Most people associate silver with jewellery, or for the investors amongst us, you might think of coins or bullion. But silver has a secret long-standing history of use as an antibiotic and food preservative.
4,500 years ago, the Phoenician empire stored their drinking liquids in silver vessels to help deter spoilage. In the 1800s silver was still used for a similar purpose amongst the American pioneers who put silver coins in their milk jugs to keep milk drinkable as they crossed the plains.
During World War I silver served another role. Battle medics applied silver leaf to wounded soldiers. A similar practice continues today in some modern wound dressings, creams and coatings that contain silver to improve healing time.
What Is Colloidal Silver?
Colloidal silver is a mix of water and smaller-than-microscopic sized particles of silver. These particles are so small they are measured in nanometres.
To put that into perspective, a sheet of paper is around 75,000 nanometres thick. Human hair grows at a rate of 1 nanometre every second. These incredibly tiny silver particles can electrically charge themselves while suspended in the water by repelling each other with their positive charge. The total silver content is expressed as milligrams of silver per litre of water, or mg/L, which is numerically the same as parts per million (ppm).
How does Colloidal Silver work?
Silver is toxic to germs and has been shown to have the ability to destroy over 650 microorganisms including bacteria, fungus and even some viruses. Current scientific research suggests that the silver nanoparticles work by sticking to microbial cells. Once attached they penetrate the cell wall and disrupt the bacteria’s ability to function. The strength of a colloidal silver solution depends on several factors including the size, shape, quantity and charge of the silver particles.
How to use colloidal silver
Colloidal silver is often used for its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral activity. It comes in many forms, including topical solutions, nasal sprays, liquid solutions to be taken by mouth or used in the eyes, and intravenous formulations. Most commonly, colloidal silver is ingested or applied to the skin topically. Make sure to follow the instructions on your product label as products vary in strength and use cases.
Precautions and side effects
Colloidal silver products can vary greatly in quality, strength and formulation. What’s more, taking the wrong dosage or a poor quality formula can lead to serious health issues. When you are shopping for colloidal silver, make sure that it’s made with true silver colloids and that it doesn’t contain any added protein or additives. Ask the necessary questions to make sure you’re getting a true colloidal silver product from a reputable company.
When too much colloidal silver is used or products that aren’t true colloidal silver are taken in excess, it’s believed to build up in the body’s tissues causing a condition called argyria. This disease is characterised by a blue-grey discolouration of the skin, nails, gums, eyes and internal organs.
Taking excessive doses of colloidal silver may also cause serious conditions like kidney and neurological damage, although this is rare.
Ensure you do not take colloidal silver at the same time as prescription medications. Wait at least two hours to avoid any interference.