Silver has been known since ancient time. It was one of the first five metals to be discovered. Mankind learned to separate silver from lead back in 3000 BC. Silver objects have been found dating back before 4000 BC. It is believed the element was discovered around 5000 BC.
Silver has been revered by the medical community since a long time. Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine, knew of its healing and anti-disease properties. In World War I, before the widespread use of antibiotics, it was imperative on the battlefield. Silver foil was wrapped around wounds to help them heal.
Silver, a germicidal, kills bacteria and other lower organisms. Silver ions act as a catalyst by absorbing oxygen, which kills bacteria by interfering with their respiration. This antibiotic property, along with its non-toxicity, has given Silver an essential role in medicine for thousands of years.
In medicine, Silver is incorporated into wound dressings to treat external infections and also used as an antibiotic coating in medical devices. It is also used in some medical applications, such as urinary catheters (where tentative evidence indicates it reduces catheter-related urinary tract infections) and in endotracheal breathing tubes (where evidence suggests it reduces ventilator-associated pneumonia).
The Silver ion (Ag+) is bioactive and in sufficient concentration readily kills bacteria in vitro. Silver is also used in other medical instruments and is a key part of the technology behind X-rays. It has also been used in eye drops and in dental hygiene to cure and prevent infection.
Silver Sulfadiazine is especially useful for burn victims because it kills bacteria while also allowing the skin to regrow. Silver ion treatments can heal bone infections and allow regeneration of damaged tissue.
Today, the presence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs increases the demand for Silver in hospitals. Small amounts of Silver can coat hospital surfaces and medical equipment to prevent the spread of pathogens.
Silver and Silver nanoparticles are also used as an antimicrobial in a variety of industrial, healthcare, and domestic applications.
Indeed … this White Gold glitters more than Gold..!!! Silver!!!
Hindustan Zinc is India’s only and world’s leading Zinc-Lead-Silver Producer.
(Pavan Kaushik heads Corporate Communications at Hindustan Zinc)
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are solely of the author in personal capacity.