Silver has been known to mankind for over 5 thousand years as a powerful natural antimicrobial agent. All known civilizations have used silver to treat and prevent diseases.
Since ancient times, humanity has used the antimicrobial properties of silver in the manufacture of household items. Thanks to its disinfecting effect, water or milk stored in silver jugs remained fresh for a long time even in hot weather. The Romans stored wine in silver containers, the Druids used silver to store food, and the Chinese emperors ate with silver chopsticks to maintain their health. Silver has been traditionally used in folk medicine in Eastern countries for more than a thousand years. The first American settlers threw silver coins into it to store milk along the way. In church ceremonies, it is no coincidence that silver cups are used for communion – this prevents the spread of infections among parishioners. In addition, silver’s excellent antibacterial properties have been used for centuries to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases. Mention of its medicinal use can be found in the writings of the ancient Egyptians. Avicena used silver filings as a blood purifier. Paracelsus used silver nitrate as a cleansing and cauterizing agent to treat wounds, a practice that continues today.
In modern times, one of the first contributions to the medical use of silver was made by James Sims (1813–1883). Convinced of the healing properties of silver, he began to use thin silver wire to suture wounds. Sims became the first American surgeon to achieve international fame. He toured Europe to demonstrate his successful methods. The use of silver sutures was one of his major contributions to surgery.
The next contribution was made in 1880 by Dr. CarlSiegmundFranzCrede, a German obstetrician, who introduced the use of 1-2% silver nitrate solution as eye drops to prevent gonorrheal ophthalmia in newborn infants. Following its success, this method was widely adopted throughout the world and persisted until the introduction of modern antibiotics.
The study of the disinfecting properties of silver began at the end of the 19th century, at which time the first medical silver-containing preparations were obtained. As a result of systematic research, silver was found to be an effective antimicrobial agent for almost all single-celled organisms (at least 650 species), and after the discovery of viruses, silver’s antiviral activity was discovered.
At the beginning of the 20th century, colloidal silver preparations, consisting of small particles of silver suspended in a liquid, appeared commercially. Such drugs were distributed as drugs registered for sale in pharmacies, under the brands Collargol, Argyrol, and Protargol. Over a fifty-year period, their use has become widespread. These products have been used by doctors to treat various diseases caused by bacterial infections.
By the 40s of the last century, there were about four dozen different silver compounds that were used for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
Before the use of antibiotics in the 40s of the last century, silver and its compounds remained the most powerful antimicrobial drug.
Recently, the antimicrobial properties of silver have again begun to attract attention. This is due to the increase in allergic complications of antibacterial therapy, the toxic effect of antibiotics on internal organs and suppression of the immune system, the occurrence of fungal infections of the respiratory tract and dysbiosis after long-term antibacterial therapy, as well as the emergence of resistant strains of pathogens to the antibiotics used.
Colloidal silver effectively fights the cells of pathogenic microorganisms and at the same time does not cause harm to the cells of mammals, including humans, and is an integral component of the tissues of the human body (large amounts are found in the brain, nuclei of nerve cells, glands of the endocrine system, iris of the eyes and is a component of bones), does not create toxic compounds in the body, does not cause pathogenic changes, and does not lead to addiction. The normal content of silver in the human body strengthens the heart, improves vision, helps with urological diseases, supports and stimulates the immune and nervous systems.
A lack of silver can lead to a decrease in the body’s protective functions, the development of cancer and premature aging.