The mineral silver has a long history of use in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Silver is toxic to many microbes, and on this basis a suspension of finely ground silver granules called colloidal silver was once popular among U.S. physicians as an antiseptic. Currently, silver is used medically in the form of silver sulfadiazine, a cream used to prevent infection in burn victims. In addition, silver is used in some water purifiers to stop the growth of bacteria.

Oral colloidal silver is widely promoted on the Internet and elsewhere as a treatment for hundreds of conditions. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this form of silver provides any medical benefits, and it can lead to an unsightly and permanent discoloration of the skin called argyria.

Silver is not an essential nutrient.