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What’s the history of colloidal silver in medicine?

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The first use of colloidal silver for medical reasons was by a surgeon in 1891, who used it to clean wounds. In the years that followed, some doctors believed that if you swallowed colloidal silver, it could cure a range of conditions like stomach ulcers, mental illness, and epilepsy. It got more popular until the 1940s, when doctors started using antibiotics instead. Today, you’ll see it marketed and sold as a dietary supplement.

Your body doesn’t need silver. It isn’t an essential mineral.

But many companies market colloidal silver supplements as cure-all products. They claim it can boost your immune system, ease chest congestion, and treat or prevent viral infections like the common cold or COVID-19. You might also hear that colloidal silver helps treat conditions like cancer, HIV and AIDS, shingles, herpes, or eye problems. But these statements are not backed by research.

Silver is an ingredient in some treatments you put on your skin, such as bandages or creams that treat burns, wounds, or skin infections. But unlike colloidal silver supplements that you take by mouth or inject into a vein, these skin treatments are approved by the FDA.

SOURCES:

Harvard Medical School: “Taking Silver could give you the blues,” “Silver Supplement Warnings,” “How to boost your immune system.”

Antibiotics : “Antimicrobial Silver in Medicinal and Consumer Applications: A Patent Review of the Past Decade (2007-2017).”

Mayo Clinic: “My dad takes colloidal silver for his health, but is it safe?”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Colloidal Silver.”

Journal of Wound Care : “Colloidal Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent: Fact or Fiction?”

Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology : “Use of Silver Nanoparticles in HIV Treatments Protocols: A Research Proposal.”

Journal of Applied Microbiology: “The silver lining: towards the responsible and limited use of silver.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 23, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Medical School: “Taking Silver could give you the blues,” “Silver Supplement Warnings,” “How to boost your immune system.”

Antibiotics : “Antimicrobial Silver in Medicinal and Consumer Applications: A Patent Review of the Past Decade (2007-2017).”

Mayo Clinic: “My dad takes colloidal silver for his health, but is it safe?”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Colloidal Silver.”

Journal of Wound Care : “Colloidal Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent: Fact or Fiction?”

Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology : “Use of Silver Nanoparticles in HIV Treatments Protocols: A Research Proposal.”

Journal of Applied Microbiology: “The silver lining: towards the responsible and limited use of silver.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 23, 2020

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