We’ve all heard it: “Born with a silver spoon in their mouth.”

It came to mean "born into wealth" as it was traditional for well-to-do parents to buy silver spoons and cups for their babies. Poor people couldn’t afford silver. But that wasn’t why parents got silver spoons and silver cups for their babies.

Turns out, germs don’t like silver. There are a lot of things that people knew long ago that we’ve forgotten. But silver’s capacity to combat fungus and bacteria is being reexamined. (As is copper. I’ll get to that later.)

The scientific process for studying the use of metals in medicine is called “nanotechnology.”

Silver nanotechnology is being used in air filtering to combat even E. coli, for example.

For personal use, people are using colloidal (nano) silver and copper for combating signs of illness and/for daily maintenance or mouthwash.

I don’t use the silver because it’s one of those things, like vitamin A or zinc, that should never be taken more than recommended on the bottle. There was a case of one man who took so much colloidal silver he turned blue, literally. He made his own and took it both internally and topically. And he turned blue. Called Argyria, it’s caused by excessive exposure to silver. It’s irreversible and he looked like a smurf for the rest of his life.

There’s another handy use for sterling silver. It’s a great conductor of heat. I have a sterling silver spoon dedicated for my coffee cup and a daintier one for my teacups. Unlike ‘flatware’ or silver-plate, sterling silver soaks up the heat. It lets you know if the coffee or soup or whatever is too hot. You’ll let go of that spoon quick, thus saving a burnt tongue.

Now about copper. I stumbled into using colloidal copper accidentally while fighting off a battle with MRSA some years ago. I had a bout with skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma) requiring treatment with a dermatologist, who was an excellent doctor. However, a week after my first visit, I contracted MRSA. There wasn’t much in the way of treatment back then. Neither the medicine nor the cream I was prescribed was doing anything and it was spreading.

I turned to the computer for research and stumbled upon research in hospitals in the UK. At one hospital, they were inundated with cases of MRSA. They had two wards full and were having a hard time containing it. I forget now where they got the idea but they tested copper in a Petrie dish against the infection. Within minutes, copper killed the MRSA. So they did further study and found great success.

They took it even further and plated the light switches, water faucets and bed rails, all things that people coming into the rooms would touch, with copper. Super success.

“Hmmm,” I thought: “Worth a try?"

So I got a bottle of colloidal copper and did my own test. I soaked a cotton pad with it and taped it across just one half of a new patch of MRSA, about 5 inches by 2 inches, that was rapidly getting worse — inflamed, red and open. Then I went to bed.

In the morning, that half of the patch that had the copper treatment was light pink and healed over. Amazing. I kept using the copper and soon was MRSA-free.

Now I’m not suggesting you should follow what I did or do. I’m just relating my own experience and research. You — and everyone — should always do your own research and pay attention only to qualified studies. You should also, disclaimer complete and tongue in cheek, consult your doctor before any new treatment.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.