Respectful Insolence

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The woo is good again.

Regular readers may have caught an undercurrent of whining in the last few installments of my little Friday feature? Whining about what? A bit of burnout. In fact, looking back at my last few installments, I now wonder whether I was starting to show signs of burnout. There I was, complaining about having trouble coming up with new bits woo that really floated my boat enough to inspire me to ever more fevered bits of Respectful Insolenceā„¢. What a downer, man! Fortunately, this week was different. This week, there was an abundance of riches. This week, there were at least three bits of woo so wild, so amazingly out there, so inspiring that I had a hell of a time deciding which one to give my characteristic loving treatment that my readers know and now expect. My only concern is whether I have chosen correctly. Of course, even if I haven’t, there’s always next week.

So what won this competition of woo, this tag-team slapdown between titans of energetic healing? Will your chakra ever be the same? Will your flow of qi be unblocked? Will your vibrational essence be aligned with that of the universe?

Not quite. But, if you believe these woo-meisters, you can cure all infections and cancer too! Are you ready for some Colloidal Silver Plus Solution Holy Anointed Water? Come on, not only is it colloidal silver but it’s been annointed, too? How can you refuse?

You can’t. God doesn’t want you to. He wants you to be healed; that is, after He afflicted you with whatever disease it is that you need to have treated.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking: Colloidal silver? Isn’t that the stuff that turned that old dude into Papa Smurf a few months back? Why, yes. Yes it is! So, you’re probably thinking: Why on earth would I want to use this stuff and risk being eligible to join the Blue Man Group without needing any makeup? Good question. The reason, of course, is that this isn’t just any colloidal silver. That would be far too secular. Oh, no, this is special colloidal silver. If you look at the claims for most colloidal silver, what you’ll hear is that it can treat and prevent infection. True, the claim will be that it can treat or prevent virtually any infection, a totally implausible bit of woo, but it doesn’t go much beyond that in most cases. Not so for Colloidal Silver Plus Solution Anointed Holy Water (CSPSAH)! It can cure cancer, too! Just look:

Colloidal Silver (often misspelled Collodial Silver) and better described as Electrically isolated Silver, has been used for many centuries for many minor and serious ailments. It was shown in one professional medical study (The British Encyclopaedia of Medical Practice circa 1938 Sir Humphrey Rolleston, BT, G.C.V.O., K.C.B., M.D., D.Sc., D.C.L., LL.D., Emeritus Regius Professor, Cambridge, sometimes PRESIDENT of the Royal College of Physicians of London, England.) that it is effective in helping 650 illnesses. There are some more studies (see a few below) that show it is effective against HIV, Cancer, Herpes, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C! It is safe to take with any medicine (Separate CS and EDTA Cancer treatments by 12 hours apart just so they don’t cancel each other out). Many people use it to treat the common cold, the flu, sinus infection and yeast infections. It was widely used by professionals before many of the modern day antibiotics and treatments were patented.

I love the bit about the common misspelling. Indeed, I tip my hat. It’s just the right touch to imply an expertise that doesn’t exist, as though these guys selling this crap know what they are talking about. But that’s not enough. (Is it ever?) If there’s one thing that virtually all good woo must–I repeat, must–have to be credible to alties, it’s an appeal to ancient wisdom, and CSPSAH doesn’t disappoint:

Silver is a powerful, natural antibiotic/anti-viral/anti-fungi/anti-germinal that has been used for thousands of years. Great Grandma used to put a silver dollar in the milk to keep if from spoiling as it sat on the back porch in summertime. This was very common practice. Also it was well known that the ancient Greeks knew the medical value of silver. It was observed that those ancient families who ate from silver utensils rarely were sick and had few infections. This knowledge passed on to kings, emperors, sultans and their families and members of their royal courts. They ate from silver plates, drank from silver cups, used silver utensils and stored their food in silver containers. As a result of this use, silver was ever so slightly rubbed off and mixed in their foods. And after a generation or two, they received the full benefit from the silver particles which found their way into the body of these people, hence had little chance of getting any infectious illness.

These royals were called Blue Bloods because their skin had a blue tint, due to the accumulation of minute traces of pure metallic silver. (You don’t have to worry about this if you take the recommended dose of modern properly prepared CS). The common red blooded folk, however, ate from earthenware dishes with iron utensils and frequently were sick, while the royals enjoyed the freedom from infectious disease as early as from birth. There are many historical references on Colloidal Silver. One of the most complete is published in The Lancet dated Dec. 12, 1914.

This story, like many stories postulated to explain the ancient origins of woo, sounds somewhat plausible on the surface. However, like many such stories, it’s wrong, particularly the part about the “blue bloods.” In fact, the real reason nobility in Spain was called “blue blood” (the translation of sangre azul) is thought to be due to their pale complexion and easily visible blue veins. But also notice the subtle implication in this story, namely that nobility used silver and it was the reason that they were supposedly so healthy compared to the poor that they ruled. That implication, of course, is that if you start using their CSPSAH, you’ll be like nobility too. Indeed, one of the most common themes through altie literature is about being “special” and not like the rest of the “sheeple” who simply do what their doctor tells them to do and never dig deeper to “go beyond” conventional medicine and open their minds to “alternatives.” Indeed, a smug sense of “specialness” is one common characteristic of alties. Just imagine combining that smug sense of “specialness” with the smug sense of specialness that fundamentalist Christians of the type who would came up with CSPSAH often exhibit. (Just look at the rest of their website, if you don’t believe me.)

On second thought, don’t.

What then follows is a list of quotes about the supposed efficacy of this particular form of colloidal silver. Once again, poor Otto Warburg, who, although a great scientist, became a bit of a crank in his old age, is trotted out to justify this, although the quote chosen doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this woo:

Dr. Otto Warberg (Nobel Prize Winner, 1932) stated that “Cancer is caused by the lack of oxygen and the fermentation of sugars.”

They also forget to mention that Otto Warburg was wrong. Aerobic glycolysis and the attendant requirement for large amounts of glucose as fuel are indeed a feature of many cancer cells, but it’s not at all clear whether that is a cause or consequence of malignancy. It might even be both, depending on the specific cancer being one or the other. Of course, the rest of the quotes tend to be from either scientists before 1930, which was before penicillin and there wasn’t much in the way of effective chemotherapy against infections, making colloidal silver seem worth a try. It was also before science demonstrated pretty conclusively that colloidal silver is worthless as an antibiotic when injected. The concentration achievable in the blood just isn’t high enough to be effective. (Silver salts are still in use today as topical antibiotics, where they are effective. The difference, of course, is that the concentration of silver salts achievable is much higher in a topical paste.) In any case, this is the sort of stuff we’re treated to:

In the United States and Canada, more than 100 hospitals have installed silver-based water purifying systems to eradicate Legionnaire’s disease, a deadly bacteria that infects hot water pipes and storage tanks in large buildings.

I love altie logic. Let’s put it this way: I use bleach to kill bacteria on my lab benches and in my tissue culture hood. By the above “logic” that means bleach is a great thing to drink to kill bacteria and parasites.

There are lots of colloidal silver products out there, though. What makes this one better than the rest? Good question. Glad you asked! “I Saw the Light” Ministries is more than happy to tell you. But first, you need a testimonial (can I get a testimonial here?):

I know of one person that took CS for the STD Gonorrhea and recovered in one day without going to the doctors. I know of a little girl that had an E-Coli infection and her kidneys shut down from the E-Coli infection. She took CS (as well as being in the hospital with antibiotics) and the nurses said it was a miracle how quickly she recovered! I have heard MANY great testimonies but the FDA does not allow anyone who sells CS to make any claims because they want to keep a lid on natural health supplements. So I am not making any claims plus I am NOT selling it, I’m offering it to you free as a Ministry in return for ministry donation without any medical guarantee at your own risk (of being helped).

Wow! What was a righteous Christian doing with gonorrhea in the first place? (Am I the only one who wondered about this?) The rest of it is beautiful–and so predictable! The little girl took the CS and was treated with antibiotics, and when she recovered it just had to be the CS. Had to be! There’s no way it could have been all those nasty, secular antibiotics, could it? But the best part is how he says he’s not “selling” this stuff but that he just wants a “donation”:

We provide our Unique, annointed, prayed over, Colloidal Silver Plus Solution (16 fluid oz) in return for a very reasonable donation of only $25.00 per bottle to our ministry. We do NOT add any additional shipping cost or taxes! This is the most affordable method of attaining good quality effective safe CS/EIS. Our CS is 12 PPM (parts per million) which we believe to be very effective. (We believe that the body cannot effectively absorb and use more than 12 PPM of Colloidal Silver). WE ALSO ADD a small amount of Hydro-peroxide to each batch to Enhance the effectiveness. We only use Ozonated, Mirco-Filtered Spring Water that has been previously bottled. We do NOT add salt. We do NOT use tap water. We believe salt is unnecessary and actually counter productive.

Wow! Not only do they run ozone through the water but they microfilter it and then add silver. Sadly, I don’t remember enough of my inorganic chemistry to recall what the reaction between ozone and colloidal silver might be (probably silver oxides of some sort), but I do know this is primo woo. I also wonder why they feel the need to add peroxide to the mixture after they’ve already run ozone through the water, which would react with the water and form–you guessed it!–hydrogen peroxide. I guess they’re covering all their bases or something.

Still, there is one thing that this woo, blatantly religious though it may be, shares with any other form of woo, and that’s the fact that belief is far more important than any evidence. In a way, it’s refreshing to see the honesty with which they admit this:

We do NOT make any statements of what it will cure or heal or effectively treat. It is a dietary/mineral supplement. We BELIEVE that it helps many people with many illnesses especially those that involve bacteria, fungi and/or virus. I am a firm believer in the God given properties of this natural alternative health product. I use it daily and it HAS helped me, I even give it to my pets. Please consult your licensed professional doctor for any and all medical symptoms and treatments. We do NOT sell the product. We GIVE it to you in return for the donation to our ministry if and only if you use the below donate button on this page.

“Give it to you”? Of course they do. I wonder what would happen if someone requested this CS but didn’t have enough money to provide the requested “donation.” Maybe that person could manage it through the ministry’s referral program–with “required” donations, of course. But be very, very careful. This brand of colloidal silver is so potent that it could cause a “healing crisis”:

This is a condition wherein the colloidal silver is killing the pathogens very quickly. The body’s five eliminatory systems (kidneys, liver, skin, bowel, and lungs) become temporarily overloaded. This is especially true when overcoming HIV with colloidal silver. One may feel lethargic and dozy due to this rapid action. Continue the regimen but lower the dose and drink up to four litres of pure water per day together with up to 6 grams (6000 mg) of Vitamin C.

How convenient. If you happen to get better, the silver must have done it. If you don’t, it was a “healing crisis.” Isn’t “alternative” medicine wonderful?

I would be remiss in my duties as host of this weekly feature if I didn’t mention one more thing that’s bugged me for the nearly two years that I’ve been doing this regular feature. What is it about alties and bad web design? This particular site has an annoyingly scrolling bit of text at the top, a rainbow background, text that alternates between bold and regular and bold again, with blocks of text set off with clashing colors that make the text harder to read. There have been times when I’ve considered giving up my little Friday bit of fluff just to save myself from massive headaches looking at bad web design.

In any case, in retrospect, I’m beginning to wonder if I chose correctly when I chose this woo over the other two or three possibilities. Fortunately, there is always next week.

Comments

  1. #1 Skeptyk
    April 18, 2008

    Oh, yes, you chose well. I am amazed that I am running into the colloidal silver fans again. Some woo never dies. Also, it may be the whole home-tech, DIY aspect that makes folks feel all techie and smart.

    I predict that, as the summer run of farmers markets and fairs picks up, we will see some changes in the woo. More water filters and less bottled woo-ter; more foot detox -footbaths, pads, creams – with visible “results” and no discomfort, and less of the sort of internal detox regimens -liver flushes, colon cleanses – which have stinky visible results and are uncomfortable ; more “I see dead people” and less “I see angels”; more interdimensional, wise, friendly aliens “influencing” us, and less physical scary little greys abducting us; more homeopathy and naturopathy, and less massage…

  2. #2 viggen
    April 18, 2008

    Working in a lab that specializes in metal nanoparticles, I’ve got direct experience with Gold Colloids and one of my lab mates is working with Silver. In general, for the pure metals, the colloid is formed by coating a tiny metallic nucleus with a chemical ligand… eg. my gold is citrate coated. They retain a charge due to the nature of the ligand and this charge prevents the colloid from condensing into an aggregated mass. As such, these colloids are very sensitive to the presence of ions in solution; if you add a little salt, they catastrophically precipitate. I’m not certain how they would respond to oxide radicals, like you get from hydrogen peroxide, but my guess is that they probably wouldn’t respond too happily. If you coated them in a protein first, like many people do to make TEM gold-antibody labels, they would be a bit more resiliant. In my experience, if you keep them in certain plastics, they tend to stick irreversibly to the sides and disappear from solution, probably because many plastics have residual charge also. As an oxidizing agent, HOOH might be able to destroy the nucleus the way cyanide can, obliterating the particle.

  3. #3 Christophe Thill
    April 18, 2008

    “Colloidal Silver Plus Solution Anointed Holy Water”…

    Looks like something out of “Buffy the vampire slayer”. A weapon that’s efficient against vampires… and werevolves too!

  4. #4 Charles
    April 18, 2008

    Christophe: and don’t forget the elusion Vampire Werewolf. They only come after the gullible.

  5. #5 MattXIV
    April 18, 2008

    viggen – Looking at the design above and reading a few pages with instructions for making it, colloidal silver nuts seem to be relying on the plating process to make small particles and not using any surface coatings; you can get pretty fine particles by plating with a high current to cathode surface area – I’ve accidentally made a mush of very fine copper particles before when doing patterned plating experiments. It also sounds like the results don’t stay well dispersed very long.

    Separate CS and EDTA Cancer treatments by 12 hours apart just so they don’t cancel each other out

    Actually, silver ions are monovalent so EDTA doesn’t have much affinity for them. Least of their problems, I know, but even the little inaccuracies deserve a little attention.

  6. #6 Onkel Bob
    April 18, 2008

    What is it about alties and bad web design?

    As an Art History dude, it’s not just alties. In my experience, it’s anyone who has a strong emotional attachment to the subject at hand. There seems to be a belief that alternating colors and typography is good design. A guy on a hiking forum I that participate in asked for suggestions to his site. He has some useful information and a great quantity of it, but the layout is horrific and the alternating color typography is annoying to no end. As such the site is all but unusable except to the most focused and daring.

    Also think of the PowerPoint sessions you’ve been forced to endure. How many overuse animations with questionable color selection and typography?

    As for color selection, have you ever wondered about the predominance of yellow in fast food logos? The meme is that yellow induces hunger. The reality – yellow contrasts with just about every environmental hue. Yellow against blue sky, check; yellow against grey (cloudy) sky, check, yellow against vegetation background, check.

  7. #7 Dangerous Bacon
    April 18, 2008

    The way colloidal silver fanatics get around the nasty possibility of argyria (turning blue-gray) is to claim that, well, you must not have been doing it right, or using the right stuff. In this instance, there can be no more righteous stuff than the Lord’s Own Colloidal Silver, so it must be perfectly safe.

    Unless you don’t do it right.

    By the way, although the website design in this instance is indeed loathsome, the operators at least didn’t make the typical altie mistake of The Endless Home Page, which scrolls to eternity (and which is a common feature of demented alt health sites). Somewhere there must be an elemental fear that if the visitor has to click on a link to more than one website page, he’ll lose interest and go away. (Whereas he’ll gladly scroll down an endless outpouring of verbal diarrhea).

  8. #8 Dr Aust
    April 18, 2008

    Yes, truly a new high on the Frothing-Mad-o-meter. I never realized that lycanthropy was such a problem in the modern US.

    Do you suppose that if you put a bullet in the Holy Silver solution and apply a bit of current you can get a Colloidal Silver-Electroplated Werewolf-killing Remotely Pre-Blessed Holy Bullet?

    As someone already said up above, one is forced to wonder if these people had a simultaneous vision of Buffy and Jeebus during a bad acid trip.

  9. #9 Eric Wilner
    April 18, 2008

    Seems to me that adding hydrogen peroxide to a colloidal silver suspension would make it fizz, briefly.
    Silver is a pretty darn good catalyst for decomposing peroxide — silver screens are the traditional catalyst for 70% peroxide in rocket usage. I’m just guessing, but my guess is that the colloidal form would have the same catalytic effect (or perhaps more so).

  10. #10 BlindSquirrel
    April 18, 2008

    “Cancer is caused by the lack of oxygen and the fermentation of sugars.”

    No, that’s beer.

    I have a buddy who has one of those type of silver colloid generators. Pretty lousy colloid if you ask me, because it all precipitates overnight.

    There isn’t much danger of him turning blue, because he changes fads frequently. Right know he is hiding from chemtrails. Don’t ask.

  11. #11 Dangerous Bacon
    April 18, 2008

    Wow, that’s some beer. ;)

    Speaking of which, my local Mexican restaurant (with the aid of the Budweiser company) is promoting a horrible combination of Bud and clamato juice (shudder). I didn’t think this would be good for anything except blowing the top off the breathalyzer, but I wonder if it would be as good as colloidal silver for combatting infection.

    I can’t imagine any microorganism surviving in the G.I. tract when a river of beer-clamato comes sloshing by.

  12. #12 Athena
    April 19, 2008

    hahahahahahahahaha………..

    this is hilarious. I can’t say whether you’ve picked the best woo of your three choices or not, because……you didn’t spill the beans about the other two choices. But this is pretty damn good………………

    Please, PLEASE make the next two Fridays the other two selections, or at least put them out sometime in the near future. This is so good (and I kind of got it for once) that I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got…….

    I hate reading alternative medicine sites because……….they just ramble and ramble and ramble and confuse from what I’ve read………deliberate vagueness to keep one thinking that something really awesome is at the center of the writing……….whatever woo the peddlers are pushing.

    Athena of athenivanidx

  13. #13 DLC
    April 19, 2008

    Ahh, but you realize that these people believe in using colloidal silver (you spell it) to cure their ills for the same reason they believe their horrible web design is attractive and effective.
    See Also
    The Stupid, it Burns.

  14. #14 blf
    April 19, 2008

    Beer and Budweiser (the ‘merkin one) should never be mentioned in the same sentence.

    Oops! … vanishes in a puff of contradictions …

  15. #15 Deb in Oz
    April 19, 2008

    Is this stuff related to those tin-foil hats?

  16. #17 khan
    April 20, 2008

    Holy Silver,
    Away!

  17. #18 Laser Potato
    April 21, 2008

    The sad thing is, my dad is the sort of person who’s JUST gullible enough to believe this. Ever since he had his prostate tumor removed, he’s attributed his recovery rate to the woo he’s practicing instead of the healthy lifestyle he’s adopted since then (balanced diet and lots of exercise.) He idolizes Andrew Weil (“He graduated from Harvard! How can he possibly not know what he’s talking about???”), calls any evidence I provide to disprove his favorite woo “lies”, especially the stuff that comes from Quackwatch, because “people lie on the Internet”. Yet of course he believes what any random quack site tells him. AAARRRRRRRGH!!!

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