Silver has been used to heal infections for thousands of years. It is currently commonly used in alternative medicine in its colloidal form suspended in water as a broad spectrum treatment for infections with bacteria, viruses and fungi in both humans and animals.
A recently published scientific study led by James Collins of Boston University has confirmed this usage by showing how silver ions disrupt and ultimately kill bacteria by increasing the permeability of their cellular membranes.
The Mainstream Meets Silver
It looks like silver may finally start to hit the mainstream when it comes to its long known medicinal properties as an antibiotic, although silver nitrate drops have been used for years by medical doctors and midwives to prevent conjunctivitis in the eyes of newborns. Silver containing ointments have also been used medically to prevent infection when treating burn victims.
Silver nitrate drops and ointments are one thing, but this new scientific revelation could turn out to be revolutionary in terms of supporting a new frontier for silver’s use in medicine, not only by itself, but also in conjunction with existing antibiotics to make them even more effective.
Furthermore, the toxicity of silver is remarkably low in comparison with other metals, although a few cases of people’s skin turning a pale blue grey color due to excessive use — a rare condition known as argyria — have been reported.
A Review of Silver’s Additional Medical Uses
Demand for silver in medicine is definitely on the increase, as the need grows and the sick get sicker. Silver has potential antibiotic properties that make it especially valuable in fighting strains of bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics.
A classic example is the especially worrisome Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MSRA bacteria that colloidal silver has been shown to kill efficiently. The legionella bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease is also susceptible to treatment with silver.
In addition to its use in wound healing for burn victims and the eyes of newborns, silver has also been used to sterilize surfaces such as door knobs, bathrooms, catheters, scrubs and even sometimes in clothing.
Colloidal silver has become increasingly popular as an orally and topically administered antibiotic among alternative medicine practitioners. It is relatively inexpensive, it can be made at home with simple equipment and it has remarkably low toxicity.
Furthermore, colloidal silver acts on a broad spectrum of infectious agents, thereby making tests to identify the specific agent unnecessary before treatment is initiated.
Health Care and Big Pharma’s Influence on Silver
Although Big Pharma had largely ignored or even actively discouraged the use of silver in medicine due to its inability to be patented and profited from, even they may finally be embracing the ancient medicine to make their chemically created products more effective.
Nevertheless, many alternative medical practitioners would question the motives behind using any other product than colloidal silver when treating an infection due to its long proven efficacy and safety in such cases.
The sad irony is that because of both the inefficiency and the litigiousness surrounding health care and standard of care, silver’s medical use will likely expand into areas where it is not necessarily needed, perhaps having a negative environmental impact.
What this all means for the silver market is that the medical industry is quickly becoming the equivalent of a new industrial user for silver. This new study potentially allows pharmaceutical companies an opportunity to expand the life of older generation branded antibiotics to which bacteria have become increasingly resistant.
All in all, the rapidly growing medical market for silver is creating yet another small engine to help drive silver’s demand curve. Furthermore, perhaps because of silver’s lingering demand as a monetary metal, other uses for silver often seem overlooked by mainstream observers who have just as much understanding of its various uses as they do about its farcical price discovery and seem utterly detached from the underlying supply and demand fundamentals that should be driving its price.