DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide)
What is DMSO?
DMSO side effects
What is DMSO?
DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) is a simple organic compound found in nearly all animals and plants. Commercial DMSO production is mostly a by-product of the wood and paper manufacturing industry. It has been in use as an industrial solvent since 1953.
Buy pharmaceutical grade DMSO which is 99.995% pure, rather than industrial grade. You can buy it as a liquid or as a solid. It is usually most convenient to buy as 70% or 90% DMSO solution. If diluting the 100% pure liquid, use distilled water and wear eye protection. Add water to the concentrate very slowly, as it generates heat and can spatter.
100% pure DMSO is solid at a temperature of 19C (66F). With the addition of just a little (always distilled) water it turns liquid, and it then has the weird property of remaining liquid even when cooled below the freezing point of water!
DMSO is cheap, cannot be patented, and has many healing and therapeutic properties. You can apply it to the skin or take it orally with water or juice. Qualified health practitioners can also inject it intravenously or intramuscularly.
I regard DMSO as both a tonic and a remedy. It is probably an anti-ageing supplement, although there is little research to support this. Several elderly athletes use DMSO as a supplement as it assists with their endurance ability.
- Sulphur source. It is a means of taking supplementary sulphur, and in this respect is similar to MSM or Flowers of sulphur. The first symptom of sulphur deficiency is brittle nails.
- Fast penetration. It quickly penetrates the skin and other membranes without damaging them. This ability to pass through the skin is most effective at a concentration of 70 or 90% DMSO in water.
- Carrier. It can carry other compounds into a biological system. Its ability to penetrate the skin or membranes also enables it to rapidly and conveniently carry a wide variety of substances into the body, including into the blood vessels beneath the skin and further down into muscle, organs and bone. Vitamins, supplements, pharmaceuticals can all be taken in this way. Harmful substances will also be carried into the blood, so if your skin is dirty, or is covered with skin cream, sun cream, cosmetics, oil etc, and you rub DMSO on top of it, you can feel very ill as these products quickly enter your body.
- DMSO penetrates the blood brain barrier.
- DMSO is a natural blood thinner, dilates blood vessels and stimulates blood flow.
- DMSO is a natural antibiotic, anti-bacterial.
- Anti-inflammatory. DMSO is an antioxidant, free radical scavenger, and reduces inflammation.
- Immune system regulator. It reduces an oversensitive immune system, and stimulates a sluggish immune system.
- It is a solvent for many substances.
- Smell. Within a minute of rubbing it on the skin, an odd garlic / spirit odour emanates from the mouth. The social problems caused by this smell may be a reason why it has not been widely marketed and used. This odour has also made double blind studies almost impossible, as the testers can smell exactly which subjects are using the DMSO.
- The half-life of DMSO in the body is 11 to 14 hours. (3) It is primarily excreted through the kidneys, but secondary elimination occurs through the respiratory tract and bile. (2, 3)
In Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan, doctors and health professionals prescribe it for a variety of ailments. In the USA its only approved uses are for Interstitial cystitis and the preservation of organ transplant tissue.
DMSO may be applied to clean skin, keeping in mind its Carrier properties discussed above. It is also a good way to transport other safe and non-reactive products such as magnesium oil or some essential oils deep into the skin or the muscles and organs underneath the point of application.
Dose. DMSO can be taken in water or juice, normally one teaspoon per day in a full glass for an adult.
- Arthritis, both rheumatoid and osteo arthritis.
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome and fibromyalgia
- Burns. Rapid recovery with little or no scarring.
- Cancer. Research shows that DMSO may be particularly useful in preventing metastasis of cancers. (5)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other kinds of repetitive strain injury.
- Eye health. Apply one drop per day of 50% diluted pharmaceutical grade DMSO in each eye. It is normal to sting a little on application. This protects against many diseases of ageing in the eye, including retinitis pigmentosa, vision problems, nerve deterioration and macular degeneration.
- Headaches and migraines by using a topical application to the skin on the head, and optionally the neck.
- Head trauma and brain injury. Stroke. Raised intracranial pressure. DMSO is a fantastic emergency treatment for brain injuries and strokes, and ambulance staff should always carry DMSO and use it intravenously. Unfortunately pressure from pharmaceutical companies to use their own patented products means there is a constant battle between captured regulators and the emergency department staff who see just how effective DMSO actually is.
- Interstitial cystitis, bladder infection and urinary tract infections.
- Liver cirrhosis.
- Nail fungus. DMSO is often combined with antifungal medications, enabling them to penetrate not just skin but also through toe and finger nails.
- Pain relief. A topical analgesic. Apply to the skin for rapid pain relief. It is widely used by athletes for sprains and sore muscles. It is a useful first aid for burns, cuts and sprains, providing almost immediate relief for up to six hours. Treatment of any nervous system trauma.
- Radiation poisoning, radiation damage. (4)
- Respiratory diseases including asthma and bronchitis..
- Skin fungal infections like athlete's foot, jock (Dhobie) itch, or ringworm.
- Tooth and gum infections.
DMSO side effects
- Smell. A slightly garlic spirit smell on the breath within seconds of applying DMSO.
- On high doses, it may cause a slight headache.
- Can cause redness, itching or stinging in the area where it is applied to the skin undiluted. Test first. Try diluted with a little distilled water.
- Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should not use DMSO because little is known about its possible effects on the foetus or infant.
1. Archie H. Scott.
The DMSO Handbook for Doctors. 5 July 2013.
2. Layman DL, Jacob SW. The absorption, metabolism and excretion of dimethyl sulfoxide by rhesus monkeys. Life Sci. 1985 Dec 23;37(25):2431-7. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(85)90111-0. PMID: 4079657.
3. Dimethyl sulfoxide. Classification/MAK value. Retrieved from onlinelibrary.wiley.com on 11 April 2023.
4. Genro Kashino, Yong Liu, Minoru Suzuki, Shin-Ichiro Masunaga, Yuko Kinashi, Koji Ono, Keizo Tano, Masami Watanabe. An Alternative Mechanism for Radioprotection by Dimethyl Sulfoxide; Possible Facilitation of DNA Double-strand Break Repair. J. Radiat. Res., 51, 733-740 (2010).
5. Caron JM, Bannon M, Rosshirt L, Luis J, Monteagudo L, Caron JM, Sternstein GM. Methyl sulfone induces loss of metastatic properties and reemergence of normal phenotypes in a metastatic cloudman S-91 (M3) murine melanoma cell line. PLoS One. 2010 Aug 4;5(8):e11788. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011788. PMID: 20694196; PMCID: PMC2915910.