Colloidal silver — it may sound like the name of a 70’s hair band, but it’s actually a somewhat forgotten immunity booster that might help you stay healthy this cold and flu season. Colloidal silver refers to microscopic particles of silver that have been dispersed and suspended into a substance, typically water, soap, or cream. When colloidal silver solutions became the “it” supplement in the 1990s, I admit I didn’t buy into the hype. Back then there were claims that colloidal silver benefits cured everything from warts to HIV. C’mon! Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is, right? Only recently did I give colloidal silver soap a try after spending bags of money on prescription and OTC medications, trying to rid myself of the meanest case of pityriasis rosea known to man or beast. Pityriasis rosea is a harmless, non-contagious, but itchy rash thought to be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection. Even untreated, it typically goes away in about ten weeks. After ten months of irritating breakouts, I gave up on my MD’s recommendations and tried several natural remedies that all seemed to help a little. One more late-night internet search led me to colloidal silver soap.
After only two uses of the soap, I noticed there were no new breakouts on my chest or legs, the hardest-to-clear areas. Within a few weeks all of those nasty little red bumps were gone, and I haven’t had a single flare-up since I started using the soap three months ago. Now I can’t say colloidal silver soap is a miracle cure for pityriasis rosea; maybe the rash had just finally run its course and the timing was coincidental. Who knows? But, my good results certainly led me to a closer examination of the supplement I pooh-poohed twenty years ago.
The use of silver as medicine has a reasonably long pedigree in modern medicine. It was first documented by French surgeon Dr. Carl Crede, who practiced medicine in the mid-to-late 1800s. Crede was among the first to use silver nitrate to reduce eye infections in newborns and to prevent wound infections. Colloidal silver really broke into the supplement market in the early 1990s when a technological breakthrough made it possible to produce convenient, stable, and effective colloidal silver with an almost infinite shelf life. On his website, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards explains that many wild claims and unsupported “science” did sully the reputation of colloidal silver. Add this to the fact that not all products are of the same quality, and it’s easy to understand why consumers might be suspicious of the safety and veracity of colloidal silver benefits. Richards takes a “baby with the bath water” approach and cautions about overuse (not for daily consumption, don’t ingest for longer than two weeks), but still he advocates the use of colloidal silver for immune support. Richards recommends taking the supplement at the onset of any “bug” to prevent or decrease symptoms.
Colloidal Silver Benefits and Warnings
The FDA is not as open-minded as Richards or many other nutritionists and holistic medical professionals who recommend colloidal silver to their clients. The FDA classifies colloidal silver as “possibly unsafe” to ingest, use topically, or intravenously. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are cautioned against the use of the product in any form, as increased silver levels during pregnancy are linked to abnormal development of the fetus and an irreversible skin discoloration, known as argyria, which turns skin a bluish hue. If too much silver accumulates in the organs, severe damage can occur.
Despite these serious warnings the potential colloidal silver benefits are many and include:
• Antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties
• Skin Care
• Wound Care
• Sinusitis treatment
• Fighting common infections such as pink eye or ear infection
• Immune system support to fight colds and flu
• Antiviral treatment
Purchasing Colloidal Silver
CS is available at nearly every health food store and at hundreds of Internet retailers. As with many supplements, labels can be vague and confusing. Be aware there are three types of products typically marketed as colloidal silver: ionic silver, silver protein, and true colloidal silver. Only one of these products is the real thing. Ionic silver and silver protein may offer their own benefits, but should not be confused with true colloidal silver. Look for those words on the label. The quality of the substance that colloidal silver is suspended into also matters. Any soap or cream should be made of high-quality natural ingredients. Liquid products are usually made from distilled and/or ozonized water without stabilizers or other additives. Of course, always consult a health care professional for dosage and usage instructions.