arnica has been given and the swelling has come right down.

People who need Nat sulph are vulnerable to cold, damp weather, or to humidity and they fall sick with a cough or a cold then. The mucus is green as is the coating on the tongue.

They experience colic, indigestion, and green diarrhea after starchy foods or fruits.

Homeopathic Lancet: Silica

Also known as silica oxide or flint.
Affinities: bones, glands, hair, mucous membranes, nails, skin, teeth.

People needing this remedy tend to be sensitive, chilly, and sweaty types who catch cold easily. They may have become chilled in a cold wind or draft, or become worn out after a period of overwork. Either way, they can fall ill with a cough, earache, cold, or sinus infection. The glands will usually be swollen with an illness.

Hair and nails are weak, thin, and break easily. Teething babies take forever to produce teeth and get sick with diarrhea, cough, or a cold with every tooth. Silica is also useful for building the health and strength of bones after a fracture—when it can be given in alternation with Calc fluor and/or Calc phos.

For boils or abscesses that are painful, but not discharging yet, Silica has a reputation as the “homeopathic lancet” because it hastens the suppuration or pus-formation process. Give after a splinter has become embedded, and it will help the foreign body to be “evicted!” It helps with infections and post-surgical scars that are inflamed, painful, and slow to heal.

Silica may be indicated for constipation with large, hard stools and lots of straining. Headaches after a heavy period of work or with a sinus infection—that settle over the eyes and make the forehead feel heavy—may be helped with Silica. This remedy may be useful for cracked skin anywhere, but especially between the toes of sweaty “athlete’s feet.”

A handy cell salt index (repertory)

Abscesses: Calc sulph, Sil
blood-streaked: Calc sulph
Acidity: Nat phos
Anemia: Calc phos, Ferr phos
Athlete’s foot: Sil
Back pains: Calc fluor, Nat mur
Blisters on tip of tongue: Nat mur
Boils: Calc sulph, Sil
Bone tonic: Calc fluor, Calc phos, Sil
Cold: Calc sulph, Ferr phos, Kali mur, Kali sulph, Nat mur, Nat sulph, Sil
Cold sores (herpes): Nat mur
Colic in infants who vomit their milk: Nat phos
Constipation: Nat mur, Nat phos, Sil
Constipation alternating with diarrhea: Nat phos
Cough: Calc sulph, Ferr phos, Kali mur, Kali sulph, Nat sulph, Sil
Cracked lips: Nat mur
Crackling in ears after a cold: Kali mur
Crackling in ears with a cold, worse chewing: Kali sulph
Cramps: Calc phos, Mag phos
Croup: Calc sulph
little or no discharge: Ferr phos
green: Nat sulph
lumpy: Calc sulph
thick, yellow: Calc sulph, Kali sulph, Nat phos
yellow, blood-streaked: Calc sulph
watery or like egg white: Nat mur
white: Kali mur
Dryness: Nat mur
Earache: Calc sulph, Kali mur, Kali sulph, Mag phos, Sil
Eye infection: Calc sulph
Fever: Ferr phos
Growing pains: Calc phos
Hair falling, thin, breaks easily: Calc phos, Sil
Headaches: Calc phos, Kali phos, Mag phos, Nat mur, Nat sulph, Sil
in schoolchildren: Calc phos
with exhaustion: Kali phos
after head injury: Nat sulph
after mental strain: Sil
after loss: Nat mur
after too much sun: Nat mur
with sinus infection: Sil
Heartburn: Nat phos
Hemorrhoids: Calc fluor
Indigestion: Nat phos, Nat sulph
to speed the healing of fractures: Calc fluor, Calc phos, Sil
lumps on bones after bruises or fractures: Calc fluor
Insomnia: Kali phos, Nat mur
Joint pains: Calc fluor, Calc phos, Kali sulph
worse first movement, better continued movement: Calc fluor
worse heat, better walking in fresh air: Kali sulph
in growing children: Calc phos
Loss: Nat mur
Mouth ulcers: Kali mur, Nat mur
Nails thin, break easily: Sil
Neuralgia: Mag phos
Nervous exhaustion: Kali phos
Nosebleeds: Ferr phos
Osteoporosis: Calc fluor
Post nasal mucus: Nat phos
Prolapse of uterus or bladder: Calc fluor
Sciatica: Mag phos
Sinus: Kali mur, Sil
Splinters: Sil
Stiff neck: Calc phos
Stomach aches in schoolchildren: Calc phos
Teething: Mag phos, Sil
Thrush: Kali mur
Tongue coated:
white: Kali mur
yellow: Kali sulph
yellow at the back: Nat phos
green: Nat sulph
after a growth spurt: Calc phos
after too much studying/mental work: Calc phos, Kali phos
when convalescing from an illness: Calc phos, Kali phos
Tooth decay: Calc fluor, Calc phos, Sil
Teeth tonic: Calc fluor, Calc phos, Sil
Varicose veins: Calc fluor
infected/pus-filled: Calc sulph, Sil

Miranda Castro CCH, RSHom

Miranda Castro FSHom, CCH, RSHom(NA), is a British homeopath who has been living in the US since 1994. She is a Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths (UK) and past President of the North American Society of Homeopaths. She has been practicing classical homeopathy since 1982, and speaking and teaching about homeopathy around the world since 1988.

She is author the best-selling The Complete Homeopathy Handbook (over 250,000 copies sold), the much-loved Homeopathy for Mother and Baby (Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Years in the US), and A Homeopathic Guide to Stress.

Miranda believes passionately that homeopathy is ‘medicine for the people’ and her writing reflects that: her numerous articles and her books have made classical homeopathy spectacularly accessible to the lay person—giving people the tools to accurately and safely select healing remedies for themselves and their families.

After moving to the US she lived in Seattle for 5 years where she was Adjunct Faculty at Bastyr University teaching homeopathy to naturopathic students. She is an engaging and inspiring teacher with an ability to communicate all topics in a friendly, engaging and accessible manner. Her infectious enthusiasm comes through in all her articles, lectures, webinars … and videos.

She has been living in Florida since 2002 and Gainesville since 2006 where she is practicing, writing, teaching, developing office management software for homeopaths and healing creams for her practice and her online shop.