Cell salts may be derived from inorganic sources, though they can also be derived from plants. The salts are made into pills which are extremely dilute, following the principles of homeopathy. The salts are crushed into fine particles, and the particles go through a series of dilutions, then are molded into tablets. The patient does not swallow the tablet, but allows it to dissolve on the tongue.
Cell salt therapy was developed by a German physician, W. H. Schussler, in the 1870s. Schussler studied cremated human bodies, and found that these 12 substances made up the bulk of the remains. From this finding he theorized that these 12 so-called tissue salts are responsible for the harmonious functioning of the human organism. Disease follows when a person becomes deficient in any of the 12 salts. Schussler recommended that patients take the salts in pill form to cure a variety of disorders. He believed that the salts provided adequate nutrition to the cells. If cell nutrition was adequate, then cell metabolism would be normal, and the body would be healthy. However, Schussler's pills were not direct nutritional supplements as we would understand them today. He followed the principles of homeopathy, which works somewhat to the reverse of modern medicine, in that the smaller the dose, the more effective it is believed to be. Cell salts are prepared like homeopathic medicines, by a process of continued dilution and shaking or pounding (succussion).