The homeopathic remedy Selenium Metallicum (Selenium Met.) is derived from the extremely rare mineral known as selenium that is present as selenide in a number of sulphide ores, for instance copper sulphide, lead sulphide and silver sulphide. Selenium is acquired as a by-product during the processing of the above mentioned ores.
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In addition, selenium is also obtained from the anode mud of copper refineries as well as from the sludge discharged from the lead chambers of various plants producing sulphuric acid. Such mud or sludge may be processed by several ways to obtain the rare mineral selenium.
It may be noted that pure selenium is a non-toxic substance, but several of the amalgams of this rare mineral are very toxic and harmful for humans. In fact, the numerous compounds of selenium have patterns of action that are akin to arsenic. For instance, hydrogen selenide as well as other similar compounds are extremely poisonous.
The toxicity of the compounds of selenium is manifested best when animals feed on plants, such as locoweed, that grow on soils having rich selenium content may suffer from grave after effects.
In the past, people obtained selenium from the dusts collected from the chimneys or shafts of plants processing sulphide ores. However, presently selenium is obtained from the anode metal from electrolytic copper refineries. In fact, this forms the major source of selenium today worldwide.
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The process of recovering selenium involves roasting the mud or sludge with either sulphuric acid or soda or by smelting or melting them down using soda and niter. It many be noted that selenium is also found in a number of dissimilar chemical forms. While three such allotropic forms of selenium have been identified by scientists thus far, there may be more such chemical forms of this rare mineral.
Selenium may be prepared both in an amorphous or crystalline form. When selenium is produced in amorphous form, they have a red color as a powder, while the color of the vitreous form is black. On the other hand, the color of crystalline monoclinic selenium is profound red.
The hexagonal crystalline form of selenium is said to be the most stable variety of this rare mineral and it has a metallic gray color. Selenium as an element belongs to the sulphur family and has a resemblance to sulphur in its assorted forms as well as in its compounds.
Selenium is indeed a very uncommon mineral - while it is not found in many places or substances, where ever it is found it is always in scant amounts. This rare mineral has a characteristic reddish-gray color having a metallic shine. In fact, though selenium is very close to sulphur, the latter differs greatly in form and color. Sulphur is somewhat transparent and has a yellow color.
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As an element, selenium is used by different industries for various purposes. Among them, selenium is mainly used for photovoltaic (generating voltage when illuminated) as well as photoconductive reasons. These make selenium very important for use in photoelectric cells as well as exposure meters for photography.
In addition, selenium is also known to be an excellent tracer element for remedial purposes and traces isotopes in ground water for purposes hydrogeologic as altogether there are six stable normal isotopes of selenium. In fact, when an element has a larger number of isotopes, the scientists have greater control over deviant abundances.
As a mineral, selenium generally does not form excellent crystals; however, when it actually does they are precipitous rhombohedrons or hexagonal minute hair-like (acicular) crystals. Usually, such crystals are small in size; there are also instances of forming massive specimens. In fact, selenium may be called a fascinating element which hardly ever forms high-quality specimens.
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As discussed earlier, selenium is a rare, but essential trace element that slows down the oxidation process of lipids or fats and, at the same time, acts in a synergy or together with vitamin E to facilitate the production of antibodies as well as sustain the normal health of the thyroid, liver, pancreas as well as the regular functioning of the heart.
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In addition, selenium also works as an antioxidant by stimulating glutathione peroxide - an antioxidant enzyme that safeguards the cell membranes from the harmful effects of free radicals produced by our body.
It has been found that individuals who generally find it difficult to connect or become intimate with other people and who often retract even from their close friends are the ones who benefit most from this homeopathic medicine - selenium met. In addition, this homeopathic remedy is also appropriate for people who suffer from extreme fatigue owing to mental activity and have a tendency to be absent-minded.
Selenium met. is also good for treating extreme debility, especially when the body temperature goes up. This is a typical characteristic related to this homeopathic medicine. Homeopaths also recommend selenium met. for treating conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome as well as multiple sclerosis (a chronic degenerative episodic disease of the central nervous system) wherein the sufferer becomes exhausted mentally and physically very rapidly.
This condition is often accompanied by a damaging appearance of the skin, constipation, emaciation (unusual thinness owing to any disease or lack of nutrition), hair loss and even potential break down of the nerves controlling the genitourinary tract. Selenium is always found in the teeth and bones - in other words, this trace element is a constant component of these body parts.
The Swedish chemist Berzelius was the first person to discover selenium along with a number of other elements. Way back in 1817, Berzelius named this trace element after the Greek term selene denoting the 'moon', a parallel with tellurium derived from the word 'tellus' meaning the 'earth'.
The trace element selenium is extremely rare and is found in the nature in several inorganic substances or compounds, such as selenide, selenite and selenate. Selenium found in soils generally is a soluble form like selenate, something similar to sulfate that is easily seeped into the rivers by means of soil erosion.
In addition, selenium also possesses a biological function and this trace element is present in a number of organic compounds like selenomethionine, dimethyl selenide, methylselenocysteine as well as selenocysteine. The role played by the trace element selenium in the above mentioned organic compounds is similar to that of sulfur.
These days, true selenium is generally obtained from selenide found in a number of sulfide ores, including copper sulfide, lead sulfide or even silver sulfide. Selenium is actually produced as a derivative or by-product while processing these sulfide ores.
In addition, selenium is also obtained from the mud or sludge collected from the copper refineries as well as the dust or mud collected from the chimneys or shafts of plants producing sulfuric acid. This mud or sludge is subsequently processed in different methods to obtain true or free selenium.
There are several natural sources from which the trace element selenium is obtained to produce the homeopathic remedy Selenium Metallicum or selenium met. Such natural sources of selenium include soils rich in selenium content as well as selenium that have been bicarbonate by specific plants. On the other hand, the anthropogenic (caused by human activity) sources of this trace element comprises burning coal as well as mining and smelting sulfide ores.