Everything you ever wanted to know about colloidal silver — and more!
Remember: moderation in all things! This stuff can turn you permanently gray-blue — but in a survival situation, you might be glad you know about its water purification properties, and in an extreme situation, that it predates antibiotics for infection control.
What is it?
Colloidal silver is a suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base. Long-term use of silver preparations can lead to argyria, a condition in which silver salts deposit in the skin, eyes, and internal organs, and the skin turns ashen-gray. Many cases of argyria occurred during the pre-antibiotic era when silver was a common ingredient in nosedrops. When the cause became apparent, doctors stopped recommending their use, and reputable manufacturers stopped producing them. The official drug guidebooks (United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary) have not listed colloidal silver products since 1975.
Colloidal Silver – The Rediscovery of a Super Antibiotic?
Colloidal silver appears to be a powerful, natural antibiotic and preventative against infections. Acting as a catalyst, it reportedly disables the enzyme that one-celled bacteria, viruses and fungi need for their oxygen metabolism. They suffocate without corresponding harm occurring to human enzymes or parts of the human body chemistry. The result is the destruction of disease-causing organisms in the body and in the food.
Colloidal silver was in common use until 1938. Many remember their grandparents putting silver dollars in milk to prolong its freshness at room temperature. At the turn of the century, scientists had discovered that the body’s most important fluids are colloidal in nature: suspended ultra-fine particles. Blood, for example, carries nutrition and oxygen to the body cells. This led to studies with colloidal silver. Prior to 1938, colloidal silver was used by physicians as a mainstream antibiotic treatment and was considered quite “high-tech.” Production methods, however, were costly. The pharmaceutical industry moved in, causing colloidal research to be set aside in favor of fast working and financially lucrative drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration today classifies colloidal silver as a pre-1938 drug. A letter from the FDA dated 9/13/91 states: “These products may continue to be marketed…as long as they are advertised and labeled for the same use as in 1938 and as long as they are manufactured in the original manner.” Some of the manufacturing methods used before 1938 are still used today. An electro-colloidal process, which is known to be the best method, is used.
While studying regeneration of limbs, spinal cords and organs in the late 1970s, Robert O. Becker, M.D., author of The Body Electric, discovered that silver ions promote bone growth and kill surrounding bacteria. The March 1978 issue of Science Digest, in an article, “Our Mightiest Germ Fighter,” reported: “Thanks to eye-opening research, silver is emerging as a wonder of modern medicine. An antibiotic kills perhaps a half-dozen different disease organisms, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains fail to develop. Moreover, silver is virtually non-toxic.” The article ended with a quote by Dr. Harry Margraf, a biochemist and pioneering silver researcher who worked with the late Carl Moyer, M.D., chairman of Washington University’s Department of Surgery in the 1970s: “Silver is the best all-around germ fighter we have.”
How It Works
The presence of colloidal silver near a virus, fungus, bacterium or any other single celled pathogen disables its oxygen metabolism enzyme, its chemical lung, so to say. Within a few minutes, the pathogen suffocates and dies, and is cleared out of the body by the immune, lymphatic and elimination systems. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, which destroy beneficial enzymes, colloidal silver leaves these tissue-cell enzymes intact, as they are radically different from the enzymes of primitive single-celled life. Thus colloidal silver is absolutely safe for humans, reptiles, plants and all multi-celled living matter.
Many brands of colloidal silver are inferior. The highest grade is produced by the electro-colloidal/non-chemical method where the silver particles and water have been colloided, i.e., dispersed within and bound to each other by an electric current. The super-fine silver particles are suspended indefinitely in demineralized water. The ideal color of colloidal silver is a golden yellow. Darker colors indicate larger silver particles that tend to collect at the bottom of the container and are not true colloids. If a product contains a stabilizer or lists trace elements other than silver, or if it needs to be shaken, it is inferior. If a product requires refrigeration, some other ingredient is present that could spoil. The container and dropper must be glass, as plastic cannot preserve the silver in liquid suspension for any length of time.
The particle size of silver in a colloidal silver solution is usually (though not always) expressed in terms of a measurement known as microns. Another popular designation is “nanometer.” A micron is simply 1,000 nanometers. So one nanometer is .001 microns.
Some brands with high concentrations of silver may actually not be completely safe. High concentrations of silver do not kill disease germs more effectively than the safe range of 3 to 5 parts per million (ppm). One ppm of colloidal silver is one milligram of silver deposited in one liter of water (1,000 ml), otherwise designated as 1 mg/l. So it is, in reality, a measurement of the overall weight of the silver in a liter of water, not the number of silver particles. This is important because the actual weight (i.e., ppm) of silver in a colloidal silver solution has very little bearing on its effectiveness. Instead, it is how finely divided the total silver content is, that determines its effectiveness.
So which do you buy? This is from thesilveredge.com:
Okay, let’s say you are looking at two different hypothetical colloidal silver solutions. Both of them boast 10 ppm, which as you have now learned, is simply 10 mg. worth of silver in a liter of water. But one of these hypothetical colloidal silver solutions says its particles are .05 microns in size, and the other says its particles are .005 microns in size. Everything else being equal (price, amount of colloidal silver solution in the bottle, etc.) which of these two colloidal silver solutions represent the best value in terms of absorbability into the human body, and potential antimicrobial killing power?
Obviously, the colloidal silver solution with the more finely divided particles is the best choice, everything else being equal.
Ingesting Colloidal Silver
Taken orally, the silver solution is absorbed from the mouth into the bloodstream, then transported quickly to the body cells. Swishing the solution under the tongue briefly before swallowing may result in faster absorption. In three to four days the silver may accumulate in the tissues sufficiently for benefits to begin. Colloidal silver is eliminated by the kidneys, lymph system and bowel after several weeks. If routinely exposed to dangerous pathogenic germs, some recommend a regular daily intake as a protection. In cases of minor burns, an accumulation of colloidal silver may hasten healing, reducing the possibility of scar tissue and infection. It is believed by many in the natural healing arts that the lives of millions of people who are susceptible to chronic low-grade infections can be enhanced by this preventative health measure.
Chronic or Serious Conditions
1 teaspoon of 5 ppm colloidal silver equals about 25 micrograms (mcg.) of silver. 1 – 4 teaspoons per day (25 – 100 mcg.) is generally considered to be a “nutritional amount” and is reported to be safe to use for extended periods of time. Amounts higher than this are generally considered “therapeutic amounts” and should only be used periodically.
In cases of illness, natural health practitioners have often recommended taking double or triple the “nutritional amount” for 30 to 45 days, then dropping down to a smaller maintenance dose. Amounts from 1 – 32 ounces per day have reportedly been used in acute conditions.
If your body is extremely ill or toxic, do not be in a hurry to clear up everything at once. If pathogens are killed off too quickly, the body’s five eliminatory channels (liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and bowel) may be temporarily overloaded, causing flu-like conditions, headache, extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea or aching muscles. Ease off on the colloidal silver to a smaller amount and increase your distilled water intake. Regular bowel movements are a must in order to relieve the discomforts of detoxification. Resolve to reduce sugar and saturated fats from the diet, and exercise more. Given the opportunity, the body’s natural ability to heal may amaze you.
Some have used colloidal silver in a nasal spray mister – to reach the sinuses and nasal passages. Spray bottles have been used for topical use on kitchen and bathroom surfaces, skin, sore throat, eyes, burns, etc. Colloidal silver is painless on cuts, abrasions, in open wounds, in the nostrils for a stuffy nose, and even in a baby’s eyes because, unlike some antiseptics, it does not destroy tissue cells. It’s excellent as an underarm deodorant, since most underarm odor is caused by bacteria breaking down substances released by the sweat glands!
Some Common Uses of Colloidal Silver
Natural health practitioners have for years recommended taking one tablespoon daily, for four days, to establish a level, then one teaspoon daily for maintenance (proportional to body weight for children). After six weeks, a pause of several weeks has also been recommended by some natural healing arts doctors. Also, colloidal silver can be applied directly to cuts, scrapes, and open sores, or on a bandage for warts. It can be applied on eczema, itches, acne or bug bites. To purify water, add one tablespoon per gallon, shake well and wait six minutes. Mixed this way, it’s tasteless. It is not an allopathic poison.
Veterinary and Garden Use
Colloidal silver has worked just as well on pets of all kinds. Used in proportion to body weight, it should bring the same results. In the garden, field or greenhouse, add enough to the water or soil – and the plants will do the rest.
Tolerance To Disease Organisms
We have all heard of the “super-germs” that are resistant to most modern antibiotics. Some believe that single-celled germs cannot mutate into silver-resistant forms, as happens with conventional antibiotics. Therefore no tolerance to colloidal silver would develop through mutation. Also, colloidal silver has not been demonstrated to interact or interfere with other medicines being taken. Inside the body, silver apparently does not form toxic compounds or react with anything other than a germ’s oxygen-metabolizing enzyme. Colloidal silver may truly be a safe, natural remedy for many of mankind’s ills.
Additionally, there has never been a drug interaction reported between colloidal silver and any other medication. It’s difficult to overdose – unless large amounts are ingested. Colloidal silver has been reported by users to be both a remedy and a prevention for numerous infections, colds, flus, and fermentations due to various bacteria, viruses or fungi, even the non-apparent low-grade, general body infections many people have. Living organisms are in the colloidal chemical state, not the crystalline state. Substances already in that form may be more readily assimilated by the body. Colloidal silver is the most useable form of a reputedly effective germ fighter.
A colloidal suspension is ultra-fine particles of one substance, suspended by an electric charge in another substance. Homogenized milk and aerosol sprays are colloidal suspensions. Colloidal silver is pure, metallic silver (not a chemical compound) of particles 15 atoms or fewer, each with a positive electric charge, and attached to a molecule of simple protein. This new particle floats in pure water. The electric charge is stronger than gravity so the silver particles don’t sink.
Colloidal Silver in Advance of Illness?
When the possibility of germ exposure is higher, colloidal silver can be taken orally each day or applied topically when there is a skin problem. It’s like having a second defense system. The silver acts only as a catalyst and is stabilized. It is non-toxic, except to one-cell plants and animals, and is non-addicting. It also apparently kills parasites because they have a one cell egg stage in their reproductive cycle.
Older folks reportedly feel younger because their body energies are used for other uses than constantly fighting disease. Digestion has also been reportedly better. Medical research has shown that silver promotes more rapid healing, with less scar tissue, even in the case of severe burns. Successes have been reported in cases that previously have been given up by established doctors. Colloidal silver is tasteless and won’t sting even a baby’s eyes, and won’t upset your stomach.
More Than 650 Diseases Helped?
Colloidal silver has been reported to kill 650 micro-organisms, many of which are associated with human diseases. This does not automatically mean that taking colloidal silver will “cure” diseases “caused” by these germs. Colloidal silver only kills micro-organisms when they are in contact with it for a sufficient period of time. The human body is a complex system which may prevent high enough concentrations of colloidal silver from reaching the “affected area”.
The basic guideline that has been recommended for using colloidal silver is that it usually “works” if you can get a high enough concentration to the “affected area”. Some will want to experiment with “higher amounts” (such as 8 or more ounces at a time) to find out what it takes to accomplish this. Do not use colloidal silver if you are allergic to contact with silver metals, or if you notice any digestive upset after use.
The following is a partial list of the more than 650 diseases that colloidal silver has been reputed to be successful against: acne, AIDS, allergies, appendicitis, arthritis, athlete’s foot, bladder inflammation, blood parasites, blood poisoning, boils, burns, cancer (References 2, 4, 7), candida, cholera, colitis, conjunctivitis, cystitis, dermatitis, diabetes (Reference 1), dysentery, eczema, fibrositis, gastritis, gonorrhea, hay fever, herpes, impetigo, indigestion, keratitis, leprosy, leukemia, lupus, lymphangitis, Lyme disease, malaria, meningitis, neurasthenia, parasitic infections: viral, fungal and bacterial pneumonia, pleurisy, prostate, pruritus ani, psoriasis, purulent opthalmia, rhinitis, rheumatism, ringworm, scarlet fever, septic conditions of the eyes, ears, mouth, and throat, seborrhea, septicemia, shingles, skin cancer, staphylococcus and streptococcus infections, stomach flu, syphilis, thyroid, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, toxemia, trachoma, all forms of virus, warts, whooping cough, yeast infection, stomach ulcer, canine parovirus and other veterinary uses, and fungal and viral attacks on plants. Simply spray diluted silver on the leaves and add to the soil.
Dubious ads, legal cases and condemnation
In recent years, silver-containing products have been marketed with unsubstantiated claims that they are effective against AIDS, cancer, infectious diseases, parasites, chronic fatigue, acne, warts, hemorrhoids, enlarged prostate, and many other diseases and conditions. Some marketers claim that colloidal silver is effective against hundreds of diseases.
During 1997 and 1998, Changes International, a Florida-based multilevel company, stated:
Our colloidal silver contains 99.99% pure silver particles suspended indefinitely in demineralized water that kills bacteria and viruses. It can be applied topically and/or absorbed into the blood stream sub-lingually (under the tongue), thereby avoiding the negative effects of traditional antibiotics that kill good bacteria in the lower digestive tract.
An all natural antibiotic alternative in the purest form available. The presence of colloidal silver near a virus, fungi, bacterium or any other single celled pathogen disables its oxygen-metabolism enzyme, its chemical lung, so to say. The pathogens suffocates and dies, and is cleared out of the body by the immune, lymphatic and elimination systems.
Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics which destroy beneficial enzymes, colloidal silver leaves these beneficial enzymes intact. Thus colloidal silver is absolutely safe for humans, reptiles, plants and all multi-celled living matter.
It is impossible for single-celled germs to mutate into silver-resistant forms, as happens with conventional antibiotics. Also, colloidal silver cannot interact or interfere with other medicines being taken. Colloidal silver is truly a safe, natural remedy for many of mankind’s ills. Colloidal silver can be taken indefinitely because the body does not develop a tolerance to it.
Seasilver International, a California-based multilevel company, claims that American are suffering from “silver deficiency.” Although silver is not an essential nutrient, product information posted on the company’s Web site states:
The depletion of minerals in our soil has left us deficient of silver, one of our most essential trace minerals, causing a drastic increase in immune system disorders in our society in the last decade. Research has taught us that all disease is allowed to manifest itself because of a weakened immune system. In over 20 years of worldwide research on Colloidal Silver, numerous interviews with government agencies, health care practitioners and their patients, no other nutrient, herb or drug (prescription or over-the-counter) is as safe and effective against all known forms of unfriendly virus, bacteria, and fungus. Additionally, while it is generally known that most antibiotics kill only perhaps 6 or 7 different disease organisms, reports have shown that Colloidal Silver has been used successfully in the treatment of over 650 diseases! Furthermore, strains of disease organisms fail to develop in the presence of Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver’s greatest attribute is its unique ability to function as a superior second immune system in the body!
Critical Studies and Case Reports
In 1995, an herbal distributor named Leslie Taylor tested nine commonly marketed colloidal silver products available at health-food stores and concluded:
- Two of the products were contaminated with microorganisms.
- The amount of silver suspended in solution varied from product to product and would gradually decrease over time.
- Only five products actually showed antibacterial activity in a laboratory test. To perform the test, she prepared a culture plate with Staphylococcus aureas bacteria, which can cause infections in humans. She then placed a drop from each product on the plate and used disks of two common antibiotics as controls. After eight hours of incubation, she found that bacterial growth had been inhibited around the antibiotics and four of the products.
Of course, the fact that a product inhibits bacteria in a laboratory culture doesn’t mean it is effective (or safe) in the human body. In fact, products that kill bacteria in the laboratory would be more likely to cause argyria because they contain more silver ions that are free to deposit in the user’s skin.
FDA laboratory studies have found that the amount of silver in some product samples has varied from 15.2% to 124% of the amount listed on the product labels. The amount of silver required to produce argyria is unknown. However, the FDA has concluded that the risk of using silver products exceeds any unsubstantiated benefit. So far, seven cases of argyria related to silver products have been reported:
- A 56-year-old man who had sold and used colloidal silver for three years, developed blue/gray discoloration of his fingernails accompanied by a very high blood level of silver.
- A married couple who had three years of daily consumption of a drink prepared by administering an electrolytic charge to a bowl of water that contained a silver bar.
- Another couple had been taking a silver-containing “dietary supplement” prescribed by a naturopath.
- A mentally ill man who had been drinking silver-containing herbal tea for about 10 months.
- Stan Jones, Montana’s Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, who reportedly started taking colloidal silver in 1999 for fear that Y2K disruptions might lead to a shortage of antibiotics. He made his own concoction by electrically two silver wires in a glass of water.
Between October 1993 and September 1994, the FDA issued warning letters to five colloidal silver marketers::
- Higher Education Library Publications (H.E.L.P.), of Springfield, Utah, was ordered to stop claiming that its colloidal silver product was effective as a natural antibiotic and might be effective against cancer, genito-urinary diseases, tuberculosis, and AIDS.
- Nutrition, Inc., of Arvada, Colorado, was ordered to stop stating or implying that its Silvicidal, when administered orally or intravenously, was nontoxic, FDA-approved, and was a broad-spectrum antibiotic that killed bacteria and all virus and fungal infections. In addition, it was falsely claimed to be effective against a long list of specific diseases.
- Reseau International of Cincinnati, Ohio was ordered to stop claiming that its colloidal silver product was a “natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory immune system stimulant” and that it was effective against cancer, staph, strep, influenza, general body infections, inflammation, impaired immune system, fungus toxicity, tonsillitis, Meniere’s symptoms, whooping cough, shingles, syphilis, cholera, and malaria. The labeling also stated that colloidal silver could cause major growth stimulation of human tissues and can regenerate
- Silverado Inc., of Bountiful, Utah, was warned to stop making false claims that its colloidal silver product was effective as an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent and that it could stimulate the immune system.
- Unic, of Carmichael, California, was ordered to stop claiming that its colloidal silver product was effective against many diseases and could heal burn-damaged tissue without scarring.
In October 1996, the FDA proposed to ban the use of colloidal silver or silver salts in over-the-counter products. A Final Rule banning such use was issued on August 17, 1999 and became effective September 16th. The rule applies to any nonprescription colloidal silver or silver salt product claimed to be effective in preventing or treating any disease. Silver products can still be sold as “dietary supplements” provided that no health claims are made for them. During 2000, the FDA issued warnings to more than 20 companies whose Web sites were making illegal therapeutic claims for colloidal silver products.
In 2000, the Federal Court of Australia banned Vital Earth Company Pty Limited and its director Darryl John Jones from falsely representing that the colloidal silver produced by their “Vital Silver 3000 Zapper,” “Vital Silver 2000 Automatic” and “Vital Silver 2000”:
- Can kill all disease-causing bacteria, fungi and virus within six minutes of contact
- Has no harmful side effects; that colloidal silver could be used as an antibiotic for all the acquired diseases of active AIDS
- Is effective with more than 650 different pathogenic bacteria and virus types
- Has been used successfully against diseases including AIDS, cholera, diabetes, leprosy, leukemia, lupus, skin cancer, syphilis and whooping cough.
The company was also ordered to pay AUS$9000 in costs and to provide refunds.
In 2001, the FTC obtained consent agreements with two companies:
- Robert C. Spencer and Lisa M. Spencer, doing business as Aaron Company (Palm Bay, Florida). Colloidal silver has been medically proven to kill over 650 disease-causing organisms in the body and is effective in curing diseases ranging from cancer and multiple sclerosis to HIV/AIDS .
- ForMor, Inc., doing business as ForMor International, and its president, Stan Gross (Birmingham, Alabama) agreed not to make unsubstantiated claims that colloidal silver is effective in treating over 650 infectious diseases, has no adverse side effects, and is effective against arthritis, blood poisoning, cancer, cholera, diphtheria, diabetes, dysentery, gonorrhea, herpes, influenza, leprosy, lupus, malaria, meningitis, rheumatism, shingles, staph infections, strep infections, syphilis, tuberculosis, whooping cough, and yeast infections.
In 2002, the FTC obtained a consent agreement with Kris Pletschke, doing business as Raw Health, agreed to stop making unsubstantiated claims that its colloidal silver product could treat or cure 650 different diseases; eliminate all pathogens in the human body in six minutes or less; and is medically proven to kill every destructive bacterial, viral, and fungal organism in the body, including anthrax, Ebola, Hanta, and flesh-eating bacteria .
In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration amended its rules so that water-treatment products containing substances like colloidal silver for which therapeutic claims are made must meet the requirements of medicines included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This means that such products can no longer be legally marketed without proof that they are safe and effective for their intended purpose. The amendment was based on clnclusions that:
- There is little evidence to support therapeutic claims made for colloidal silver products;
- The risk to consumers of silver toxicity outweighs the value of trying an unsubstantiated treatment, and bacterial resistance to silver can occur
- Efforts should be made to curb the illegal availability of colloidal silver products, which is a significant public health issue.