Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Colloidal Silver, Part One: Backstory

Coming soon:
- Colloidal Silver, Part Two: Explanation
- Colloidal Silver, Part Three: Homebrew
- Colloidal Silver, Part Four: Results

[ Disclaimer: Any time you write about something related to health and medicine, it seems you need a disclaimer. So here's mine. I am not a doctor. I am not an expert. I cannot be responsible for what you do or don't do. I am not making any claims, nor selling a product. Be careful, be reasonable, be intelligent. Do your own research. I'm just hear to share some experiences. Insert all the standard disclaimers here: Void where prohibited. Not a Flying Toy. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. ]

If you've never heard of colloidal silver, or if you've heard of it but don't know much about it, you're right where I was a few months back. In my ongoing quest to transition from semi-normal everyman to certified nut-bucket, I bring you this four-part series.

Colloidal silver is old-time medicine - pre-World War II. It's been used as an antibiotic (both topical and internal), antifungal, antiviral. And the first thing to keep in mind that a hundred years ago, infectious diseases like pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis were the leading cause of death.

Also, while silver sulfadiazine and silver nitrate are still used medicinally, colloidal silver has been demoted to "supplement" status. Improper use can give you a condition called argyria, which will give your skin and soft tissues a permanent gray hue. The FDA says this about human use, and this about use on livestock. (Surely, the FDA is immune to outside influence.)

On the flip side, proponents say colloidal silver will solve anything from a runny nose to stinky feet. In fact, you can probably find somebody out there who will tell you it cures AIDS, autism, bird flu, cancer, and anything else you want to name. Let's just say I don't plan on any such tests.

But back to the story.

Starting last fall, I developed a nagging cough that just wouldn't go away. After two weeks of coughing to the point of having a constant headache, I went to the doctor. She gave me amoxicillin and some cough syrup with codeine. Neither really helped at much, other than the codeine making me sleepy. Color me not surprised.

After 10 days of starter antibiotics, and another week after that with no improvement, I figured a Z-pack (zithromax) was next. (It was.) I didn't have especially high hopes, since it seems like antibiotics are becoming less effective every day. And I wasn't really convinced it was bacterial anyway, though a virus doesn't normally hang on so tenaciously.

So in the meantime, I did a some reading, asked around a bit, and decided to buy a little jar of colloidal silver from the local herbal store. For $16.98 I was the proud owner of two ounces of this reputed cure-all. Ouch. But if it worked, it'd be worth it.

It seemed to work. After six weeks of frustration, the cough went away. Maybe my immune system finally kicked in. Maybe the Z-pack deserves some credit. Or the placebo effect. I didn't much care.

But I got interested enough in colloidal silver to give it another chance. One problem: The price. $8.49 per fluid ounce is a bit steep.

Well, it turns out that with a few inexpensive bits and pieces, you can make it yourself. (You can also spend a hundred bucks to buy a "generator", but that didn't seem practical to me.) So I bought a book to fill in some details for me.

Next up: Colloidal Silver, Part Two: Explanation




At 1/17/2008 1:38 AM, Blogger tina f. said...

Before you get too into it, make sure you check this out (in case you haven't already heard about this guy):

At 1/17/2008 4:38 AM, Blogger Robbyn said...

We've read about using colloidal silver and it seems there is a way to make it where the "blues" won't happen...we've used it several times and it seemed to have a positive effect in clearing up sinus infections. I'm just a bit cautious about using it sparingly, though I hear of people that drink it by the tablespoon or more several times a day. I'm interested in your parts 2 and 3...

At 1/17/2008 3:06 PM, Blogger Ornery's Wife said...

We are sold on the benefits, but use Nature's Sunshine at $20.oo for 4 oz., it is pure, without any alloys, has no known side effects, can be used indefinitely and depending on the dosage reputedly cures everything from bubonic plague to malaria. We have used it in our dog's water for several months and almost eradicated the cough she'd had for over a year. You can put it in your ear to kill an ear infection, use it on tooth decay to kill infection there, etc.

I have never heard of making your own, but I suppose if you were patient and smart enough it could be done. The patent number for the NSP Silver Shield is 7135195, and you can go to the US Patent office and read all the claims, which must be substantiated to receive the patent. I am always leaving comments for people about it. It really is amazing stuff.

Hope you took some probiotics to help offset all those antibiotics and build back the good microflora in your intestines.

At 1/17/2008 3:07 PM, Blogger Ornery's Wife said...

I meant you could go to their website to read about the patent. Oops.

At 1/17/2008 10:59 PM, Blogger e4 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/17/2008 11:22 PM, Blogger e4 said...

[Had to make some corrections to my previous comment...]

Yeah, there is some risk of turning blue (or gray). But everything I can find says that that happens only with prolonged exposure to very high concentrations. (More on argyria in another post.) That guy said he's been taking it for fourteen years!

Personally, I'm treating it like any other medicine or supplement. I'm not clear on whether CS would work differently from other antibacterial (or antifungal or antiviral) substances, but it seems like overuse could lead to resistant pathogens. Reason enough to not overdo it.

I know that in horticulture, the so-called Bordeaux mix (copper sulfate + hydrated lime) has been used in vineyards for a century without resistant fungal strains developing. But I don't know if anybody's figured out why.

But still, between turning blue and risking decreased effectiveness, small doses (especially internal) seem prudent. Not using it at all is definitely an option.

In any case, if anybody out there turns blue after reading this, don't blame me. See the disclaimer. Remember, I'm just some guy writing a blog.

At 1/20/2008 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are going to use this stuff, please purchase it only from a manufacturer that you have a high degree of confidence in. FDA laboratory studies have found that the amount of silver in some product samples has varied from 15.2% to 124% of the amount listed on the product labels. There are benefits and risks to this product. Do some careful research before you try it.


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