In Search of Immortality – GOLD: Panacea or Placebo?

Gold - Panacea or PlaceboPop quiz: what metals are the most conductive?

Answer: Silver, Copper and Gold. In that order.

Our planet is mineral rich. It’s like a candy store of minerals. When you look at the density across the solar system compared to our planet, we’re disproportionately saturated.

So what, I hear you say…

Well hang on just a darn minute.

Pop quiz: True or False? We have electricity in our bodies.

Answer: True. The only reason we’re living breathing story addicts is because our brains conduct electricity through neurones and across synapses, sending ‘messages’ to our muscles and cells.

I love a bit of logic, so let me rub my wannabe Aristotle hands together and ask you a question… If our brains conduct electricity and the most conductive metals are silver, copper and gold, does it not follow that having those metals in our bodies would make us conduct electricity better? Make us function better… Does that mean we need those minerals in our bodies?

Actually, yes. We do. But in tiny amounts.

Image credit Sarah Marlowe (Flickr)

Image credit Sarah Marlowe (Flickr)

And this ain’t new folks. I’m not Columbus and this isn’t uncharted ground. Using metals as medical treatments is not even close to new.

If we scratch our collective minds, we can find the earliest recorded uses of Gold in China around 2500BC. But the Chinese weren’t the only folks who cottoned on to Gold. The Egyptians and Indians did too.

Medicinal uses at the time included treating a range of mucus, puss and other furuncular treats like: smallpox, ulcers, removing mercury from skin, joint disease, lung disease, measles and a plethora of other delights.

Uses have included: grinding it up to powder, turning it into gold coins dropping them into water and boiling food in it as well as then gargling with the water it was boiled in, making gold foil and wrapping furuncles in it.

In 1929,  a French dude used, sodium aurothiopropanol sultanate, more commonly known as Gold Salt, to cure rheumatoid arthritis. Although the salts themselves were toxic and quite harmful, it cured the arthritis. In more recent studies, using monoatomic gold (gold made from only one atom often found in volcanic soil) it had the same curative effect but this time with no side effects.

Gold it isn’t just revered for its medicinal properties. It is linked to the gods and to immortality. Some argue that’s because of its longevity and resistance to corrosion. But there are accounts of the immortal ‘Gods’ swallowing gold and pearls in order to keep them immortal.

The ancient logic was that in consuming something, you then imbue its properties.

2000px-Little-vampire.svgIn current literature, we have only thought of immortality as finite. Either you are immortal or you’re not. Vampire, or human. I don’t recall (although I am sure some bibliophile will correct me) an example of popular fiction in which ‘immortality’ was something you had to sustain.

But here’s the thing, gold is still ingested today. Only in the form of a colloid or the monoatomic version I mentioned before. Colloid is a really small particle, usually round so that it is absorbable by us and suspended evenly throughout the liquid it is in.


Sacha likes clean hands

Interestingly, NASA have started using colloidal silver to clean their water in space. The reason…? Because bacteria cannot live in the presence of silver. It’s where the phrase ‘born with a silver spoon in your mouth’ comes from. Because those wealthier people who could afford silver cutlery would get sick much less often. It’s also why you find silver in hand soaps and why pharmaceutical companies are finally binding silver to antibiotics.

I could don my geek glasses here and launch into the whole immortal Annunaki story, but I have talked about that before.

Instead I will tell you another story, one about Moses and his 40 years in the desert.

“In the book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, it states that gold can be found in the hills on Earth. Moses gave gold to his people in the desert.” xcodex

And we all know Moses is famed for having lived for over a thousand years. Just some food for thought.

The idea of striving for immortality, getting it, and then still having to maintain it is something that is rolling around my mind. I think it’s going to form a story. I like the idea of a tangible ‘thing’ that keeps one immortal. An odd wonder this week I’ll admit, but hey, this is my brain, and I am a bit odd!

Have you ever written about the elixir of life, or had immortals in your stories? What made them immortal? What do you think of the fact natural medicine uses minerals in this way? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Great stuff Sacha! The ancient Irish used a lot of silver and gold, and of course the Danann were immortal, ageless but not in the traditional sense… they could be killed by a weapon, or die from sickness. The massive collection of Irish gold jewelery in the National Museum of Archaeology is phenomenal! We assume it was for decoration and a display of wealth, but maybe it was more than that, maybe it was worn to keep them young and healthy and to prolong their lives! Wow, loving this post, feel inspired to write about this myself!

    1. Now why doesn’t it surprise me that the Irish used these metals?! Fascinating that they were ‘immortal’ so to speak but could still be killed.

      Glad u feel inspired u should totes write that post 🙂 ?

      1. I know. That was the strange thing about them. Or one of the strange things about them. I remember discussing this with you and Ed Moooney over my Lake Dwellers post, about how they weirdly did metal crafting out on crannogs.

          1. Could be. I think keeping the sacred knowledge and magical powers secret and away from the uninitiated. Also, water is a liminal place, it connects you to the Otherworld.

  2. I enjoyed this very much Sacha, it made me wake up the grey cells. The Aztecs, Mayans and Olmecs used gold a lot. They adorned themselves with it, perhaps they took it internally as well so they would live as long as their Gods. Who, some say, were from another planet. The fact that it can cure arthritis is amazing. It just goes to show that there is a cure for everything, not in a chem company bottle, but in our amazing world. Off now to read your article about the Annuki, one of my fav subjects. Hope you are going to have a great weekend.

    1. Now I completely agree about cures. I think we have many a cure in the natural world that we aren’t taking advantage of yet. Glad you liked the post. How’s your book coming along?

  3. Copper also has antimicrobial properties and it used to be used for bed frames in hospitals because someone noticed there was less infection around copper. So maybe you could have a class system of immortals based on which metal they could afford!

  4. Interesting. So Goldschlager might be the key to immortality. Explains why one of my friends loves the stuff. Though he’s still aging, so it might be leading to a kind of ‘drunk undead for eternity’ thing.

  5. And in other news I’ve just bought slug tape for my hosta pots because it’s made with copper and slugs and snails won’t cross it because the electrical charge they pick up is unpleasant to them. Apparently. I’ll let you know. I had a great uncle (or stone aged relly) who swore he picked up radio programmes via his gold filling. Who knows, eh? As you say lots of possibilities.

  6. Lobsters, Sacha, Lobsters.

    Lobsters are effectively immortal in that their cells do not suffer from the same sort of degradation when they split like the cells of us mortals do. As a result, there is no evidence that lobsters die of old age. And yet, if they do not eat or otherwise sustain themselves, they are just as effectively dead as the rest of us.

    And just because I am feeling all sorts of nerdy, silver requires sunlight or UV in order work its sterilization magic on microbes. Microbes live just fine on it in this condition, they just can’t reproduce. Gold, on the other hand, has recently been proven to have a similar effect when combined with IR.

    And you don’t want to make your body too conductive otherwise the electrical charge might just blast through your natural insulation just like bad wiring can burn your home to the ground.

    But back to your discussion question. I’ve increased my characters’ life expectancy to several hundred years but never given them complete immortality. Gotta keep ’em motivated through risk of death.

    1. I feel the need to point out that there is plenty of evidence that lobsters do exhaust themselves to death even if they don’t go all old and grey, so sustenance is a big thing.

    2. April you wrote this… APRIL. I’ve taken nearly 1 year to respond. And now I am responding to your lobster comment with a half assed response. When you are over in June, I will skype my dad and he can explain silver and the whole life extension / bug destruction thing!

  7. Such an interesting post, dear Sacha…
    I would have never thought of the Medicinal properties of gold… ( But am doing it so right now… As probably `a placebo´ )…
    There is another mythological account or better said element which links it to Inmortality, involving the so called `elixir of life´, also known as elixir of immortality and sometimes equated with the philosopher’s stone, which was a mythical potion that, when drunk from a certain cup at a certain time, supposedly grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth.
    Besides, the elixir of Life was related to the myth of Hermes Trismegistus**, both of whom in various tales are said to have drunk “liquid gold”and thus achieved immortality….
    Thanks for the thought – provoking reading… All my best wishes. Aquileana ?★

    **Sidenote `Hermes Trismegistus was a representation of the syncretic combination of the Greek god Hermes, the messenger of Gods and the Egyptian god Thoth.
    Both Thoth and Hermes were gods of writing and of magic in their respective cultures. Thus, the Greek god of interpretive communication was combined with the Egyptian god of wisdom as a patron of astrology and alchemy. In addition, both gods were psychopomps, guiding souls to the afterlife´. [ Source. Wikipedia ].

    1. Hola Aquileana, I am sorry it has taken me so long to come back to you. I am glad you liked the post. I have to say I think that gold isn’t a placebo. I think it works. I have been taking it, I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 11 and in my latest opticians appointment, the optician was amazed to see that my eyesight had improved so dramatically I barely need glasses any more.

      I have heard of the elixir of life and the philosophers stone. In my research it was mentioned many times. I am glad you brought it up. I think gold plays a significant role in it from the history and it makes me wonder what truth their is to it. Thoth I know of, he is linked to some ancient alien theories actually. Many postulate he was an alien.

  8. Interesting, Sacha. Metals can be beneficial or terrible for human health. I think caution is always a good policy. Mistborn Trilogy has some really cool uses of pure metals and alloys as sources of “magical power” – a wonderfully built magic system and well worth the read. I haven’t considered an immortal character. It certainly would create some interesting complications. Hmm…the gears in my brain are spinning 😀

    1. Agree about caution. Colloids are quite well regulated by both the food and the health industry. My dad happens to own a natural health company and produces colloids which is why I know about this stuff and know how well regulated the government keeps them!!

      I am going to go check out the Mistborn, I had a quick search and it’s quite ‘far’ fantasy. I’ve downloaded a sample as I am not sure if I will like it but I will add it to my list of things to read! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂 <3

  9. Another interesting post, Sacha. Interesting that we consider certain metals valuable and worth adorning ourselves in, and they are the same metals which are reputed to have healing qualities. I like your idea of writing a story around this, too 🙂
    BTW, Silver and Black is coming along nicely…

    1. Thanks Helen, glad you liked it. I know right, its FASCINATING that there are those parallels, and actually, I don’t think it’s an accident. I think we value gold BECAUSE of its healing properties, or at least thats how it first came to be valued.

      I am definitely going to write a story around this, it’s brewing, but not ready yet. Oooh tell me more, how far in is Silver and Black? have you found it ok?

      1. Well, I just hit the 30,000 word mark today (which was my Camp NaNo goal), and the story is growing quite well, in that I have a pretty good picture of what’s going to happen. I posted another excerpt the other day, for Rachael Ritchey’s blog Battle. Now I need to get on with teasing out the rest of the scenes. How’s the edit going? Are you nearing the end?

        1. HIGH FRICKING FIVE. Well done on getting so far, this is very exciting.

          I will have a read of your excerpt on sunday 😀 😀 😀

          I am… meh, about 35K into the edit, but going back over the edits now! a bit all over the place clearly! it’s VERY slow going. Frustratingly so. Wish I had more time in the day.

          1. Thanks, Sacha ? I was a bit worried I wouldn’t make it but just scraped through. Oh, I feel you with the editing, it’s the most tedious thing, isn’t it? I don’t know where the time goes, either – another day in the week would help. Hope you get some time to relax this weekend ?

          2. I never doubted you for a moment <3 this story is meant to be. It found you and is demanding you write it. So I knew you would smash the 30K 😀 but yes, editing is literally killing me in a slow horrible way! lol

          3. Yeah. And No! lol. It’s like the worst bit of the marathon, its like hitting the wall at the 18th mile, it burns so bad, it hurts and you want to quit more than you want oxygen. But then when you break through and edit an amazing chapter you feel the buzz and it runs you through 8 more chapters… does that sound bonkers?

          4. Nope! That’s a pretty good analogy, actually. It is worth it when you see the final polished product, and it’s definitely more of a marathon than a sprint.

  10. I do like your theories and analysis Sach. It’s a known fact that metals go back to ancient history for medicinal purposes. Silver is used for many ailments in the world of naturopathy and homeopathics. I really enjoyed this post. 🙂 xoxo

  11. Metals (in fact all elements that are “toxic” but that we need trace amounts of) fascinate me. I know copper is used externally for arthritis and other swelling/joint pain. This is wild interesting. Really looking forward to hearing more about your book. ?

    1. Me too. How can something we need in our bodies be toxic? Ok, sure just trace amounts are needed, but STILL…. It’s so backwards. Illogical. Like Aquileana said, mythology talks about liquid gold as the elixir of life. So I suspect there is truth in it. Anyway the book, lol. It will happen… eventually… one in a long list of books! sigh.

    1. Hi Thank you for stopping by and reading. Glad you liked that little snippet. You made me laugh out loud at your plastic spoon! I think mine might have been the same! :p

  12. You write some interesting stuff! My blonde mind is now boggling! Yes I have written about immortality and how it would be a curse. Thx for the mind boggle 🙂

    1. hehe thanks Lucy, well it’s more interesting than this mornings rant at any rate. Usually these friday posts are actually research I’ve done for my novels! Everything’s related I guess! Hope you’re having a good bank holiday

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