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Colloidal Silver - Miracle or Madness?

Updated on September 22, 2013

Silver - Can Medicine Be This Easy?

Silver, the same material used to make jewelry, can make colloidal silver.
Silver, the same material used to make jewelry, can make colloidal silver.

What is Colloidal Silver?

Colloidal silver is made from tiny silver particles which are suspended in water. It is the same silver found in jewelry, dental fillings and silverware. Colloidal silver products that are for sale are listed as “dietary supplements” and usually come as a spray or in liquid form to apply on skin, inhale as a nasal spray or to drink. Medical uses have included colloidal silver as an antiseptic, disinfectant and as a general alternative medicine. Some people believe that colloidal silver has treated and healed cancer and HIV.

In 1999, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) banned colloidal silver sellers from being able to claim any preventative or therapeutic value. The FDA officially said that the isolated case reports that it received from marketers and consumers was not followed up by any scientific evidence.

That said, the FDA has approved a range of different silver-impregnated dressings for wounds, (which are often used in burn units). Silver (Ag+) is bioactive and can kill bacterial in vitro while in sufficient concentration. Silver kills bacteria in the living tissue of external wounds. This is why physicians continue to use dressings containing silver sulfadiazine to treat external infections. They believe they play an important role due to the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacterial.Silver is also used to reduce bacteria on catheters and endotracheal breathing tubes. The use of silver on breathing tubes has reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia. Silver compounds are still used in external preparations such as antiseptics, which include silver nitrate, used in an eye drop solutions to prevent conjunctivitis in newborn babies. Dermatologists also use a silver solution in a solid stick form to treat some skin conditions including corns and warts.

Silver - (colloidal silver) has been used as a disinfecting agent. It was used to disinfect water supplies on the Mir Orbital Station and the International Space Station. It is also recognized by WHO (The World Health Organization) to be used in water filtration systems to provide safe drinking water in developing countries. This has led to the development of ceramic filtration systems which have been coated with silver particles to aid in the disinfecting of water in developing nations.

A Brief History

The "father of medicine", Hippocrates wrote about silver having beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. The Phoenicians apparently stored wine, water and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling and silver coins were placed in milk bottles in the early 1900s to keep milk fresher for a longer period of time. During WWI, prior to antibiotics, silver was used to treat and even prevent infection.

Prior to the invention of antibiotics, colloidal silver was used as a disinfectant and germicide. In the 1940s, colloidal silver was replaced with more effective medicines.

Various Methods of Making Colloidal Silver at Home

My Experience with Silver Water

The first time that I ever heard of Colloidal Silver was through a friend of a friend. My roommate at the time was suffering from an outbreak of shingles on his shoulder which we were told there were really only a few treatments on the market to help him. The same medications used for herpes that could be used to help minimize his situation. (In his case, Valtrex was used). Shingles are very painful and once the outbreak has occurred, it's a waiting game for the patches of little blisters to dry up and disappear - often leaving some scarring. The bad news is that most people who get them once, will probably get them again.

A friend showed up with a jar filled with water that was covered with a thick black cloth. She told us it was Colloidal Silver and that her mother made it. In fact, she said her family had been making it for generations. She said her grandfather used it to help minimize his shingles throughout his life by applying this silver water to his skin when he would either feel the tingle of a breakout coming on, or once the breakout had begun. She called it a "miracle".

My father is a pharmacist and I tend to be leery about this kind of thing. I don't like taking medicines and I have to say, I'm bad at it as well...I'm the patient that skips doses and stops taking pills when I feel better and always forget to take medicine at the correct time each day. I would change my entire diet and eat herbs every meal to avoid having to take pills. I will admit, I am a lazy, defiant patient.

We decided together that he would not ingest this magical water, but just dab it on his skin with a cotton ball. We were both a bit freaked out with the nature of the presentation of this jar; clear liquid in a mason jar hidden under an ominous black cloth that was reminiscent of an executioner’s hood. It could have been timing, or it actually could have worked, but the shingles dissipated unusually fast. Faster in fact, then what the doctor said would happen while taking the prescribed Valtrex.

I should tell you, that prior to using this silver water - we researched it on the internet. We first went to Dr. Weil, which if you don't know him, you should. He's an expert in nutrition, general medicine and alternative therapies. He's not paid off by pharmaceutical companies and usually has insightful ideas for remedies. I consider his approach holistic - meaning he incorporates the body and mind when dealing with an illness. His website was not friendly to Colloidal Silver. He actually tells people to save their money.

Soon after my friend’s shingles had been healed, I had a cold sore and used the colloidal silver on it. It healed amazingly fast. Faster than any other medication that I have ever tried. Since then, I have used it on pimples and it does help similarly to tea tree oil. I have spoken to many friends who use colloidal silver and boast about its effectiveness and it's ability to lesson the effects of their colds and even stop the flu. Because of my personal experience, I am a fan of silver water.

I will not ingest it. That is something that I will never do. I have also researched my fair share of stories of silver water being a quack medicine and turning people blue with a disease known as argyria. This is when the body stores too much silver in the tissue and similar to a photograph, the particles darken with exposure to sunlight, creating a blue or gray discoloration of the skin. It is considered a permanent dermatological condition and there is no treatment for it. I have also looked at websites thatdispute the quackery. There are plenty of both on the internet.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories that talk about how much money the pharmaceutical companies stand to lose if people started making their own cures at home. I suppose this could be true. I also suppose my positive experience with colloidal silver could have been timing and luck. I like to look at both sides and determine my own fate. I do recommend colloidal silver for external use, especially when healing basic abrasions and viral outbreaks (shingles, herpes, cold sores) or as an antiseptic for pimples. I am not a doctor, nor have I ever trained to be one. I'm just a researcher and my own guinea pig. I must say, if I ever had a terminal illness for which there were no other solutions, I'd be drinking this stuff by the gallon - even if I ended up looking like a smurf.

I will give a warning that is stated in many websites: Colloidal silver products also may interact with medications, including penicillamine, quinolones, tetracycline and thyroxine medications.

If you have the correct materials, you can easily make colloidal silver at home. In very basic terms, you run an electrical current through silver rods that are in distilled water. Please look at MANY recipes prior to trying this at home. Your final solution will need to stay out of sunlight as will you if you put it in or on your body. As with any drug, consult your physician before experimenting with it - especially if you are currently on other medications. And, if your medical problems persist or you experience side-effects, go see a doctor.

The Silver Woman

Rosemary Jacobs Suffering from Argyria
Rosemary Jacobs Suffering from Argyria


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    • hubber-2009 profile image

      hubber-2009 7 years ago from India

      if you want men in your life, and don't want to turn blue then don't start taking silver into your body.

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 7 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

      Hi Whikat,

      My pleasure! The debate is still out about it, but I do believe it's something that should probably be researched more in-depth by the FDA. Obviously, there are some properties of it that do in fact work for people...even though there are others that have some unfortunate consequences (though they seem to be the minority - I just wouldn't drink it, or expose skin to sunlight when it's applied topically). I'm happy to share the information I have with you! Cheers!

    • profile image

      Whikat 7 years ago

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for not only taking the time to research Silver Colloidal, but to also tell us your personal encounters with it. I have heard many good things about it, but I never did get around to look into it more. I am grateful that I found your hub.

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

      Thanks abalinga for the info and for stopping by.

    • abalinga profile image

      abalinga 8 years ago from South Australia

      Good information. Silver is being used more and more in Mainline wound management and infection control.

      The FDA aproves Colloidal Silver as a disinfectant. It prohibits any claim that Colloidal Silver has any medical properties.

      Reg Whelan

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand


      Thank you very much for this information. It's important to get out as much information as possible, especially when it's backed up by scientists and the FDA. I appreciate all of the time you took to include this information. I hope many people see this! Cheers.

    • profile image

      Danser 8 years ago

      MRSA Super-Bug Destroyed in 60 Seconds in FDA-certified Lab Test

      The age of antibiotics is nearly over. Bacteria are no longer affected the way they were 50 years ago. Most bacteria have mutated so that they are unaffected by antibiotics.

      MRSA Now Accounts for More Deaths in the USA than HIV/AIDS

      The greatest challenge to medical science today is MRSA, the number one cause of infectious deaths in hospitals. Since the mid 1950’s MRSA has evolved to become nearly invincible to most antibiotics. Because of this, science is frantically seeking a replacement the will eliminate MRSA while avoiding the constant cycle of new antibiotic, MRSA mutates and is impervious to it so new antibiotics must be created.

      Most people are aware that antibiotics destroy the “good gut flora (bacteria)” that comprises approximately 70% of our immune system within our large intestine. Unfortunately, antibiotics are taken at a time when we need our immune system the most.

      MRSA Symptoms List

      Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is a sometimes fatal infection, caused by Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria. This strain is actually resistant to broad spectrum antibiotics. Mostly, patients of MRSA are found in hospitals, not in communities. Symptoms of MRSA depend on the area of body, where infection sets in like skin or a wound. In case of skin infection, the area may look like a boil.

      Usually you can identify this disease, by observing skin, if you see there is:

      * Swelling

      * Redness

      * Painful patches

      * Boils filled with pus

      * Abscesses

      * Impetigo

      MRSA can also cause skin infections like Cellulitis, Sty an infection of eyelid gland and Carbuncles. Other symptoms include, fever, chill, short breath etc. Necrotizing fasciitis is another infection, which may result from MRSA infection in human body. MRSA can affect lungs and cause pneumonia.

      MRSA symptoms also manifest in form of low blood pressure, headaches, and rashes over body etc. The bacteria may reach important internal organs, like heart, lungs, bones, joints and cause serious damage. This infection is life threatening and must be treated with caution and urgency. If you see a mark on skin resembling spider bite, you should not overlook it, as it can be MRSA also. Septicemia, toxic shocks are two other symptoms of MRSA. You must understand that most people are merely carriers of MRSA and may carry this disease for years, without getting affected with it.

      MRSA symptoms are most prominent on skin, so skin lesions and infections must never be treated lightly. They may resemble a common malady, but in reality, it may be MRSA. It is best to consult a doctor or health care professional if you see any symptom or a combination of symptoms, discussed here. Though the bacteria staph is present in 25% to 30% people, in their nose, they are not affected by it. The bacteria affect only 1% population and they suffer from MRSA. Symptoms of this disease should not be overlooked, as the disease is very fatal and immediate medical care is required.

      So, medical science is frantically searching for antibiotics replacement.

      NutraSilver, a natural mineral, retained a well-known and respected Medical Doctor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to develop the lab-test criterion and to ensure that the test results would accurately reflect the outcome of the test.

      In April, 2009, NutraSilver was submitted to BioScience Labs in Montana to be tested against MRSA 300, a strain that is most common and most difficult to eliminate. A "time-kill" study was conducted with the following results released in July, 2009:

      1.339 BILLION MRSA cells (CFU) were killed at the rate of 99.9999% (the limit of the test) in 60 seconds. Antibiotics could never come close to matching these results.

      The reader must recognize that these dramatic test results demand further in-vivo (inside the human body) testing and should propel NutraSilver into the scientific limelight for legitimate consideration as a safe and effective replacement for antibiotics. Previous FDA-certified lab tests conducted at Nelson Labs in Salt lake City, Utah, demonstrated that NutraSilver has no toxicity. The lab animals used in the tests actually thrived on NutraSilver.

      Scientifically engineered by a Physicist nearly 15 years ago, NutraSilver lab tests also showed high kill-rates for many other harmful bacteria including eColi, Salmonella, Cholera and several other harmful pathogens. NutraSilver also kills fungus and yeast, as demonstrated by previous FDA-certified Lab tests.

      Used as a water treatment to kill water-borne pathogens, NutraSilver's manufacturer is on the World Health Organization's Water Treatment and Safe Storage Committee. Thousands of bottles are currently being shipped to Haiti to help provide safe drinking water since NutraSilver® kills all water-bourn pathogens safely and quickly.

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

      Thanks hypnodude. I read last night that there is no way to patent suspended silver in water. Hence, no money to be made at all. I also read that CS can heal 650 ailments? I have no idea which they are or where the list came know how people write referencing each others hubs - (I tried to use government or scientific links in this article as much as possible for references)..who really knows? As far as adverse reactions - there are actually very few cases of Argyria reported (people turning blue), far less than people who have been permanently damaged or killed by approved FDA pharmaceuticals, (remember that diet drug about a decade ago that killed so many people? Fen Fen) that it seems fairly safe and worth the risk.

      Also, I don't know about you - but I know so many older folks taking handfuls of pills each day prescribed by different doctors - they're like walking chemistry labs - each drug causing a side effect that requires another drug to treat...certainly those mixtures are as experimental as CS to some degree...It's hard to know who to trust or believe - especially when pharmaceutical companies have drug reps offering incentives to doctors to try out new drugs (best case scenario is that these drugs are better from their previous counterparts - but who knows for sure?). It's all a bit scary. Good to know there's natural alternatives. I like Chinese herbs myself...perhaps for another hub?

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 8 years ago from Italy

      Very good hub, especially for the balanced point of view. As you say there are different points of view about colloidal silver and other natural remedies. While many don't work very much it is also true that if they can't be patented there is no business involved. And so it's pretty probable that drug companies and those on their side fight against natural remedies. Garlic is a wonderful antibiotic but they can't make much money on it, unless in a patented form. And worse than worse you can grow garlic on your own. The same is with colloidal silver. Rated up. :)

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

      dahoglund - Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm glad to introduce new info. Cheers!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Not only a subject I didn't know much about, I didn't know about it at all. Interesting background information.