Biochemic cell salts are remedies based on inorganic salts. Although highly diluted, they are not classed as homeopathic remedies, as they are not purported to act according to the "like cures like" principle of homeopathy. Nonetheless, they are commonly advocated by people who also advocate similar alternative medicine remedies, including homeopathy.
Inorganic salts were first used as homeopathic remedies by Samuel Hahnemann, and further developed by Dr. Willhelm Heinrich Schüßler (1821-1898) who identified 12 different salts in human tissue, and concluded that they are important mineral constitiuents that are present in human cells. He also stated that if an imbalance were to occur, sickness may follow. There is no established evidence for this in modern medicine. He ascribed a specific purpose to each one of the 12 salts, based on his understading of their biochemical purpose. However, since his original work, the understanding of the role of minerals in the body has undergone great advances, making his disease and deficiency model obsolete. He also performed clinical experiments in the form of homeopathic "provings".
These days, tissue salts are prescribed as tablets, made up with lactose powder in a manner similar to homeopathic products: The salt is ground with lactose powder in a ratio of 1:9, and this mixture is then ground with fresh lactose, again in a 1:9 ratio. This process is repeated six times, yielding a 1 000 000 to 1 dilution. Because of this dilution, tissue salts are generally prescribed at dosages that are too low to have any detectable effect on the levels of the minerals and electrolytes involved, and no well-designed clinical trials have ever shown an effect other than placebo from tissue salts.
The twelve salts described by Schüßler, together with the abbreviated names under which they are sold, are:
The combination of all 12 in one formula is called by its non-trade name Bioplasma
Dr. Schüßler believed that the balance of these twelve mineral salts could be restored by ingesting "cell salts" in a bioavailable form. He claimed that these minerals needed not so much to be "replaced" as the cells needed to be prompted by the cell salts to restore balance of the essential components.
His studies began as the investigation of cremated bodies during which he discovered that the twelve substances accounted for the majority of what remained. Cell salts are generally considered a homeopathic remedy. Some people may consider any beneficial effects to be the result of placebo effects.