Two Excellent Inflammation Fighters

By Walter Last

Copper is an essential trace mineral. All tissues of the body need it for normal metabolic functions. Sometimes there is too much of the inorganic form in drinking water (acid water flowing through copper pipes). It can then gradually accumulate in the body and lead to toxicity symptoms with signs of zinc deficiency, over-stimulation, psychosis and liver damage. However, in organic form as chelates or copper complexes it is excellent for reducing inflammations, strengthening connective tissue, restoring hair colour and the oxidative energy metabolism as well as fighting parasites and cancer and may sometimes improve brain and liver functions.

If you give animals a choice between drinking normal water and water in which a copper pipe has been immersed, they will reportedly prefer the high copper water. This helps to keep them free of parasites. Copper armbands are well known to reduce arthritis. Copper serum levels are elevated up to threefold above normal with inflammations and with many chronic and infectious diseases, apparently because the body mobilises all tissue stores of copper to fight the condition. During remissions the copper levels return back to normal.

The most effective anti-inflammatory agents are copper complexes. Commonly these are related to salicylic acid. In addition, copper ascorbate has strong anti-viral properties. Copper salicylate has a better anti-inflammatory effect than cortisone but without the side effects. In addition it has also good anti-cancer, anti-tremor and anti-convulsive properties, suitable for treatment of epilepsy and possibly Parkinson's disease. Children with severe copper deficiency constantly have convulsive seizures. Another feature of severe copper deficiency is degeneration of the central nervous system. There are at least 6 important copper-dependent enzymes in the brain. One of these is required for the conversion of tyrosine into dopamine which is lacking in Parkinson's disease. A copper enzyme is also needed for the synthesis of adrenalin (epinephrine).

In experiments copper salicylate prevented chemically induced skin cancers. Furthermore, a single application resulted in a 55% reduction in experimental animal tumours in 20 weeks. The main metabolic defect of cancer cells, according to Dr Johanna Budwig and other researchers, is a deficiency of the enzyme cytochrome oxidase. This causes a blockage in the cellular respiration or oxidative energy production of the affected cells. Budwig claims that plenty of linseed oil and sulphur amino acids (L-cysteine and especially L-methionine) help to correct this situation.

Cytochrome oxidase is a copper dependent enzyme and additional copper might be of further benefit. In the final stages of this oxidative energy production electrons are transferred to copper (II) and iron (III) in the cytochrome oxidase to form copper (I) and iron (II). In the last step these electrons are then transferred to oxygen, which now can attract hydrogen ions to form water. In cancer cells this transfer of electrons to oxygen is blocked and energy is being produced very inefficiently by converting glucose into lactic acid.

However, practical experience has shown that copper is more important to prevent cancer or a regrowth of tumours and possibly with dormant tumours. If growing tumours are present, then copper is needed to form new blood vessels. Taking high amounts of zinc creates a relative copper deficiency and helps to prevent the formation of new blood vessels.

Copper salicylates have a similar action as superoxide dismutase (SOD) to protect cells from free radicals. Dr John R.J. Sorenson at the University of Arkansas has done most of the research work on copper complexes. In one of his publications he states that with the exception of Wilson's disease, there are no chronic degenerative diseases in man known to result from non-industrial exposure to copper.

Dr Werner Hangerter, head of medicine at the University of Kiel, successfully used copper salicylates for over 20 years with more than 1100 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Of 620 patients with rheumatoid arthritis 65% became symptom free and another 23% improved significantly, only 12% remained unchanged. With acute rheumatic fever 100% became symptom free. Also neuromuscular problems such as sciatica, neuralgia and cervical spine-shoulder problems responded very well. Even short-term treatment of rheumatoid arthritis resulted in long-term remissions or improvements.

The therapeutic potency and safety of the copper complexes of aspirin (acetyl-salicylic acid) and salicylic acid is much better than for aspirin itself or for inorganic copper. These complexes are 5 to 8 times more effective than aspirin but less toxic. The therapeutic index (the margin between effectiveness and toxic effects) has been stated as being significantly greater than for other anti-inflammatory drugs. While aspirin causes or aggravates peptic ulcers, the copper complexes have a better ulcer-healing effect than commonly used anti-inflammatory ulcer drugs. Harmful effects of aspirin, salicylic acid and similar drugs apparently arise because they bind copper in the body and cause a localised copper deficiency in the tissues.

Unfortunately, copper salicylate or other effective copper complexes are not normally available or only in very low doses, presumably because they cannot be patented. However, they are relatively easy to make for someone who wants to experiment. Order salicylic acid through a cooperating pharmacist and dissolve 2 g or about half a teaspoonful in half a litre of hot water.

Use covered glassware and distilled or de-ionised water and several pieces of copper with a large surface area immersed in it. Keep it warm, between 60º and 90ºC or just below boiling. Add more water as required and adjust the final volume to 500 ml. At first a light yellow-greenish colour develops, but at one point the colour considerably deepens. This may happen after 15 to 20 hours of heating and you may now let it cool and fill into a glass bottle.

Near the end of the heating process and during storage black copper oxide starts forming and slowly accumulates at the bottom. This is due to copper being converted from the original one-valent copper (I) salicylate to two-valent copper (II) salicylate. With this, the salicylic acid binds only half of the dissolved copper and the rest becomes copper oxide. The effectiveness of the solution does not seem to be affected by this and the amount of copper in the complex is not related to its potency. From time to time you may decant the solution from any settled copper oxide and crystals or filter it through tissue paper.

Copper (I) salicylate is a strong antioxidant and also appears to have good anti-inflammatory qualities, but all the published papers are on copper (II) salicylate. However the only data for a Cu (I) complex that I could find (penicillamine) showed it to have even stronger anti-inflammatory activity than the corresponding Cu (II) complex. Initially copper (I) will dominate in the self-prepared copper salicylate but the more copper oxide precipitates the more will copper (II) gain the upper hand. While salicylic acid only dissolves in hot water, copper (II) salicylate is easily soluble in cold water and is very stable and generally well tolerated when taken orally.

Copper salicylate is also excellent for external use as packs or rubs on sites of tumours and inflammation, also rubbing it on skin prone to skin cancer. To improve its skin absorption you may mix it with some aloe vera gel or follow the copper salicylate rub with some aloe vera.

For internal use with generalised inflammations or other indications 60 mg of copper salicylate have been used in clinical trials once or twice and up to four times daily. Try a teaspoonful (approximately 25 mg of copper salicylate) three times daily in liquids with meals, preferably under professional supervision. For short-term use you may also double this amount. When it produces the desired effect, cut back to a maintenance dose of 1 teaspoonful a day or interrupt the intake after 2 weeks to see what happens.

Copper (I) salicylate is a strong antioxidant and may interfere with oxygen therapy. Therefore, it is advisable to alternate periods of taking high doses of copper salicylate with periods of intensive oxygen therapy. However, external application of copper salicylate should still be fine during oxygen therapy.

Another possibility of making copper salicylate yourself is by ingesting sodium salicylate and a copper chelate together. Copper salicylate then appears to form in the stomach. In some countries sodium salicylate is available as tablets, in others it may be obtained from a friendly chemist/pharmacist as a crystallised powder. Copper chelate, commonly as amino acid chelate or gluconate, may be available from a health food shop or over the Internet. Taking a 650 mg tablet of sodium salicylate together with 5 mg of copper in chelated form has reportedly eliminated severe arthritic pain. As maintenance dose a 350 mg tablet of sodium salicylate together with 2.5 mg of copper have been taken up to three times a day. If the sodium salicylate is available as powder, you may assume that a level teaspoonful is about 4 g. By dividing this into 6 equal portions you will have about 650 mg per portion.

You also find a source of copper salicylate tablets on the Internet or you may be able to obtain copper (II) salicylate crystals from a supplier of laboratory or fine chemicals. In this case you could divide a rounded teaspoonful into 100 equal parts, each part would then be approximately 50 mg.

For a potent anti-viral remedy you may produce copper ascorbate. This is not difficult either. The only problem is that ascorbic acid easily becomes oxidised in contact with metal. Therefore, it is best to exclude all air. Bring some distilled or de-ionised water to boiling and, as hot as possible, fill a 500 ml glass or hard plastic container nearly to the top. Immerse a piece of copper and add 4 to 5 g or about one teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder. Keep refrigerated and remove the copper after a few days. After part of it has been used minimise the air space by filling it into a smaller bottle or jar. As an infection fighter try a teaspoonful several times a day for up to 2 weeks.

Copper salicylate is a very stable complex and most of it appears to be excreted unchanged. Therefore, it may be regarded more as a remedy rather than a food supplement. Nevertheless, when taking this or other copper complexes, colloids or chelates over a longer period it is advisable to take additional zinc, about 30 mg a day, in order to avoid a zinc deficiency from developing.

Finally I want to stress that the use of copper salicylate and ascorbate, especially when you make these yourself, is strictly experimental and no one can take any responsibility for what you are doing. If in doubt, then use it only externally. Individuals who are sensitive to salicylates need to be extra careful but I believe that even then it will generally be well tolerated. Handle copper salicylate with care, it stains garments.

I believe that colloidal copper has similar beneficial properties as copper salicylate and you might alternate using both with some longer breaks in-between. You can make colloidal copper in the same way as colloidal silver, just use two strips of copper instead of silver electrodes. However, the use of colloidal copper is experimental as well and you have to find out by yourself how much to take and how beneficial it is for you.

The Schweitzer Formula

Zinc has strong anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties as well but can become deficient with a high copper intake. Therefore, it is usually best to increase the intake of both minerals together. With a high copper intake, also a high zinc supplementation should be used. This may be best in the form of Schweitzer Formula, a complex formed by zinc (oxide or carbonate), boron (boric acid) and salicylic acid. This is an excellent antibiotic, disinfectant, fungicide, anti-inflammatory and healing remedy.

The Schweitzer Formula was developed 1915 in Germany and sold worldwide since 1920. In addition to any kind of infection or inflammation, it has been used in cancer treatment, to improve the immune response and blood oxygenation. Applied externally it helps to heal injuries and skin diseases, including acne, scarring varicose veins and varicose ulcers.

You can easily make the Schweitzer Formula yourself. Dissolve 9.2 g of salicylic acid, 2.1 g of boric acid and 2.7 g of zinc oxide or 4 g of zinc carbonate in 2 litres of hot water. You may get these ingredients from a pharmacist or supplier of fine chemicals and have exact quantities weight out. However, it is sufficient to use approximate amounts. You may use 2 level teaspoons of salicylic acid and half a teaspoon each of boric acid and zinc oxide or one level teaspoon of zinc carbonate.

However, in Australia boric acid has now been scheduled as a prescription poison. Apparently eating large amounts of boric acid mixed with castor sugar that the parents had used to eliminate ants poisoned some infants. If you cannot obtain boric acid from a friendly chemist, you may use borax instead. This introduces some additional sodium ions. While this is not desirable, I do not expect this to significantly reduce the healing qualities of the Schweitzer Formula. To get the same amount of boron you may use about 30% more borax than boric acid.

Use distilled or de-ionised water and a non-metal container. Heat for about an hour and stir occasionally with a non-metal spoon until no more of the zinc oxide or zinc carbonate at the bottom of the container seems to dissolve. Then decant or filter into a glass container and store in a dark and cool place. Any surplus of zinc oxide or carbonate that remains undissolved shows that all the boric acid and salicylic acid have been used up. However, any surplus of boric acid would be beneficial and just supply additional boron.

As a biochemist I do not see a difference between using this solution directly and letting it crystallise and then dissolving the crystals. However, I have not been able to verify this in a clinical trial. If you do want to crystallise the complex, then let the water evaporate very slowly in a flat non-metal tray covered with fine gauze. As a general rule, the slower the crystallisation, the bigger the crystals. Therefore, keep the tray undisturbed in a cool place. For quick crystallisation and smaller crystals you may expose the tray to direct sunlight. For use you may then dissolve the crystals again in 2 litres of hot water.

As with copper salicylate, there are no exact guidelines on how much to take. A tablespoonful has been taken 3 times daily with liquid or meals for extended periods. For shorter periods this dose has been doubled. It is also good to rub onto the skin, especially where there are any problems.

You may take this at the ratio of one tablespoon of Schweitzer Formula to one teaspoon of copper salicylate. For long-term use I would take one spoonful of each daily. I believe that long-term use of copper or zinc should be balanced by taking the other mineral as well, be it as salicylate complex, colloid or conventional remedy. I also believe that copper and zinc as complexes or colloids are safer and more effective than the long-term use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

One tablespoonful of Schweitzer contains about 15 mg of zinc, 15 mg of boric acid or 2.5 mg of boron and 70 mg of salicylic acid. As with copper salicylate, most of these can be expected to be eliminated from the body as a complex. Therefore, Schweitzer Formula cannot be regarded as a zinc or boron supplement and these may need to be additionally supplemented in a different form. However, to assess any potential toxicity, we may assume that the complex completely disintegrates in the body. This would then supply only relatively low levels of the individual ingredients. Twice these amounts of zinc and boron are recommended as being beneficial and much higher amounts have been used in nutritional therapy. Therefore, I cannot see any possible toxicity at least up to 3 tablespoons daily.

Also many commonly used foods are quite high in salicylates. Some individuals, especially hyperactive children are sensitive to salicylates and get a reaction from it. However, I believe that this is due to the chelating effect of salicylic acid, which may cause zinc and copper deficiency in the body. Therefore, in the form of zinc and copper complexes, salicylates may not normally cause a reaction in susceptible individuals.

After a period of use, it is advisable to interrupt using these remedies for a while and observe any effects. Schweitzer Formula in high amounts is being used extensively in the healing system of Body Electronics. Finally, I want to stress again, that the use of these remedies over long periods or in high doses is experimental and you must be prepared to take responsibility for any side effects yourself.