Like these ‘wise old birds’, I’ve learned over the course of my life that quite a bit of what gets taken to our hard-pressed GPs can be dealt with perfectly well through the use of complementary and alternative health care. The individual needs to find out through experience what’s most useful to use, and also to gain a sensible idea of what really needs professional homeopathic or standard medical attention.
Where an ailment or condition is occurring in a relatively uncomplicated way it is well worth trying the appropriate tissue salt or combination before seeking an appointment with a homeopath or doctor. If the tissue salt makes a difference, but doesn’t complete the cure, then seek out homeopathic advice and a further, more individualised prescription, unless you would then prefer to consult with your GP. As far as is known, tissue salts don’t work against or interfere with any other medication, or homeopathic remedies taken in potency.
The Tissue Salts
There are twelve individual tissue salts, created from the minerals identified by biochemists as the inorganic material needed by our bodies to function properly at a cellular level. Developed by the 19th century doctor and homeopath W. H. Schuessler, these remedies are effectively a refined system of mineral supplementation for the cells of our bodies. They are referred to as tissue salts, cell salts, mineral salts or Schuessler salts. Their homeopathic potency is usually 6x, the ‘x’ denoting the fact that the dose is a ‘material’ one, i.e. contains particles of the actual substance itself.
Understanding what the individual salts do, and which aspects of ill-health they positively affect, is a very useful thing to know, thus I give talks on them and offer an accompanying low-cost pamphlet on their use. (See Talks page.) Having the tissue salts and knowing how best to use them is like having a troop of health allies ready at your disposal. As well as being available individually, tissue salts are also available in combinations aimed at particular conditions, with a letter of the alphabet assigned to each combination. Single salts and combinations are available to anyone over the counter of health and wholefood shops, as well as from homeopathic practitioners and pharmacies such as Helios, Ainsworth and Galen.
As with any other kind of self-prescribing, the individual needs to understand the limits of what they are using and the necessity of seeking professional help if particular symptoms don’t clear up or get worse. The individual should also be aware of so-called ‘Red Flag’ symptoms – the signs that something serious may be developing or have occurred. This is not mentioned in order to scare, but to inform you: taking responsibility for your own health does not equate with abandoning good sense or standard medical care. I cover ‘Red Flag’ symptoms in my tissue salts talk and accompanying pamphlet.
Ailments, disease and dis-ease come in many shapes and sizes. Tissue salts are most useful where an ailment to which they could reasonably be applied is a ‘natural’ or simple one, and new or fairly recent. If it's of longer standing it could also be addressed with tissue salts, but if it’s going to respond to this stimulus it will probably take a little more time to clear.
When to consult a homeopath
Not surprisingly, more entrenched or mixed states of ailing – ‘symptom complexes’ - need some professional knowledge and judgement applied to them, as well as a different class of remedy. This is particularly so where the individual is finding that standard medication, or the use of multiple prescriptions and/or supplements, isn’t actually sorting out their ill-health or managing a chronic condition as well as might be hoped for.
Again, standard medical care should not be abandoned willy-nilly; but the individual has a right to the pursuit of better health and well-being, which can include the choice of complementary or alternative medicine. You should be able to use a health practitioner such as a homeopath to work in conjunction with your GP or consultant. I will stick my neck out at this point and say that it is generally the sign of a better educated, experienced and more enlightened doctor if he or she is open to patients being fully informed about their own condition and wanting to take responsibility for it, and accepting that the form of medicine in which they are qualified may not have all the answers. (It was this kind of NHS GP who recommended using homeopathic medicine to restore the health of my second child after she became semi-permanently ill in the wake of her first set of vaccinations.)
To sum up
‘Suck it and see’ is my motto: tissue salts cost very little compared with many other forms of medication; they are easy to take; and can be taken by anyone at any age or stage, including pregnant women and infants. They represent only one small part of homeopathic medicine's capabilities, but they are very much worth a try for the uninitiated; and worth getting to know better for those with some experience of their benefits.