Colloidal Silver: An Alternative To Antibiotics
October 11, 2011 by Bob Livingston
The use of colloidal silver to battle infection was well-established long before mainstream doctors turned to antibiotics as their primary weapons against harmful microbes. In the early part of the 20th Century, colloidal silver was a crucial weapon in the medical battle against a wide range of diseases.
When research scientists first discovered antibiotics in the 1940s and doctors began to administer these pharmaceutical drugs, the new medicines were thought to be superior to treatments like colloidal silver. For the pharmaceutical companies, antibiotics, initially, seemed to be fail-safe: They wiped out life-threatening pathogens and they could be patented. That meant they produced satisfied doctors and patients while generating resounding profits for big drug companies.
Today, however, antibiotics are showing signs of having outlived their usefulness. Bacteria have learned how to fight back against the germ-killing properties of these pharmaceuticals. As a result, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now widespread. And drug companies have had a hard time coming up with new antibiotics to reliably take the place of the older, ineffective drugs.
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has spurred a resurgence of interest in antimicrobials like colloidal silver. Because colloidal silver can’t be patented and sold for huge sums like prescription drugs, deep pocketed drug companies have not performed expensive clinical trials to prove its effectiveness. At the same time, as you might expect, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the handmaiden of Big Pharma, officially disapproves of colloidal silver.
But, of course, the FDA disapproves of any inexpensive alternative to the overpriced wares offered by the pharmaceutical giants.
Ironically, Albert Searle, who founded the drug company that later evolved into Merck, performed a great deal of research on colloidal silver and its benefits against infection. As Warren Jefferson notes in the book Colloidal Silver Today, Searle wrote that colloidal silver has “…the advantage of being rapidly fatal to the parasites—both bacterial and otherwise— without any toxic action on the host.” Searle also believed it was useful for tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, impetigo, leg ulcerations, eczema, dysentery and boils.
No one is quite sure how silver kills pathogenic bacteria. It is possible that it inhibits the enzymes microbes depend on for survival. Some researchers believe that microbes naturally attract particles suspended in the colloidal silver, and the accumulation of these particles causes their death. Still other scientists hypothesize that silver interferes with bacterial reproduction, disrupts their membranes and inhibits the functions within the cells. It also may boost the body’s own immune defenses, making them more potent in destroying invading microbes.
Mark Stengler, in his book The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies, writes that he uses colloidal silver for the internal and external treatment of acute infections. He also uses it as an antifungal and antiparasitic agent, giving it to patients internally for infections of the digestive tract. Other holistic doctors, he says, use colloidal silver for the long-term treatment of Lyme disease.
Some experts have warned that overuse of protein-bound silver compounds leads to the gray skin discoloration known as argyria. However, you do not run this risk with most colloidal silver preparations, since they are available as a homeopathic treatment. These homeopathic preparations produce the same medicinal benefits without affecting skin tone.