The Antiviral, Antibacterial And Inflammation Fighting Health Benefits Of Silver

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Across many cultures, precious metals have been used since ancient times for numerous medical purposes because of their relative rarity and perceived value. Among these precious metals, silver has been no different and Chinese alchemists from as far back as 400 BC created elixirs containing silver that were sold with the promise of prolonging human life. In ancient Greece and Rome, silver was accurately identified for its ability to act as an antibiotic.

In more recent years, snake oil salesmen, self-proclaimed healing experts and other unsavory characters have been selling the benefits of “colloidal silver” as a treatment for all manner of medical problems despite evidence of side effects and a lack of evidence as to medical benefits. In a number of cases, taking silver supplements has caused a condition called Argyria in which an individual’s skin turns gray. As a supplement, silver is certainly not showing much value.

However, within the realm of modern science-based medicine, silver is actually demonstrating considerable worth for a number of purposes. In its modern applications, silver is used in the form of nanoparticles where the size of any given particle is a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair. When delivered in this form in very limited quantities to the body, these particles are showing some very interesting medicinal properties.

The Antibacterial Benefits Of Silver

Among the most recognized of these medical benefits is silver’s ability to limit infections. In fact, it is recognized as being effective against more than 600 different types of bacteria. For the treatment of burns, gels containing silver particles have been in use for decades to fight infection. To date, many of the existing products have had a quantity of silver in them that not only kills bacteria, but unfortunately also interferes with the ability of the body to heal. These products can also cause skin discolorations similar to those seen in people taking silver as a supplement.

However, a more recent product, a gel made with nanoparticles of silver, developed at the Indian Agharkar Research Institute, is now enabling more effective prevention of infections with the use of only 1/30th of the silver found in existing gels. Related research from the University of Wisconsin has also developed a means to deliver a smaller, more exact dose of silver that stops bacteria, but not healing. In this case, the silver is precisely delivered using a thin plastic membrane that is placed on the wound. The researchers were able to deliver antibiotic prevention with only 1/250th of the silver typically used in such treatments.

In both cases, the availability of silver nanoparticles enabled the products to be created.

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Category: Medical Research, Medical Treatment

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