Silver has long been used as a natural and proven antimicrobial against bacteria, fungus, mold and other microbes. Silver’s safe and natural properties have been harnessed for use in wound care (especially burn treatments), water purification, bone prostheses, cardiac devices, catheters and surgical appliances.
Silver is a natural antibacterial that works by killing bacteria, fungi and yeast by interfering with the metabolism necessary for respiration of these microbes. Even in relatively low concentrations, biologically active silver (Ag) readily kills bacteria and fungus.
Silver has a long and documented history as an antibiotic in human health care. Silver has been seen in use as an antimicrobial as far back as 300 B.C. in ancient Greece.
Some examples of silver’s beneficial use in history:
- Hippocrates (300 B.C) ‘The Father of Modern Medicine’ noted the beneficial use of silver in wound care.
- The Phoenicians used to store water, wine and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling.
- Prior to antibiotics, Silver was used widely in hospitals as a bactericide.
- In the early 1800s, doctors used silver sutures in surgical wounds with very successful results.
- Pioneers of the American West placed silver dollars in their casks of drinking water to keep the water safe from bacteria, algae, etc.
- In the early 1900s people would put silver dollars in milk bottles to prolong the milk’s freshness.
- Silver leaf was used to combat infection in wounds sustained by troops during World War I (before antibiotics).
- Silver yarn is used in socks worn by military personnel in combat areas. so they do not develop fungus growth inside their boots.