Colloidal Silver – History & Uses

I referenced colloidal silver in my last blog about onions and thought I’d do a blog on its use.  I first heard about and started using it about 15 years ago and continue using it.  Atypically I will use it when I feel something like a sore throat or any type of infection coming on.  As I mentioned in the blog on onions, I used it specifically to treat a very bad infection in my mouth that was calling for me to see a surgeon and have two teeth extracted.

History of Colloidal Silver

There is some evidence to show early Egyptian use of colloidal silver, the physicians of the 2nd century Roman emperor, Aurelius, are credited with the introduction of mineral substances into common medical practices.  Our widely accepted western medical practices of allopathy and homeopathy grew from this area. (The Complete Herbalist; Dr. O. Phelps Brown, [c. 1920] p. 5.)

In the 12th century only the Moors and Arabs maintained metallic oxides in their catalogue of remedies, as Europe had been in its Dark Ages since the 8th century.  The alchemic art was in due course, slowly transferred from Arabia to Europe.  After the Reformation, medical professorships were established at Oxford, Cambridge and London, also in Florence.  In the 16th century a Swiss-German born physician and alchemist, Paracelsus declared he had found the philosopher’s stone with the introduction of his “Elixir Vitae”.

The use of mercury and antimony, its components, are now hotly debated.  It was in England’s academic setting of the late 1600’s when Boyle set the alchemists straight, stating chemistry was

“not the manufacture of solid gold nor liquid nostrums, nor gaseous theories, but an investigation into the change of properties which bodies experience in their action upon each other.”

In the 1700’s the evolution of chemistry as a science had begun, however physicians had little more knowledge concerning the nature of disease than Hippocrates of 3000 years prior. (p. 7 The Complete Herbalist)

  • Macedonians were known to cover wounds with silver plates
  • Japanese had an ancient practice of plunging a red-hot silver rod into water, thereby forming hydrous silver oxide
  • colloidal silver was used during the Russo-Japanese war
  • 1840 Italian scientists drew attention to solutions in which crystalline substances were dissolved
  • 1860 English chemist Graham coined the word “colloid” from the Greek term meaning flue and the study of colloids began in earnest, nearly becoming a branch of chemistry in its own right

==>Definition of Colloid & Colloidal Dispersion

Colloid is defined as a particle invisible to the naked eye, which instead of dissolving, is held in suspension. (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary)

Colloidal dispersion (defined in Taber’s) is defined as being common in plant and animal tissues, the protoplasm of cells being a colloidal mixture.  Particles of colloidal dispersions are too large to pass through cell membranes and as such, dispersions usually appear cloudy (8th ed.).

  • 1869 a scientist/mountaineer named Tyndall noticed cloudy nature of glacial runoff. On studying this he noticed a particular phenomenon in conjunction with light.  The light beam, when passed through a colloidal solution actually had the effect of becoming a glowing cone.  Today this is used as a simple, standard test for showing colloids in solution.
  • 1896 a Frenchman, Crede, released a publication of studies that sparked interest of many French scientists who began to study colloidal silver and its effects (p. 65 Colloids)
  • 1901-1910 Germans offered several study reviews on colloidal silver. (p. 365 Colloids)
  • 1903 – with invention of ultramicroscope, proof of the existence of colloidal particles allowed for rapid development of colloidal chemistry.
  • 1905 – Noyes characterized two classes of colloids which in that year Perrin called:
    • hydrophilic – meaning not easily coagulated, and
    • hydrophobic – meaning easily coagulable.  It is this latter category where colloidal silver falls.
  • 1908 – Freundlich and Neumann applied the terms that to them seemed more comprehensible, “lyophilic” and “lyop hobic”.
    • “lyosol” has a Greek root meaning “to dissolve,” which is why it is used in dealing with colloids in solution.  Hence the early brand name “Lysol”.

==>1900’s America & Colloidal Silver

  • early 1900’s were heyday of colloidal silver’s popularity, world-wide
  • 1930’s – quality control became an issue in medicine and soon after we saw creation of the Food & Drug Administration
  • 1938 – FDA was enacted. Colloidal silver was authorized as an:

“over the counter” drug, having been grandfathered in by virtue of its existence in Americas’ pharmacopoeia for decades. It was all that was available for a long time,but it fluctuated in quality and was too expensive for most.

History of FDA in the USA

  • 1820 Eleven doctors set up the U.S. Pharmacopeia and record the first list of standard drugs.
  • 1848 Drug Importation Act passed by Congress requires U.S. Customs Service inspection to stop entry of tainted, low quality drugs from overseas.
  • 1883 Dr. Harvey W. Wiley becomes the chief chemist at the Bureau of Chemistry’s food adulteration studies.
  • 1905 The American Medical Association (AMA) begins a voluntary program of drug approval that would last until 1955. In order to advertise in the AMA and related journals, drug companies must show proof that the drug will treat what they claim.
  • 1906 The original Food and Drug Act is passed by Congress on June 30 and signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Act outlaws states from buying and selling food, drinks, and drugs that have been mislabeled and tainted.
  • 1930 The name of the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration is shortened to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an agricultural appropriations act.
  • 1933 FDA recommends a total rewrite of the out-of-date 1906 Food and Drugs Act.
  • 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide, contain the poisonous liquid, diethylene glycol, kills 107 persons, many of whom are children, dramatizing the need to establish drug safety before marketing and to pass the pending food and drug law.
  • 1938 Congress passes The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act of 1938, which requires that new drugs show safety before selling. This starts a new system of drug regulation. The Act also requires that safe limits be set for unavoidable poisonous matter and allows for factory inspections.
    • The Federal Trade Commission is given power to oversee advertising for all FDA regulated products except prescription drugs.
    • FDA states that sulfanilamides and other dangerous drugs must be given under the direction of a medical expert. This begins the requirement for prescription only (nonnarcotic) drugs (see 1951 Durham-Humphrey amendment).

Antibiotics & Colloidal Silver – Today

Uses of Colloidal SilverThen came the patented and thereby expensive antibiotics.  It appears this started in or around the late 1930’s early 1940’s.  It’s been downhill ever since.

From a look at the history of the FDA (found on the government web site) it looks like the use of colloidal silver started to get its “bad reputation” about the time “regulations” started to come about for the “prescribing of medication” by a doctor only.

Penicillin was introduced in the 1940’s.  It came in and colloidal silver got its walking papers. No longer would you or I be able to walk into a store and get an over-the-counter, less expensive, remedy like colloidal silver to use in circumstances that we now obtain penicillin by prescription for treatment.

==>Penicillin History c. 1940’s

The web site provides the following general information:

The introduction of penicillin in the 1940s, which began the era of antibiotics, has been recognized as one of the greatest advances in therapeutic medicine. The discovery of penicillin and the initial recognition of its therapeutic potential occurred in the United Kingdom, but, due to World War II,

the United States played the major role in developing large-scale production of the drug, thus making a life-saving substance in limited supply into a widely available medicine.

Think About This

==>In Less Than 100 Years Penicillin Loses Effect

And, here we are today folks, a world dependent upon big pharma for all kinds of prescription medications.  One that had done so well, penicillin, isn’t working as it once did, if at all, and it is because it was so freely prescribed, possibly on occasions when it was not needed, and the bugs and bacteria etc. built up a resistance, so that when we really need it, it doesn’t work.   And this, after only about 80 years of the use of penicillin.

==>In More Than 2000 Years Colloidal Silver Continues Effective

I could not find any reports that colloidal silver ever failed to do what it was intended to do.

Proven Benefits of Colloidal Silver

The following list of eight common uses and benefits of colloidal silver was located on the web site of Dr. Axe, Food & Medicine at, and is copied verbatim.

I can tell you personally that the assertions in #’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are true, because I have used colloidal silver for each, with positive results.  The only reason I do include number 8 is that I have not had pneumonia since I started using colloidal silver.


By having a direct effect on cellular respiration, colloidal silver benefits the body in numerous ways. There are, however, eight proven healing properties that I consider to be particularly supported by the medical literature.

1. Antibacterial

First, colloidal silver’s ability to control antibiotic-resistant superbugs is astonishing. While employed at UCLA Medical School in the 1980s, Larry C. Ford, MD, documented over 650 different disease-causing pathogens that were destroyed in minutes when exposed to small amounts of silver. (6)

Colloidal silver, unlike its modern prescription antibiotic counterpart, simply doesn’t create resistance or immunity in the organisms that are killed by it. This point cannot be emphasized enough, especially in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reporting that more than 2 million people in the U.S. suffer illness every year as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections and 23,000 die from these infections. (7)

2. Wound Care/Skin Health

Robert O. Becker, MD, says that colloidal silver stimulates healing in the skin and other soft tissues. (8) In a research article produced by Pharmacognosy Communications in 2012, it was specifically recommended that certain colloidal silver preparations should be considered for topical use to treat burns, thrush, periodontitis and other conditions. (9)

For instance, you can treat ringworm (Tinea capitis) at home with colloidal silver because it’s a potent anti-fungal. Caused by a fungus that lives on the top layer of the skin, ringworm presents as round, scaly patches. It’s contagious and spread by skin contact and by contaminated materials, such as clothing.

Colloidal silver benefits many skins conditions such as psoriasis and eczema as well. It’s soothing to scrapes and even repairs tissue damage from burns.

3. Pink Eye/Ear Infections 

Pink eye is an inflamed mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and eyelid lining, and it’s primarily caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Colloidal silver can be used for prompt action against this irritating and highly infectious virus and bacteria.

When applied on the infected eye, the tiny silver colloids pick up the infected cells by attracting them electromagnetically and sending them into the bloodstream to be eliminated. Our modern prescription antibiotic drugs are designed to work against specific classes of bacteria, but ear infections may be caused by multiple classes of bacteria or can even be fungal.

In this case, the prescription antibiotic will be useless, whereas colloidal silver is effective regardless of what may be causing your infection.

4. Antiviral

Colloidal silver benefits can be experienced as an anti-viral for HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, herpes, shingles and warts. Dr. Martin Hum, from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, lists colloidal silver as one of the natural remedies to stop viruses fast. (10)

Colloidal silver suffocates the virus and can even reduce the activity of the HIV virus in AIDS patients. There are also numerous anecdotal accounts of colloidal silver’s efficacy against the hepatitis C virus.

5. Anti-Inflammatory

Colloidal silver is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory remedy. Case in point: Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the effects of inflammation after being treated by colloidal silver; they found that the inflamed skin of pigs treated with silver experienced near-normal skin after 72 hours, while other treatment groups not treated with silver remained inflamed. (11)

Research is beginning to reflect what many people have already known anecdotally for years — that colloidal silver can reduce swelling, speed healing, and boosts cell recovery!

6. Sinusitis

Widely used to control sinus infections, colloidal silver can benefit people as a nasal spray, according to a study published in the International Forum for Allergy and Rhinology last year. (14)

Specifically shown to kill Staph aureus, you can add a few drops of silver in a “neti pot” or by applying directly into your nasal cavity and letting it drain down your throat by tilting your head back.

Also, it’s important to point out that recent research indicates that hidden infections by pathogens could be a cause of respiratory inflammation associated with common allergies and asthma. Colloidal silver destroys Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, which may be the reason why airborne allergy sufferers often find such dramatic relief from colloidal silver.

7. Cold/Flu

Some claim that colloidal silver helps prevent all types of flu, including swine flu, as well as the common cold. (15)

Few studies have been done to test this clinically, but in 2011 the NIH took 100 children under the age of 12 suffering from the common cold and nasal congestion and assigned them into two groups; the first group was treated with a solution of colloidal silver and beta glucan, and the second group with saline solution. Even though both groups benefited from the treatment, 90% of the people in the colloidal silver group completely recovered! (16)

8. Pneumonia 

Our modern drugs have become limited in their efficacy when it comes to fighting bronchitis or pneumonia. Typically, antibiotics are administered as the first line of defense, but when the pneumonia is viral, antibiotics won’t help in the least. The nice thing about colloidal silver is that it can help regardless of the pathogen.

Colloidal silver is a remarkable product to help fight against bronchitis and pneumonia when ingested internally, but an even more effective way to utilize it? Simply breathe it into your lungs.

This way, the silver directly contacts the germs residing in the lungs, which are causing bronchitis or pneumonia. It’s basically the same thing as using respiratory support, and it works speedily, clearing it up within a couple of days.

Now, the most effective method to get the colloidal silver into the lungs is to use a nebulizer. Generally, use one teaspoon approximately three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.


2 thoughts on “Colloidal Silver – History & Uses

  1. I haven’t used colloidal silver since the late nineties to cure a sinus infection. We had a gallon of it. But due to not getting sick, it hung around in our fridge for ages until we finally dispensed with what was left of it, probably because of a move.

    I remember it being very effective. This was a very interesting article.


Comments are closed.