A recent Media Matters piece attempted to attack HoneyColony and its founder, Maryam Henein, for promoting colloidal silver and spreading “conspiracy theories.” How do their arguments hold up?

On April 3, the website Media Matters for America published an article with the headline, “An online health magazine with over 100,000 Facebook followers is selling colloidal silver as a coronavirus preventative.” The online magazine in question is – you guessed it – HoneyColony.

The article it responds to was a March 13 piece titled “The Best Coronavirus Treatment Is Prevention”, specifically taking aim at colloidal silver. The author, Eric Hananoki, attacks HoneyColony for being run by a “conspiracy theorist” and promoting “dangerous propaganda”; arguing that colloidal silver is snake oil and is only effective for making a profit. The article has unfortunately been drafted.

We are taking the opportunity here to speak to these claims. 

Does HoneyColony Peddle Conspiracy Theories?

Media Matters claims that Maryam Henein, our founder, is a “conspiracy theorist” sharing baseless theories on social media. One line reads, “She has pushed a variety of coronavirus conspiracy theories, including ones that falsely claim hospitals are actually empty.”

However, while some hospitals are overrun with coronavirus patients, not all are filling up as expected. The Seattle Field Hospital closed after only three days and no patients. The cancellation of elective surgeries in preparation for the pandemic has led to thousands of empty hospital beds. Even as New York and New Jersey struggled with overflowing hospitals in April, medical staff elsewhere were losing their jobs. “I was putting on my scrubs and got a message that I was canceled,” explained Ben McGuire, an Oklahoma intensive care nurse. Focusing on either side doesn’t cover the full story. 

There is also a financial benefit to hospitals when illnesses are counted as the coronavirus. A provision in the CARES Act allows for a 20 percent add-on for Medicare patients with COVID-19 infections. As for deaths, CDC guidelines state they should be reported if the patient tests positive. A suspected case without a definitive diagnosis can be reported as COVID-19 on death certificates. 

Another supposed conspiracy is that the rollout of 5G has something to do with the coronavirus outbreak. Environmental health researchers have pointed out a clear link between electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation with the rise in immune, neurological, and other disorders. Both anecdotal and scientific reports describe immune suppression from EMF exposure, which increases the risk of infections and their complications. A dangerous increase in intracellular calcium contributes to this effect, causing oxidative stress.

However, grounding (earthing) has been shown in academic literature to reset the body’s electrical potential with the Earth and reduce oxidative stress. Earthing involves direct physical contact with the earth, such as walking barefoot or swimming in a natural body of water. Therefore, time outside directly touching the earth may help relieve the effects of EMF sources, such as 5G towers, on our immune systems and protect us from infections such as the coronavirus. 

Guilt By Association

The claim that Maryam is a conspiracy theorist is due in part to her association with Alex Jones, a widely-known conspiracy theorist who runs the site Infowars. This is an example of the guilt by association fallacy. Here, any evidence supporting the opponent’s ideas are ignored in favor of pointing out their connection with someone the audience would not trust.

People who trust mainstream reporting and government institutions would most likely see this relationship as a negative. The label “conspiracy theory” is also a common tool to discredit ideas that contradict commonly accepted practices and conflict with the interests of the rich and powerful. This is an ad hominem attack, where the person is discredited instead of their argument. 

Can We Trust The Authorities?

Media Matters’ arguments assume that government bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are honest, and any claims otherwise are conspiracies. However, these institutions often cover up data or contradict their own information.

For example, the CDC states that vaccines don’t cause autism, but sub-group analyses reveal some risks. African-American boys receiving the MMR shot before their third birthday have over triple the risk of autism, while there is a 69 percent higher risk for males in general.

As for the current situation, there are concerns over the CDC combining both viral and antibody test results in their Covid-19 statistics. Viral tests determine whether someone currently has COVID-19; antibody testing confirms a previous infection or exposure. Combining the two overstates the government’s ability to conduct testing and the rate of negative results. 

Additionally, a 2010 conclusion by a House executive subcommittee found that the CDC knowingly used flawed data to claim that lead levels in drinking water were safe in 2004. Almost one million residents in the District of Washington, and in small areas of Arlington and Falls Church, learned of their exposure to lead from a news article. Lead is particularly dangerous to children and causes brain damage and developmental delays. The CDC analysis was intended to calm public outrage and has even been cited as proof that very high levels of lead in water were not harmful. 

Regardless of their intentions, the CDC knowingly published incomplete blood test results and kept families in danger. In one part, families with lead levels 20 times over the safety limit in their tap water were described as having normal blood levels. What the CDC didn’t mention was that some families mostly drank bottled or filtered water. 

The Facts On Colloidal Silver

The saying “any publicity is good publicity” may apply here, too. Media Matters’ article backfired, bringing new readers to our site to study the history and scientific facts about silver.

Within a few days, we had to replenish our silver products! While many people report faster wound healing and resolution of infections after using colloidal silver, contrary to Hanonoki’s claims, there is scientific evidence to justify its use.

Lab Research On Silver

Researchers in Spain found that silver can be effective both alone and together with pharmaceutical antibiotics. Colloidal silver works by deactivating bacterial enzymes used in their growth and energy production. It causes oxidative stress inside bacteria and disrupts their cell membranes and DNA. Silver’s ability to break up protective biofilms may help with difficult to treat chronic infections.

The species that silver has shown these effects against include Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and Salmonella typhi. Viruses vulnerable to silver include herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus, and influenza A. Colloidal silver acts against viruses in several different ways, depending on the species. These include preventing the virus from attaching to host cells, inactivating the virus, and interfering with their DNA. 

Clinical Trials

One clinical study compared silver to targeted antibiotics in people who still had chronic infections after sinusitis surgery. Patients who used a colloidal silver nasal spray led to a reduction in bacterial levels and some symptoms. It wasn’t superior to antibiotics, but unlike their pharmaceutical counterpart, silver does not negatively affect the microbiome. Silver nanoparticles do, however, have anti-inflammatory, pro-healing effects

Additionally, according to another study, a combination of colloidal silver and a beta-glucan sped recovery in 100 Italian children with the common cold. Ninety percent of the treated children recovered without complications, compared to 66 percent in the placebo group who experienced negative effects such as ear infections or bronchitis.

Another study tested silver and fluoride nanoparticles on 60 children with dental cavities, treating a total of 130 affected teeth. Eighty-one percent of teeth showed no more cavity progression, and this benefit was maintained in most after one year.  Only one-third of teeth in the control group stopped deteriorating after a year, with none stabilizing after the placebo treatment. 

HoneyColony sells Silver Healer, a nanoparticle combination of ionic and colloidal silver, and the Silver Excelsior Serum, a chelated silver product. Silver nanoparticles are effective antimicrobial agents, and chelated silver may be a safer, more stable form

Media Matters missed the mark on their attack against HoneyColony and Maryam Henein. As an organization that claims to criticize excessive bias towards right-wing ideologies, health isn’t their specialty. Searching for the evidence behind various claims and shedding light on alternative perspectives is not spreading conspiracies. Sharing research and experience on colloidal silver isn’t either.

Alexandra Preston is an Australian naturopath, passionate about empowering others to take charge of their health and healing the planet. Her special area of interest in natural health is antiaging; she also loves the beach and is a semi-professional dancer.

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