O.M.G. Last night at the grocery I was stocking non-prescription meds, and a couple came in asking for … colloidal silver! (Meaning, microfine silver dust suspended in water or another carrier.)
I was baffled; she explained that “Dr Oz” suggested it for sore throats.
“I don’t think we carry that,” I answered, somewhat stunned. “I’ve only used it in a research lab.” (In the teensiest of microdabs, to glue ultra-fine gold wire electrodes to insects.)
“Oh, it’s all-natural!” she asserted cheerfully.
Giant mental sigh and cringe on my end; lots of “all-natural” stuff can be all-naturally poisonous.
The guy with her added something to the effect of, “I bet you all don’t like Dr Oz.”
Er, I’m wary and alarmed by media personalities who promote misleading, useless and/or dangerous medical information. (Last year this celebrity was the recipient of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Media Pigasus Award.)
But I’m guessing the customer was assuming that if people use bizarre “all-natural” remedies, then stores would not sell as many manufactured remedies. Hey, if I want salicylic acid (the stuff in willow bark and spirea that acts as a pain-reliever, fever-reducer and anti-inflammatory), then I will buy it as acetylsalicylic acid, AKA aspirin, because that formulation is less harsh on the digestive system, and you know how much active ingredient you’re getting.
When one of the pharmacists was no longer directly busy with [other] customers, I went up and told him about the customer enquiry. His eyebrows danced a bit at this latest oddity.
“The only thing I’ve heard about taking colloidal silver,” I began, and then the pharmacy intern nearby then chorused with me, “Was about the guy who turned blue!”
“It bio-accumulates, doesn’t it?” I asked, and the pharmacist nodded. That of course, was why I was careful to not let any dots of the lab stuff stick to me. Plus, any clean crumbs re-deposited could be re-used, especially if I held the bottle to the vibrating vortex mixer.
Note: there are antibacterial uses for various ionic silver (Ag+) compounds, such as silver nitrate (AgNO3), but the colloidal stuff is non-ionized metallic form, which has a different biological effect. Of course, poison is always in the dosage — too much silver nitrate can be equally bad. You can read about the hazards of argyria here at the Quackwatch site.
Oh by the way — if you want an “all-natural” remedy for the ordinary sore throat, may I recommend some strong mint tea with honey?