ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Colloidal Silver: Medical Miracle or Scam

Updated on June 6, 2012

Colloidal silver has been touted as a cure-all against countless conditions and diseases. There are testimonials galore praising its wonders. They say it’s an effective alternative medical treatment for, acne, sinusitis, congestion, eye ailments, herpes, and strengthens the immune system. Some even claim cancer, AIDS and diabetes. The list is seemingly endless.

While it is true silver has been used for generations in medicinal and preservative purposes by many cultures it still seems a gigantic leap of the imagination to believe such a simple mixture could cure so many ailments.

Early Greeks used silver containers to keep water and other liquids fresh. American Pioneers also placed silver coins in wooden water barrels and milk containers for the same reason. They found it helped prevent the growth of bacteria and algae. In the 18th century people used it as an antibiotic and disinfectant.

The question still persists, does it do all the manufacturers and users claim, or is it all hype? Unless our forefathers were just a bunch of simpletons, they found it worked at least in some cases. In centuries past, silver was commonly used for antimicrobial purposes. Today many hospitals use it to control local infections. Drops of it are put in the eyes of newborns to prevent blindness caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Ancient royalty would only eat with silver utensils. This daily intake of minute silver particles apparently kept them healthier than peasants, who ate off other materials such as iron, pewter, earthenware or copper.

Although history offers convincing evidence, modern examples provides even more. Before penicillin was discovered in 1928, colloidal silver was used for many ailments. It was even included in the Physician's Desk Reference at the time as a remedy for a variety of ailments. Silver nitrate was commonly used for treating stomach ulcers. Recent studies indicate ulcers are caused by bacteria and not so much by stress.

Between the years 1951-1965 experimentation with silver nitrate was conducted and found to not only be useful for sterilization but dramatically speeded up healing of burn patients. Silver water filtration systems are now used worldwide. They eliminate the need for chemicals and even kill chlorine resistant organisms. Today modern airlines use them to guard against water-borne diseases. Silver is also used by the military and commercial industries in clothing. By incorporating silver into the fabrics, it aids in eliminating disease and odor causing bacteria.

By now you may be wondering if it’s such a great boon to mankind why the medical community limits its use. With the introduction of penicillin silver took a back burner. They offered a much larger profit margin and were easily patented. Silver, being a natural element, couldn’t be patented, thus there was no monetary incentive. Besides, many early silver products contained toxic forms of silver salts or silver particles too large that could possibly cause harm.

So say those supposedly in the know. However, there are many naysayers who claim there’s little medical research to support its attributes. In fact, it’s said there are risks involved with using colloidal silver. Mainly, it can cause argyria, a medical condition caused by excessive exposure to chemical forms of silver, silver dust, or silver compounds. It can turn the skin blue or blue-grey in color. However, in developed nations, argyria is rare as long as silver containing supplements are not taken on a sustained basis.

There are two types, localized and universal. Topical applications like nasal sprays containing silver compounds cause localized argyria. Tattoo colors also have a silver base that can trigger it as well. Universal argyria can be caused by drugs and medications containing colloidal silver and can damage body organs if used over long periods. Other examples would include those working in silver manufacturing factories, silver sutures in surgery and silver dental fillings. Cases of argyria were most prevalent when silver medications were routinely used during the 1930s and 40s and have since become a rare occurrence. No cure for the condition has yet been found.

Another reason is, in 1938 the FDA ruled from then on only those "drugs" which met their standards could be marketed for medicinal purposes. Silver containing products are sold as "dietary supplements" in many health stores, but only if they make no health claims. However, many advertisers pay little if no attention to the ruling. Apparently, many felt it was a ruse propagated by pharmaceutical manufactures to peddle their pills.

The FDA issued a final rule establishing all over-the-counter drug products containing colloidal silver or silver salts for internal or external use because they are not generally recognized as safe and effective. It was deemed necessary as many OTC products containing these ingredients were being marketed for numerous serious conditions and lacking any substantial scientific evidence.

Proponents of colloidal silver believe more natural alternatives should be used since antibiotics are becoming increasingly resistant to infections. There are compelling arguments in both camps for and against using colloidal silver as an alternative to antibiotics. However, very little research has been done. Some even believe cases of argyria are on the rise.

Many opt for antibiotics since there is more information available on them, whereas not much scientific proof has been offered for colloidal silver, other than enthusiastic testimonials by advocates.

With more research it may be discovered colloidal silver is an effective alternative to antibiotics, but until then one might be advised to take any success claims with a grain of salt.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Interesting observation. Could be. But I found no supporting evidence for it.

    • dragonflyfla profile image


      6 years ago from South Florida

      Interesting article. I wonder if taking silver is where the aristocratic term “blue blood” comes from.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Voted awesome. It comes down to the old questions, "should we, or shouldn't we?" Any comments, anyone?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)