Homeopathy and the Mineral Remedies
Homoeopathic remedies are made from substances that are sourced from three kingdoms: the plant, the animal, and the mineral kingdom. Minerals come from naturally occurring inorganic chemical elements as found in the ‘periodic table’, a table showing the chemical elements in order of their atomic number, and arranged to show the periodic nature of their properties. Not all elements are minerals. Elements are inorganic and take the form of metals, non-metals, metalloids, halogens, noble gases, and rare earth elements. Interactions of certain elements further produce salts, acids, sodas, ammonias, oxides, etc. Specific combinations of certain elements produce new substances.
Minerals are an integral part of the horse’s body and are most necessary for healthy enzyme activity. All cells of the body - bone, skin, hair, nerve, brain, connective tissue, mucous, muscles, etc. - will be unable to function correctly without them. Trace elements and vitamins are not to be forgotten as they form an essential part of the concert along with minerals in the role of metabolism. Keeping this concert in harmony in the body helps maintain a strong musculoskeletal support structure, elastic and resilient tissue fibres, well-adjusted fluid balances and pH, electrical impulses firing, restoration of cells and new cell growth, elimination of wastes, lowering of stress, and a healthy immune system. The potential of effective processing of nutrients is transferred into energy. Energy, in turn, is manifested into the kinetic form of heat, motion, activity, work, play, and health.
It is important to understand that a homoeopathic remedy produced from a mineral substance is not the same as the crude form of the mineral. Serial solution and succussion, a potentising method discovered by Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, produce and attenuate homoeopathic remedies. This process allows the substance, from its original crude form, to become a harmless, energetic, substance-free remedy. A potency of 12c (or 24x) or higher no longer contains any molecules of the original substance and is therefore non-toxic; only the energetic healing properties of the substance that have been released by potentisation remain. A homoeopathic remedy can be made from any substance.
Even though a remedy can be made from a mineral, or trace element, it is important to note that this mineral may also be present elsewhere either as a chemical compound or a natural component in something like a plant. For example, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium are all found in oats (the homoeopathic of oats is Avena sativa), and thus may become part of the total picture of that remedy. The significance of this is that remedies other than remedies made from a direct mineral source can have attributes in their remedy picture that on addressing the whole of the horse will encompass an area of mineral imbalance. Treating a horse constitutionally with homoeopathics is always the preferred route of therapy and may be all that is required to retune the horse’s vital force to bring the body back to homeostasis. This is not to say that there are not times when a supportive mineral type remedy is not needed at the same time, or perhaps on its own. Biochemical tissue salts can serve as support remedies very well for this purpose, though not ‘true homoeopathics’ per say.
In 1873, Dr. Schüssler devised the new system he called ‘The Twelve Tissue Remedies’. Although the seed for this system was sown on homoeopathic ground as early as 1832, Dr. Schüssler insisted that his method was not based upon the homoeopathic law of cure, but upon physiologico-chemical processes that take place within the organism. It is a separate system of therapeutics. The principal inorganic constituents of body cells are what make up the twelve tissue salts. They are prepared by the homoeopathic method of attenuation to potencies of 3x-12x, with 6x the most commonly used.
Do not look at tissue salts or homoeopathics as remedies that replace minerals like a conventional supplement. There is no replacement for proper nutrition! Remedies are given in such minute doses that they cannot make up for a deficiency. The purpose of remedies is to re-establish equilibrium of the chain of molecules in the affected tissues, restore correct cellular function, and utilise or excrete minerals, as they should. Excretion can be promoted by homoeopathics to include excess mineral deposits such as bone spurs, muscle calcifications, scar tissue and adhesions, urinary calculi, and even heavy metals when a well chosen remedy has been selected. Each case will need to be addressed on its own merits and an appropriate technique of homoeopathy implemented to find the right remedies (yes there are several techniques even within classical homoeopathy), along with correct dietary guidelines.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that having knowledge of a horse with a problem such as selenium deficiency automatically leads to choosing the homoeopathic form of Selenium to counteract the imbalance. This may not be necessarily so. Homoeopathic Selenium will only be the most fitting/most similar remedy, the ‘similimum’, IF the patient’s symptom totality indicates the symptom picture of this remedy. Incorrect use of a remedy may lead to further disturbance! There are a number of remedies that include this disease label (disturbance of the vital force) in their remedy profile so do remember that the label is only one part of the symptom area for homoeopathic appraisal. The homoeopathic work-up should be made of all observations of the horse’s total symptom complex, not just the direct pathology.
A mineral in its crude form can be ingested by the horse to the point that it is an overload in his system and thereby creates an imbalance. This imbalance will begin to manifest as symptoms of ‘dis-ease’ in the horse. Minerals, when taken in large amounts, may even cause toxicity in the horse. Certain minerals have special relationships with other minerals of the body and balanced ratios of these minerals are necessary for efficient body cellular function for the horse to remain in optimal health. So care has to be taken to not over-supplement your horse if you are feeding commercial additives. Thoroughly read commercially processed feed labels for directions on how to feed. They may suggest adding chaff or hay at a specified proportion to balance their product along with recommendations for amounts to feed according to the type of work and work load, degree of turnout, whether a brood mare, or a growing foal, etc.
An imbalance may also be true of the reverse, an insufficient intake of minerals. This may be due to faulty agriculture and/or feed processing that devitalise and develop poor quality depleted soils, water supplies, and feed sources that in years gone by probably yielded adequate supplies of nutrients compared to current times. Additionally, pollution accelerates depletion of elements such as selenium and magnesium. In some areas deposits of heavy metals may be found that are antagonistic to nutrients. However, if the grade of intake is meeting requirements and the horse is registering an imbalance that suggests a mineral deficiency, it may be that the horse has other chronic health issues going on that interfere with the process of digestion, that leads to absorption, and finally to assimilation. If the horse has been administered medication such as antibiotics or corticosteroids this too can interfere with digestive processing.
A further scenario is when a horse suffers a loss of minerals through heavy sweating where important mineral electrolytes are lost. If the loss is too great this will have serious consequences for the horse. This can also happen when the horse has diarrhoea for anything longer than 2-3 days. You are best advised to seek veterinary attention when there is concern about how much electrolyte loss has occurred. Intravenous electrolytic fluids may need to be administered out of expediency to rectify this situation. Other health problems can result in too little or too much excretion of specific minerals via urination, disrupting acid/base balances. Heavy blood loss will also disturb body fluid volumes with obvious dangerous results. Severe burns will also deplete fluids/electrolytes. All of these situations can lead to hypovolaemic shock so should be paid close attention and a veterinarian must be contacted for advice. Homoeopathic first aid remedies can be given while awaiting a veterinary appraisal which will buy your horse some time, begin to correct the problem, and assist keeping both you and your horse calm. Once your veterinarian has stabilised the horse, further homoeopathic therapy can be employed to accelerate his road to recovery and return his body to homeostasis.
Above all else, I would like to emphasise that Hahnemann himself was the first to acknowledge that correct nutrition is paramount to restore proper balance and rectify any disharmony of a deficient nature, as a precursor or concomitant (happening at the same time) to any homoeopathic treatment. Sir Robert McCarrson, recognised as one of the greatest nutrition experts of our time, has brought to light the many problems of nutrition in India by his research - "The right kind of food is the most important single factor in the promotion of health; and the wrong kind of food is the most important factor in the promotion of disease." One cannot rely on homoeopathy alone to stimulate the horse’s body to adjust a discrepancy. Poor nutrition, unhealthy living arrangements, insufficient exercise or any other maintaining causes such as drugs, access to polluted pastures or water supplies, etc. must all be addressed for homoeopathy to be truly effective.
Mineral remedies, though they may be indicated for specific mineral deficiencies, can reach far beyond the mineral oriented characteristics; therefore the expertise and guidance of a knowledgeable homeopath is invaluable when choosing the most appropriate remedy for a condition. A mineral remedy may be used for many disturbances other than for symptoms expressed solely as a mineral related dysfunction, just as non-mineral-derived remedies can be useful for mineral related disturbances. In a future article I will address some specifics of a few of these remedies that are applicable to mineral related dysfunction but are not from the mineral kingdom. In the meantime, more mineral remedy information can be found in “7 Superb Mineral Remedies”, NHM Volume 2, Issue 2.
This article is for educational purposes only and in no way replaces veterinary advice or treatment. Always call your veterinarian when serious events arise. If you desire to follow a holistic path, I would recommend that you obtain approval from your veterinarian to seek the professional services of a qualified classical homoeopath or other certified holistic health practitioner.
Please see the “Case Histories” section in this issue for a related case history.
About the author:
Tanya Nolte lives in NSW, Australia where she keeps a number of horses and also an interesting array of other furry animal companions. She has educated horses and competed successfully in a number of equine disciplines for more than 35 years. Tan operates equine holistic health and horsemanship workshops in what she describes as “EquiPotential”. Being a registered classical homoeopath and a practicing veterinary nurse has given her the capacity to conduct consultations at several veterinary clinics, a human/ animal homoeopathic practice, and privately at her home office. Tan is a professional member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association, the official Australian Register of Homoeopaths, and the Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia for which she is also a committee member. Although specialising in equine health, Tan also happily works with all our other animal companions and their human counterparts. She is available for distance consultations via phone, regular mail or E-mail correspondence.
For more information, and to find a homoeopath near you:
Tanya Nolte, Classical EquiHomoeopath.
Whispering Horse Therapies
PO Box 170, Nimbin
NSW 2480, Australia
Phone 0266 897500
Australian Homoeopathic Association
PO Box 396 Drummoyne
NSW 1470, Australia
Phone 02 97192763
Holistic Animal Therapy Association of Australia
PO Box 202, Ormond, Melbourne
Vic 3204, Australia
Phone 03 59688100
The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
751 N.E. 168th Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33162-2427
National Center for Homeopathy
801 North Fairfax St., Suite 306
Alexandria, VA 22314
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
2214 Old Emmorton Road
Bel Air, MD 21015