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Biochemistry and biography of Dr. Wilhelm Schuessler

The concept of biochemic cell salts, also known as tissue salts or just cell salts, was developed by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler (1821-1898), a German physician, in the late 1800s. Although moderately diluted and potentized, these remedies are not classed as homeopathic because there are not selected according to the principle of similarity which is essential to homeopathy. They are chemically pure salts, homogeneous to the cell minerals in the human body, physiologically and chemically in close relation to them. By the aid of Schuessler Salts disturbed molecular motion and imbalance of these minerals in the cells can be corrected thus restoring the health of the individual.


Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler was born in Oldenburg, Germany in 1821. After school he earned his money by teaching foreign languages. He also worked in the medical field as a healer, but without a proper education and study. So, he soon had conflicts with the resident doctors. For that reason he started studying medicine in Paris, France in 1853 at the age of 32 and continued his studies in Berlin and Gießen, Germany. In a very short time, after two and a half years, he was conferred the title of doctor in medicine. But he could not finish his studies with the final examination because he had not completed his school education. He therefore went back to school in Oldenburg, Germany to take the exams. Finally, in 1857 he obtained the approbation in medicine which allowed him to practice as a doctor. In the beginning, he focused on homeopathy, but eventually distanced himself from it because of the unmanageable amount of different medications as he put it. He wanted to get away from the large number of homeopathic remedies and to develop a new therapy with a small and manageable set of remedies.

Medicine in the late nineteenth century was marked by discoveries and fundamental changes. Professor Dr. Rudolf Virchow, a pathologist at the well-known Berlin hospital Charité investigated the processes in the smallest living unit, the cell. At the same time the Dutch scientist and physiologist Jacob Moleschott discovered the importance of mineral salts for the functioning of the human and animal body.

By this time Schuessler had already spent years searching for his new method of treatment. Studying Virchow’s and Moleschott’s works, Schuessler started his own investigations on cells and minerals. He wanted to find the most common mineral salts prevailing in the human body. In order to explore this, he analysed the ashes of dead bodies from the crematory. In doing this, he discovered that certain mineral salts predominated in certain tissues and organs. For example, potassium phosphate and magnesium phosphate were above all present in muscle tissue, while he discovered potassium chloride in the mucous membranes and calcium phosphate in bone tissue. Schuessler then theorised that these mineral salts were vital for the normal functioning and health of body tissues. Further, he concluded deficiencies in any of these tissue salts would lead to dysfunction and illness. Consequently, treatment of this mineral imbalance in the body by ingestion of tissue salts must be a vital factor in the healing process. Schuessler stated that the salts had to reach the diseased cells directly. For that reason he chose to have his remedies produced the same way as homeopathic remedies, where repeated dilution distributes the particles of the respective substance to such an extent that they are able to penetrate each individual cell.

Dr. Schuessler said: “The biochemic healing method provides the endeavour of natural healing with its missing natural remedies: the inorganic salts. Biochemistry aims at the correction of physiological chemistry that has deviated from the norm.” However, the aim of the Schuessler Salts is not to supply the body with the deficient minerals but to stimulate the human body to improve the absorption of the lacking minerals from ingested food and reorganise them in the tissues. Schuessler clinically tested his theories on his own patients with excellent results. One of his first attempts was the use of magnesium phosphate in a patient suffering from muscle cramps; they subsided within a few minutes. During his lifetime Dr. Schuessler limited the number of his mineral salts to twelve.

In 1874. Schuessler published his work “An Abbreviated Therapy”, presenting a concise system of treatment, based on scientific criteria. Later he called his healing system “biochemic” or “Biochemistry”. The Greek word “bios” means life and “chemistry” is a branch in natural science that deals with the qualities, composition and the alteration of substances and their combinations.

Schuessler agonised for decades over the twelfth salt (calcium sulfuricum) before finally deciding that it did not belong in his set of remedies. Years later, his successors reinstated calcium sulfuricum, when they discovered its effectiveness in treating various diseases.

In 1898, Schuessler died at the age of 77 due to an apoplectic stroke. Until today treatment with the Schuessler tissue salts is a widely used and very successful alternative therapy besides homeopathy. Schuessler tissues salts are available as tablets on the basis of lactose powder in the potencies 3X, 6X, 12X, 30X and 200X. They can be also obtained as ointments