The Truth About Colloidal Silver (and When To Use It) |

The Truth About Colloidal Silver (and When To Use It)

Rustina April 13, 2023

By Rustina, Contributing Writer

“Just add some colloidal silver to your cup, that’ll take care of it!” “What? That’s a metal; you can’t do that!” It feels like everyone is either jumping on the “CS” train or yelling at the passengers! So what is the real deal with colloidal silver?


Let’s talk about the risks, the benefits, and the best way to use it to our advantage!


What are the risks?


First off, is silver a heavy metal as so many warn?

Yes. It is considered a heavy metal (1). I know the response to that is usually, “iron is on that list too though, and we can’t live without that!” or “It’s just like mercury!” There are differences though. Iron is an essential trace mineral, and silver is not essential to any functions of the human body. Mercury is lethally toxic in relatively small doses, silver is not. There are many categories of metal that silver also falls in, such as a noble metal (meaning it resists corrosion and chemical reactions). Again, sometimes mercury is considered a noble metal just as silver is sometimes. That classification does not stop it from being a heavy metal. A heavy metal is one that has a high density or atomic weight. 

Colloidal silver is tiny silver particles that are suspended in a liquid. Silver has been used in many forms, such as nanoparticle silver or silver nitrate. The size of the silver may change, but the trace mineral still remains silver.


Can it build up in the body?

Yes. There have been new and old cases of argyria, or silver toxicity. This is from long term, regular exposure to silver causing the skin, fingernail areas, etc to turn blue or gray and can even affect the eyes/night vision and organs. The cases of argyria are often said to be only “back in the day and with mountain people,” but unfortunately, that is not the situation. 


Regular, long term ingestion of colloidal silver has also caused the same condition discoloring of the skin and mucosal linings from the collection of silver in the tissues including even in the colon (2 – colloidal silver in the colon and discoloration) and in the myelin membranes causing integrity concerns in the brain’s vessels (3 – colloidal silver found in the brain vessels).


While the above mentioned situations are about colloidal silver, here is an excerpt about silver nitrate (a salt solution with silver and copper) from the Oxford Academic 

“Generalized argyria occurred after using a topical solution of silver nitrate three times a week for 2.5 years to control gingival bleeding. Severe pigmentation developed and the patient no longer appeared to be Caucasian. During an abdominal operation (unrelated to the argyria), silver deposits were reported in her liver, spleen, intestines, and pancreas (Marshall and Schneider, 1977).” 


Another good study to check out is Silver Nanoparticles Impair Cognitive Functions and Modify the Hippocampal Level of Neurotransmitters in a Coating-Dependent Manner


Can the body detox out silver?

Yes, but not all of it. Our tissues naturally hold on to some silver, meaning a potentially large amount will not be “eliminated” with the waste. Silver is absorbed in the small intestines, where it will be distributed to the skin, spleen, liver, and adrenals; it can also cross the blood brain barrier (3). If the oral cavity is compromised, then silver may be absorbed there as well. Silver has been found in urinary output, fecal waste, and sweat (as well as build up in sweat glands) so it does detox out to some extent. It has not been studied or confirmed how much is absorbed nor how much is sent out with the waste. Based on more recent argyria cases, it would seem safe to conclude that the more you consume, the more your body can store silver. Thus far, there is not an effective chelation therapy that works to remove silver particles from the body (4).


Is silver used for any bodily processes?

No (that we know of). They have not yet found any cellular or other functions in the body that require silver. 


So we know it can build up, but is that toxic?

Well, that depends on who you ask. 

There are a few good studies that show the pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative stress that silver nanoparticles can cause (5) to the point it can cause liver and kidney damage.  Nanoparticles are when the particles are between 1 and 100 nm. Colloids are when the particles are above 100 nm. Many products on the market or homemade end up with some degree of nanoparticles as well as colloids. The mainstream uses silver nanoparticles for wound dressings in some cases, but does not promote internal use. The FDA also warns against the internal use. 


One reason it is not recommended orally (ironically by mainstream but also by many holistic and naturopathic doctors) is because it is a strong antibacterial – including towards the good and essential bacteria in our guts. We need a healthy gut flora to stay healthy. Internal use of silver has shown a strong disruption to good gut flora as well as the bad gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria (6). 


Another reason is the concern of it damaging the livers and kidneys (again, ironically by mainstream). The body seeks to treat silver particles like it would a protein (7). This sends it through the blood and lymph leaving it to end up in the livers or kidneys where it can begin to build up (some particles can also accumulate in the brain and the muscles) (8). Once in the liver, it does bind well with reduced glutathione (GSH) – a very important super antioxidant in our bodies – thus reducing the amount of available GSH for taking care of our body (9,10). Having decreased levels of GSH leads to higher levels of oxidative stress. Higher levels of oxidative stress have been associated with premature aging (messes with collagen integrity in the skin just as it does in the vessels), Alzheimer’s, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s, and much more. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins our body uses and is a building block in all types of tissue cells.


There is also concern that bacteria has shown to develop a resistance to silver (11).


Symptoms of overexposure to silver (12)


Short term exposure:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach irritation
  • Decreased respiration


Long term exposure:

  • Fatty degeneration of the liver and kidneys 
  • Changes in blood cells
  • Permanent blue toned or ash gray skin 
  • Discolored cornea/eyes that can lead to loss of night vision 


The WHO (World Health organization) puts a “No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL)” of 6.5 μg per kg of bodyweight per day (13). 


What are the benefits?


Colloidal silver has shown very strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Many people have had great success getting rid of everything from severe tooth infections to stubborn UTIs using colloidal silver. 


There are some studies that suggest it can speed up wound healing and be anti-cancer, especially using nanoparticles (14). 


So how can it be used safely?

It can be very useful, but it does come with risks. So what does that mean for using it? For me, that means, using other options first and leaving colloidal silver as a last resort. 


Here are some things I would reach for first (and they usually get the job done well):


Tooth Issues

Cloves (not the essential oil – find out why here), goldenseal, chamomile, oregano, and oregon grape root



Cranberries, garlic, vitamin C, turmeric, and usnea


Sinus Troubles

Elderberry, nettles, and turmeric


Skin wounds

Calendula and lavender are great options, and once any signs of infection are gone, topical comfrey is great for closing a wound and reducing scarring.


When using Colloidal Silver, here are some recommended dosages (for very short time periods not long term):

  • 1-2 drops topically for wounds that require more than washing, or fungal issues
  • 5 drops orally for issues not resolving by herb use or as a mouth rinse for teeth issues
  • 1-2 drops in the eye for irritation/inflammation

Here are some DIY recipes for alternative options to avoid colloidal silver:

Fermented Garlic Honey 

Double Infused Oil of Oregano (Not Oregano Essential Oil – find out why here)

First Aid Salve


Products that I reach for before CS:

UT Relief 

Elderberry Elixir

Feel Better Fast

All Purpose Salve



I will take colloidal silver over pharmaceuticals, that’s for sure, but I won’t rush for it either. It is on my shelf, and ready if needed. It is a powerful antibacterial though and should be treated as such. Save it for the occasional really stubborn infections, not the every day or easy to treat with herbs kind of problems! 

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything.  If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

Now that you have read about the risks and benefits, what are your thoughts about colloidal silver? Do you plan on changing any of the ways you use it?

This is the writings of:

Rustina started studying herbs and natural living after allopathic medicine was unable to provide answers or support when she needed it. She is continually working on learning more and improving her and her family’s health, diving in and researching any topic. A love of learning led her to homeschool and begin working from home. She now spends each day with her husband and four sons as they travel on their home education journey together. She is thankful for the opportunity to write about these interests and passions for Earthley Wellness and Modern Alternative Mama.


  1. So much misleading information in this article. Super frustrating.


    • We’re sorry you feel that way. A lot of research went into writing this, and all sides of the topic were considered. We recognize the great abilities of CS, but we also recognize the down sides as well. We hope you find your own comfortable ways to use it that match up with your research. 🙂


  2. You’re likely confused from all of the allopathic info you obtained (of course they’re going to put down CS.. the stuff even kills MRSA.. oh yeah, and cv19, too) because people using CS takes money away from them.

    As for the blue skin stuff.. if someone is sensitive to silver, they shouldn’t use CS. However, for the rest of us, when you use just 10ppm CS (honestly the only strength needed for anything) it’s clear and there’s no color to it.. so I’m not sure how you could SEE a buildup anywhere in the body.

    It’s not like the silver powder mixed with water of the past.. which was called colloidal silver.. or the 500+ppm stuff that looks like mud.

    Colloidal silver of today is technically ionic silver, as it’s created by running electricity through silver wires that are suspended in a jar of distilled water.

    I know several people who consume multiple ounces orally every day, and they’re the healthiest people I know. I brew my own CS, since there are so many uses for it and buying it isn’t cheap. You can clean with it, use it topically and orally for basically anything. Spray it on sunburned skin at night and the redness is gone by morning. Even animals benefit from it. If our dogs are sickly, I put straight CS in their water bowl and they drink as much as their body needs.

    Before trashing something that a lot of people use, some on a regular basis, why not talk to the people who use it??


    • Hi Amy! Thank you for taking the time to read this. We read many sources and considered many research points. There is no doubt that CS is an amazing tool to have on hand. It really can kill almost anything…which is the point we were sharing. It can do a number on things that we need, like gut flora and healthy cells. It isn’t just “blue skin” to worry about — in fact changing skin tones (ashen, graying skin not just blue) is a rare symptom that comes along after damage is already done inside the body. While our technology is evolving, it is important to remember that we have not had time (nor has a lot of effort been made) to research long term effects. This was not written to trash CS, but to offer the chance to consider if one needs it every day or only when severe symptoms are present, much like we would with other strong antibiotics like Oil of Oregano. Nature has what we need no doubt, but each has a time and a place. We just need to think for ourselves to determine the best options for our families.


    • Amy thank you I agree. Agryia (sp?) is not from ionic colloidal silver but from silver nitrate solutions which are NOT at all the same. And gut bacteria…is constantly flourishing.


      • Hi Val, thank you for visiting our site! We agree that colloidal silver is pretty amazing stuff that can clear a large assortment of ails. There have been documented cases of skin color changing conditions even with colloidal silver. In the article above, a link is shared that tells the amounts/type taken and duration of doses. We are glad that you have found something that helps you and your family (including the loveable furry additions)! Unfortunately, many people do have struggles with their gut flora (whether taking colloidal silver or not). It is great that you haven’t had that struggle!


  3. Thank you for this. I have a few friends that will benefit from reading this!!


  4. This is why I love Earthley and the broadness of the authors. I’m like you, I have it in my medicine “cabinet” but it’s not for my every day use. I use it topically and not orally because of all the controversy and that’s just what I’m comfortable with.


    • Hi Amber, Thank you so much! 🙂 I, and we at Earthley/MAM team, appreciate the compliment. We strive to be well rounded and focusing on truly safe and effective options as well as sharing our concerns. I am glad you found a way to use CS that you are comfortable with also! I too, use it sparingly but always keep it on hand.


  5. We use is copiously when needed. I add to my dogs water when I sense he needs it. I dont hold back. I also recommend to others. All healthy! I know some who have drank up to 8 ounces daily of it for over 20 years. It would he helpful to know the ppm of the solutions noted in the research and how it was made.


    • Hi Val, thank you for visiting our site! We agree that colloidal silver is pretty amazing stuff that can clear a large assortment of ails. There have been documented cases of skin color changing conditions even with colloidal silver. In the article above, a link is shared that tells the amounts/type taken and duration of doses. We are glad that you have found something that helps you and your family (including the loveable furry additions)! Unfortunately, many people do have struggles with their gut flora (whether taking colloidal silver or not). It is great that you haven’t had that struggle!


  6. Colloidal Silver controls my persistent small patch of shingles outbreaks. But, whenever I use it for shingles, both orally and topically, I wind up with joint pain in my weak joints (knees, heel pad, hips). I also have MTHFR, homozygous c677t. So, it’s possible colloidal silver and me are not friends. I’m considering trying DMSO for the shingles. I can’t figure out why I get them… all the time, ever since I began grad school 2 decades ago. It could have been vaccines, my first cell phone (emf sensitivity?), etc… ??


    • Hi Wilula, It does sounds like CS isn’t agreeing with your body. How are your Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Selenium intake levels? Ensuring adequate amounts of those can often help keep shingles at bay. Low Vitamin D has been directly associated with increased risk of shingles. The other 3 I mentioned affect the immune system in general to help fight off infections of all nature. I like to use Cod Liver Oil soft gels, Whole Food Vitamin C called Immune Aid, and Oyster-Min (oyster meat and herbs capsules) from Earthley for supplementing those nutrients. They can be found here: If you are able to add foods rich in those nutrients, that may make a big difference!


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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