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DMSO Therapy


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 joints.

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.


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 antigens.

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.


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 molecular makeup:

•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., 231:157-159, 1971.

3.Barfeld, H., and T. Atoynatan, Cytophilic nature of migration inhibitory factor associated with delayed hypersensitivity, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 139:497-501, 1969.

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 •




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