Silver’s antimicrobial and bactericidal properties have been known for over a thousand years. A colloid is a solution in which particles of submicroscopic size are dispersed at small ranges in a substance, known as the medium. Silver ions used in colloidal silver have a 2+ charge, making them repel each other and remain as a solution. The substance in which ions are dispersed is either pure or de-ionized water.
Civilizations of the past were well educated in the uses and benefits of silver. Early Greeks and Romans produced water containers and household utensils from silver in order prevent bacterial and fungal growth. They believed that infections couldn’t be transmitted from one person to the next by drinking from a silver cup. Interestingly, tableware is still referred to as “silverware”, despite being manufactured from stainless steel. Historically, silver coins were placed inside milk to prevent it from going off, and food containers were made of silver
Until the 1970s, scientists used silver to sterilize their petri dishes, by placing a silver coin. The most prominent use of silver was by royal families, who ate and drank from silver instruments. They used such instruments so that, over time, the silver would wear away and be consumed with their food or drink, and they would gain the benefits of silver. Common folk who used utensils made of earthenware were ill more often than royalty.
By 19th century, colloidal silver was being used in medical and veterinary settings to battle infectious microorganisms. This carried through to the early 1900s, when modern antibiotics were taking their early steps to becoming standard treatment for infections.
It was common for adults to drink 1-2 tablespoons, roughly 20ml, of silver water first thing in the day. Kids would take 1-2 teaspoons, which is about 10ml. The water would then be held sublingually (under the tongue), for 30s before being swallowed. After a few days, flu-like symptoms and diarrhea would develop, and when these subsided, people reported feeling good as new!
As time has passed following the advent of patented antibiotics, silver water has been all but forgotten. However, antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, whereas silver is effective against all types of pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts). Pharmaceutical companies focus their efforts on medicines that can be patented and used for financial gains, for example, penicillin. This is probably why people hear less about silver, and more about the medicines these companies want to sell.
There have been, however, research papers produced that highlight the benefits of silver water. In 2007, over 2300 such papers were published. As such, silver is now returning in more forms than one – paper towels, deodorant, mattresses, refrigerators and water purifiers.