13 Ways to Use 2 Liter Bottles

My husband is a Pepsi drinker. I drink almost exclusively water and coffee but occasionally I like a small glass of root beer. So we have 2 liter bottles around. In my state we have to pay a dime extra when we buy pop which is returned when you take the bottles/cans back to the store. But I find that re-purposing the 2 liter bottles is worth far more than the ten pennies I get back.

  1. Ice – I fill 2 liter bottles about 90% full and freeze them. They help keep my freezer full when needed and they are great for keeping ice chests cold.
  2. Drinking water – 2 liter bottles are FDA approved for consumable items so you can use them to store water. This is especially nice when you drink the ice cold water that has melted from use number 1.
  3. SODIS –This is a method of disinfecting water from non-potable water. 2 liter bottles can be used for this purpose. Wikipedia has an article on SODIS and there are videos available to instruct you on how to use the SODIS method(s).
  4. Food storage – I store white sugar, dried beans, and rice in 2 liter bottles with oxygen absorbers. Because the bottles I use are clear I protect them from light.
  5. Hand washing station – If you’re camping or in a SHTF situation and don’t have access to a sink with running water 2 liter bottles can be hung upside down with the cap ever so slightly loosened. This allows a small trickle of water (adjustable) to flow down to wash hands.
  6. Fish trap – There are plenty of videos available on the Internet on building fish traps. While a 2 liter bottle isn’t going to trap a fish of prize winning size it could certainly catch fish big enough to provide food.
  7. Water filter –Just pile the appropriate amounts of gravel, activated charcoal, and sand and create a viable makeshift water filter in no time! You do have to wait a week or two for the biolayer to form so be sure you have other water available in the meantime.
  8. Mini greenhouse – I cut 2 liter bottles in half and put them over my little green babies in the garden early in the season. They protect my vulnerable plants if there’s a sudden dip in temperature.
  9. Drip irrigation – By putting very small holes in 2 liter bottles you can create your own drip irrigation system. This is especially helpful if you can no longer simply turn on your garden hose and sprinkler.
  10. Emergency floatation device – Leave the caps on and tie a few (or a lot) of the 2 liter bottles together and you’ve got an emergency floatation device.
  11. Funnel – Cut off the bottom of a 2 liter bottle and put the top end (cap removed) into whatever you are trying to fill.
  12. Boil water – By hanging a 2 liter bottle above a campfire you can boil water. It’s important that the bottle by far above the fire so that the flames do not touch the plastic. This is a slow method but could be handy in a SHTF situation.
  13. Water bailer / scoop– Again, cut the bottom off and now you have a water cut it at an angle and turn that same water bottle into a makeshift scoop.

 

*A note on using 2 liter bottles for food storage. Be sure that you use the bottles with the rubber-like ring inside the cap to ensure that they seal correctly for food storage. You can test this by putting the cap on the bottle and submerging it in water. If no bubbles appear the s

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Versatile and Simple Chicken Soup

Kate:

This is quite seriously the easiest chicken soup to throw together I’ve made.  It’s so versatile that you can almost make it as a last minute dinner.  I tend to call this my “Oh Sh*t Soup” because it seems I’m always starting it right after the kids get out of school, which doesn’t leave much time to cook a whole chicken!  I’ll start with the best way to make it then I’ll give you my variations. In a separate post I’ll share my family’s favorite way to eat the leftovers. Bear with me, I’m not great at measurements. I tend to just throw things in while I’m cooking without even thinking about measurements.

Ingredients:

  • Whole roaster chicken- raw or frozen
  • Chicken broth or bouillon
  • 1 pkg.(1 lb.) egg noodles
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion (optional)
  • 2-4 bay leaves (depending on size)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chicken broth or water (enough to cover chicken)

Directions:

  1. Put raw whole chicken in a crock pot or stock pot, cover with broth or water, add 2 large bay leaves (or more if smaller), parsley, oregano, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Turn on low heat.
  2. Slice as many or as few carrots, celery, and onion as your little heart desires, 1/4 to 1/2 inch, according to personal preferences, and add to simmering soup.
  3. Allow to simmer 3-4 hours, until meat is very tender and pulls away from the bone easily with a fork.

    There’s my frozen chicken! LOL

  4. Remove chicken from pot and let cool for a few minutes until you can handle it comfortably.
  5. Remove skin, and using a couple forks pull meat away from the bones in bite sized chunks.  Discard skin and bones.
  6. Search your simmering pot of vegetables for your bay leaves and remove.  Discard bay leaves.
  7. Return bite sized pieces of meat to the pot.  You may allow it to simmer at this stage if necessary because you should not add the noodles until you are nearly ready to eat.
  8. Add package of egg noodles about 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, leaving heat on low, allowing the noodles to cook in with the broth and vegetables.  Cook until noodles are done.
  9. Serve.

Now for the “Oh Sh*t” version that can be started after kids are out of school and still makes it to the table for dinner time:

  1. Run some hot tap water over a frozen chicken enough to loosen up the ice adhering it to the plastic packaging.
  2. Cut the packaging open, put whole frozen chicken into pot, add 3 boxes of chicken broth, bay leaves, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Heat on high, until the broth gets hot (but not boiling).
  3. Turn heat down to medium heat (turn to low if it begins to boil) and let simmer for 1-2 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Slice carrots, celery, and onion into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces, add to a frying pan, with a teaspoon of oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  5. Saute vegetables over medium heat until tender.

    Saute the veggies

  6. Remove chicken from the pot (be careful, that stupid chicken will be as hot as lava!), remove skin, and using a couple forks remove the meat in bite sized chunks.
  7. Fish your bay leaves out of the pot, and discard.
  8. Return bite sized meat chunks to the pot, and add sauteed vegetables.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add a package of egg noodles and allow to simmer on low or medium (as high as you can without boiling), until noodles are done.
  10. Serve.

Other variations my family enjoys:

  • adding rosemary for a slightly different flavor
  • using homemade egg noodles instead of prepackaged (I’ll share that recipe in another post someday, remind me!)
  • Using rice instead of noodles
  • Varying the vegetables, cut green beans and corn are great additions
  • Add a jar of diced tomatoes, with juice, to change it up
  • The variations really are endless, use your imagination and follow your taste buds (and tell us your favorite variations on a simple chicken soup recipe!  We would love to hear them!)

Wild Edible Plants

If you’re ever stranded in the wilderness with not even a half a protein bar to nibble you may want to consider eating what nature has provided. But what should you nibble on? Lots of plants will give you nutrition and fill your tummy but some can make you violently ill or even kill you. It’s best to know which before you have to decide on your wilderness lunch.

The following are 19 common edibles. By studying these plants and finding edible plants specific to your locale you can supplement your food stores or even survive if you’re lost.

First, though, it’s important to know what not to eat!

Plants to Avoid

If you can’t clearly identify a plant and you don’t know if it’s poisonous, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Steer clear from a plant if it has:

  • Milky or discolored sap
  • Spines, fine hairs, or thorns
  • Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods
  • Bitter or soapy taste
  • Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley-like foliage
  • “Almond” scent in the woody parts and leaves
  • Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs
  • Three-leaved growth pattern

Many toxic plants will exhibit one or more of the above characteristics. Keep

in mind that some of the plants we suggest below have some of these attributes but are still edible. The characteristics listed are just guidelines for when you’re not confident about the plant with which you’re dealing.

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus and other species)

Amaranth

Native to the Americas but found on most continents, amaranth is an edible weed. You can eat all parts of the plant, but be on the look out for spines that appear on some of the leaves. While not poisonous, amaranth leaves do contain oxalic acid and may contain large amounts of nitrates if grown in nitrate-rich soil. It’s recommended that you boil the leaves to remove the oxalic acid and nitrates. Don’t drink the water after you boil the plant. With that said, you can eat the plant raw if worse comes to worst.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

Asparugus

 

The vegetable that makes your pee smell funny grows in the wild in most of Europe and parts of North Africa, West Asia, and North America. Wild asparagus has a much thinner stalk than the grocery-store variety. It’s a great source of source of vitamin C, thiamine, potassium and vitamin B6. Eat it raw or boil it like you would your asparagus at home.

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

 

Burdock

Medium to large-sized plant with big leaves and purplish thistle-like flower heads. The plant is native to the temperate areas of the Eastern Hemisphere; however, it has been naturalized in parts of the Western Hemisphere as well. Burdock is actually a popular food in Japan. You can eat the leaves and the peeled stalks of the plant either raw or boiled. The leaves have a bitter taste, so boiling them twice before eating is recommended to remove the bitterness. The root of the plant can also be peeled, boiled, and eaten.

Cattail (Typha)

 

Cattail

Known as cattails or punks in North America and bullrush and reedmace in England, the typha genus of plants is usually found near the edges of freshwater wetlands. Cattails were a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes. Most of a cattail is edible. You can boil or eat raw the rootstock, or rhizomes, of the plant. The rootstock is usually found underground. Make sure to wash off all the mud. The best part of the stem is near the bottom where the plant is mainly white. Either boil or eat the stem raw. Boil the leaves like you would spinach. The corn dog-looking female flower spike can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob in the early summer when the plant is first developing. It actually has a corn-like taste to it.

Clovers (Trifolium)

 

Clovers

Lucky you-clovers are actually edible. And they’re found just about everywhere there’s an open grassy area. You can spot them by their distinctive trefoil leaflets. You can eat clovers raw, but they taste better boiled.

Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Chickory

 

You’ll find chicory growing in Europe, North America, and Australia. It’s a bushy plant with small blue, lavender, and white flowers. You can eat the entire plant. Pluck off the young leaves and eat them raw or boil them. The chicory’s roots will become tasty after boiling. And you can pop the flowers in your mouth for a quick snack.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

You’ll find this herb in temperate and arctic zones. The leaves are pretty hefty, and you’ll often find small white flowers on the plant. They usually appear between May and July. You can eat the leaves raw or boiled. They’re high in vitamins and minerals.

 Chickweed

 

 

Curled Dock (Rumex crispus)

You can find curled dock in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia. It’s distinguished by a long, bright red stalk that can reach heights of three feet. You can eat the stalk raw or boiled. Just peel off the outer layers first. It’s recommend that you boil the leaves with several changes of water in order to remove its naturally bitter taste.

 

 Curled Dock

 

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

 

Dandelion

Sure, it’s an obnoxious weed on your perfectly mowed lawn, but when you’re out in the wild this little plant can save your life. The entire plant is edible- roots, leaves, and flower. Eat the leaves while they’re still young; mature leaves taste bitter. If you do decide to eat the mature leaves, boil them first to remove their bitter taste. Boil the roots before eating as well.  You can drink the water you boiled the roots in as a tea and use the flower as a garnish for your dandelion salad.

Field Pennycress (Thalspi vulgaris)

 

Field Pennycress

Field Pennycress is a weed found in most parts of the world. Its growing season is early spring to late winter. You can eat the seeds and leaves of field pennycress raw or boiled. The only caveat with field pennycress is not to eat it if it’s growing in contaminated soil. Pennycress is a hyperaccumulator of minerals, meaning it sucks up any and all minerals around it. General rule is don’t eat pennycress if it’s growing by the side of the road or is near a Superfund site.

 

Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)

 

Fireweed

This pretty little plant is found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. You can identify fireweed by its purple flower and the unique structure of the leaves’ veins; the veins are circular rather than terminating on the edges of the leaves. Several Native American tribes included fireweed in their diet. It’s best eaten young when the leaves are tender. Mature fireweed plants have tough and bitter tasting leaves. You can eat the stalk of the plant as well. The flowers and seeds have a peppery taste. Fireweed is a great source of vitamins A and C.

Green Seaweed (Ulva lactuca)

 

Green Seaweed

If you’re ever shipwrecked on a deserted island, fish the waters near the beach for some green seaweed. This stuff is found in oceans all over the world. After you pull green seaweed from the water, rinse with fresh water if available and let it dry. You can eat it raw or include it in a soup. Or if you’re particularly enterprising, catch a fish with your homemade spear and use the seaweed to make sushi rolls, sans rice.

Kelp (Alaria esculenta)

Kelp

 

Kelp is another form of seawee

d. You can find it in most parts of the world. Eat it raw or include it in a soup. Kelp is a great source of folate, vitamin K, and lignans.

Plantain (Plantago)

 

Not the banana like plantain.

Not the banana like plantain.

Found in all parts of the world, the plantain plant (not to be confused with the banana-like plantain) has been used for millennia by humans as a food and herbal remedy for all sorts of maladies. You can usually find plantains in wet areas like marshes and bogs, but they’ll also sprout up in alpine areas.  The oval, ribbed, short-stemmed leaves tend to hug the ground. The leaves may grow up to about 6″ long and 4″ wide. It’s best to eat the leaves when they’re young. Like most plants, the leaves tend to get bitter tasting as they mature. Plantain is very high in vitamin A and calcium. It also provides a bit of vitamin C.

 

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

Prickly Pear Cactus

Found in the deserts of North America, the prickly pear cactus is a very tasty and nutritional plant that can help you survive the next time you’re stranded in the desert. The fruit of the prickly pear cactus looks like a red or purplish pear. Hence the name. Before eating the plant, carefully remove the small spines on the outer skin or else it will feel like you’re swallowing a porcupine. You can also eat the young stem of the prickly pear cactus. It’s best to boil the stems before eating.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane

While considered an obnoxious weed in the United States, purslane can provide much needed vitamins and minerals in a wilderness survival situation. Ghandi actually numbered purslane among his favorite foods. It’s a small plant with smooth fat leaves that have a refreshingly sour taste. Purslane grows from the beginning of summer to the start of fall. You can eat purslane raw or boiled. If you’d like to remove the sour taste, boil the leaves before eating.

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

Sheep Sorrell

Sheep sorrel is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized in North America. It’s a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It flourishes in highly acidic soil. Sheep sorrel has a tall, reddish stem and can reach heights of 18 inches. Sheep sorrel contains oxalates and shouldn’t be eaten in large quantities. You can eat the leaves raw. They have a nice tart, almost lemony flavor.

White Mustard (Synapsis alba)

White Mustard

White mustard is found in the wild in many parts of the world. It blooms between February and March. You can eat all parts of the plant- seeds, flowers, and leaves.

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis)

Wood Sorrel

You’ll find wood sorrel in all parts of the world; species diversity is particularly rich in South America. Humans have used wood sorrel for food and medicine for millennia. The

Kiowa Indians chewed on wood sorrel to alleviate thirst, and the Cherokee ate the plant to cure mouth sores. The leaves are a great source of vitamin C. The roots of the wood sorrel can be boiled. They’re starchy and taste a bit like a potato.

If you’d like to discover even more edible wild plants check out the SAS Survival Handbook and the U.S. Army Survival Manual. Also use your search engine to find the wild edibles for your area.

If you want to be completely sure that an unknown plant is edible, and you have a day or two to spare, you can always perform the Universal Edibility Test.

UNIVERSAL EDIBILITY TEST

Instructions

1.      Prepare to Perform the Test

Fast for eight hours to insure that test results are accurate and any reaction comes from the plant ingested rather than an unknown source.

Separate the plant you’re testing during thi

s eight hour fast. You’ll want the leaves separate from the stem and any flowers separated as well.

Test for reaction by placing one portion of the plant against your lips. Wait fifteen minutes to see if you react. If there is no stinging or burning, you can continue.

Place the portion you’re testing against your tongue. Do not chew or swallow. Wait fifteen minutes to see if you react. If you do not, you can test another portion of the plant in the same way. Continue until all sections have been tested.

Reacting during any part of this test means the plant portion has failed the universal edibility test and is not safe for ingesting.

 

2.      Complete the Test

Take one portion of the plant that passed the tests above, and prepare it as you would plan to eat it if it were an edible wild plant.

Place a small amount in your mouth and chew, be sure you do not swallow at this time. Wait three minutes. If there is no reaction, you can continue the test.

Swallow the portion of the plant you’ve chewed and wait eight hours. During that time frame, if you experience any reaction, induce vomiting to remove the toxins from your system. If there is no reaction, you can continue the test.

Prepare a 1/4 cup of the plant portion and eat. Wait an additional eight hours. Again, if you react at all, induce vomiting. If there is no reaction, that portion of the plant is safe to eat and has passed the universal edibility test.

Test each part of the plant for edibility. Just because one part is safe to ingest does not mean that other sections of the plant are safe to ingest. Each portion needs to be tested separately to insure that you are dealing with an entirely edible wild plant.

 

 

Scrapple

For those of you not from the eastern part of the country Scrapple is a kind of pork “mush” that I grew up eating. Both of my parents were originally from Pennsylvania and I still have family in PA and New Jersey. Pennsylvania is the home of Scrapple.

The name comes from the fact that traditional Scrapple is made using the scraps left after a pig is butchered. My original recipe starts with the words, “Remove the eyes and clean the hog’s head carefully, being sure to scrape out the ears well.” DO NOT PANIC! I will not be using that recipe here.

Because of time constraints I’m making a “cheater’s version” of Scrapple. I use packaged country sausage. For those of you who want a more traditional version I’ll also post recipes using cuts of pork (nothing that will give you nightmares).

 

SCRAPPLE (Cheater’s Version)

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ lbs. country pork sausage

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups water divided

1 tsp. salt

¾ tsp. poultry seasoning

Pinch sage

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 additional cup water

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Butter for frying

 

DIRECTIONS:

Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Break the sausage into small chunks.

Boil the sausage in 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups water for 15 – 20 minutes after mixture comes to a full boil. Continue to break up the sausage as the mixture cooks.

Drain the sausage reserving 3 cups of the stock.

Return stock to a boil and add salt, poultry seasoning, and sage.

Combine the additional cup of water with the cornmeal and gradually add it to the boiling stock, stirring constantly.

Cover and cook over a low heat for ten minutes. The cornmeal will thicken as it cooks.

Crumble the sausage to fine bits and combine with the cornmeal. Add several grinds of black pepper (to taste), mix well.

Pour the Scrapple into the loaf pan and cover with foil.

Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours.

 

To prepare, slice the Scrapple and fry the slices in butter until crisp.

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Traditionally Scrapple is served with syrup but my family always used ketchup and I still do.

 

 

Red Onion Jam

I love onions. When I found this recipe for Red Onion Jam it was like finding treasure in my backyard. I like to make this to serve with hamburgers but it goes with so many things I make batches and batches of it. Make a batch for yourself and let us know how you’ve used it!

Red Onion Jam

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
Instructions:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sugar, red wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons water and cook until the liquid is reduced completely and the onions are nearly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

To Barter or Not To Barter? That is the question.

Emma’s Take:

Bartering is a wonderful concept. People who have goods or services they are willing to trade for the goods or services they need. No money changes hands but, done correctly, everyone ends up with what they need at a fair “price.” Brilliant! it used to be how a lot, if not most, or commerce took place. And some communities (I’m thinking folks like the Amish) still do a lot of it.

I’m a strong proponent of bartering. We’d all be a lot better off if we were willing to trade instead of buy. We’d be able to build strong communities and we’d also be able to save a lot of money to purchase the things we cannot obtain through bartering. I tutor your high school student and your student babysits. I take care of your dogs while you vacation and you fix my broken screens. You save money on boarding your dogs and I only have to buy materials and get new screens. The possibilities are nearly endless.

It’s fairly easy to start bartering. I’m really good at baking so I trade things I bake for things I’m not good at doing. Sewing springs to mind. I can’t sew to save my life. It makes sense for me to have someone who excels at it do it for me. And bartering isn’t just for products. As I mentioned, intellectual abilities can be bartered. Offering to teach someone who wants to learn what you know can be traded for them teaching you what you need to learn.

Three way bartering is also a good way to barter. I can teach you to bake bread, you mow my neighbor’s lawn, and he gives me fruit from his apple trees. Everyone ends up with something and everyone gets something. You just have to find people who have goods, services or skills that benefit someone else in the barter. My only warning is not to try to expand this too far. One breakdown in the chain and no one will be happy.

This works quite well in our normal lives. But what if there’s a disaster? What if the SHTF? In those scenarios I have a different opinion. In certain disasters I feel that it’s important to help others if you are able. If there’s a tornado in my area I’m willing to help those affected by volunteering with disaster relief groups or even providing food and water on my own. In a true SHTF situation, I am not going to barter.

In situations where people will very likely become desperate bartering is potentially quite dangerous. Once desperate people discover you have things they need they are likely to do desperate things. They’ll risk their lives and possibly take mine and my family’s to obtain those things. Even people who would never act violently in normal circumstances may become quite violent in severe emergencies.

You may feel you can trust someone and barter with him. And you may be right to a point. But what happens when that person runs out of whatever he has and he knows you have more? Or what is he willing to do or to enlist if his wife or child is sick? While not every person will become violent in these situations you cannot be sure that person hasn’t enlisted the aid of someone who has no problem doing whatever it takes to take whatever you have.

In my opinion, the best way to protect your family is to ensure that your preparations are kept as a family secret. If you find yourself in need of something you do not have you can try bartering but extreme caution must be taken at those times. Be sure not to take too much to barter. Be sure you are not followed when you leave. And know the barter value of the things you are willing to trade.

 

Kate’s Side:

To barter or not to barter in the NOW….I say right now, bartering, when you can, can be a good thing. If you feel as if you’re getting a better deal than to  spend the cash. If you’re not so good at talking with someone to come to an agreement on terms of the barter then forego it because there’s no point in getting ripped off.  If it goes well, then you get the items you need and feel like you got a deal. The best barter is when both people walk away feeling like they did well.

To barter or not to barter after SHTF….It can be a double edged sword.  You give up information about what you have when bartering. So you’d have to be prepared to protect yourself in the event that things go horribly wrong. Again, if you’re not good at bartering, then you may end up giving away more than you had planned to get items you need.  On the upside, if things go right, you get the item you need and feel good in the end about the deal you’ve struck. You may have to give away more than you’re comfortable with if you’re not prepared to walk away from a bad deal especially if you’re desperate for a necessary item.

I’m not sure that I’m definitely for or definitely against bartering in a SHTF scenario.  It would depend on the situation I suppose. I would rather be prepared to barter but not need to do so to survive. If we prepare properly we will only have to barter by choice not by necessity.

Colloidal Silver

Emma’s Take:

In “prepper” circles and among those who don’t trust conventional medical treatment there has been a lot written about the benefits of colloidal silver. While I’m not against the use of alternative medicines (our grandmothers used a lot of “weird” stuff that worked great) I do like to try to research the possible benefits and side effects of all recommendations.

If there were a disaster that prevented us from access to doctors, hospitals, and more traditional medicines I would definitely consider using some of the lesser known things to help treat my family. That said, I don’t want to harm them in trying to help them. And, keep in mind, I’ve never used colloidal silver so my opinion is based solely on the things I’ve read online and I still have more research to do!

I urge you to read the information I’ve gathered about colloidal silver then make up your own mind if you want to add it to your medicine chest.

The medical uses of silver include its incorporation into wound dressings, creams, and as an antibiotic coating on medical devices. While wound dressings containing silver sulfadiazine or silver nanomaterials may be used on external infections, there is little evidence to support such use. There is tentative evidence that silver coatings on endotracheal breathing tubes may reduce the incidence ventilator-associated pneumonia. The silver ion (Ag+) is bioactive and in sufficient concentration readily kills bacteria in vitro. Silver exhibits low toxicity in the human body, and minimal risk is expected due to clinical exposure by inhalation, ingestion, dermal application. Silver and silver nanoparticles are used as an antimicrobial in a variety of industrial, healthcare and domestic applications.

Colloidal silver (a colloid consisting of silver particles suspended in liquid) and formulations containing silver salts were used by physicians in the early 20th century, but their use was largely discontinued in the 1940s following the development of safer and effective modern antibiotics. Since the 1990s, colloidal silver has again been marketed as an alternative medicine, often with extensive “cure-all” claims. Colloidal silver products remain available in many countries as dietary supplements and homeopathic remedies, although they are not effective in treating any known condition and carry the risk of both permanent cosmetic side effects such as Argyria and more serious ones such as allergic reactions, as well as interactions with prescription medications.

In humans and other animals, silver accumulates in the body. Chronic intake of silver products can result in an accumulation of silver or silver sulfide particles in the skin. These particles in the skin darken with exposure to sunlight, resulting in a blue or gray discoloration of the skin known as Argyria. Localized Argyria can occur as a result of topical use of silver-containing solutions, while generalized Argyria results from the ingestion of such substances.

Argyria is generally irreversible with the only practical method of minimizing its cosmetic disfigurement being to avoid the sun. Preliminary reports of treatment with laser therapy have been reported. But these laser treatments are painful and general anesthesia is required. A similar laser treatment has been used to clear silver particles from the eye, a condition related to Argyria called Argyrosis.] The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) describes Argyria as a “cosmetic problem”.

While Argyria is usually limited to skin discoloration, there are isolated reports of more serious neurologic (nervous system), renal (kidney), or hepatic (liver) complications caused by ingesting colloidal silver.

Colloidal silver may interact with some prescription medications, reducing the absorption of some antibiotics and thyroxine among others. Thyroxine, also called 3,5,3′,5′-tetraiodothyronine, or T4,  one of the two major hormones secreted by the thyroid gland (the other is triiodothyronine). Thyroxine’s principal function is to stimulate the consumption of oxygen and thus the metabolism of all cells and tissues in the body. Thyroxine is formed by the molecular addition of iodine to the amino acid tyrosine while the latter is bound to the protein thyroglobulin. Excessive secretion of thyroxine in the body is known as hyperthyroidism, and the deficient secretion of it is called hypothyroidism. So you can see that there can be serious consequences.

Some people are allergic to silver, and the use of treatments and medical devices containing silver is contraindicated for such people. Although medical devices containing silver are widely used in hospitals, no thorough testing and standardization of these products has yet been undertaken.

Since about 1990, there has been a resurgence of the promotion of colloidal silver as a dietary supplement, or homeopathic remedy, marketed with claims of it being an essential mineral supplement, or that it can prevent or treat numerous diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, herpes, and tuberculosis No medical evidence supports the effectiveness of colloidal silver for any of these claimed indications. Silver is not an essential mineral in humans; there is no dietary requirement for silver, and no such thing as a silver “deficiency”. There is no evidence that colloidal silver treats or prevents any medical condition, and it can cause serious and potentially irreversible side effects such as Argyria In August 1999, the U.S. FDA banned colloidal silver sellers from claiming any therapeutic or preventive value for the product, although silver-containing products continue to be promoted as dietary supplements in the U.S. under the looser regulatory standards applied to supplements. The FDA has issued numerous Warning Letters to Internet sites that have continued to promote colloidal silver as an antibiotic or for other medical purposes. Despite the efforts of the FDA, silver products remain widely available on the market today. A review of websites promoting nasal sprays containing colloidal silver suggested that information about silver-containing nasal sprays on the internet is misleading and inaccurate.

In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) found there were no legitimate medical uses for colloidal silver and no evidence to support its marketing claims. The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) warns that marketing claims about colloidal silver are scientifically unsupported, that the silver content of marketed supplements varies widely, and that colloidal silver products can have serious side effects such as Argyria. In 2009, the USFDA issued a “Consumer Advisory” warning about the potential adverse effects of colloidal silver, and said that “…there are no legally marketed prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs containing silver that are taken by mouth.” Quackwatch states that colloidal silver dietary supplements have not been found safe or effective for the treatment of any condition. Consumer Reports lists colloidal silver as a “supplement to avoid”, describing it as “likely unsafe”. The Los Angeles Times stated that “colloidal silver as a cure-all is a fraud with a long history, with quacks claiming it could cure cancer, AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes and numerous other diseases.”

For water purification, electrolytically-dissolved silver has been used as a water disinfecting agent. The drinking water supplies of the Russian Mir orbital station and the International Space Station are examples of it being used in this way. Many modern hospitals filter hot water through copper-silver filters to defeat MRSA and legionella infections. The World Health Organization includes silver in a colloidal state produced by electrolysis of silver electrodes in water and colloidal silver in water filters as two of a number of water disinfection methods specified to provide safe drinking water in developing countries. Along these lines, a ceramic filtration system coated with silver particles has been created by Ron Rivera of Potters for Peace and used in developing countries for water disinfection (in this application the silver inhibits microbial growth on the filter substrate, to prevent clogging, and does not directly disinfect the filtered water).

Since colloidal silver can be quite expensive I strongly urge you to research it thoroughly before investing.

Kate’s Experience:

I was given colloidal silver waaay back before it was cool.  I was given a fairly large bottle of it, and would take a quick swig of it when I wasn’t feeling well.  Who knows if it actually worked at all….but I’ve found that it has worked wonders with pets.  I know it’s crazy.  I had a male outside cat who came home all beat up, eye swollen shut, paw so swelled up he couldn’t walk, and half his ear missing.  Well, I pretty much dumped a bunch of the silver on his ear, face, and paw, soaking the fur thoroughly.  I got him some canned cat food and dumped a bunch into the can and mixed it right into the food.  The next morning, every bit of the swelling was gone and he was pretty much back to normal minus a big hunk of his ear.

Also, my fiancé’s dog has chronic yeast infection in his ears. Between his ear cleanings and treatments I squirt colloidal silver in his ears.  It doesn’t cure the yeast infections (but then again, not even the prescriptions do!) but it does keep them from getting smelly and gross between treatments.

I can definitely say I like colloidal silver for our pets. I’m sure I’ll have more to say as we continue our investigation.