The word ‘Biochemistry’ comes from the Greek ‘Bios’ for ‘Life’, coupled with ‘Chemistry’, the science that studies the composition of elements and the changes they go through. In the therapeutic sphere, Biochemistry is the system of treatment that uses the tissue remedies (inorganic salts of the body tissues) as medicine.
Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler of Oldenburg, Germany, was a physician and a physiological chemist. He is credited with propagating the use of the twelve cell salts that are used in biochemistry, their practical use and the detailing of the Materia Medica on which this system is based.
The earliest reference we can find to the use of the tissue remedies by Dr. Schuessler, is in an article that appeared in March 1873, titled “An Abridged Homoeopathic Therapeutics”, the original in German, of course. The theory was refined with time, and was scrutinized and practiced by various respected physicians of the era, and found valuable in therapeutics. Over a period of time, Schuessler determined that Biochemistry was an independent branch of medicine, not to be absorbed into or related to homeopathy.
He insisted that its effects were by direct action, unlike homeopathy that worked probably by indirect biochemic action.
While there are those who practice biochemistry exclusively, and quite effectively, the consensus of opinion would probably suggest that it be used in conjunction with homeopathy.
Homeopathy and Biochemistry
The methods of preparation of Biochemic and Homeopathic remedies are identical. Traditionally, Biochemic remedies are used in low potencies – 3x, 6x, 12x, upto 30x, while Homeopathic remedies are used in potencies varying from the low to the very high (CM, LM). Schuessler and orthodox Biochemic practitioners also insisted on the use of a single remedy, as in classical Homeopathy.
The difference in their use in the two systems is more a matter of theory. According to Dr. Schuessler, a deficiency of a certain cell salt gives rise to certain symptoms which point to its use as a remedy, and cure is affected by the restoration of the equilibrium of the salt in the body. The Homeopathic prescribing is done on the basis of ‘Provings’, and matches to patient symptoms the remedy that has been ‘Proved’ to cause those symptoms in a healthy person. It was always a question of debate as to how Homeopathic remedies effected cure. The correctly chosen remedy was presumed to tune the body’s natural healing abilities – the ‘Vital force’ – to overcome disease. Dr. Schuessler claimed that Homeopathy worked indirectly through Biochemic principles, since very many Homeopathic remedies contain one or more of the tissue salts. The greater the proportion of a salt in a (homeopathic) remedy, the greater the resemblance between the two (e.g. Pulsatilla and Kali Sulph, which both have among their leading indications, aggravation in a warm room and in the evenings, and amelioration in the open air.) Both Aconite and Arnica contain Ferrum Phos and the similarities between the remedies are to be noted. Similarly there are many points of likeness between Hepar Sulph and Calc Sulph. Schuessler suggested that Biochemistry rectifies disease directly, by the administration of homogeneous substances, while Homeopathy does so indirectly, by the administration of heterogeneous substances. Biochemistry works on sound and valid principles. The two systems can be said to be siblings under the skin.