A brief history of silver in medicine pre-twentieth century

The need for detoxification is based upon the principle that immunodeficiency, inflammatory and degenerative diseases can result from the toxic, accumulative effects of poisonous substances and pathogens within the body.

Silver has been widely and effectively used in the science and art of healing since ancient times. Dr. Eric Rentz thoroughly describes the historical stepping stones of the development of Silver solutions in his article “Historical Perspective on the Clinical Use and Efficacy of Silver”. The key points he recounts include that Silver was commonly used to preserve water and food in the ancient world. Hippocrates (born 460 BC) the “Father of Western Medicine” used silver to heal wounds and control infection. He promoted the use of powdered silver for the treatment of ulcers and other conditions. The historian, Herodotus (born 484 BC) described the King of Persia using water boiled in silver flagons to prevent illness. In the Middle East, medicinal silver has been use since 700 A.D. It was commonly used for blood purification, heart conditions, and control of halitosis. Paracelsus (born 1493) “The Father of Toxicology” used silver as medicine.

Alexander I of Russia had his armies use water casks lined with silver to sanitize drinking water during the Napoleonic wars. The Imperial Russian army continued this use through World War I and Soviet soldiers during World War II used them as well.

Raulin recorded the first description of the water-purifying effect of silver in 1869, when he saw that Aspergillus niger would not grow in silver vessels. Also, in 1869 Swiss botanist von Nageli discovered that some metals, including silver, at minute concentrations had antimicrobial properties. Then, in 1884 Carl Crede used 1% silver nitrate to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum. By 1897, silver nitrate was commonly used in the U.S. to prevent blindness in newborns. In the mid 1880’s, Dr. William Halsted, Chief Surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical School, started the use of Silver wire for hernia operations. He also implemented the use of silver foil to prevent infection spreading in wounds. By the late 1800’s, it was common medical knowledge that Silver was deadly to bacteria.

“Metallic silver and silver compounds are used widely in medical devices and health care products to provide anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action. Experience has shown that they are generally safe in use and effective in controlling pathogenic organisms.” Alan B.G. Lansdown, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK.

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