One of the all-time best natural antibiotics, Silver is also the world’s  oldest antibacterial remedy, but it went out of style with the discovery of penicillin in 1928. And yet, now that many “superbug” bacteria strains are evolving resistance to antibiotics, making many infections difficult or impossible to treat, scientists are once again turning to those silver antibacterial properties our ancestors long relied on.

Here are four science-backed reasons why silver is one of nature’s best antibiotics.

1. Silver Antibacterial Effects Speed Up Healing

In a 2009 study published in the  Journal of Clinical Nursing, researchers looked at the effectiveness of silver dressings in treating chronic wounds. They examined silver’s effect on non-healing wounds, such as leg ulcers, that might not heal for weeks or months. As you can imagine, these types of wounds cause serious emotional and physical distress. They are also expensive and difficult to treat for both the patient and the health-care system.

The researchers reviewed eight different studies and concluded that, across the board, the silver dressings improved healing and decreased pain compared to other treatments. The study’s authors concluded that their “meta-analysis confirms the effectiveness of silver dressings in wound healing and improving patients’ quality of life.” natural antibiotics

In an Italian study published in Journal of Internal Medicinesilver oxide ointment was shown to significantly improve skin healing rates and microcirculation on skin lesions, ulcers, and wounds.

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2. Silver Might Have Anti-Tumor and Anti-Cancer Properties

Throughout history, silver has been used as an antimicrobial and antibacterial agent, but Mexican biologists went further in 2010 to see if silver had any effect on breast cancer cells.

The results of  their study, published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, showed that silver does, in fact, have anti-tumor properties and that it could be used in the future as an alternative or complementary cancer therapy. natural antibiotics

3. Bacterial Silver Resistance is Rarer than Resistance to Other Traditional and Natural Antibiotics

A select group of scientists and medical experts from Europe, North America, Asia, South Africa, and Australia met in December 2011 to provide international guidelines and advice for the use of silver dressings. They did an in-depth analysis of silver’s antimicrobial properties compared to those of other traditional and natural antibiotics.

In the study’s  official report from Wounds International, the international consensus included an explanation about the possibility of bacterial resistance: “Topical antiseptics, such as silver, differ from antibiotics: they have multiple sites of antimicrobial action on target cells and therefore a low risk of bacterial resistance.”

4. Silver Antibacterial Properties Might Be Natural Weapons Against Superbugs

With the rise of superbugs that are resistant to overprescribed antibiotics, scientists are looking to alternative treatments. In a recent study published in  Science Translational Medicine, scientists looked into silver’s effectiveness against bacteria. natural antibiotics

“Researchers treated E. coli bacteria with small amounts of silver. They found that the metal messes with the bugs’ proteins, wreaking havoc on their metabolism(s).” Silver made traditional antibiotics more effective against the germs and even made drug-resistant microbes respond to antibiotic treatment.

Naomi Imatome-Yun is a food, wellness, and lifestyle editor. Her work appears in USA Today, Yahoo, and Dining Out. She is the author of  Cooking with Gochujang: Asia’s Original Hot Sauce and is a food expert for Naomi lives in Santa Monica and loves running, reading, beach volleyball, yoga, sculpture parks, and dancing around with her husband and kids.

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