This is a chapter from the book Colloidal Silver: Medical Uses, Toxicology and Manufacture
Silver water purification filters and tablets manufactured in Switzerland are used by many nations and international airlines. Silver is also used in the water purification systems of space craft. Preventing the growth of algae and bacteria in swimming pools is another problem that people face today. Electrical ionization units that impregnate the water with silver and copper ions are available today that sanitize the pool water without the harsh effects of chlorine.
In 1881, Carl Crede pioneered the installation of 2% silver nitrate in the eye of neonates to prevent gonorrheal ophthalmia, a technique which has been in widespread use ever since. Von Naegeli and others in 1893 realized that the antibacterial effects of silver were primarily due to the silver ion. He coined the term oligodynamic to mean that a small amount of silver is released from the metallic surface when placed in contact with liquids.
Silver sulfadiazine ointment is the number one treatment for burns in U.S. burn centers. Silver-coated catheters and silver heart valves are used because they stop the bacterial growth that was commonplace with the old ones. To protect us from food poisoning, silver particles are now being put in cutting boards, table tops, surface disinfectants, washing machines, and refrigerators. Silver is now being used in clothing, for the military, sportsman and businessman. It is woven and impregnated into the fabric to kill bacteria that cause body odor and clothing odors.
Silver was used as a medicine in the late 1800's and early 1900's. While several metal salts and compounds demonstrated strong germicidal properties, silver alone showed both strong germicidal properties and low or no toxicity to humans. The colloidal state proved to be the most effective form because it lacked the caustic properties of salts (such as silver nitrate) and demonstrated a high level of activity with very low concentrations.
silver compounds were in widespread use in the late 1800's and early
1900's. By 1940, there were approximately four dozen different silver
compounds on the market being used to treat every known infectious
With the discovery of antibiotics, interest in silver, as an anti-microbial medicine, declined. There were, at that time, no antibiotic resistant strains of disease organisms and there was a lot of excitement over the new wonder drugs.
Recently, with the development of antibiotic resistance in many diseases and the increase in new strains of bacteria and viruses worldwide, there is renewed interest in silver. Large companies are developing and introducing new silver compounds for a variety of anti-microbial applications, including protection against the spread of the AIDS virus.
Today, colloidal silver is sold as a trace mineral supplement without medical claims or claims of specific benefits. Its need, or lack thereof, in human nutrition is not scientifically established. It remains popular as an "alternative" health care modality because of the large number of anecdotal reports of positive benefits.
August 19, 2010