After many years of research regarding the subject of colloidal silver, there is much that I have to share based on my personal experience. As I contemplated what it is I would like to say here, I decided that among the most important things I could share is a perspective that brings clarity with regard to aspects of this topic that heretofore have been a source of confusion.
The history and many facets regarding colloidal silver is long and complex, at the time of this writing it spans more than 100 years. No single work can provide a truly thorough treatment of this subject, although there is a lot of information here covering every base is beyond the scope of this work. I will be writing more on the topic of colloidal silver, including theoretical dosing for serious researchers, based on my 17 plus years of field and investigative research. Sign up for the newsletter if you want to be notified when such material becomes available.
In any case, we hope you will find the following perspectives useful and informative.
There is little doubt that from a historical perspective, the primary use in the late 1800s and 1900s was with regard to medical treatment.
When the FDA was formed, previously established medical treatments, when they were well established as safe and effective prior to the formation of the FDA, were then grand fathered into the accepted pharmacopeia.
During the early days after the formation of the FDA, colloidal silver received the designation of being a pre-1938 drug, because it had been widely used for many medical purposes since the early 1900s, and because such medical use was well documented and established prior to the formation of the FDA. Thus, colloidal silver was grand fathered into the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) as a pre-1938 drug, acceptable for use in medical treatment by physicians.
In the early 1900s, there were many products that were marketed by manufacturers and pharmaceutical suppliers which they labeled and sold as colloidal silver, but most of these products were not actually colloidal silver. Obviously this caused confusion for the M.D.’s during that time who prescribed treatment and explains why there is inconsistent and conflicting documentation from that time with regard to many medical, research and related material from that time.
During the early 1900s, colloidal silver was quite expensive. The pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers of that time all wanted to take part in the profits, and whether it was incompetence or opportunistic inclinations, they advertised their varied products as colloidal silver even when they technically were not.
During the early 1900s, of the more than 100 products on the market and sold as colloidal silver, only a few of them were actually what is a scientifically correct designation to be called colloidal silver.
For instance the most popular product sold by suppliers of that time, was actually a silver-nitrate compound. It was bottled and sold as colloidal silver. Because it was both more affordable for customers and more profitable to sell, due to it being less technical and cheaper to make than actual colloidal silver. As a result of silver nitrate’s popularity, combined with it erroneously being called colloidal silver, in effect silver nitrate stole colloidal silver’s identity.
Silver nitrate compound was very easy to manufacture compared to true colloidal silver, and because the most popular pharmaceutical companies could sell it cheaper, this became a big deal during World War I, the Depression and World War II when affordability was paramount.
The result of these factors coming together is that a large number of people during that time came to believe that silver nitrate was colloidal silver when actually it was a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately silver nitrate which will instantly stain the skin if you get it on you, in terms of using it for medical treatment, also came with the nasty side-effect of causing argyria. Argyria is a condition caused especially by silver-nitrate when taken in sufficiently high doses, which then causes a permanent silver-gray tone to the skin.
The professional literature that established protocols for the use of colloidal silver, at times called for larger volumes of actual colloidal silver, which as the literature describes, did not induce argyria when actual colloidal silver was used. A problem arose when physicians and clinicians mistakenly adopted and applied a protocol for colloidal silver and instead used silver nitrate under the innocent error of not realizing that silver nitrate was not really the colloidal silver described in the protocol. It is not difficult to see how this confusion became a problem.
During the early 1900s researchers wrote entire books regarding colloidal silver toxicity, which primarily concerned argyria. When these books are carefully reviewed, it becomes clear that what these writer/researchers were primarily documenting was the effects of silver nitrate compound. This is easily confirmed because silver nitrate is what is specified in the literature itself in the technical data. What is most troublesome about this occurrence is that it is those same toxicology books that are still being referenced with regard to colloidal silver still today.
I think it is important to point this major flaw out, because the resulting confusion did not merely effect the literature and research of that era, in fact, the most common references with regard to toxicology still reference those very books from the early 1900s, that had made the basic error just described. Thus, those errors are being repeated and carried forward to the present time and fostering confusion.
In fact the literature of that time frame, when carefully scrutinized, bears witness to the fact that most M.D.’s and researchers struggled with the difficulties just mentioned. Our library of early 1900s books regarding colloidal chemistry and medical use documentation repeatedly bear testimony to this fact.
The error of equating silver nitrate in particular with colloidal silver became so entrenched within the literature of the 1900s that this misunderstanding is still being perpetrated, in particular within material written that addresses the issue of toxicology.
In terms of the medical profession in the early 1900s, they were not usually chemists. What they knew is that in attempting to prescribed treatment involving the many and varied colloidal silver products, they observed that results were inconsistent. Over-time, the attitude developed within the general medical community, that the use of colloidal silver yielded sporadic results and that the risk of argyria did not outweigh other treatment options.
With the availability of affordable antibiotics, that also had consistent treatment results. Unencumbered with the cost and misunderstandings associated with colloidal silver, lead to a decline of the medical use of colloidal silver, as an antibiotic in particular.
Silver was used and still is, as the treatment of choice in burn-centers. A standard in the treatment of burns is the use of Silver Sulfadiazine There are many other examples of continued medical use, but you get the picture generally speaking.
Fast forward to 1997 when the FDA revisited the issue of pre-1938 drug status for colloidal silver. The FDA reengaged the subject of colloidal silver because it had reemerged and was popularized as an antibiotic alternative by distributors and manufacturers.
Such widespread use was primarily among the alternative health community in particular. The FDA documentation states that numerous people were marketing colloidal silver that had product labeling and literature that made unsubstantiated medical claims.
Beginning in 1997 through 1998, after a review process, the FDA issued updated rulings regarding colloidal silver. These new FDA rulings established that; colloidal silver is no longer legal in OTC products. OTC (over the counter use) meaning in essence that it is not to be marketed nor used for medical treatment or medicinal purposes. The grand fathered pre-1938 drug status previously applied to colloidal silver by the FDA was then removed nearly 60 years later.
If there had been a USP form of colloidal silver in production and use at the time of those rulings, then perhaps the grandfather status may not have been removed. Because there would have been a business entity that could explain and defend a commercial interest in a USP form of colloidal silver.
There were plenty of manufactures of colloidal silver, and although they may have met proper FDA GMP (good manufacturing practices) the USP designation was lacking.
The last company to produce a USP form of colloidal silver had ceased production in the 1970’s, thus the technical presumption was that the grandfather status had been, in essence, abandoned. At least this is what I have gathered by reading the actual FDA rulings themselves.
The FDA rulings continued to allow colloidal silver to be sold and marketed as a dietary supplement.
It would be easy to write one or more books dedicated specifically to just the topic of historical medical use and related research up to present day, it is my intention to do that at some point, for now we must move on.
Although the medical use in terms of the history of colloidal silver, is fascinating, and because it is what got me interested in this subject in the first place, it is easy for me to see how some people think of it mostly in these terms. However, that is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the bigger picture with regard to the potential applications and practical uses of colloidal silver.
Despite the fact that the primary focus has been placed on the medical and dietary purposes of colloidal silver, in the last few decades many other uses for colloidal silver have been well researched and in many cases has resulted in unique materials and products, many of which have been made commercially available.
It should not be assumed that there is only one use for colloidal silver because there are virtually thousands of known, recognized as potential uses, as well as an unknown number of yet to be discovered uses.
For example, viable uses include nano-circuits, nano bots, light emitting screens, super-conducting materials, data-storage, food production, ultra-efficient lighting, disinfectants, bio-weapon remediation, ground water remediation, municipal water purification, cloning, DNA research to name some major categories. There are many more areas of research as well as practical applications that have been or are being developed. Much of that research is closely-held, quiet or lacking in public disclosure, as seems to be the case these days with all research that holds the potential or promise of large profits or other strategic advantages.
When reviewing this topic as a whole, one of the main problems is that each area of expertise which involves the term colloid, usually has a well developed highly specialized system and jargon, that does not always translate well between other disciplines. Quantum mechanics, Physics, colloidal chemistry etc. each has within that general area of study, highly specialized areas of focus and often by virtue of practical-necessity develops customized usage of otherwise common terms.
For illustration, consider “Electro-chemistry in colloids and dispersions” which is a specialized field of study within the field of colloidal chemistry. The clearly defined concepts and jargon within this particular specialization are well established, yet the terms and concepts used therein may not so easily intermingle with other areas of colloid specialization.
For example the meaning of what the term “colloidal state” represents to those who are formulating self-leveling concrete as a colloidal material, may not bring to-mind the same meaning of what “colloidal state” is to someone creating nano-circuits from very specific sized nano clusters of colloidal metals.
Individually we can avoid most of the potential pitfalls that can occur technically speaking, by first grasping the fundamental concepts involved, while at the same time nurturing our own cognitive critical thinking.
Then information can become understanding, and applied understanding can foster creativity. Understanding combined with creative experimentation that succeeds when previously believed to be impossible, it is called genius.
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