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Document 6: Pre-1950 Sources Describing the Effect of Silver on the Immune System

May 3, 2004

Robert C. Holladay, MS

Copyright 2004 Robert C. Holladay


(1) Motohashi, Shinzo.  1922.  Fixed-tissue phagocytosis.  Journal of Medical Research.  43: 419-434.

            Performed an experiment in which CS was injected into rabbits, probably intravenously.  After the injection, the hemophages began “ingesting the animal’s own erythrocytes abnormally.”

            Performed a series of experiments to determine the smallest dose required to “induce hemophage activity.” 

            “1 cc of a 1:10000 dilution of Collargolum per kilo weight of animal when injected intravenously into normal rabbits was the minimal amount which produced demonstrable hemophage increase.”


(2) Ballenger, Edgar G. and Elder, Omar F.  1922.  The germicidal character of the emanations from colloids of certain silver salts.  Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics.  35: 57-62.

            Ballenger reviews several articles.  “Rabbits inoculated with fatal dose of staphylococcus aureus did not die if 1 cubic centimeter of a 1 per cent colloidal silver chloride solution was given intravenously 15 to 20 hours later.  The control rabbits which received similar injections and not treated with colloidal silver chloride promptly died with multiple abscesses of the kidneys, heart, and other organs.  The rabbits were sometimes not disturbed by 2 cubic centimeters of the same solution given intravenously.”

            “Our work so far leads us to believe that some of the colloidal bodies such as silver chloride are taken up by the phagocytes.”


(3) Clark, A.J.  1923.  Properties of certain “colloidal” preparations.  British Medical Journal.  1: 273-277.

“The suggestion is often made that metals in the colloidal form will continue to circulate for a long time in the blood: this is incorrect, as several workers have shown.  Duhamel found that when colloidal silver was injected into a rabbit 60 per cent of the metal injected was fixed in the liver within fifteen minutes.  Voight, in similar experiments, found that after three hours 81 per cent of the silver was fixed in the liver, and that none of it remained in the blood.  It appears from these experiments that colloidal metals will not circulate in the blood and act there as a disinfectant for more than a few minutes.”



(4) Steabben, Dorothy B.  1925.  Studies on the physiological action of colloids.  The action of colloidal substances on blob-elements and antibody content.  British Journal of Experimental Pathology.  6: 1-13.

            Numerous Researchers have stated that the intravenous injection of colloidal substances aids the treatment of a wide range of diseases.

            Experiments were performed in which rabbits were injected intravenously with various colloidal substances to determine if different substances produced different effects. 

            Rabbits were injected with 0.5 cc Collosol argentum which had no effect on blood composition.  1 cc Collosol artemtum produced a leukocytosis and an increase of red blood cells.  3 cc Collosol argentum produced immediate leukocytosis.  4 cc produced a leucopenia followed by leukocytosis.  20 cc Collosol argentum produced death in 2 hours.

            Injection of 2.5 cc of a 2% gelatin solution produced a leucopenia and a rise in temperature.  Injection of 5 cc of a 2% gelatin solution produced leucopenia, followed by   leukocytosis, and a rise in temperature.  Injection of 10 cc of a 5% gelatin solution produced a severe leucopenia and a rise in temperature.  Injection of 20 cc of a 5% gelatin solution produced death in 2 hours.

            Injection of 5 cc of a 1% agar solution increased red blood cell count, and also resulted in severe leucopenia, rise in temperature, leukocytosis.  Injection of 15 cc of 1% agar caused death within 24 hours.

            Injection of  2 cc of iron as Collosol ferrum produced no changes on blood composition.  Injection of 20 cc of Collosol ferrum produced a rise in temperature and leukocytosis.

            A second series of experiments was performed in which 5 cc of several substances were injected and the red blood cell count (rbc) was taken in millions.  The white blood count was not taken in the millions and is designated (w)




0.5% iron solution

1% gelatin

1% dextrin

1% peptone

0.02% silver

0.5% agar

1000 million per cc typhoid




Before Injection

6.30rbc 9250w

5.29rbc 13000w

5.92rbc 11750w

5.87rbc 8500w

6.58rbc 5750w

5.56rbc  4750w

5.80rbc 4500w

6.24rbc 7000w



5 hours after injection

6.25rbc 10000w

4.51rbc 13000w

5.52rbc 9500w

4.93rbc 10000w

5.78rbc 6750w

5.12rbc 11750w

5.25rbc 6250w

4.84rbc 4750w

Rbc Not measured

 wbc not measured

24 hours after injection

Rbc Not measured wbc not measured

4.80rbc 11000w

4.88rbc 26500w

5.72rbc 10000w

6.40rbc 10500w

4.20rbc wbc not measured

5.84rbc 5500w

5.78rbc 16500w

Rbc Not measured 21000w


            After 72 hours the white blood cell count in the experiment detailed in the above table was measured for .02% silver at 8250; 1% peptone at 6000; typhoid at 9250; ferrous sulphate at 11000.      

            Osmotic attraction of water from the tissues may explain the different red blood cell counts.

            The temperature change from injection of 0.02% silver produced a temperature change of 1 degree after 5 hours.  Several other substances produced a greater change, and several substances produced a smaller change.

Comment: Very high quality article for its time.  The idea of osmotic changes possibly resulting from the interaction of CS with salt in the bloodstream is interesting.



(5) Pacheo, Genesio.  1925.  Studies on the action of metallic colloids on immunization.  Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz.  18: 81-149.

            Extensive review of the literature on CS articles written mainly by non-English authors.

            Crede in 1897 was the first to use Collargol, which is a type of colloidal silver.

            Iscovesco (1906) criticizes the exaggerated claims of Robin.

            Charrin and Vingaurd (1906) found that the germicidal action of silver varies with particle size and smaller particles are most effective.

            Etienne (1907) administered “electrolytic colloids” to “animals” for a month, and the animals receiving the colloids survived longer than those who did not receive any when they were infected with streptococcus.  Animals which also received colloids after the induced infection survived even longer.

            Bechold (1922) tested the action of several different types of colloidal preparations on rats infected with B. suisepticus.  97% of the animals which did not receive injections of colloids died, while 43% of the animals that received colloids died.

            Portig stated that injected CS was transformed into silver salts within the animals.

            Bauereisen (1921) “also points out the diversity of action in vitro and in vivo and tries to account for it by the rapid tying down of the colloids by the cells, by the rapid withdrawal of the colloids from the circulation and the impossibility of their diffusion throughout the body; they are unable to reach all the points where there exist germs, or are at any rate unable to do so in a sufficient concentration.”

            Doerr (1920)  found that the bactericidal action of silver was negated by small quantities of serum.

            Trommsdorff (1902), Cohn (1902), and Brunner (1900) showed that Collargol did not help artificially infected animals, and in some cases hurried their death.

            Kammerer and Schaetz (1922) found that a mixture of Collargol and blood did not exert any bactericidal action.

            Foa (1908) showed that electrically generated CS produces a rise of temperature in animals. 

            Gompel and Henry (1908) only noted a rise in temperature when extremely large doses were administered intravenously in rabbits.

            Herzog and Roscher (1922) reported a rise in temperature when humans were given injections of 8 to 10 cc of a 12% Collargol solution.

            Bourguignon (1908) injected guinea pigs with Collargol and noticed a rise in temperature 2-3 hours after injection.

            Gross and O’connor (1911) Gave a rabbit an intravenous injection of 5 cc colloidal gold.  Previous to receiving the injection, the rabbit had white blood cell count of 9900 leukocytes, of which 5200 were mononuclear and 4700 were polynuclear.  Two hours after receiving the injection, the rabbit’s temperature had risen by 1 degree Celsius, and the total leukocyte count was 19800, of which 4900 were mononuclear and 14900 were polynuclear.  A different rabbit received 1 cc of a 1% colloidal iridium solution.  Two hours later the Temperature had increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius and the number of leukocytes had risen from 10400 to 11200, while the number of mononuclear leukocytes went from 6700 to 3600, and the number of polynuclear leukocytes went from 3700 to 7600.  In a rabbit inoculated with 1 cc of chicken albumin, the temperature rose 1 degree Celsius in 3 hours and the leukocyte count decreased from 9100 to 8300.

            Achard and Weil (1907) injected an unspecified living organism with stabilized Collargol on 4 consecutive days.  The red blood cell count decreased from 4950000 to 4450000 after 24 hours, 3680000 after 5 days, 3690000 after 7 days, and 3360000 on day ten. The leukocyte count before injection was 5200.  One hour after injection leukocyte count was 3000, but increased to 10200 after 24 hours, and was 8800 after 5 days.  After 7 days it stood at 14400 and on the tenth day it was at 10800.  The number of mononuclear leukocytes decreased up until day 7, while the number of polynuclear leukocytes increased until day 7. 

            Dimond (1913) Often noted a polynuclear leukocytosis when patients were injected with CS and colloidal gold.

            Ascoli and Novello (1908) Found that electrically generated colloidal silver will destroy the red blood cells of pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, and other animals, even after the solution is stabilized.  Gold, platinum, and palladium colloids did not destroy mammalian blood cells.

            Ascoli and Izar (1909) CS and colloidal lead, and platinum are haemolytic.  Serum inhibits this haemolytic property.

            Cohn (1907) found that after injecting Collargol intravenously into some organism, none was left in the blood after 45 minutes.      

            Voight (1918), after injecting rabbits with colloidal silver iodide, colloidal granulations were found in the leukocytes.  The colloidal silver iodide was still found in the blood after 24 hours.


(6) Wood, Francis Carter.  1926.  Use of colloidal lead in the treatment of cancer.  Journal of the American Medical Association.  87: 717-722.

            Several researchers have used injections of a wide variety of colloidal metals to treat tumors in humans.  The massive doses required to produce a therapeutic effect often result in death. 

            Kausch injected CS in humans with tumors and got severe reactions including chills, fever, and cyanosis.  One of his patients died, and he appears to have abandoned the treatment.

            Rohdenburg used a commercial silver preparation and did not achieve therapeutic results in animals and 10 humans.

            The author concludes that the injection of colloids to treat tumors is premature and should not be widely employed.


(7) Shouse, Samuel S. and George H. Whipple.  1931.  Effects of intravenous injection of colloidal silver upon the hematopoietic system in dogs.  Journal of Experimental Medicine.  53: 437-445.

            An experiment was performed in which Collargolum containing 85% metallic silver and a small amount of albumin was diluted to 1% concentration and injected intravenously into dogs.  In many instances hemolysis occurred.  Intravenous injection of 500 mg Collargol is generally followed by death in less than 12 hours.  Exact dosages are reported in several cases.  When small amounts of silver are injected, such as 20-50 mg/day, leukocytosis often occurs.  When large doses are administered, such as 100-300 mg/day, anemia occurs.  The size of the dogs ranged from about 14-19 kg. 

            Motohashi reported marked phagocytosis in rabbits following injection of Collargol in rabbits.

            Voight states that after being injected intravenously, CS is slowly changed into its ionized form.  


(8) Yoshiharu, Takeda.  1932.  The change in coagulability of blood due to the injection of electrocollargol.  Japanese Journal of Experimental Medicine.  10: 463-498.

            Various authors have reported that the presence of CS in the blood inhibits coagulation. 

            An experiment was performed in which 0.6% Electrargol was injected into rabbits.  When 5 cc was injected the amount of time necessary for the blood to clot was doubled from 24-48 hours after injection, but otherwise was normal.  When 10 cc was injected, the amount of time necessary for the blood to clot was increased 2-5 times from 8 hours after the injection to 7 days after the injection.  8 days after the injection the blood clotting had returned to normal.  When 15 cc was injected the amount of time required for clotting increased by a factor of ten.  The rabbits that received 15 cc died within 4 days of receiving injections.


(9) Anan, Mitsuyoshi.  1936.  On the centro-hepatic regulation of leukocytosis caused by Electrargol.  Nippon Byori Gakkai Kaishi.  26: 252-256.

            An experiment was performed in which a rabbit was administered 2 cc Electrargol per kg intravenously.  8 hours after the injection, the leukocyte count reached 2.5-3 times the count before injection.  After 24 hours the leukocyte count was normal.

            An experiment was performed in which dogs were given intravenous injections of Electrargol.  Initially, the leukocyte count decreased, but an increase could be seen beginning 4 hours after the injection, reaching its maximum 6 to 10 hours after injection.  24 hours after the injection the leukocyte count was normal.


(10) Hill, William R. and Donald M. Pillsbury.  1939.  Argyria the pharmacology of silver.  Baltimore.  Williams and Wilkins Company.  172 pages.

            The purpose of this book is to review the literature to “formulate conclusions concerning the incidence of argyria.” (preface)

            Cumston wrote that a pharmacopeia published in Rome in 69 B.C. mentions silver nitrate.  (page 1)

            “If large amounts of a soluble silver salt are given in a short time, argyria may develop rapidly.” (page 17)

            Fabroni wrote that optimum stimulation of the reticulo-endothelial system occurs between the third and fifth day of Collargol injections. (page 48)  

            Ribadeau mentioned a leukopenia one hour following intravenous injection of Electrargol, leukocytosis after one hour, and the leukocyte count returned to normal after one hour. Brown reported similar effects on leukocyte count, and both stated that injection of silver nitrate does not affect leukocyte count.(page 48)

            Schouse and Warren believe that intravenous administration of CS causes bone marrow hyperplasia, and possibly destruction of red blood cells. (page 49)

            When silver arsphenamine is administered to animals in doses far greater than those used in man, anemia, leucopenia, and leukocytosis occurs. (page 56)

            Spiegel stated “I have had hundreds of cases in which as much as 12 grams of silver arsphenamine has been given without any unpleasant sequellae.” (page 88)

Comment: This summary only contains a small fraction of what is in this book.  601 references are cited.