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Sulphur (American spelling 'sulfur') is an abundant, multivalent and non-metallic mineral element with the atomic number of 16.  Multivalent means it is an element that forms more than one type of an electrically charged particle known as ion. All living matter contains some sulphur and therefore this element is essential for life. The greater part of the sulphur in the human body is present in the two sulphur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine, or in the double form of the latter known as cystine. Sulphur is critical to many of the body's biological processes and without adequate sulphur glucose metabolism is inhibited and this can lead to metabolic syndrome, low energy levels, weight gain and muscle and skeletal disorders which causes inflammation and pain.

Greece, Italy and Japan are the primary suppliers of sulphur to the rest of the world. These nations as well as people who live in sulphur-rich volcanic areas, such as Iceland, Indonesia and South America, all have low rates of cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This has been found to be due to the sulphur content of the soils in which they grow their crops. Some scientists thought that the Icelandic diet was protective against these diseases because of a high intake of fish, but further research showed that those Icelanders who moved to Canada and continued eating a lot of fish did not continue to enjoy the same low rates of these diseases because their diet was then lacking in sulphur.

Sun exposure on bare skin with no sunscreen causes the body to make vitamin D in a sulphate form. While vitamin D is normally considered fat-soluble, vitamin D3 sulphate is water-soluble, which lets the sulphate form of vitamin D travel freely in the blood stream. Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium which makes bones and teeth strong.

NOTE: The vitamin D3 in supplements is not the same as the vitamin D3 acquired from the sun and is not an adequate substitute.

The main purpose of sulphur is to dissolve waste materials. It helps to eject some of the waste and poisons like heavy metals from the system which can help treat ailments such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. It helps keep the skin clear of blemishes, helps the nails grow strong and makes hair glossy. It is also valuable as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatic conditions. 

Sulphur deficiency

Low levels of sulphur may cause eczema and imperfect development of hair and nails. It is also found to be very low in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is known to be an effective treatment. An analysis of the minerals in the cells of a typical Alzheimer's patient reveals that sulphur is almost non-existent compared with healthy people. Some research has shown that supplementing with sulphur can prevent Alzheimer's disease and even reverse it if the patient is still in the early stages where little brain damage has occurred. Because egg yolks are a rich source of sulphur and soils have lost much of their mineral content including sulphur, due to intense farming techniques, the sudden rise in cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be due to the avoidance of eggs in the diet due to the scare about raised cholesterol levels.

NOTE: Those suffering with bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis should avoid sulphur-rich foods.

Highest sources of sulphur in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Scallops 520 mg

  • Lobster 510 mg

  • Crab 470 mg

  • Prawns 370 mg

  • Mussels 350 mg

  • Haddock 290 mg

  • Brazil nuts 290 mg

  • Peanuts 260 mg

  • Cod 250 mg

  • Oysters 250 mg

  • Chicken livers 250 mg

  • Cheese (parmesan) 250 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 240 mg

  • Peaches (dried) 240 mg

  • Cheese (cheddar/stilton) 230 mg

  • Salmon 220 mg

  • Beef 220 mg

  • Eggs 200 mg

  • Apricots (dried) 160 mg

  • Almonds 150 mg

  • Rabbit 130 mg

  • Walnuts 100 mg

  • Peppercorns 100 mg

  • Cabbage 90 mg

  • Spinach 90 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 80 mg

  • Chickpeas 80 mg

  • Figs (dried) 80 mg

  • Coconut 80 mg

  • Hazel nuts 80 mg

  • Mung beans 60 mg

  • Dates 50 mg

  • Split peas 50 mg

  • Onions 50 mg

  • Leeks 50 mg

  • Radishes 40 mg


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Natural sources of sulphur in alphabetical order

NOTE: Many plant foods contain sulphur, but the amount of sulphur is low unless the plants are grown in sulphur-rich soil.

Recommended daily requirement

There is no recommended dietary allowance but a diet sufficient in protein will generally be adequate in sulphur.

NOTE: Some people develop an intolerance to the thiols in sulphur-contain foods and can develop eczema and asthma as a result. See Food Allergies

Flower of sulphur

Known as 'flores sulphuris' by apothecaries and in older scientific works, flower of sulphur, also known as yellow sulphur powder, is a bright yellow powder obtained from naturally-occurring volcanic brimstone deposits and should not be confused with methylsulfonylmethane which is also a source of sulphur. Flower of sulphur has been used as a natural mineral remedy for skin disorders and degenerative diseases for many centuries and is mentioned in ancient texts, such as the bible, as brimstone. Sulphur is an important mineral for both animal and human health and farmers and vets have used flower of sulphur as a natural remedy for animals for a decades as it is exceptionally effective at treating a wide variety of skin conditions especially for cats, dogs, horses and poultry.

See Nature Cures for Pets.

Flowers of sulphur has antiseptic and antifungal properties and is suitable for use in humans, animals, vegetables, fruits, flowers and as a gardening additive in the soil. It is safe to ingest in very small quantities provided it comes from a reputable source. Flowers of sulphur is traditionally taken with black molasses (treacle). A very small pinch, less than the size if a match head, is mixed with a teaspoon of molasses and that is a sufficient dose for one day. Normally it is not taken for more than three days in a row. When used internally it has a mild laxative effect.

Internally, flower of sulphur powder can be used to treat anal fissures, bronchitis and Candida infections and can help to relieve mental stress and lack of energy and will power. It also relieves chronic diarrhoea, vomiting and the tendency to regurgitate food.

For sore throats add a quarter teaspoon in a warm water gargle. For mouth ulcers dab some onto the affected area.

NOTE: Test with a very small amount on the skin before taking flowers of sulphur internally and then, if no reaction occurs, only take a very tiny amount at first. A few people may react strongly to it.

Externally, sulphur powder can effectively treat many skin conditions and rashes such as acne, athlete’s foot, eczema, dermatitis, fungal nail infections, haemorrhoids, jock itch, nappy rash, psoriasis, ringworm and scabies and can be applied as an antiseptic to abrasions, cuts and wounds. It is also effective against skin mites which can help to treat rosacea.

Flower of sulphur powder can be used neat or to make a dusting powder mix one part of flowers of sulphur with two parts of corn flour and dust the affected area. This is also useful as a repellent for ticks, midges and fleas. Dust arms and legs and shoes before going out walking in long grass or near to lakes and rivers etc. It is also useful for killing and repelling head and pubic lice.

For sciatica, dust the affected limb with neat powder and wrap warmly. Sweating should be followed by a reduction in pain.
To make an ointment, use cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil, petroleum jelly or olive oil. Slowly warm the oil to melt it, add two or three tablespoons of sulphur powder to a cup of oil, mix well and allow to cool.

Sulphur is also a safe way to eradicate ants. Pour a trail of the flower of sulphur powder around the ants’ nest.

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC

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