4 Ways Gold is Used for Medicinal Purposes

Unbeknownst to many of us, gold has many uses in medicine, and some might surprise even the most knowledgeable people. Gold has been part of medicine for millenia, going back 5,000 years when it was first used to revitalize the body by the Egyptians. In those times, people thought gold had special powers. In medieval times, it found use as a cure for arthritis. Today, we use gold in different ways from detecting to curing the most deadly diseases.

Gold Radiates a Cure for Cancer

Medicinal Gold

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Gold treats some types of cancer like ovarian and prostate cancer. Doctors inject radioactive gold particles into areas with cancerous growths and the radiation helps fight the cancer over time. Gold has many qualities which make it suitable for this treatment. Since gold is very inert, it is safe to inject it into the body and it will not degrade.

Other properties make gold an exceptional choice. Studies found gold cancer treatments extend life and reduce pain and physical wasting often associated with cancer. Gold is usually a last resort, and used only to treat inoperable cancers using current surgical techniques. Gold lasers will kill cancers without causing damage to neighboring cell tissue.

The Gold Diagnosis: Positive

Gold Diagnostics

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Gold is also used to diagnose a range of diseases and viruses. It is prepared in a solution called Colloidal Gold and radiated. Doctors then inject it into the body. The radioactive gold emits beta particles as it moves through the subject. By tracking the emissions, doctors can diagnose conditions such as syphilis and influenza.

A Magic Pill Made of Gold

Golden Pill

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Starting in the early 1900’s, Colloidal Gold treated alcoholism. In modern times it can stop addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and even caffeine. But there are many more uses that make it a true golden solution. As far back as the late 1800’s and right up until today, gold is used to relieve arthritis pain in joints and muscles. It also helps by increasing blood circulation and can solve heart problems.

Gold has a balancing effect in the body that Europeans have long relied on. They often take gold in pill form and have been doing so for over a century. Gold helps to re-balance certain parts of the body like the digestive track and even the brain. It can also help reduce hot flashes or chills by regulating the body’s core temperature.

Gold Takes a Surgical Approach in Medicine

Surgical Gold

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Gold is also used during surgery to seal blood vessels, nerve endings and arteries. Since it is so malleable and stable, it makes the perfect metal for a quick suture. Doctors also use it to mend bones. Many surgeon’s tools are made of gold like forceps, surgical knives and other tools used during surgery everyday.

As you can see, gold has several uses in the medical field. From curing cancers to rejuvenating bodily functions, it is an extraordinary metal.

Nine Fascinating Facts About Gold

As useful as it is beautiful, gold is the king of the elements. Here are some fascinating facts about the world’s most popular metal.

1. Three Quarters of the World’s Gold May Have Already Been Mined

Gold Mine

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Human beings have extracted about 166,000 metric tons of gold from the ground during our entire history. As of 2011, the US Geological Survey has estimated there are about 51,000 unmined metric tons of gold worldwide.

2. The First Coins Were Made of Gold

Gold Coins

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The Lydians made the first coins in the fifth century BC. They lived in an area that is now part of Turkey. The metal in the coins was a natural mixture of gold and silver called electrum.

The practice of using coinage instead of bartering must have had its advantages. Not long after this invention, the Persians conquered the Lydians, and they started using coins, too.

3. Trillions of Dollars Worth of Gold Are Dissolved in the Ocean

Ocean Gold

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Seawater contains an average of 13 parts per trillion of gold. Altogether, it amounts to about 25 billion ounces of gold. However, the cost of removing the gold from the water would still be more than it’s worth.

4. Gold May Have Formed in a Huge Freak Explosion in Deep Space

Gold in Space

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Most of the Earth’s elements were created by stars that were going through the supernova phases of their lives, acting as furnaces for atomic fusion. Many scientists say that gold could not have formed in this way. However, some astrophysicists believe that gold formed when two neutron stars collided, during one of the most violent occurrences that ever takes place in our universe.

5. Gold Has Been Found on Every Continent

Gold on Every Continent

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Although gold is a relatively rare substance—it’s 75th in commonness out of 90 naturally occurring elements on earth—it is distributed everywhere. Some places are richer in deposits than others, such as Australia, South Africa, and Nevada in the United States.

6. Twenty Percent of Gold Used for Decorative Purposes Is Contained in Indian Saris

Indian Gold

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Gold is so malleable that it forms not only the finest gauges of wire, but fine, flexible thread that people can sew. In India, this thread is used to embroider fabric for making flowing wrap garments called saris.

7. Glass Treated With Gold Repels Infrared Rays

Repel Infrared Rays

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The infrared, or heat-inducing, waves from the sun reflect off the crystalline structure of gold atoms. Glass treated with gold shielded the eyes of the Apollo astronauts outside the earth’s protective atmosphere. Today, gold-treated glass helps to control the temperature inside glass-walled buildings.

8. Injections of Gold Once Fought Arthritis

Gold Injection

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Gold is not only nontoxic, but also has anti-inflammatory properties. In the early twentieth century, doctors administered gold injections to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Less expensive and even more effective therapies have now replaced the gold shots. It’s still a medical mystery how they worked.

9. Discovering Gold Is No Longer an Accident

Discover Gold

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People used to find gold by chance. When General John Sutter was building a sawmill in Coloma, California in 1848, an employee of his discovered lumps of gold at the construction site. This was the beginning of the Gold Rush of 1849.

Today, geologists know that they are more likely to find gold near fault lines where water has circulated. It is most likely to be discovered along with certain other minerals including quartz, silver, calcite, and ironically, pyrite, which is sometimes mistaken for gold.

Gold is not only an attractive metal, but an intriguing one, too.

The Most Spectacular Gold Heists of All Time

A lot of robbers have made detailed plans to heist gold. Most of those plans fall through or result in small hauls. Others go down in the history books as some of the most spectacular gold heists of all time.

The Brink’s-MAT Heist at London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Gold Heist

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Date: November 26, 1983

Location: London, England

Value: $33 million

Brink’s-MAT, a security company based in Virginia, didn’t do its job very well at its London Heathrow Airport location on November 26, 1983. In what was an obvious inside job, a gang of six men entered the warehouse with the help of a security job. Originally planning to steal about $4 million in cash, they ended up pouring gasoline on security guards and threatening to set them on fire if they didn’t open a vault containing $33 million of gold, diamonds, and cash.

Police suspect that as many as 15 people were involved in the heist, but only three were ever brought to justice.

The Great Ghan Gold Robbery

Ghan Gold Robbery

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Date: May 28-30, 1934

Location: Northern Territory, Australia

Value: $550,000

The Great Ghan Gold Robbery didn’t result in the world’s biggest haul, but it is one of the most mysterious heists. While traveling between Alice Springs and Quorn, Australia, someone took 34 pounds of gold from an unguarded safe aboard the Northern Express train. A guarded safe on the train wasn’t even touched. Either the robbers didn’t want any trouble, or it was an inside job.

Authorities never arrested anyone for the crime (they didn’t even know exactly when the crime had occurred). The train company fined one of the guards a small amount for his carelessness.

Weston Gold Robbery

Weston Gold Theft

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Date: June 30, 1861

Location:  Weston, West Virginia

Value: $500,000

West Virginia, the only state established during the Civil War, has a complicated past that not only includes battles between the North and South, but a gold heist that helped fund the Union’s administration. In 1861, Colonel Erastus Tyler, accompanied by the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, roused the residents of Weston in search of secession sympathizers. They were also there to “collect” a large stash of gold intended to pay for the construction of a new railroad.

The Union soldiers left enough money to pay construction workers, but they made off with about $500,000 worth of gold. That money was then used to build a hospital and barracks that helped establish West Virginia as a Union state separate from the seceded Virginia.

Beirut Gold Heist

Beirut Gold Heist

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Date: January 1976

Location: Beirut, Lebanon

Value: Between $20 million and $50 million

Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as history’s biggest safe deposit box robbery, a group of guerilla soldiers stole a large amount of gold bars, cash, and jewelry from the British Bank of the Middle East. The soldiers stole from numerous safe deposit boxes, so it’s impossible to know exactly how much they took. Many estimate the value between $20 million and $50 million.

A truce later ended much of the fighting between Christian and Muslim forces in Beirut, but one lucky group of soldiers made off with a fortune. They were never officially held accountable for the theft.

Considering gold’s persistently high value, it’s no wonder that so many robbers want to steal it. What would you do if you suddenly had a stash of gold worth hundreds of thousands of dollars?

The Meaning of Gold Across Cultures

Since the dawn of humanity, gold and people have shared a relationship. Its beauty makes it desirable for jewelry and building materials. Its rarity makes it a valuable trade commodity. A large portion of human history depended on gold for the wealth of nations and citizens. How complicated is our relationship with the king of precious metals?

Gold in The Middle East

Middle Eastern Gold

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Most likely, someone found the first shiny example of gold in a body of water, but we can’t be sure. We do know gold refinement predates our use of iron and copper. Ancient Egyptians related the beauty and power of gold with the gods. Gold was called the Skin of the Gods.

The earliest examples of refined gold appear in the Middle East, where civilization began. The oldest examples we have were found in the tombs of Egypt’s Queen Zer and Ur’s Queen Pu-abi, indicating humans began crafting gold pieces as early as three millenniums B.C. The largest collection of gold was found in the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen.

As early as 700 B.C., artists in the Persian Empire (now Iran) used advanced gold refining processes. Much of this work centered around Zoroastrianism religious pieces. After the Arabs came to this region, stunningly beautiful animal art began to appear.

Gold in China

Gold in China

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While the Middle East enjoyed a wealth of gold, China was robbed early. Until the Han Dynasty, China was wealthy in gold, but since the fall of this great empire China has suffered from a lack of this resource. Theories on how China’s gold was lost vary. Some believe China never really had much gold, most of what was believed to be gold was actually copper. Others think the Hans buried China’s gold or took it somewhere else.

International trade required gold for centuries. China had to export large quantities of grain, even as citizens were starving, in exchange for goods they had to import. Another setback occurred when the Nationalist Government fell. Most of China’s gold ended up in Taiwan as the Nationalists fled the country. Even now, the ownership and exchange of gold by the Chinese people is highly regulated.

Gold In Europe

European Gold

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Europe’s fascination with gold began during the Roman Empire. As in the Middle East, gold was first used in jewelry. It then began showing up in household goods and even furniture in homes of the higher classes. Gradually, gold coins became currency. About 300 years B.C., Roman citizens were recognized by their necklaces, which bore coins emblazoned with the image of the emperor.

As Christianity swept Europe, people began burying gold with their dead. Because of this, very little of Europe’s golden items survived the Middle Ages. Gradually, Europe began using the gold standard of currency. Great Britain adopted it in 1821, followed by the rest of Europe in the 1870’s.

Gold In The Americas

American Gold

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Even before European settlers sailed to the Americas, Indians had developed advanced gold refining processes like filigree, granulation, inlay and other gold working methods. In fact, when Spanish settlers arrived, the Indians had already developed all of the gold working knowledge possessed by the Spanish.

By this time, the whole world recognized the value of gold in adornments and in currency. By the end of World War I, Europe and everyone except the U.S. had abandoned the gold standard. By the mid-20th Century, the U.S. dollar became the basis for international trade, replacing the longstanding use of gold. Today, gold is used mostly for jewelry, high-tech electronics and as an investment against economic collapse.

Death by Gold: Strange Stories from History

You’ve probably heard of death by execution and death by hanging, but what about death by gold? There are several stories in history where people are killed by gold. Take a look at these strange stories throughout time.

Valerian Had Molten Gold Poured Down His Throat

Molten Gold

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It’s rumored that Valerian, a Roman Emperor, was taken prisoner by the Persians because of war and tyranny. The Persian ruler, Shapur, decided to kill Valerian by pouring molten gold down his throat. Basically, the molten gold destroyed Valerian’s esophagus and throat and filled his stomach with gold until it burst. Shapur then stuffed Valerian’s body with straw and used him as a trophy and symbol to others of Persia’s greatness.

Genghis Khan Killed the Governor of Utrar with Molten Gold

Genghis Khan

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Valerian isn’t the only story of a person dying by gold. It’s also rumored that Genghis Khan killed the governor of Utrar after a battle where Genghis lost several of his merchants. The governor of Utrar had molten gold poured in his ears and mouth to torture him before his death. He wasn’t used as a trophy, but this kind of death is pretty cruel.

Crassus Suffered Same Molten Gold Fate

Gold Fate

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Apparently, death by molten gold pops up in several stories because Crassus received the same, cruel punishment. Crassus had been climbing up the Roman political power during the rule of Spartacus. He eventually was awarded the title of consul after showing great leadership during many battles and wars. Crassus was later killed during a battle with the Parthians. He had molten gold poured down in his mouth as a symbol of his greed for wealth.

Death by a Gold Elixir Meant to Preserve Age and Beauty

Gold Elixir

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Well, obviously molten gold is dangerous, but it’s not the only way to be killed by gold. The mistress of King Henry II of France (Diane de Poitieres) poisoned herself with an elixir that contained gold. The elixir was supposed to help her fight the appearance of age, and it must have worked because she was 20 years older than King Henry II but looked the same age. The gold poisoning didn’t occur all at once — it made her hair finer than normal and her skin look like porcelain. However, the youthful benefits of gold probably weren’t worth dying for. Large traces of gold were found in the mistress’s blood after her death, proving she was killed by self-inflicted gold poisoning.

It looks like death by gold is a pretty cruel way to die, whether it is through blood poisoning or molten gold. Do you think it is one of the cruelest punishments?