What is Colloidal Silver?




lustrous white metal


General properties


Colloidal Silver

Name, symbol, number

silver, Ag, 47

Element category

transition metal

Group, period, block

11, 5, d

Standard atomic weight

107.8682 gmol−1

Electron configuration

[Kr] 4d10 5s1

Electrons per shell

2, 8, 18, 18, 1 (Image)

Physical properties



Density (near r.t.)

10.49 gcm−3

Liquid density at m.p.

9.320 gcm−3

Melting point

1234.93 K, 961.78 C, 1763.2 F

Boiling point

2435 K, 2162 C, 3924 F

Heat of fusion

11.28 kJmol−1

Heat of vaporization

250.58 kJmol−1

Specific heat capacity

(25 C) 25.350 Jmol−1K−1

Vapor pressure





1 k

10 k

100 k

at T/K







Atomic properties

Oxidation states

1, 2, 3 (amphoteric oxide)


1.93 (Pauling scale)

Ionization energies

1st: 731.0 kJmol−1

2nd: 2070 kJmol−1

3rd: 3361 kJmol−1

Atomic radius

144 pm

Covalent radius

1455 pm

Van der Waals radius

172 pm


Crystal structure

face-centered cubic

Magnetic ordering


Electrical resistivity

(20 C) 15.87 nΩm

Thermal conductivity

(300 K) 429 Wm−1K−1

Thermal diffusivity

(300 K) 174 mm/s

Thermal expansion

(25 C) 18.9 mm−1K−1

Young's modulus

83 GPa

Shear modulus

30 GPa

Bulk modulus

100 GPa

Poisson ratio


Mohs hardness


Vickers hardness

251 MPa

Brinell hardness

24.5 MPa

CAS registry number


Most stable isotopes

Main article: Isotopes of silver





DE (MeV)




41.2 d





0.344, 0.280,
0.644, 0.443




8.28 d





0.511, 0.717,
1.045, 0.450




107Ag is stable with 60 neutrons



418 y








0.433, 0.614,




109Ag is stable with 62 neutrons



7.45 d


1.036, 0.694





What is Silver?

Silver is a trace element present in the soil, assimilated by plants and consumed by man assisting his immune system. Unfortunately the mineral depleted soils no longer provide us with sufficient quantities of these essential elements. Furthermore insecticides, pesticides and artificial man – made chemical additives (thickening agents, emulsifiers, dyes and thinning agents) often block the process of gaining vital elements from food. From this one could conclude that colloidal silver has a more than useful role to play.
Ancient man utilized silver as an agent to assist healing as it had long been known as an antiseptic with the properties of bacteria and germ killer.


What is Colloidal Silver?

Colloidal silver is a liquid suspension of microscopic particles of silver. A colloid is technically defined as particles which remain suspended without forming an ionic, or dissolved solution. The broader commercial definition of "colloidal silver" includes products that contain various concentrations of ionic silver, silver colloids, ionic silver compounds or bound proteins in purified water. Colloidal silver with concentrations of 30 parts per million (ppm) or less are typically manufactured using an electrolysis process, whereas colloidal silver with higher concentrations of 50 ppm or more are usually silver compounds that have been bound with a protein.

Silver slag as a medical plaster ingredient was found to have extraordinary powers and was documented by Pliny the Great way back in 78 AD.

Silver jars were used by the Ancient Greeks and the Romans (AD 400) to keep liquids free from contamination for increased time periods.

During the 14th century, about 25% of Europe’s population died from the bubonic plaque however the children of wealthy parents who had been given silver spoons to place in their mouths faired much better.
The enormous healing properties of silver have been known to the peoples of the Orient and India for countless centuries. People in the East to this day wrap food in wafer thin silver, when required consume the whole package.

In 1843, Seimi was the first person to systematically investigate colloids.
The term colloidal evolved from the mid 1800’s by English chemist, Thomas Graham. In colloidal he indicated various attributes: Substances that diffused through water at a very low rate compared with crystalline substances (glycerol, sugar and sodium chloride); although crystalline substances easily passed through parchment paper, septum was virtually impossible to pass the amorphous bodies of the material through the parchment paper. The bodies were designated as colloids. In this instance we’re talking about mineral waters. Although Graham’s memoir was published in 1861 and he was dubbed “The Father of Colloidal Chemistry” he was in fact preceded by Michael Faraday in 1857, who prepared and described the colloidal state. The process used chemical with no similar properties to colloidal gold as currently produced.

In 1884, German obstetrician F. Crede administered 1%silver nitrate to the eyes of newborn infants, virtually eliminating the incidence of blindness caused by VD present in the mother. The incidence of blindness was reduced to just 0.2%!

Silver foil was found to be the best effective preventive dressing for wounds in the period around the early 1900’s.

Religious groups have always recognized silvers unique properties, in particular the antiseptic qualities by us of silver goblets in their ceremonies because the silver keeps wine longer also reducing transmission of germs as the goblet is passed to the lips of many people.

Early American settlers placed a silver coin in milk to prolong its useable life.
During the American Civil War, 1861 – 1865 the confederate soldiers often swallowed silver dollars as these were known to fend off infectious bacteria. Despite soldiers sometimes up to their necks in filthy water and sporting open wounds, many escaped serious infections.

Silver had until recently been popular with the well heeled with crockery and cutlery. As people ate from silverware, researchers remain convinced our forefathers greatly aided their immune systems by ingesting microscopic silver particles.

Often these people were referred to as BLUE BLOODS as the ingestion of silver over long periods turned their blood slightly blue. In stark contrast to the elite, common folk never having the luxury of being able to eat from expensive silverware were consequently frequently sick and prone to numerous infections. Solid silverware to this day is expensive and generally beyond the ordinary person’s reach.

Silver has long been known to high ranking Kings, Queens, Emperors, Sultans, Czars and in more recent times, members of Royal families. Much travelled politicians avoid contracting serious disease by taking Colloidal Silver when travelling overseas.

In 1914 the Medical Journal, Lancet reported excellent results. Dr. Henry Crooks demonstrated Colloidal Silver to be safe, highly germicidal and non toxic.

Medically silver plates and foils have been used through history to replace misplaced bone splinters.
The method of stomach ulcer treatment has long been silver nitrate. Herpes has been regularly combated with silver, whilst malaria, cholera and syphilis have been treated with ointment containing a base of silver and currently sill used for some infections.

Although Colloidal Silver was first developed in the 1900’s, the technology available at the time never allowed the most to be gained from the resultant product because the ultra microscopic particle size was not reliably achieved. In 1918, British Medical Journal published Colloidal Silver articles about the outstanding effects on viral and bacterial infections but it remained expensive to manufacture.

In the 1930’s the cost of 25 grams would translate to a cost of around $2000 Australian.

Before 1938, Colloidal Silver administration was largely as per the modern drugs of today. The methods used were – injectile, intramuscularly and intravenously, applied douche, gargled for throat complaints, applied topically, even in sensitive tissue, taken orally and dropped into eyes.

There were over 50 silver based medicines available by 1940.

Some still being available, namely Silvole, Progonole, Norvargon, Lumasol, Argyrol, Argonin and Albargin, of these hardly any were colloids. Most had a limited keeping period with none being as effective as Silver Nitrate, (cursed with bad side effects).

Research from 1912 – 1950 indicated that Colloidal Silver strengths of 3 – 5 parts per million (ppm) as being effective. Strengths greater than 25ppm could not be produced as metallic silver crystals formed.
During the 1940’s Antibiotics replaced silver. Once pharmaceutical companies commenced manufacture of chemical drugs and Antibiotics at a lower cost (higher profit); Colloidal Silver disappeared from the scene.
A type of Colloidal Silver in the 1950’s under the Russian name of Movidyn proved embarrassingly effective as a germ warfare combatant. The former Soviet Union discovered Colloidal Silver (Movidyn) under production in the overthrown state of Czechoslovakia. To the astonishment of the Soviets, one part per billion powdered Movidyn completely destroyed Typhus, Malaria, Cholera and Amoebic Dysentery.

Every Germ Warfare bacteria in the Soviet arsenal and even the latest designer poisons were disabled with Movidyn! The Czech factory was forthwith dismantled and shifted to the Soviet Union. The Movidyn formula is to this day suppressed.

Until approximately 1970 it was standard practice for scientists to place a silver coin in petri dishes to sterilize them.

During the 1970’s Dr Carl Moyer, the chairman of Washington University Department of Surgery was instrumental in the resurgence of silver in medicine. After receiving a grant, Moyer developed with chief biochemist Dr Margraf and others an antiseptic strong yet safe enough to use over large areas of the body for burns victims. Over twenty antiseptic compounds were trialed before silver was adopted and is used to this day in around seventy percent of USA burn centres.

In 1978 Dr Richard Davies, executive director of Utah Silver Institute, which monitors silver technology in thirty seven countries reported that. “In four years we have described 87 important medical uses. We are just beginning to see to what extent silver can relieve suffering and save lives”.

In answer to antibiotics unfavourable side effects Science Digest put forward a suggestion in 1978 in an article titled “Our mightiest germ fighter.” This item by Jim Powel stated : “Thanks to eye opening research, silver is emerging as a wonder with modern medicine. An antibiotic kills perhaps a half dozen different disease organisms, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains failed to develop. Moreover, silver is virtually non-toxic.”

A reason for antibiotics being so popular in the medical arena is the fact that they can be patented. Therefore it is in the pharmaceutical companies’ financial best interests to keep doctors educated in their medicines whilst other products go unheralded. Silver is not patentable and therefore no enormous profits available to pharmaceutical companies and thus not worthy of massive promotion. Simple low cost products are run over by high priced products because they are more share-holder friendly! This is occurring at a time disease bacteria are developing immunity to antibiotics this immunity is developing the world over even in isolated areas. Privately the medical expresses alarm.

In 1992 in the USA 13,300 hospital patients died of infections that resisted all drugs tried by doctors!
Newsweek magazine 1994 featured an article, “Antibiotics: the end of miracle drugs?” As the cover story. “The rise of drug resistant germs is unparalleled in recorded history. Penicillin and tetracycline lost their power over staph back in the 1950’s and 60’s. Another antibiotic, methicillin, provided a backup for a while, but methicillin – resistant staph is now common in hospitals and nursing homes world wide… Trying to cripple bacteria’s defenses…will not do much more than buy us 5-10 years…A better strategy might be to abandon antibiotics altogether in favour of different kinds of drugs.”

In 1995 Time Magazine featured an item, “Revenge of the Killer Microbes.” Sounding very much like a science fiction movie. But Time Magazine was deadly serious. “Faced with AIDS, and with an ever increasing number of antibiotic resistant bacteria, doctors were forced to admit that the medical profession was actually retreating in the battle against germs. The question ceased to be, ‘When will infectious disease be wiped out?’ and became ‘Where will the next deadly new plague appear?’… Humanity once had the hubris to think it could control or even conquer all these microbes. But anyone who reads today’s headlines knows how vain that hope turned out to be. New scourges are emerging—AIDS is not the only one—and older diseases like tuberculosis are rapidly evolving into forms that are resistant to antibiotics.

During 1995 Dr Robert Becker author of “The Body Electric and Cross Currents” found silver causes cells to dedifferentiate and redifferentiate in the process of regenerative healing. :”What we had actually done was rediscovered the fact that silver killed bacteria, which had been know for centuries… When antibiotics were discovered, clinical uses for silver as an antibiotic were discarded” Becker stated whilst interviewed by Bio/Tech News.

During 1996 Mark Metcalf stated in Perceptions Magazine “I made a 16 ounce solution of well over 250 ppm and drank it. I repeated this procedure four days in a row, daily ingesting at least the equivalent of a 5 ppm solution! I did not eat yogurt or acidophilus or compensate for friendly bacteria loss in any way. The only side effect was that I seemed to feel better!”

In 1997 Peter Lindemann in his article, “Colloidal Silver, a closer look,” reported that a study partly conducted by the Institute of Microbiology in Italy published in “Applied and Environmental Microbiology,” stated that “Pure electro-Colloidal Silver out performed silver nitrate, silver chloride and silver sulfadiazine as a broad spectrum germicide. For all classes of bacteria, fungus and mould samples tested, pure electro - Colloidal Silver worked better, and at much lower concentrations. They concluded that any additives reduced the effectiveness of the pure silver ion; the silver salts being as much as 100 time less effective.”

Without question, one of the single biggest factors for the resurgence of Colloidal Silver in the 1990’s was the advent of information technology in the guise of the internet – instant global information at the fingertips of the user!

Today silver is used by the Russians to sterilize recycled water aboard space stations. NASA nominated a silver water system for the space shuttle. Many of the world’s airlines use Swiss manufactured silver water filters to protect passengers from diseases such as dysentery. Colloidal Silver has also been shown to be effective in the replacement of chlorine in swimming pools – not a stinging eye in sight!


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Further Reading

  1. "Colloidal Silver Products". National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. December 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-06.

  2. Berger et al. "Electrically Generated Silver ions: Quantitative Effects on Bacterial and Mammalian Cells. (Free full text PDF)". American Society for Microbiology. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy . Also at PubMed

  3. Hall et al. "Effects of low intensity direct current generated silver on eukaryotic cells.". Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Feb 1988. Official Journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

  4. Tien DC, Tseng KH, Liao CY, Tsung TT (October 2008). "Colloidal silver fabrication using the spark discharge system and its antimicrobial effect on Staphylococcus aureus". Med Eng Phys 30 (8): 948–52. doi:10.1016/j.medengphy.2007.10.007. PMID 18069039.

  5. van Hasselt P, Gashe BA, Ahmad J (April 2004). "Colloidal silver as an antimicrobial agent: fact or fiction?". J Wound Care 13 (4): 154–5. PMID 15114827.

  6. Chopra, Ian (February 16, 2007). "The increasing use of silver-based products as antimicrobial agents: a useful development or a cause for concern?". Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 59: 587. doi:10.1093/jac/dkm006. ISSN doi=10.1093/jac/dkm006. .

  7. "About Herbs: Colloidal Silver". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-10-03.

  8. Searle, A.B. (1920). "Chapter VIII: Germicides and Disinfectants". The Use of Colloids in Health and Disease. Gerstein - University of Toronto : Toronto Collection: London Constable & Co.. .

  9. Roe, A. Legge. "COLLOSOL ARGENTUM AND ITS OPHTHALMIC USES.". British Medical Journal (Br Med J) Br Med J 1915;1;104 (bmj.1.2820.104): 104. .

  10. Macleod, C.E.Alex (February 03, 1912). "ELECTRIC METALLIC COLLOIDS AND THEIR THERAPEUTICAL APPLICATIONS.". Lancet 179 (4614): 322–323. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(01)66545-0. .

  11. Searle, A.B. (1920). "Chapter IX: Colloidal Remedies and Their Uses". The Use of Colloids in Health and Disease. Gerstein - University of Toronto : Toronto Collection: London Constable & Co.. .

  12. Cantlie, James (November 15, 1913). "SOME RECENT OBSERVATIONS ON SPRUE.". British Medical Journal (BMJ) (Br Med J 1913;2;1282-1302): 1296–1297. .

  13. Fung MC, Bowen DL (1996). "Silver products for medical indications: risk-benefit assessment". J. Toxicol. Clin. Toxicol. 34 (1): 119–26. doi:10.3109/15563659609020246. PMID 8632503.

  14. Tien DC, Tseng KH, Liao CY, Tsung TT (October 2008). "Colloidal silver fabrication using the spark discharge system and its antimicrobial effect on Staphylococcus aureus". Med Eng Phys 30 (8): 948–52. doi:10.1016/j.medengphy.2007.10.007. PMID 18069039.

  15. Fung MC, Weintraub M, Bowen DL (October 1995). "Colloidal silver proteins marketed as health supplements". JAMA 274 (15): 1196–7. doi:10.1001/jama.274.15.1196. PMID 7563503.

  16. Wadhera A, Fung M (2005). "Systemic argyria associated with ingestion of colloidal silver". Dermatol. Online J. 11 (1): 12. PMID 15748553. .

  17. Newman M, Kolecki P (October 2001). "Argyria in the ED". Am J Emerg Med 19 (6): 525–6. doi:10.1053/ajem.2001.25773. PMID 11593479.

  18. "Over-the-counter drug products containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Public Health Service (PHS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Final rule". Fed Regist 64 (158): 44653–8. August 1999. PMID 10558603.

  19. Spacecraft Water Exposure Guidelines for Selected Contaminants: Volume 1. U.S. National Academy of Sciences. 2004. p. 324. .

  20. Solsona, Felipe; Juan Pablo Mendez (2003). "Water Disinfection" (PDF). World Health Organization. .

  21. Richmond, Caroline (2008-10-16). "Ron Rivera: Potter who developed a water filter that saved lives in the third world". The Guardian. . Retrieved 2009-05-16.

  22. Corbett, Sara (December 24, 2008). "Solution in a Pot". New York Times. . Retrieved May 15, 2009.

  23. Committee on Creation of Science-based Industries in Developing Countries, Development, Security, and Cooperation, Policy and Global Affairs, National Research Council of the National Academies, Nigerian Academy of Science. (2007). Mobilizing Science-Based Enterprises for Energy, Water, and Medicines in Nigeria. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press. pp. 39. ISBN 0-309-11118-8.

  24. Cassells, A. C.; Peter B. Gahan (2006). Dictionary of plant tissue culture. Haworth Press. pp. 77. ISBN 1560229195, 9781560229193. .

  25. Constabel, Friedrich; Jerry P. Shyluk (1994). "1: Initiation, Nutrition, and Maintenance of Plant Cell and Tissue Cultures". Plant Cell and Tissue Culture. Springer. pp. 5. ISBN 0792324935. .

  26. Taking the mystery out of flower care solutions

  27. Mukerji, K G.; B. P. Chamola, B P Chamola, A K Sharma (2000). "3: Sexual Differentiation in Higher Plants". Glimpses in Botany. APH Publishing. pp. 10. ISBN 8176482048, 9788176482042. .

  28. Lansdown AB (2006). "Silver in health care: antimicrobial effects and safety in use". Curr Probl Dermatol 33: 17–34. PMID 16766878.

  29. Brandt D, Park B, Hoang M, Jacobe HT (August 2005). "Argyria secondary to ingestion of homemade silver solution". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 53 (2 Suppl 1): S105–7. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2004.09.026. PMID 16021155.

  30. Okan D, Woo K, Sibbald RG (2007). "So what if you are blue? Oral colloidal silver and argyria are out: safe dressings are in". Adv Skin Wound Care 20 (6): 326–30. doi:10.1097/01.ASW.0000276415.91750.0f. PMID 17538258.

  31. Mirsattari SM, Hammond RR, Sharpe MD, Leung FY, Young GB (April 2004). "Myoclonic status epilepticus following repeated oral ingestion of colloidal silver". Neurology 62 (8): 1408–10. PMID 15111684. .

  32. Kalouche H, Watson A, Routley D (August 2007). "Blue lunulae: argyria and hypercopprecaemia". Australas. J. Dermatol. 48 (3): 182–4. doi:10.1111/j.1440-0960.2007.00376.x. PMID 17680971.

  33. Baker CD, Federico MJ, Accurso FJ (December 2007). "Case report: skin discoloration following administration of colloidal silver in cystic fibrosis". Curr. Opin. Pediatr. 19 (6): 733–5. doi:10.1097/MOP.0b013e3282f11fee. PMID 18025945.

  34. Chang AL, Khosravi V, Egbert B (December 2006). "A case of argyria after colloidal silver ingestion". J. Cutan. Pathol. 33 (12): 809–11. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0560.2006.00557.x. PMID 17177941.

  35. McKenna JK, Hull CM, Zone JJ (July 2003). "Argyria associated with colloidal silver supplementation". Int. J. Dermatol. 42 (7): 549. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.2003.01899.x. PMID 12839605. .

  36. "Blue Man's Skin 'Lightening'". ninemsn staff. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-09-11.

  37. "Regulation of colloidal silver and related products". Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2008-09-22.