Silicea and Calcarea Fluorica: Making the Choice

By Susan Beal, DVM

Silicea and Calcarea fluorica share the affinity to glands. Calcarea fluorica may be more strongly represented in stony hard indurations of various tissues than is Silicea; painless swelling of glands as well as abscessing and suppuration of the glands are seen in the Silicea state.

Bones, glands, skin, connective tissue, abscesses, fistula, scars, adhesions, and more show up on the Materia Medica pages for Silicea and Calcarea fluorica, two mineral-based homeopathic remedies with an affinity for several common horse ailments. These two remedies share common ground, yet have their clear differences.

In order to explore remedies that have affinity to bone and connective tissue, remedies that involve periosteal inflammation and subsequent "buildup" of bone (bucked shins, splints, spurs, ringbone, and spavins, for example) and scars, one needs to be able to translate the diagnostic label to a rubric (description of the symptom). In so doing one can then go to the repertory (dictionary of symptoms and remedies associated with those particular symptoms) and actually find the symptom, along with a list of the most probable remedies to use with such symptoms.

Most repertories do not list symptoms by diagnostic label. This can be frustrating for some - particularly if they haven't yet learned to think like a homeopath or if they are looking for a shortcut - but it is actually a benefit. We are interested in unique symptoms, not the common characteristics of the diagnosis. Diagnostic label concentrates on those things that are similar among individuals in an attempt to group them into the same box. We want to know what makes this individual's presentation of bony buildup different than all the other cases of bony buildup we've seen this week.

So observe your horse, using all your senses, and note his unique symptoms and individual characteristics, then turn to the repertory. Find the rubrics that match, note the appropriate remedies, and compare their pictures.

A Brief Comparison of Silicea and Calcarea Fluorica


Silicea, made from flint that has been ground (triturated) and potentized, is an oft-used remedy with horses. It is a remedy that is associated with defective nutrition as well as vaccine reactions, with foreign bodies, and with abscesses and wounds that fail to ripen and heal. Silicea is quite often the remedy of choice in abscesses – both in the soft tissue as well as in the hoof (quittor as well as solar or bulbar abscesses) and will often catalyze the expulsion of foreign bodies. Silicea has action on fistulae, and can also be useful in treating obstructions of tubular organs, for example tear ducts, naso-lachrymal ducts, Eustachian tubes.

Individuals who need the remedy Silicea tend to be very chilly and both sensitive to and worse in the cold and change in weather. They are keenly sensitive - to noise, pain, draft and cold. Their symptoms, both general and specific, are ameliorated (made better) by warmth, both external and by wrapping or blanketing. They tend to sweat easily and often there is a history of checked perspiration or discharges – either by bathing in cold water or by local applications.

Individuals in a Silicea state are often not very confident, though their timidity is often colored by a stubbornness. Some Silicea individuals have almost a bullying attitude, making faces at other horses, for example - until you call their bluff. They can be dependent – needing help in building confidence - and also suffer or worry from anticipation. They are frequently rather slow – in development, in responses or reactions (mental and emotional as well as physical), and in establishing relationships (with people as well as with herdmates).

There is easy suppuration (pus production). "Every hurt festers; stubborn suppuration; abscesses; proud flesh; cicatrices [scars], etc." [Boger] Silicea is a remedy to consider in excessive scarring, keloids, in hard and indurated scars, and in painful scars or scars which open and fester.

Glands and nails or hooves are particularly affected. Painless swelling of glands (which may be itchy) as well as abscessing and suppuration of the glands are seen in the Silicea state.

Silicea is a remedy to consider in excessive scarring, keloids, in hard and indurated scars, and in painful scars or scars which open and fester.

Frequent and recurrent infections abound and individuals in this state seem incapable of throwing off infections well. The discharges from abscess and infections tend to be rather bland and thin, though it may be blood streaked. Many times the level of discomfort the individual shows is less than you might expect from the size of the abscess – another indication of the lack of reaction seen in this state. Mind you, many Silicea responsive hoof abscess are markedly painful. These abscesses are often the types that are hard to pinpoint and slow to "ripen". When they do open, the discharge is extremely malodorous and the exudate thin and grey.

Calcarea Fluorica

In contrast, individuals in a Calcarea fluorica state tend to be much quicker – both in their mental state and in the reaction to and development of symptoms. They may appear impulsive and busy. There is excessive mobility – laxity of ligaments and muscles, as well as rapid movement and quick mental processes. The movement of the Calcarea fluorica state is often rapid and jerky, with "sloppiness" and lack of coordination and tone.

This is different from the timidity and lack of confidence that is reflected in the tension and almost brittleness of the Silicea state.

Calcarea fluorica has an affinity for elastic fibres and periosteum. It's often indicated in sprains and strains. Symptoms involving cicatrices/scars are not well represented in this remedy state, however adhesions are represented.

In many ways Calcarea fluorica is similar to Rhus toxicodendron, particularly in the modalities: Worse beginning of motion, worse cold and wet/damp. The individual is better with continued motion, heat and warm applications – though cold compresses also ameliorate the symptoms. This remedy is often indicated in individuals who have experienced stretching and overstraining of ligaments, muscles and joints.
Like Silicea, the Calcarea fluorica state is chilly and worse for cold. These remedies also share the affinity to glands, though Calcarea fluorica may be more strongly represented in stony hard indurations of various tissues than is Silicea. Calcarea fluorica is well represented in induration and cramping of muscles as well as in swellings and hard nodes in ligaments, tendons and connective tissue in general.

Again both remedies share slowness of development.
The differentiation of these remedies is best made in several ways:
While they both share the aggravation in cold and damp and amelioration by heat and warm applications, individuals in the Calcarea fluorica state tend to "warm out" of their symptoms, being worse at the beginning of motion and ameliorated by continued motion. This is a remedy to consider for patients in which Rhus toxicodendron appeared to be well indicated but which did not appear to act.

The causations are different. Calcarea fluorica states are often the result of overstraining and overstretching of muscles and joints. Silicea states are often created in response to vaccination and other foreign bodies as well as suppression of sweats.

Calcarea fluorica individuals are quite quick and acrobatic. Their motions as well as their thought patterns are often quick, but ineffective, irregular and chaotic. In contrast, the Silicea state is typically precise and exacting, calculating almost (vs. the impulsiveness and apparent thoughtlessness of the Calcarea fluorica state), apprehensive and timid with a defined stubbornness about it.

They do not share the sensitivity of Silicea – to noise and pain in particular. While Calcarea fluorica state is aggravated by cold they are not as sensitive to cold, not as chilly as is the typical Silicea state.

It becomes fairly obvious that, while these two remedy states share some diagnostic labels, one needs to look beyond the symptom in order to really identify the remedy state. The causations, modalities and general mental and emotional symptoms will aid in the determination of remedy choice.

Considerations for Finding A Remedy

In quilting together a sense of the character of the remedy, I consider some basic things – causations, primary symptoms, strong and defining modalities (things that make the symptoms or the patient in general better or worse), and I also will consider the affinities - the types of tissues or organs largely influenced by the medicine. Some remedies have many affinities, while others appear, at least in the provings and clinical data concerning the action of the remedy, to have a more limited affinity. That may be an accurate reflection of the remedy or may simply be due to the fact we've not learned everything there is to know about that particular medicine.

If you are at all interested in becoming familiar with the use of homeopathic medicines beyond some very basic first aid remedies, you're going to need to stick your nose into a repertory and a materia medica. The more familiar one becomes with the repertory and the more accurately one can translate clinical findings and the totality of the case into accurate and appropriate rubrics, the more success one will have in the selection of the remedy. It's important to remember that the actual selection of remedy comes not from repertory or memory (or by playing spin the bottle or swing the pendulum), but by reading the materia medica. Hoofprint


About the author:
Dr. Beal is responsible for Big Run Healing Arts, a non-speciated practice dedicated to providing care based on the philosophy and practice of homeopathy. Her practice of homeopathy is augmented with the use of Craniosacral Therapy, clinical nutrition, and chiropractic care. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Beal studies and writes, and is involved with actively mentoring veterinarians who are studying homeopathy. She enjoys teaching, especially homeopathy and craniosacral therapy, and is available for short lectures as well as longer, more intensive workshops. Dr. Beal has been using homeopathy in her practice of veterinary medicine for over fifteen years.

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