This is a chemical product—called dimethyl sulfoxide—that has been around a
long time but is totally strange to the orthodox medical community. It has
been used for years by athletes to help them with painful muscles and
DMSO works in a number of ways, but these are entirely new to therapeutic
principles. This is not a drug in the usual sense, since a drug treats
disease symptoms. DMSO treats altered cellular function or damaged cells.
The cells become healed and restored by changing and stabilizing the “water
structure” within the cell. It exerts its effects on biological systems by
changing the liquid structure of water. Therefore, changes occur in protein
and other molecules. These changes are physical-chemical in nature and
difficult to understand without a degree in physics.
The fact remains that these products work to restore function in illnesses
like arthritis and immune system disease, and they are very helpful in acute
inflammatory pain syndromes.
WHAT IT DOES?
DMSO tends to build up white blood cells and increase immune production of
MIF (migration inhibitory factors) of macrophages. Thus, the immune system
is made more effective by allowing macrophages to move more quickly. Thus
DMSO modulates lymphocytes, and it therefore reactivates the production of
MIF. It also diminishes allergic reactions by unfolding the cell membrane
and making more cell receptor sites available to attachment by specific
The modulating effect of DMSO on lymphocytes also tends to increase the
production of lymphokines (chemical immune cell mediators) such as
interferon. It potentiates cell mediated immunity and can be effective in
multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis,
thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, cancer, etc.
WHAT ARE ITS MAJOR THERAPEUTIC PROPERTIES?
1.It blocks pain by interrupting conduction in the small c-fibers, the
non-myelinating nerve fibers. 2.It is anti-inflammatory. 3.It is anti
bacterial, fungal and viral. 4.It transports all molecules (drugs, etc.)
across cell membranes. 5.It reduces the incidence of platelet thrombi (clots
in vessels). 6.It effects cardiac contractility by inhibiting calcium to
reduce the workload of the heart. 7.It is a vasodilator, probably related to
histamine release in the cells and to prostaglandin inhibition. 8.It softens
collagen. 9.It is a scavenger of the hydroxyl free radical. 10.It stimulates
the immune system. 11.It is a potent diuretic. 12.It increases interferon
formation. 13.It stimulates wound healing.
DMSO has certain unique physiological characteristics which stem from its
•It is a simple small molecule with unusual properties. •An exothermic
reaction occurs when DMSO is diluted with water (heat is generated).
•Hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are free radicals (oxidants), are ubiquitous
and highly injurious to cells—and thus health. DMSO neutralizes (quenches)
these free radicals. It is a free radical scavenger!
DMSO substitutes for water in the living cell—it can destroy intracellular
free radicals. No other antioxidant can do that. •DMSO increases the
permeability of cell membranes yielding a flushing effect of toxins from
intracellular location to extracellular. •It is an antidote to allergic
reactions. •It can penetrate any cell wall; thus it can get where most
chemicals can’t. •It has a very low index of any toxicity. •Allergic
reactions to DMSO can occur but they are uncommon.
DMSO has a myriad of applications in medicine. Some are so dramatically
effective that the concept of such therapy just boggles the mind!
1.Szmant, H. Harry. Physical properties of dimethyl sulfoxide and its
function in biological systems, Biological Actions of Dimethyl Sulfoxide ed.
by Stanley W. Jacob and Robert Herschler. (New York: New York Academy of
Sciences, 1975), pp. 20-23.
2.Barfeld, H., and T. Atoynatan. N-acetylcysteine inactivates migration
inhibitory factor and delayed hypersensitivity reactions. Nature new Bio.,
3.Barfeld, H., and T. Atoynatan, Cytophilic nature of migration inhibitory
factor associated with delayed hypersensitivity, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med.,
4.Tschope, M., cited in Raettig, H. “The potential of DMSO in experimental
immunology,” Dimethylsulfoxyl, Internationales Symposium in Wien. G. Laudahn
and K. Getrich, eds.; 54. Saladruck, Berlin, Germany, 1966.
5.Engel, M.F. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 141:638, 1967.
© 1995 Stephen B. Edelson, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., F.A.A.E.M.
NOTICE: This information is provided for educational purposes. Any medical
procedures, dietary changes, or nutritional supplements discussed herein
should only be undertaken on the advice of a qualified physician.
Stephen B. Edelson, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., F.A.A.E.M. • Environmental and
Preventive Health Center of Atlanta
3833 Roswell Road, Suite 110 • Atlanta, GA 30342 •