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Background and History

Silver (Ag) has been used for centuries to treat and prevent a variety of diseases, most notably infections. It has been well documented that silver was used in ancient Greece and Rome as a disinfectant, the Macedonians used it to encourage wound healing and more recently NASA selected a silver-based system to maintain water purity and bacteria free environment on the Space Shuttle.

Read more about historical uses of silver  detailing successes with CS before the 1940's.

With the present day problems with antibiotic-resistant germs (now considered an epidemic in the US), silver is making a resurgence in popularity: Samsung's most recent washing machine uses silver nanotechnology, Motorola are using silver embedded plastic for their latest mobile phone, Casio and Sharp Corporation are marketing new calculators whose keys and cases contain silver, Venture Ishikawa (Japan)  have developed an anti- bacterial sand using silver, Microbial Systems (UK) have developed a paint containing silver, which has been found to be effective against molds, yeasts and various bacteria including E-coli,  and the Hong Kong metro is successfully using Colloidal Silver against the Avian flu virus. Other products that are benefiting from the outstanding antimicrobial disinfecting properties of silver are pens, floppy disks, cutting boards, floor tiles, ATM machines, steering wheels, toothbrushes, food wrap, socks, combat clothing, plasters, cosmetics and toilet seats. 

Check out the latest innovations using silver/CS on our page on modern usage of CS.

Natures Forgotten Antibiotic, by Terry Chamberlin, B.Sc., C.N.C., Bioanalyst               

You may be surprised to learn that prior to World War II, the most powerful antibiotic, antibacterial and antifungal substance was silver! Yes, the same kind of silver that your jewelry or silverware is made from, but it was ground up into small particles and suspended in a fluid. Today this is called Colloidal Silver (CS). (A colloid is defined as a particle of something that is so small it can float in suspension in a liquid without sinking to the bottom or floating to the top. Because of its tiny particle size, it is easily assimilated by the body.) It was a doctors' most useful potion because it killed over 650 different illness-causing organisms - bacteria, viruses and fungi. But, there were problems with it.

Only The Wealthy Could Afford It

Back then, Colloidal Silver cost about $400 per treatment (in today's dollars), making it very expensive. Health insurance was practically nonexistent, so only the wealthy could afford it. Also, no one could grind up the silver into small enough particles that it could be absorbed by the stomach, so it had to be injected by needle, making it inconvenient to use at home, as well as painful. After sitting in the bottle awhile, the silver particles would aggregate and clump together, making it unusable.

At one time, the soil in many parts of the country contained minute silver particles. These particles were extracted by plants and passed on to humans and animals who ate the plants. In 1996, Dr. I. H. Tipton reported in the journal, "Health Physics", that the ideal daily intake of silver was 50-100 mcg (micrograms). It's believed to be an important trace mineral used by the body, like chromium and selenium. Unfortunately, commercial fertilizers used by farms today only put nitrogen, phosphate and potash back into the soil - no trace minerals. The only place you'll find a significant amount of silver in the soil will be close to a silver mine.

Doctors Advised Wealthy to Eat With Silver

Did you know that silverware became popular almost 1,900 years ago for health reasons? Physicians advised their wealthy patients to eat only with silver if they wanted to stay healthy.

Silver has been known for its health values since before the time of Julius Caesar. The Greeks lined water and wine urns with silver to kill bacteria. The Romans discovered that a poultice of silver helped heal burns, cuts and sores.

During the 14th century, about 25% of the people in Europe died from the bubonic plague, which swept through the continent. Wealthy people gave their children silver spoons to suck on to forestall the plague (hence the term, “silverware”).

As you probably realize now, that's where the expression, "Born with a silver spoon in your mouth," came from. Because fewer of the wealthy died from the plague, silverware and silver pacifiers were still given to babies in many countries. In the United States, people have forgotten that heritage and use plastic pacifiers today. American settlers knew the value of silver both as wealth and for their health. They often put silver dollars in milk to deter its spoilage in warm weather.

In 1884, Dr. K.S. Crede, a German obstetrician, discovered that a mild silver solution, put into a baby's eyes at birth, dramatically reduced eye infections, which were common in babies. Shortly thereafter, laws were created in the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark requiring all physicians and hospitals to put a silver solution in the eyes of every baby born in their care. It is still done today in most countries, and undoubtedly, you experienced it as a baby. Chinese folklore advised families to always have a silver item in their houses in case someone was bitten by a rabid dog. They were instructed to rub the silver into the wound.

Dr. Jerome Alexander, in his book, "Colloid Chemistry", said that he tested the concept and found that silver ions were rubbed off the metal and did, indeed, destroy harmful bacteria. History texts show that serious medical study of CS began in the late 1880s with it being used to successfully treat typhoid and anthrax bacterial infections.

Dr. Henry Crookes is credited for the wide use of silver in the early 1900s. He used it for subduing gonorrhea, tuberculosis and staphylococcus, as well as many other infectious organisms. His scientific reports concluded that there was no known microbe that could not be killed in the laboratory with CS within six minutes.

In 1915, Dr. A. Leggeroe found that CS was not only good for protecting babies eyes, but it worked for adults as well. He said that it was "the most useful ophthalmic remedy" he had ever encountered for eye infections. He claimed there was never any side effects or visual impairment as a result of using CS.

Colloidal Silver not only killed bacteria, viruses and bacillus toxins, it bolstered the immune system, according to studies published in a 1916 issue of Transactions of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The author reported that CS actually doubled the white blood cell counts -- our body's major germ fighters.

Dr. Malcomb Morris reported in 1917 that CS was a powerful remedy for inflamed and enlarged prostates.  Infected hemorrhoids also responded well to the substance. Later, he proved it was useful in treating eczema.

Diphtheria and tetanus were still a scourge for humanity, and scientists were infecting animals with these bacillus toxin in laboratories in order to find an answer. In 1919, Dr. Alfred Searle succeeded. He found that CS could protect rabbits from very high lethal doses of those toxins.

Dr. J. Mark Hovel reported in the British Medical Journal that CS was especially useful in controlling viruses. His studies covered shingles, pyorrhea, whooping cough, throat and nasal infections. The common cold retreated quicker in the presence of CS, according to his report.

The Moldy Antibiotic

In 1928, Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered that penicillin, taken from a green mold, could kill certain bacteria. However, chemists couldn't grow enough of the mold to make it commercially viable. During WWII, a way was found to make it synthetically out of chemicals, and penicillin was born. It became the rage among doctors, much to the delight of the drug companies.

Medical research on silver dropped by the wayside during the 40s and 50s due to the popularity of penicillin type drugs. But, in 1963, doctors found that CS was good for destroying yeast infections and fungi.

The Forgotten Antibiotic

Since then, technology has come to the rescue of the forgotten Colloidal Silver. Instead of grinding up the silver into hard-to-use large particles like they did in the pre-war period, scientists found they could use electricity to break down the particles to as small as 1/10,000th of an inch - much smaller than you can see with the naked eye. This new silver is called "Electrically Generated Colloidal Silver" or EGCS. EGCS can now be taken orally or sprayed on a wound, burn or rash, and no shots are necessary.

A new surge of research began in 1970 when Dr. Carl Moyer, chairman of the Washington University Department of Surgery and his chief biochemists, Dr. L. Bretano and Dr. H. Margarf, received a federal grant to find better treatments for burn victims. Most of the antiseptics used for this purpose created more severe problems due to their poisonous nature. Antibiotics worked only for a while before the bacteria on the burnt skin developed immunity to the drugs. In addition, no antibiotic or antiseptic killed the most powerful bacteria known as Pseudomonas Earuginosa.

After reading some old medical research from the early 1900s, Dr. Margarf tried CS. He found that just a tiny amount of silver killed the Pseudomonas bacteria and allowed the burnt tissue to heal.

One of the problems found with silver in the early 1900s was that large amounts colored the skin blue-gray, a condition which was called "Argyria". This was due to the huge amounts doctors used over extended periods of time (years), and specifically because the silver that was used was not pure silver, but silver mixed with other metals. Today, there are no reports of Argyria associated with pure Colloidal Silver.

Germs Don't Become Immune to Silver

Using a very small amount of ultra fine particles of .999% pure silver, Dr. Bretano found it was the best burn antiseptic, and no matter how often it was used, it did not discolor the skin. Also, the bacteria did not develop immunity to the silver like they did to antibiotics, according to the results published in the journal, "Surgical Forum".

Clinical researchers at the VA hospitals in Syracuse, New York, confirmed that the new EGCS was 10 to 100 times stronger than the drugs formerly used to kill bacteria, but without being toxic.

Fungi can create major aggravations in life when they infect finger and toenails, skin, scalp and feet. The most common one is athlete's foot. In 1976, Dr. T.J. Berger found that EGCS was a powerful antifungal agent. One application of EGCS could stop fungi, such as athlete's foot, in it's tracks.

In 1977, Dr. William Foye showed that EGCS was great for dealing with tonsillitis, rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose), and conjunctivitis (pink eye and related eye infections.) Later researchers used EGCS to kill syphilis and malaria bacteria. Doctors in hospitals soothed varicose ulcer and bedsores with EGCS.

In 1978, Dr. Jim Powell wrote an article in Science Digest entitled, "Our Mightiest Germ Fighter," pointing out how much more powerful EGCS was than antibiotics.

Is EGCS Safe?

Dr. John Barltrop of the University of Toronto conducted toxicity tests on rats, giving them enormous amounts of EGCS. He found there were absolutely no toxic effects. The amount he gave the rats (1 cc of a solution of 300,000 ppm of EGCS) was equivalent to 7,500 times the amount other scientists found was the proper dose (10-40 ppm). The World Health Organization has stated, "It is unnecessary to recommend any health-based guidelines for silver as it is not hazardous to human health."

According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Poison Control Center, EGCS is considered harmless. Dr. Samuel Etris, a senior consultant at the Silver Institute, says there has never been any reports of allergenic, toxic or cancerous reactions to pure Colloidal Silver. The U.S. Government's Center for Diseases Control confirmed that fact in 1995.

How to use Colloidal Silver:
You can start by ingesting ¼ to 1 teaspoon twice a day in some juice or just straight (it has barely any taste). Put CS directly on burns, scrapes, cuts, infections, sunburn, sprains, etc. Drops in your eyes will sooth and heal almost immediately (dilute a small amount of CS in an equal amount of distilled water for eye use). Put drops in ears to stop ear infections (warm up slightly first). Add to food when canning, preserving or bottling. Use as a gargle for sore throat. Spray or drops in nose can stop infections and allergic reactions. Can stop toothaches and tooth infections. Soak dentures. Excellent for diapers and diaper rash.

Keep in cool, dark place, but not refrigerated.

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