Equine Therapeutics: Using Biochemic Tissue Salts in Healing

Tissue or cell salts may sometimes be thought of as the “red-headed stepchild” in holistic therapeutics. They are triturated yet they are not true homeopathic remedies, and in fact they work within the Law of Opposites, not the Law of Similars. They are not really understood by many naturopaths, and many ‘classical’ homeopaths shun them because they are outside the context of the “totality of symptoms” approach. Yet these little tablets of twelve various mineral salts can be invaluable in certain therapeutic situations…we simply have to understand what they are and know when to use them.

Tissue salts were developed by Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schϋssler in Germany during the mid to latter part of the 19th century. Dr. Schϋssler was born and raised during a peak time of conflict between natural science and the burgeoning materialistic approach to science. He was both a homeopath and a medical doctor (for humans). Like Samuel Hahnemann before him, he was disenchanted with the ignorance of fellow doctors who were becoming more and more enveloped by the materialistic realm, and was becoming disenchanted and frustrated by consistent lack of successful treatment of his patients utilizing the prevailing conventional methodology. Even though he practised as a homeopathic doctor for seventeen years, including writing a book on homeopathy, he was very restless with applying the Law of Similars principle and employed “Contraria contrariis” – treatment via antidoting, or what we now call the Law of Opposites. What Schϋssler apparently failed to realize at the time, is that Hahnemann viewed the Law of Opposites as a valid natural law from a non-disease aspect; and what Hahnemann did not comprehend enough to bring to light was the biochemical process that the body goes through in utilizing minerals.

During his university years, Schϋssler was exposed to the teachings of Justus von Liebig, a chemistry teacher, as well as Rudolf Virchow, the founder of cellular pathology, who taught that changes in function or condition of cells in the body can result in illness. Through von Liebig we gained the knowledge of the “law of the minimum”, particularly with respect to nutrient minerals: if one element is missing or deficient, (plant) growth will be poor, even if the other elements are abundant.1 (This can apply to growth of any organism that requires minerals for sustenance.) It was Schϋssler who coined the term “biochemistry”.

In order to develop his understanding of mineral requirements, Dr. Schüssler performed studies which allowed him to determine which mineral elements remained after a person or animal had died. He burned cadavers and examined the contents, establishing that 12 minerals remained in the ash, and depending on the state of health of the cadaver before death, found that certain minerals would be lacking. What is interesting to note is that the tissue salts that Schϋssler determined as being crucial to sustain life are the same minerals that we now label as essential to organic life. These minerals are also called electrolytes due to electrical charges that separate them.

Since ingested minerals must go through the digestive tract, and utilizing his knowledge of biochemistry, he realized that the body requires time to break down and metabolize crude (or coarse, as he called them) minerals. Dr. Schϋssler also understood that when the body digests food (at least of the kind it recognizes) it is essentially dynamizing and potentizing that food – and all of its components – to become assimilated into self. From his knowledge of homeopathic principles and then by applying this same theory to minerals, he was able to formulate a delivery method of single minerals that the body recognized as already having been ‘digested’. Therefore, Schϋssler tissue salts bypass the digestive process and are transported directly into the blood stream which in turn allows them to pass to each cell as needed. He called these dynamized tissue salts “fine” minerals, as opposed to “coarse” (or crude) minerals. We have a process today of chelating crude minerals that helps facilitate absorption over simply feeding ‘rock powders’, but these “fine” tissue salts work much faster than even chelated minerals; depending upon the exact form, coarse minerals may take up to three months before any difference is noticed in the organism.2

Minerals first need to come through food – and that means a species appropriate diet. However, it is no secret that many of the Earth’s soils are minerally depleted. If the soil is depleted whatever is growing in that soil will also be lacking. We can also find that the animal suffers a functional deficiency even when there is sufficient quantity of a given mineral in the food. This can occur due to many things, not the least of which is a history of traumas to the system such as vaccinations and other conventional drugs. The first step is to clear these traumas (a subject not addressed here), but sometimes the body needs a little ‘push’ in the right direction – this is where tissue salts can have a significant therapeutic advantage. We can think of tissue salts as cellular ‘superfood’. While they do not replenish a lacking of a particular mineral, they provide a blueprint or model for which the organism can then regain functionality. In some very chronic cases we may need to rely on these fine mineral forms (to correct function) as well as more coarse forms (to replace a mineral that is missing). This is why I always recommend having available a good blend of chelated powdered (not block form please!) minerals, as well as loose Celtic or Himalayan salt and quality kelp meal, that a horse may partake of free choice; allowed an appropriate lifestyle, he will instinctively know when to do so.

Tissue salts are generally triturated up to D12, but more commonly one finds them in D6 and sometimes D3 potencies. Any dilution past D24 (24X/12C) exceeds Avogadro’s number, so these biochemic tissue/cell salts contain some amount of crude mineral substance and are therefore used to ‘oppose’ a deficiency; they do not treat ‘disease’ as regular homeopathic remedies do. Below is a list of the twelve primary tissue salts with a short description; I am listing the full name as well as the abbreviated version of the name; also please note that the tissue salts go by number and that the numbers may be different between US and European pharmacies. Before utilizing, please do more reading as this article is but a brief introduction. One good book is Schϋssler Tissue Salts for Horses; Hans-Heinrich Jӧrgensen, 2007, Cadmos Verlag GmbH, Brunsbek (This book addresses the typical human-centric “use” of horses; obviously that is an etiological factor that needs to be stopped, thus reducing the need for so much therapeutic intervention.)

#1 Calcium fluoride (Calc fluor) – affinity for the bones, teeth, skin, connective tissues, and the elastic fibers of the veins and glands (i.e. the form of the organism); respiratory issues may be helped with this remedy especially when there is loss of elasticity in the lung area.

#2 Calcium phosphate (Calc phos) – affinity for the bones and teeth especially; also glands, nerves (particularly through spinal area), blood, gastric juices, and connective tissues; is an excellent restorative remedy for the convalescent; main function is to process protein; foals that may not be growing well for some reason may benefit from this remedy.

#3 Calcium sulphate (Calc sulph) – liver (including assisting with drainage/detoxification), gall bladder (which horses don’t have but nevertheless can help with excess acid reduction), spleen, and testicles; this mineral is mostly found in tissues of skin, blood, and mucous membranes; can help loosen mucous as well as sclerotic processes in the body. Please note: in original literature this remedy may be omitted as Schϋssler placed it at the end of his list and later removed it (leaving only 11 biochemical salts); however it was already established in use by that time; in the US it is listed as #3.

#4 Iron phosphate (Ferrum phos) – iron transports oxygen in the body and primarily found in all blood vessels as well as intestines; is an indicated remedy for anemia; it is also a primary remedy for inflammatory/fever processes (although keep in mind that some inflammation is necessary as a healing process).

#5 Potassium chloride (Kali muriaticum) – is a component of muscles and connective tissues, nerve cells, blood, mucous membranes, glands, and brain cells; helps to form fibrin; may bind to toxins but does not eliminate them.

#6 Potassium phosphate (Kali phos) – an energy carrier helping to build new cells and helps to prevent cellular breakdown; regulates metabolism in muscles; is a component of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, etc); may be appropriate for some nerve-related emotional issues.

#7 Potassium sulphate (Kali sulph) – assists in the conversion of oxygen from blood into cells; detoxification with main action on spleen, liver and GI tract; is also found in the skin and mucous membranes; a primary use is in skin issues as well as mucosal related complaints.

#8 Magnesium phosphate (Mag phos) – has an affinity for the nerves, muscles, and heart, and is a good remedy for cramps and spasms of all kinds; may help with flatulence as it binds gases and helps to eliminate them.

#9 Sodium chloride (Natrum muriaticum) – salt regulates fluid throughout the body, and therefore also heat; it works on regeneration and renewal of tissues, cells, and fluids; may be used in both excess (edema) and deficiency (dehydration).

#10 Sodium phosphate (Natrum phos) – the biochemic acid balancer; can help with transformation of uric acid into urea and gastric upset; may assist with fat and sugar metabolism as well as blood pH regulation; the primary action is on the stomach, lymph, and tissue.

#11 Sodium sulphate (Natrum sulph) – helps with waste removal; has affinity for liver, pancreas, intestines (and gall bladder); along with Nat mur can assist in cases of edema.

#12 Silicon dioxide (Silica, sometimes spelled Silicea) – can assist in expelling nonfunctional organic matter (although this may best be done via actual homeopathic treatment depending on the situation); it is the construction material for connective tissue; acts on nerves, skin, hair, nails, cells and intracellular substances.

Administering cell/tissue salts to horses is quite easy. They are typically purchased in a bottle of small lactose tablets, and are generally quite cost effect being sold in bottles of 100 tablets. Once you have determined which one or ones need to be used, you can take the amount of tablets of each one (if more than one remedy), dissolve in a small amount of warm water (which generally only takes a few minutes). If there is a concern about too much lactose, you can let settle and pour off, leaving the lactose at the bottom of the container. This poured-off water (or otherwise entire amount) can then either be syringed directly into the mouth or simply poured over a tiny bit of hay. A typical maintenance dose for a 1000 pound horse would be about five tablets one or two times per day; a therapeutic/acute dose would be more frequently given, not more quantity per dose.

Cell salts may also be purchased as a combination of all twelve; this is a situation where they may be used to replace or balance electrolytes in total, such as after a profuse sweating, diarrhea, or other cause of loss of body fluids. One may also use the 12-combination salts prophylactically to help maintain functional homeostasis. In these situations, I would recommend doubling the amount of the tablets in a single dose, however if giving prophylactically, you may do so only once per day or even just a couple times per week. In a situation of emergency electrolyte replacement, I would recommend giving about 5 tablets dissolved every thirty minutes until the situation begins to resolve, then decrease to once every couple of hours until the horse is replenished.

1 Paraphrased from: http://www.avocadosource.com/tools/FertCalc_files/liebigs_law.htm

2 Some information here is based upon the article: “Schüssler Cell Salts and Their Application within the Heilkunst System”; Gudula Beythien, Hpathy Ezine, June, 2009.

[This article was first written for and published in the Feb 2015 newsletter of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy; it can also be found here on the ACAN blog.]

Fido + Your Lawn = Fido’s Cancer?

Fido loves to romp and play in the yard – and why shouldn’t he?  However if you are the typical American home owner, you could be giving Fido cancer (not to mention yourself and the rest of your human family).  This is a good article by Dr. Karen Becker about the cycle of chemicals our pets can go thru on just a routine basis; also a video interview with Ronnie Cummins.  Dr. Becker talks about detoxing your pet if he/she should become exposed to chemicals but detoxification is not a “free ticket” to continued exposure to toxic chemicals.  There will be a point at which the body says enough and will begin to seal off the offending cells – that’s what we then interpret as cancer.

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Incorporating Goethean Science into Equine Ecology

The science of ecology studies the interplay between individual organisms and their environments, including interactions with both conspecifics and other species – including humans. Ecology is an interdisciplinary science that embraces both the biological and Earth sciences. Ethology is the study of animal behavior under natural conditions (as opposed to behaviorism, the study of behavioral responses under laboratory settings). Anthrozoology (aka human/animal studies) is a subset of the biological sciences that is also very much interdisciplinary with ethology as well as anthropology, human and veterinary medicine, and psychology. All of these disciplines are quite interrelated. Ecology should not be confused with environmentalism; the latter, in its more common definition, is more a system of social and ideological beliefs. Nonetheless, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a sustentative environment is a requirement for a healthy organism. Instead of taking a traditional segmented approach to equine behavior and welfare that concentrates on individual “parts” *, I have chosen to approach all aspects through the ecological environment in which the horse lives. In other words, this allows me to view the species as a whole from its overall biological needs while also regarding each individual horse as it lives and interacts within its own particular ecosystem.

* The “parts” that I am referring to here equate into the various “fields” in the equine sciences including nutrition, behavior and its modification (aka “training” whether by classical, operant or any of the so-called “natural” methods), medicine, and so on.

The Enlightenment historical period gave us scientists and philosophers such as Newton, Descartes, Galileo, Bacon, and Locke. While they all differed in their individual philosophies to varying degrees, their works shaped and molded our current quantitative, materialistic approach within the sciences. Modern science attempts to understand the world and everything in it through a veil of mathematics breaking it down into parts, quantitatively analyzing each phenomenon in (primarily) artificial settings in attempt to understand cause and effect, with the ultimate purpose of prediction and control. This is a science in which human perception is regarded as untrustworthy. It is one in which the methods to achieve the results have become the ends in themselves rather than a means toward extrinsic value. (Robbins 2005) This approach to science as applied to nature can become monstrous and destructive when it loses sight of the original purpose of its calculations. This type of “monster” brings us everything from the capability of mass destruction to pharmaceutical drug side effects. While modern science claims to be objective and not subject to the subjectivity of human “nature”, it is really nothing more than an odd, historically contingent way to view the world. (Robbins 2005) To say that science is without any subjectivity is to say that humans are not part of nature, and indeed modern science has given us the view that humans are “aliens in the machine” known as the world. (Robbins 2005)

It is not that understanding the function of all the “parts” (i.e., “reductionism”) is a bad thing in itself. It is, in fact, necessary. It is the total reliance upon what we discover in these parts and then thinking we can sum up the parts to achieve the whole without ever having examined the whole (and how it is affected by its environment) in the first place that gets us into trouble. Reductionism is then used to explain the world of experiences by reducing their meaning to the causal events behind the phenomena. Reliance upon this type of science to provide all the answers gives us “nothingbutness” disease (Frankl). And so we see the living body as ‘nothing but’ a structured sack of bones and soft tissues in which parts operate under a system of complex chemical reactions; in other words, we lose the extrinsic meaning or purpose.

In the century following the birth of the Enlightenment period, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) gave us another approach to science – a participative one that makes a distinction between living, growing, developing forms, and dead ones. Modern science on the other hand loves to perform scientific investigations by dissecting dead organisms and/or by taking things apart. Goethean science does not look at just an interconnected set of actualities but also considers a holistic structure of possibilities. Goethean science is formed out of reciprocity for each phenomenon being studied. Goethe wrote: “Natural objects should be sought and investigated as they are and not to suit observers, but respectfully as if they were divine beings.” (Seamon 1998). Conventional science investigations tend to separate the student/scientist from that which he is studying and can lead to arbitrary or inaccurate understandings. (Seamon 1998) In contrast, this participative, engaging type of science actually becomes therapeutic for the scientist. According to Brent Dean Robbins: “The process of owning up to our obligations is one that can be a healing process, a process of coming home to ourselves; hence it is “therapeutic”.” (Robbins 2005) [Quotes original] This process is what Goethe referred to as delicate empiricism; in other words, direct, sensorial experience. Every part of nature is always in a process…of being born, growing and developing, and of dying. Understanding of this continual cycle in a holistic manner cannot be reached through mathematical abstractions; it can only be reached through careful observation and perception.

There are at least two aspects of this delicate empiricism: 1) the empiricism gives primacy to the perception; and 2) out of the “delicacy”, there is an ethical responsibility to what is being observed. (Robbins 2005) The first aspect leads to the second (at least in a healthy person); and if the second aspect were always observed, there would be no discussion about welfare of laboratory animals and no need for animal advocacy.

To ignore our own, initial, living, responsive relations to living phenomena in our inquiries into their nature is to cut ourselves off from the very spontaneous calls and invitations they exert upon us in their way of coming-into-Being—and thus to deny ourselves the kind of knowledge we need if we are to answer their calls in ways that ‘they can understand’, that are appropriate to their nature. (Shotter 2000) [Emphasis original]

Shotter referred to Goethe’s method as “relationally-responsive” in contrast to conventional science’s “referential-representational” approach to understanding. In the latter we are acting separate from nature and never allow the phenomenon being investigated to “claim” us, and thus we never have any obligation to what is being investigated. In a relationally-responsive understanding “…we allow ourselves to be claimed by phenomena, we open ourselves to feel our relational obligation to them. In other words, we become morally engaged with them. Indeed, when we spend time in deep contemplation of the structure of a plant, for instance, we come to appreciate the plant as an end in itself rather than a mere means. We come to better understand ways that we can live harmoniously with the plant. We sensitive [sic] ourselves to actions that may violate the value of the plant. And through the wisdom we gain, we create a space not only to improve our own lot, but also ways to improve the plant, which we come to understand as an extension of our own existence, indeed, as part of the ground of being that sustains us.” (Robbins 2005) Every bit of this applies to animals as well as any living organism.

Goethe borrowed his manner of observation from the external world, not forcing his own upon it. We tend to view the entire world in one of two ways: from a mechanistic viewpoint that mathematically maps out inter-dependencies and effects; or we see the external world as some secret mystical element. While one or the other may be appropriate for one or another class of objects, we find ourselves in all kinds of errors when we try to apply one or the other to all classes of objects, and become very one-sided in our view; we open ourselves up to forcing constructs upon the object that were never there to begin with. Instead, when we allow the object itself to dictate the manner of observation, as Goethe did, we simply cannot err because the object of the observation will tell us everything we need to know.

These are the philosophical underpinnings with which I approach all aspects of animal welfare and behavior, and, indeed, all aspects of my life.

Philosophy doesn’t ‘stand above’ thought, but unfolds from ‘within’ it. Science, likewise, is a grand enterprise but, in my view, subsists not in totality (as a total explanation of phenomena) but rather in spontaneity (as a way of engaging phenomena). (Goff 2010)

Honeybees Can Avoid Deadlock When Making Group Decisions (re-posted from nature.com)

[Update:  obviously the gov’t has re-opened at least for now… that’s not what this is about – or it could be if you want…]

In case you’ve been living in a cave lately, the U.S. Government has been shut down since October 1st.  Not because of a terrorist attack or a bank system meltdown or a natural disaster, but because Congress cannot agree on a spending bill to determine our government’s funding plan for the next year. The government shutdown has its consequences (such as closed national parks, postponed federal research funding, the halting of the CDC’s flu vaccine program [which is not a bad thing IMO], and unpaid federal employees), but these will seem like a slap on the wrist if Congress can’t agree to raise the debt ceiling by October 17. If we are still in a government deadlock at that point, we will default on our national loans and suffer disastrous consequences (such as the devaluation of the dollar, social security payments not being made, spiking interest rates, and devaluation and forced selling off of bonds). Congress is up against a deadline to make a group decision, and the consequences of not making one in time are much higher than the consequences of making an imperfect one. It’s hard to come to a consensus when so many individuals in the group have a strong opinion one way or another, but the fact of the matter is: honeybees can do it. So why can’t we?

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Medical insanity: Prozac prescriptions rise sharply in family pets (re-posted from Naturalnews.com)

This is just plain stupid – and insane…I can’t really put it any other way.  Feed a species appropriate diet, understand the species cognitive and lifestyle needs, and stop shooting them up with poison (aka “vaccinations”)!

(NaturalNews) The culture of prescription drug addiction in America seems to be spreading to the pet population, as an increasing number of pet owners opt to medicate their furry family members into behavioral compliance with mind-altering mood medications like Prozac. A recent report by MyFoxNY.com explains that more pet owners are choosing to dope up their pets with calming meds in order to address behavioral issues rather than simply spend more time exercising and playing with them, which is what they really need.

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