Gold has been used as a part of medical treatment in one form or another for many centuries. The oldest known records show that the ancient Egyptians and Indians both used a variety of different medicinal compounds that used gold as a key ingredient. In China this precious metal was used by healers as a treatment for diseases such as measles and small pox, they also mixed it into a paste that could be applied to skin ulcers. Records have been found indicating that these treatments were quite successful in many cases. Most people know that we have been using gold in the field of dentistry to repair teeth as fillings and crowns, what they may not know is the many other and equally direct applications gold is used for in modern medicine. Gold is considered to be one of the most biocompatible metals and as such is considered ideal for use in internal applications.
One of the first places it was and still is used is in the wires used by pacemakers. Cardiovascular surgeons, who have a choice in the materials used to make the stents that are placed in weakened or collapsed arteries, will invariably choose gold over any other metal. This is in part due to the higher level of biocompatibility and because they are much easier to see in an x-ray, which makes checking for proper placement a much simpler task. Because this particular metal is considered to be highly resistant to the formation of bacterial colonies, it has become the metal of choice for those implants that must be placed in areas of the body that are prone to infection such as the inner ear. Learning from our ancient ancestors, gold and various compounds of gold have been used to treat a large variety of illnesses and diseases for many years.
A French researcher by the name of Jacques Forestier was one of the first modern scientists to report success in the treatment of arthritis with the use of gold complexes. Today gold is used in the medications Myocrisin and Auranofin, both of which are used for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. From electrical reliability to the ability to treat and often cure a variety of diseases including cancer and HIV, gold has become one of the most valuable compounds available to the modern medicinal world. As research continues, we are likely to see far more medicinal treatments and pharmaceuticals that use gold or compounds of gold.