So what’s the story on colloidal silver?

Dear Humorous Herbalist,

Your column of March 28-29 in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent references the use of colloidal silver for UTIs. Is there one particular brand that is likely to be more reliable as far as purity and potency is concerned? Also, what would be the parts per million you would recommend for upper respiratory infections, etc.?

One other thing I would like cleared up. There are some companies making what they call a mild silver protein which they claim is safer than colloidal silver. Which silver product would be the safest and most effective? Thanks.

– Gail (via e-mail)

Dear Gail,

Colloidal silver has been shown to be effective when there are anywhere from 500 to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) in the dose. Studies have shown that the more resistant bacteria and viruses require as much as 1,500 ppm. While I think colloidal silver is a viable remedy for attacking invading bacteria and/or viruses, I do not believe in taking it every day. It should be used as needed during the course of the infection at half a teaspoon daily.

As for the mild silver protein, I had never heard of this before. I contacted Vitamin Research Products, a company I respect, and discovered that this silver protein is a pharmaceutical grade of colloidal silver. The protein “holds” the silver and keeps it in suspension longer, allowing for greater utilization of this powerful natural antibiotic. According to VRP’s research and development director, Dr. Ward Dean, M.D., mild silver protein is “known to inhibit the growth of nearly all pathogenic bacteria and fungi, including some species that are resistant to antibiotics.” Most importantly, the use of mild silver protein does not lead to the development of resistant organisms.

The key when it comes to either colloidal silver or mild silver protein is to purchase from reliable companies who can back up their products with data. Vitamin Research Products is one of those companies. They sell a four ounce bottle of mild silver protein called “Silver Liquid” for $59. VRP also carries a silver nasal formula for chronic sinus infections, a silver oral liquid for gum infections, a silver burn mist and a silver optic formula for the eyes. Their Web site is Their toll-free phone number is 1-800-877-2447.

Dear Humorous Herbalist,

In regard to your column on the cough herb coltsfoot (March 7), you recommended the tea in your column. I was wondering if it is as effective in capsule form, either alone or in combination with other respiratory-related herbs.

– Tracy (via e-mail)

Dear Tracy,

While the capsules might be beneficial on some level, I would not recommend them over the tea or liquid extract because capsules can be unpredictable as to when they break up in the body. If you’re lucky, they’ll dissolve in your stomach. However, some capsules (including many cheaper brands of vitamins) break up in the colon or not at all. Thus, their benefit is nullified. But more importantly, you cannot “feed” an acute respiratory infection with tiny amounts of herbal capsules. You must flood the body with easily absorbable teas and/or liquid herbal extracts that immediately enter the bloodstream and begin nourishing the tender pulmonary tissue.

E-mail your questions to The Humorous Herbalist at

Laurel Dewey is extending the special offer on autographed copies of her book “The Humorous Herbalist.” Purchase two books for $10 each (that’s $5 off the regular price) and receive a third book FREE. Send $20 plus $3 postage and handling to The Humorous Herbalist, P.O. Box 1984, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601. Include names of the individuals receiving the books and Laurel will personalize the greeting.

The information in this column is not meant to take the place of your physician, nor is it intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their doctor before using herbal therapy.

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