Colloidal silver is a suspension of sub-microscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base.
Silver is a metallic chemical element, with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, silver has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. The metal occurs naturally in its pure, free form (native silver) as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a by-product of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.
A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance. A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase and a continuous phase (or dispersion medium) in which the colloid is dispersed. A colloidal system may be solid, liquid or gaseous. The dispersed-phase particles have a diameter of between 1 and 1,000 nanometres. Such particles are normally invisible in an optical microscope, though their presence can be confirmed with the use of an ultramicroscope or an electron microscope.
Colloids are the smallest biological forms of any matter. They are small enough to pass through membranes and thus they skip past the digestive process and are easily absorbed by the body.
Colloidal silver is produced by an electro-colloidal/non-chemical method where the silver particles and water have been made colloidal, ie dispersed within and bound to each other by an electric current. The super-fine silver particles are suspended indefinitely in distilled water. The ideal colour of colloidal silver is clear to a faint golden yellow colour. Darker colours indicate larger silver particles which tend to collect at the bottom of the container and are not true colloids. Ingestion of these larger particles may result in argyria.
Quality control of colloidal silver requires that three tests are passed:
- It has sufficient silver ions. This can be measured by a conductivity meter, and the reading needs to be between 10 and 20 micro-Siemens. This equates to parts per million (ppm).
- It has a sufficient number of colloidal particles without significantly colouring the water. This is very hard to measure but the simple test is to shine a laser beam through the liquid. The normally invisible silver particles become visible as tiny points of light suspended in the water. This gives a visual guide to the type of silver colloids present.
- It remains clear and not discoloured.
Medical Uses of Silver
The silver ion (Ag+) is bioactive, and in sufficient amounts or concentration readily kills bacteria in vitro. Silver also kills bacteria in external wounds in living tissue.
The medical uses of silver include its incorporation into wound dressings to treat external infections. The wound dressings contain silver sulfadiazine or silver nanomaterials.
Silver is also used as an antiseptic and disinfectant in medical appliances.
Silver is used in bone prostheses, reconstructive orthopaedic surgery and cardiac devices.
In the form of colloidal silver, it is widely used within alternate medicine.
The History of Medicinal Silver
Silver has a long history of medicinal usage.
Herodotus (484-425 BC), the "Father of History", describes how the King of Persia carried with him boiled water in silver flagons to prevent sickness.
Hippocrates (460-370 BC), the "Father of Medicine", taught that silver healed wounds and controlled disease. Around 400 BC, he listed as a singular treatment for ulcers [skin] "the flowers of silver alone, in the finest powder".
In 69 BC, silver nitrate was described in the contemporary pharmacopeia.
Ancient Greek and Roman societies stored liquids in silver-lined containers to keep them fresh.
Paracelsus (1493-1541), circa 1520, extensively used silver medicinally.
In 1834, the German obstetrician F. Crede administered silver nitrate to the eyes of newborn infants, virtually eliminating the incidence of disease that caused blindness.
In the late 1800's, Western scientists were able to prove what had been known in Eastern medicine for centuries, indeed thousands of years, that silver was a proven germ fighter.
By the early 1900's, antibacterial colloidal silver became the choice of medical practitioners. It proved to be enormously effective against infectious organisms and extremely safe to use, without the negative side-effects associated with drugs. The use of silver as a medicine was widespread until World War II, when antibiotics became the standard treatment for infections.
Mechanism of Action
Colloidal silver is made when an electromagnetic process pulls tiny particles of silver from a larger sample of pure silver into (usually distilled) water. The tiny electrical charge on each atom holds these silver particles in suspension. This is vital for its effectiveness, as it allows the particles to move easily throughout the body.
The antibacterial action of silver is dependant on the silver ion. The effectiveness of silver compounds as an antiseptic is based on the ability of the biologically active silver ion, Ag+, to irreversibly damage key enzyme systems in the cell membranes of pathogens. It works by acting as a catalyst, disabling the enzyme that single-celled bacteria, fungi and viruses need in order to metabolise oxygen. This 'suffocates' the harmful cell, leading to its death, while not harming human enzymes, resulting in the removal of disease-causing organisms from the body. It also works through the positive charge on the silver ion binding with the negatives charge on the pathogen. This causes an interruption of the pathogen's biological function, which means that it is unable to reproduce.
It is impossible for single-celled germs to mutate into silver-resistant forms, as happens with conventional antibiotics. Therefore no tolerance to colloidal silver ever develops. Also, colloidal silver does not interact or interfere with other medicines being taken. Inside the body, colloidal silver forms no toxic compounds nor reacts with anything other than a germ's oxygen-metabolising enzyme.
Colloidal silver is also said to strengthen the body's immune system.
Colloidal silver is a safe, natural remedy.
Topical Uses of Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver can be applied to cuts, abrasions and open wounds as an antibacterial agent. It is painless when applied.
It can be used as an eye wash, as nose drops, or as ear drops.
It is excellent as an underarm deodorant, since most underarm odour is caused by bacteria breaking down substances released by the sweat glands.
Silver in the form of silver nitrate is useful in the treatment of difficult infections such as ringworm, which is correctly termed dermatophytosis. 'Ringworm' is a misnomer, since it is a fungal infection and not caused by parasitic worms. A 10% solution of silver nitrate is applied, followed by an application of tincture of iodine. This results in a white precipitate of silver iodide. Often only one application is required to affect a cure. This treatment can also be used for tinea, a fungal infection typically between the toes, also called athletes' foot.
Oral Use of Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver can be used internally on people of all ages. The website www.health.centreforce.com/health/silver.html states it "may prove very helpful as an alternative to prescription drugs and antibiotics for fighting the following health problems:", then gives a significant list of potential applications, including acne, allergies, colds, conjunctivitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, glandular fever, influenza, fungal infections, herpes, shingles, sinus infections and yeast infections such as Candida albicans. It lists 88 "colloidal silver uses before 1938", and also sets out "modern day uses", including 8 internal infections, 12 external infections, and 30 conditions that have been treated by colloidal silver, allegedly supported by published articles (mainly bacterial, viral and fungal infections).
Taken orally, the colloidal silver solution is absorbed from the mouth into the bloodstream and then transported rapidly to the body cells. Swishing the solution under the tongue briefly before swallowing ensures fast absorption. Some authors suggest holding it in the mouth as long as possible before swallowing. Colloidal silver is eliminated mainly via the kidneys.
Since the early 1990's, there has been a resurgence of the promotion of colloidal silver as an alternate medicine treatment.
It is claimed to be effective against hundreds of bacteria, viruses, fungi etc.
There is no doubt that colloidal silver is efficacious in the treatment of external infections, and when used as prophylaxis against infection in cuts, wounds etc.
While there is little or no 'good' medical evidence that supports colloidal silver as being effective orally against infections and other conditions, there is, as is the case in many alternate health treatments, a vast wealth of anecdotal evidence supporting the intelligent usage of colloidal silver, and since it is virtually free of side effects, it may have a place in the management of certain conditions, especially those linked to infective organisms.
Adverse Health Effects
Colloidal silver is free of side effects or adverse effects, and no reactions with other medications have been observed.
Argyria is a condition resulting from ingestion of too high ppm concentration of silver that has precipitated out of colloidal suspension. The silver binds to the pigment in the skin, giving the skin a blue-grey green colour that may be irreversible.
Colloidal silver should be stored in a dark, cool place, but not refrigerated. Some authors recommend that it is stored in dark-coloured glass containers.
For topical usage, thoroughly moisten the area to be treated, and allow to dry.
Various authors suggest different oral dosage regimes. It would appear that 30ml per day is the typical recommendation for adults, and 15ml for children. For individual disorders, a higher initial dose is suggested. For example, used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, the starting dose is 200ml daily in divided doses, gradually reducing to 30ml daily for on-going maintenance treatment.
Water can be purified by adding 5-10ml of 30ppm colloidal silver to five litres. Pathogens in the water are killed by the presence of colloidal silver.
Colloidal silver is truly an all-natural alternative to prescription antibiotics and may also benefit a number of other health conditions. It is non-toxic, safe, effective and without negative side-effects, and can be used by anyone, young and old alike. Colloidal silver is one of the better options available for strengthening the body's immune system and helping eliminate infectious disease of all types.
*Copyright 2012: The Huntly Centre.
Disclaimer: All material in the huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
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