There’s no doubt that becoming a parent means making tough decisions about your child’s health and wellbeing, especially when they’re sick. How do you bring down a fever fast? What do you do when your little one is teething? These are all common questions we ask ourselves continuously. However, the answer doesn’t always lie in conventional medicines. In fact, a recent 2015 consumer report by the US Food and Drug Administration warns that children under the age of two shouldn’t be given over-the-counter cough and cold medications due to their potentially dangerous side effects.
The good news is, tissue salts are a safe homeopathic alternative for babies and children of all ages, and can be used to treat a number of common ailments, says Dr Vicki Compere, a homeopath based in Johannesburg. There are no known side effects associated with using tissue salts, she adds.
Tissue salts decoded
Tissue salts were developed by a German physician, Dr Wilhelm Schuessler in the 1800s after he discovered that when the human cell is reduced to ashes, it contains 12 essential minerals, explains Cape Town-based homeopath Dr Heather Lockyear. Our health depends on the correct balance of these minerals, as they constitute our bones, blood, organs and muscles. Giving your baby tissue salts is a great way to prevent mineral deficiencies and treat the underlying problems such as reflux or constipation.
“Tissue salts are made by serially diluting each mineral through a process of trituration (grinding and scraping) in a mortar and pestle, in a ratio of 1:10, so one part mineral to nine parts lactose,” explains Dr Lockyear. This process of dilution is done six times, which is why you’ll see the mineral name, followed by a number on every bottle. Because tissue salts are prepared in this way, they’re more readily absorbed, plus they allow the body to take in more vitamins and minerals from food. If your child is suffering from anaemia, for instance, ferrum phos will help to increase her iron levels and help her body to absorb more iron from food such as green leafy vegetables and red meat.
How to use tissue salts
Tissue salts are completely safe to use during pregnancy and can be given to your baby from birth. They’re also great to take while breastfeeding and can help to restore lost minerals in both moms and babies. Unlike ibuprofen- or paracetamol-based medicines, which come with contraindications and side effects, tissue salts can be used continuously in babies and children as there’s no toxic build-up in the body, says Dr Compere.
If your child is teething and you suspect she has a cold or mild fever, you can use a combination of tissue salts together with other medications, too. Some homoeopaths will supply a powder form, which can be rubbed on to the gums or added to bottles. However, the tablet form is most common as it’s easily dissolved in warm water or milk so it can be given to your little one directly, says Dr Compere. Generally, tissue salts can be taken two to three times a day or as often as every 15 minutes in acute cases such as a fever or a bout of painful stomach cramps. It’s important to seek medical advice if your child isn’t feeling better within 24 hours, she adds.
7 tissue salt remedies
If you’re not sure which tissue salt to use for a specific ailment, follow these suggestions:
Tissue salt: Mag Phos No8
Function: This tissue salt acts as an antispasmodic and is used for any type of cramp or spasm, including hiccups or flatulence. It relaxes the smooth muscle of the digestive system.
Tissue salts:Nat Mur No9; Nat Sulf No11; Silica No12
Functions: Nat Mur No9 is used to regulate water distribution in the body and helps with constipation. Nat Sulf No11 is strongly associated with the liver and gall bladder and is used for flatulence and constipation. Silica No12 is useful for ongoing constipation.
Tissue salt: Nat Phos No10
Function: This tissue salt is the acid neutraliser in the body and is used to remedy lactic or uric acid build-up. It also helps to ease sour vomiting.
Tissue salts:Calc Phos No2; Ferrum Phos No4; Mag Phos No8
Functions: Calc Phos No2 is the vital tissue salt for strong bones and teeth.
Ferrum Phos No4 is used for its anti-inflammatory properties and eases fever and red, swollen gums.
Mag Phos No8 helps to prevent teething pain and relaxes the digestive system, thereby reducing the frequency of stomach upsets linked to teething.
Problem: Pain and fever
Tissue salt: Ferrum Phos No4
Function: This is used for inflammation anywhere in the body with redness, pain and fever as symptoms.
Problem: Poor immune system
Tissue salts: Calc Phos No2; Kali Mur No5; Nat Sulph No11
Functions: Calc Phos No2 speeds up recovery after illness. Kali Mur No5 is a mucus decongestant and helps to strengthen a weak immune system. Nat Sulph No11 is used for influenza, chest infections, chronic bronchitis or persistent coughs.
Problem: Restless sleep
Tissue salts: Kali Phos No6; Mag Phos No8
Functions: Kali Phos No6 is the main nervous system tissue salt and eases restlessness and anxiety. Mag Phos No8 is a relaxant and helps with stress and insomnia.