Colloidal Silver is simply silver ions and microscopic silver particles produced by electrolysis and suspended in distilled water. It is a mineral supplement that may provide support for your body's natural immune system. It should not be confused with old style silver medicines that contained chemically or mechanically powdered silver.
This modern form of Colloidal silver can be made at home using distilled water that costs just a few dollars for 4 litres.Silver when ingested in small 'trace' amounts has never presented any problems. 'Argyria' (grey skin) has only been caused by over consumption of very high strength silver.
The wine glass at left contains Colloidal Silver made in a Silver Well Generator. It measured over 40 uS on an EC meter but it's still crystal clear! You can see the TE of the same batch in our 'Making CS' page. Incidently this was made with inexpensive demineralised water - available everywhere.
Modern day Colloidal Silver is an electrolyte* of pure water, silver ions and microscopic particles. Strictly speaking only the particles are actually colloids** but 'colloidal silver' has become the common name for the ionic/particle mixture available at most health food stores in Australia. Both the ions and particles are beneficial.
The total silver content in colloidal silver (ions + particles) is usually between 5 and 30 parts per million. It can only be described as a mineral supplement. It is not an 'approved' pharmaceutical drug, (approval has never been sought), so it is illegal to make claims about its therapeutic (medical) effectiveness.
Many manufacturers of commercially bottled colloidal silver 'creatively' describe all sorts variations on the basic recipe in order to claim that their brand or process is new, or unique, or more effective, or patented. But don't be fooled. There is only one relevant ingredient in colloidal silver, and that of course is silver in the form of ions and particles. You cannot buy colloidal silver that is any more effective than the product you can make yourself.*An electrolyte is simply a liquid that will carry an electric current. In other words it is 'conductive'.
Ordinary tap water is a highly conductive electrolyte. But PURE water is non-conductive. The silver ions that dissolve off the silver electrodes make the pure water conductive.** A colloid is a particle that is so small it remains permanently in suspension and does not settle to the bottom of the jar. Although it is microscopically small, it is still a particle. It is not 'dissolved' - unlike the silver ion which IS actually dissolved. There's more about ions and particles on our 'Making CS. FAQ's' page.For more on the Chemistry of colloidal silver see link 15 on our links page.
What is it used for?
On this site we cannot make any statements that imply that colloidal silver is a medicine or a drug. We can't infer that it treats or cures any illnesses, diseases or medical conditions. Government Regulators consider that simply naming an illness implies treatment, so we can't repeat even the most common reasons people give for taking colloidal silver, or repeat their testimonials. We can only say that it is a mineral supplement that may provide support for your body's natural immune system.
Many users also spray it on, or use a CS gel, on cuts, stings, and burns. It is also used as a sinus spray or in a nebulizer or ultrasonic vaporiser. Travellers often use colloidal silver or portable colloidal silver generators to help sterilize drinking water. (Electrolytically dissolved colloidal silver was added as a disinfectant to the recycled drinking water supplies of Russian Mir space missions and the International Space Station. )Colloidal Silver is also highly praised as a pet health care product by dog, cat, horse and bird owners. (See link 14 on our links page).
How is it taken? And how much?
Usage varies greatly. Most often it is taken orally in doses of a few tablespoons per day, but many people (especially those who make their own) take significantly more. It is also used topically (externally), or inhaled via a nebulizer* or in a sinus spray. Colloidal silver is almost tasteless, and does not sting eyes or skin.
Experienced contributors to colloidal silver discussion groups commonly report taking up to 2 or 3 glasses of colloidal silver a day during times of special need. At other times a regular daily 'maintenance' dose might be just a mouthful in the morning, and maybe another one at bedtime. Your body is the best meter of how much you need to take to achieve your desired result.
This is important: The recommended method for taking colloidal silver is to hold each dose in the mouth for as long as possible before swallowing. .
This allows the silver ions and particles to be absorped sublingually. (i.e. through the skin beneath the tongue). A few sips taken this way is better than taking the whole dose in one mouthful. A good sublingual absorption routine increases CS effectiveness enormously! Gargling before swallowing can also help soothe a sore throat.Do not dilute colloidal silver with water or juice - it just reduces its effectiveness. (But see the 'Making CS' page for possible benefits of mixing it with Gatorade)
New users of colloidal silver should always start small, and work up to an effective dosage schedule. It is also recommended you drink plenty of plain water to help flush toxins from the body. (But don't drink a lot of water immediately after drinking CS as this could reduce stomach acidity and reduce CS absorption).
There is no such thing as a 'recommended daily dose' of colloidal silver based on scientific research. Many 'published' dosages of just a teaspoon or two a day are more likely to be based on an unwarranted fear of argyria or silver toxicity than on any credible research. Or the dosages are based on economics. (i.e. how to make a small expensive bottle last a month).
The at-home maker of good quality, clear, colloidal silver need have little concern with these issues.Many people have unrealistic expectations of the 'power of colloidal silver' and probably take too little, not too much. Don't expect tiny doses of colloidal silver to work miracles. As we said above, your body is the best meter of how much you need to take to achieve your desired result. If you are not achieving your desired outcome then perhaps you need to reconsider, and progressively increase, your dosage.
There are numerous reports of almost instant results from taking colloidal silver, but many (maybe most) people will need to take CS daily for at least a month to build up an effective silver level.* Note: Drinking CS is the most common method, but inhalation using a nebulizer or ultrasonic vaporiser is probably the most efficient and effective method of delivery of all.
I have read many reports of people safely using colloidal silver in nebulizers, with excellent results. Click here to download a pdf about Nebulizing CS. And... many people spray colloidal silver into their eyes. ."There was a study done some 9 or 10 years ago in England on how colds were transmitted. They took a number of people and exposed them to a solution containing Rhino Virus in various ways along with placebo controls. Ears, mouth, and nose exposures did not result in a cold.
None of these groups caught the cold. Eye exposure did. All eye subjects caught the cold. A timely squirt on hands and in eyes will go a long way towards prevention". (Quote from Ken Steckenrider.)
Does it work?
In July 2004 The Oxford Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy published research containing the following quote... "The antimicrobial activity of small amounts of metal, known as oligodynamic action, has been known for a long time and is the basis for the development of many therapeutic agents...
Recently, ionic silver substances have been resurging again in popularity. What makes silver unique in comparison with other antibiotics is the fact that it has no toxicity and carcinogenic activities.
And heres a list of over 100 more medical and scientific documents that prove that silver has antimicrobial properties. http://robholladay99.tripod.com/cs1.htm
The fact that silver kills germs has been so comprehensively proven in laboratory tests that no serious researcher now doubts it. And actual medical usage of silver for over 100 years has also proven the efficacy of silver in a wide range of real situations. For example, Silver Sulfadiazine cream is still one of the mainstays of treatment for serious burns victims as it helps prevent infection and promotes healing.
Plenty of research has proven beyond question that colloidal silver kills bacteria, fungi and viruses 'in-vitro', i.e in the laboratory. (e.g. see links 12 and 13 on our links page). It reportedly kills bacteria by disabling its ability to use or cope with oxygen.
Depending on type, the bacteria either oxidises or suffocates and dies within minutes. But does it work in the body? Millions of users around the world certainly think so. Sceptics find it hard to believe that something so simple, cheap, and easy to make, can be that effective.
Colloidal Silver Users Groups are also a good source of information and testimonials. (See our links page). Or go to Google or Yahoo and type in 'colloidal silver' followed by the name of the ailment you are interested in.Mainstream industry is slowly starting to embrace silver.
Band-aids are now available containing silver to 'promote healing and fight infection'. Washing machines and fridges are available with silver linings to kill germs. Socks, shoes and T-shirts are being made with silver impregnated fabrics to kill bacteria that causes odours.
Scientific and medical research is also re-discovering the anti-bacterial power of silver. But they don't call it ordinary old colloidal silver of course. (You can't patent that). So it's usually called something like "A cutting-edge nanoparticle breakthrough!" in any press releases.Heres over 60 pages of products using silver... Silverproducts.pdf
How is it made?
Modern Colloidal Silver is made by the process of electrolysis. Basically, electricity is applied to 2 silver wires that are suspended in pure water. The electrical current causes silver ions to be dissolved into the water. Some of these ions then combine to create microscopic silver particles (or colloids) that stay in suspension.Click the ANIMATION button at left for a description of the electrolytic process that creates colloidal silver.
It sounds too simple. Is it science or quackery?
Electrolysis is a long established electro-chemical process. The fact that silver is present in the water is beyond doubt - it is easily proven with very basic tests - so there is absolutely nothing magical, mystical or homeopathic about the colloidal silver product itself. Numerous laboratory tests have proven beyond doubt that silver kills bacteria. The question then simply becomes "How effective is it in the human system?"
Millions of users around the world have no doubt that it works for them. Most sites or persons who claim that colloidal silver is a fraud appear to have no personal experience with CS whatsover and are simply repeating the statements made by other doubters.
(If you've Googled 'colloidal silver' in Australian pages you' may have seen The Australian Skeptics site and the 'Bent Spoon Award'. It's worth reading just to see what a lame case they mount against Colloidal Silver. Here's an example... "A device that is claimed to produce colloidal silver (presumably the Hulda Clark colloidal silver maker) is an equally suspect gadget, its efficacy allegedly based on the supposed bactericidal capabilities of that substance.
Concentrated H2SO4 is also an effective bactericide, but we know of no one promoting its use in therapy—yet."Here's my response. H2SO4 is sulphuric acid so that's just a stupid and childish comparison. And what do they mean by "supposed bactericidal capabilities"? The fact that colloidal silver kills bacteria in laboratory tests has been proven so conclusively that not even Quackwatch, the ultra skeptic, disputes it.
So why do they find it inconceivable that it could do the same thing inside the human body? They don't really offer any actual evidence for their skepticism at all. They do have a big, and probably justified, whinge about the advertising practices of some alternative medicine promotors but that's no evidence that colloidal silver doesn't work.)
Is colloidal silver safe?
Silver when ingested in small 'trace' amounts has never presented any problems. 'Argyria' (grey skin) has only been caused by continuous over consumption of very high strength silver.Any reasonable examination shows that electrically isolated colloidal silver is remarkably safe. Electrolytic Colloidal Silver water has been available world wide in health food shops for about 20 years. Home-made CS has been around for even longer. There are very few stories of negative side effects.
The only real side effect to consider is Argyria. However, Argyria, or 'greying' of the skin caused by excess silver in the skin, is rare. Only 3 cases are named and adequately documented on the internet and in all 3 cases its clear they were not using collidal silver made with pure water. Two of the cases involved massive over-consumption for years of poorly made brews made with tap water and salt or baking soda. The other case was certainly not caused by modern colloidal silver water at all, but by over-use, 50 years ago, of silver nitrate nose drops - a product no longer available.
A few other unnamed cases are mentioned but these are usually mild and are usually caused by abuse of commercially available Very High PPM mild silver protein or by home-made colloidal silver that has incorrectly been brewed using tap water with a salt or baking soda additive.
There are no documented cases of argyria caused by sensible, moderate use of modern, electrically produced, clear, colloidal silver made with a low voltage, current controlled, generator using pure water*.
For more about the the supposed dangers of colloidal silver please read our 'Controversies' page.One possible side effect that new users of colloidal silver should be aware of is the Herxheimer Effect. This occasionally can occur if the colloidal silver (or any anti-biotic) works too quickly or the user takes too much, too fast. The remedy is simply to reduce or discontinue CS use.
More information is easily found by typing 'Herxheimer Effect' into Google or Yahoo. Also there are rare instances of people who are allergic to silver. They are usually already aware of this allergy as they are unable to wear silver jewellery.
Nevertheless, even a silver allergy does not automatically mean a user will also be allergic to the ionic silver that is the predominant form of silver in colloidal silver. Colloidal Silver discussion groups have members who claim to be allergic to silver but have no problem with colloidal silver. (Actually, genuine silver allergy is very rare. It is more often found to be an allergy to the nickel in 'Nickel Silver' - a substitute plating on cheaper silver jewellery.)
There is also a theory that colloidal silver, like antibiotics, may upset the balance of intestinal flora. There is little evidence or anecdotal support for this theory. Most long term CS users who take a relatively small daily 'maintenance dose' report they have experienced no symptoms that would indicate such a problem. Many researchers believe that colloidal silver is absorbed or neutralized well before it reaches the gut.
Nevertheless, taking probiotics such as yogurt or other acidophilus supplements is probably a good addition to anyone's diet. (*The chances of developing argyria from drinking good quality clear colloidal silver are slim. As far as we know it has never happened. But if it still worries you, it's believed the risk can be reduced even further by ensuring an adequate dietary intake of Selenium and Vitamin E. Selenium is an antioxidant trace mineral that is essential for good health. Brazil nuts are very high in Selenium so 1 nut a day should be more than adequate. (Don't overdo it). For more about the importance of selenium see this fact sheet at the US Office of Dietary Supplements. Selenium.)
Can silver cause cancer?
There are no medical reports of silver of any kind causing cancer in humans, either by ingestion, inhalation, injection, or contact.The following quotes come from the US Enviromental Protection Agency 'Risk Information System.'"No evidence of cancer in humans has been reported despite frequent therapeutic use of the compound over the years."....
"They concluded that finely divided silver powder injected i.m. does not induce cancer." .... "Further support for the lack of silver's ability to induce or promote cancer stems from the finding that, despite long standing and frequent therapeutic usage in humans, there are no reports of cancer associated with silver." .... "Silver nitrate was considered nonmutagenic in this assay." .... "Silver chloride was considered nonmutagenic in this assay."..... "Silver was not included as a metal of carcinogenic concern.".
Is silver toxic? Is silver a 'heavy metal'?
Silver has a long history of medicinal use. Silver is not generally considered to be toxic when ingested in moderate doses. In fact silver has a reputation for being incredibly safe. People have been eating and drinking from silver utensils for centuries with no negative side effects. (But maybe some positive ones). There is no firmly established level at which silver is known to cause illness so it is generally considered by most major authorities to be harmless unless taken in great excess.
The amount of silver consumed in a typical daily 'maintenance dose' of colloidal silver is tiny. (Less than half a milligram in 30 mls. A milligram is one thousandth of a gram). That low dose, combined with the low retention rate of silver in the body leads most colloidal silver researchers to believe it is physically impossible to drink enough 'low ppm' colloidal silver water to reach a dangerous level of silver toxicity.
When doing your own research on colloidal silver safety it is very important to understand there is a huge difference between modern 'electrically isolated' pure colloidal silver (also known as EIS) , and silver compounds such as silver nitate, silver chloride, and silver citrate which were found in old style medicines and when used excessively were occasionally found to cause cosmetic, but not life threatening, side effects.(See Link 9 on our links page for notes on the fast elimination rate and low retention of colloidal silver).
If it's so good, why don't big drug companies make it?
Drug companies don't, but many mineral supplement companies do. Even if was proven beyond doubt that CS performs miracles its unlikely any major company would market it, especially if it replaced some of their already popular and profitable patented products. To market a therapeutic drug requires clinical trials and government approval which costs many millions of dollars.
The formula and process for making CS is not patentable because it is already public knowledge, so gaining approval and marketing it under a famous brand would simply encourage more people to make their own colloidal silver at home.
What does PPM mean, and what PPM do I need?
PPM means 'parts per million' but this can be quite a confusing term. PPM actually indicates the total 'weight' of silver in each litre. 1 PPM equals 1 milligram of silver per litre. So, for example, 10 PPM really means 10 milligrams of silver per litre of water. It does not mean there are 10 pieces of silver for every million pieces of water.
In fact if the particles are small enough (as is preferred) there is more likely to be millions or billions of pieces of silver making up that 10 miligrams per litre. (That's why sites that compare 5000 ppm to 20 ppm in terms of '5000 silver bullets Vs 20 bullets' are being totally misleading. Not only are they deliberately confusing weight with units, they are trying to claim that 5000 milligrams of silver per litre is better for you than 20 milligrams without revealing the size or actual numbers of the particles involved).
The Silver Well makes 10 PPM automatically, or higher with extra procedures. 10-20 ppm 'electrically isolated' colloidal silver has been proven over the last 20 years to be very safe and effective. Electrically isolated colloidal silver of around 10 to 20 PPM is what is most commonly found in health food stores.
Ultra High' PPM colloidal silver, in the 100's or 1000's of ppm's is not modern, safe, Electrically Isolated Colloidal Silver (EIS). It is an outdated product made mechanically or chemically, it's almost entirely made of large particles up to 500 times the diameter of Silver Well particles.