From Anthroposophy

Through processes in nature, certain physical elements undergo a biological transmutation into other physical elements. This happens in plants (see: Plant kingdom) and also in the organs of Man's metabolic system.

In the scientific paradigm of mineral science, this is impossible as it defies the laws of physics. An explanation of this apparent paradox is given by the fact that mineral science limits its scope to the mineral element 'earth' and does not study the laws of the etheric (represented by the element 'water'), see Formative forces and the 1921-06-GA205 reference.

The same applies to Potentization, the principle underlying homeopathy, which also uses the laws of the etheric.


Schema FMC00.011 shows an example of experimental results, from Rudolf Hauschka laboratory experiments in the years 1934-1940 that confirmed von Herzeele's findings (see References below). Because the tests were continued over years, it shows that the moon rhythm is subservient to a stronger annual sun rhythm. Notice how the curves show a powerful dynamic upto say June period, whereas in the second year-half there is hardly any dynamic. Also remarkable is the 'cross-over' where the new-moon minima overrides the full-moon maxima curve around the June period, after which both curves quiet down.


Lecture coverage and references

Albrecht von Herzeele (1821-unknown) spend most of his life investigating the apparently innocent question: 'Where do the minerals in plants come from?'

Von Herzeele grew plants without soil, using solutions whose mineral content he measured and controlled. He found that germinating seeds without a supply of calcium had an increase of calcium in the young plants analyzed 30 days after they germinated. Like scientists before him in England, France and Germany he found that there were elements in the ashes of the plants he grew that could not have got in from the growth medium. He concluded that 'plants are capable of effecting the transmutation of elements.'

In 1873 he published 'The origin of inorganic substances' (Der Ursprung anorganischser Substanzen), in later works he published some five hundred analysis on his experimental data between 1875 and 1883, all based on his experiments with germinating seeds.

After determining the seeds' average calcium content, he let the rest of the seeds germinate (sprout) under conditions where they were completely isolated from any source of additional calcium. According to the invariance theory, the total amount of calcium in the isolated seeds should have remained constant throughout all subsequent growth. However, when Von Herzeele analyzed the seeds after thirty days, he found that they contained a good deal more calcium than had been present initially. Logically, two explanations appeared most likely. Either the additional calcium had been 'created' (formed out of something that was not physical matter), or else the calcium atoms had come from the transmutation of one element into another.

His findings outraged the scientific community and his books were removed from libraries and his writings banned. Even today the subject is a taboo question that can scarcely be mentioned in scientific circles. Nevertheless he was not the first or only to report this, as similar experiments were done before, and also afterwards.

The following famous quote by Rudolf Steiner comes from a lecture in the agriculture course on 1924-06-13-GA327

There is something you must know in this connection. For the scientists of to-day it will no longer argue such entire confusion on our part as it would have done a short time ago. Are not they themselves already speaking frankly of a transmutation of the elements? Observation of several elements has tamed the materialistic lion in this respect, if I may say so. Processes, however, that are taking place around us all the time are as yet utterly unknown. If they were known, people would more readily believe such things as I have just explained.

I know quite well, those who have studied academic agriculture from the modern point of view will say: “You have still not told us how to improve the nitrogen-content of the manure.” On the contrary, I have been speaking of it all the time, namely, in speaking of yarrow, camomile and stinging nettle. For there is a hidden alchemy in the organic process. This hidden alchemy really transmutes the potash, for example, into nitrogen, provided only that the potash is working properly in the organic process. Nay more, it even transforms into nitrogen the limestone, the chalky nature, if it is working rightly.

You know that in the growth of plants, all the four elements of which I have been speaking are involved. Hydrogen also is there, in addition to sulphur. I have told you of the significance of hydrogen. Now there is a mutual and qualitative relationship between the limestone and the hydrogen, similar to that between oxygen and nitrogen in the air.

Even externally, in a quantitative chemical analysis as it were, the relationship between the oxygen-nitrogen connection in the air, and the limestone-hydrogen connection in the organic processes, might well be revealed. The fact is that under the influence of hydrogen, limestone and potash are constantly being transmuted into something very little nitrogen, and at length into actual nitrogen.

And the nitrogen which is formed in this way is of the greatest benefit to plant-growth. We must enable it to be thus engendered by methods such as I have here described.

  • Rudolf Hauschka (1891-1961) re-did the same experiments in the period 1934-40, see Schema FMC00.011
  • The best-known modern researcher of biological transmutation is Louis Kervran (1901-1983) who wrote a number of books in the period 1962-1982 (french), some translated in English, see 'Biological Transmutations'.
  • Rudolf Steiner's quote above also inspired Wim Holleman (1906-1994) who did his experiments in the timeframe 1975-1989


  • This is sometimes also referred to, rather unfortunately as 'cold fusion', because in current physics one physical element can not change into another except through nuclear fusion at extreme conditions of temperature and pressure.
  • Underlying the preparations of biodynamic agriculture.

Related pages

Further references

  • Albrecht von Herzeele: 'Der Ursprung anorganischer Substanzen' (1873)
  • Rudolf Hauschka: 'The nature of substance' (1950, 1966 in EN)
  • Coretin Louis Kervran:
    • 'Biological Transmutations' (1971)
    • website (DE/EN) dedicated to the work of Louis Kervran, with an overview of his many writings and books
  • Wim Holleman
    • the Holleman foundation website has a review of all research on transmutation of chemical elements including an overview of Holleman's work, (see downloadable 85 page PDF document), translations of von Herzeele and others writings, and further lin