Dimethyl sulfoxide, abbreviated DMSO, is a simple natural substance consisting of one sulfur, one oxygen, two carbon and six hydrogen atoms. It is found all over the world – in the air, soil and water. Its diverse therapeutic efficiency was discovered by chance at the beginning of the 1960s and brought liquid DMSO at a rapid pace to medical and scientific research laboratories worldwide. An official of the US pharmaceutical industry even once referred to it as the “discovery of the century”. Of course, there were patient information leaflets for DMSO at the time. In the form of tinctures, gels, ointments, but also as ampoules for injection/infusion, DMSO was used by doctors until about the beginning of the 1980s, before it disappeared again from the institutional drug scene. There were many reasons for this. One of them is the need to explain this natural remedy in therapeutic use. Modern fast-paced life does not seem to have the time for this. This brings us to the topic: Where is the patient information leaflet?
In recent decades, this question has established itself as a program within us. We no longer use household remedies intuitively, creatively and virtuously, nor do we practice medicine governed by our own experiences. Today we expect to find together with a remedy the information ‘what conditions the treatment is fighting against’ (or hopefully ‘what is being cured’), ‘how much’, ‘how often’, ‘how long’. We mistrust our own perception of that, what our body needs. Nearly playfully, our ancestors used warm onion sacks, curd wraps, borax solutions, soda powder, hydrogen peroxide, spending time in the sun (at the right time and for the right duration) and much more therapeutically and with great success.
I have been able to provide many people with a kind of leaflet for this wonderful remedy with the publication of the ‘Das DMSO-Handbuch’. The wonderful thing is that many people now take responsibility for their healing and use DMSO in a variety of ways and gain their own individual experiences.
The first question of ‘what for’, often answers itself on the basis of their own trying out. DMSO has so many effects, which have also been proven medically and scientifically, that the entire list of individual indications would be too long for an instruction leaflet.
DMSO has become the over all product in naturopathy because it unites three things within itself. At the same time, it is firstly an independent active agent. Secondly it is a partner for improving the effectiveness of other remedies/procedures and thirdly it is the best extraction agent for the production of ‘tinctures’ from medicinal plants and other natural materials. These superior advantages of a single substance can be explained very simply. Dimethylsulfoxide as a liquid has the extraordinary property of absorbing water-soluble (hydrophilic) and fat-soluble (lipophilic) substances equally well! Thus it becomes in every sense a key in living organisms – plants, animals, humans. They all have numerous distribution spaces and the mediation between water and fat soluble is a central requirement for all exchange and transport processes in our body and thus enables a healthy life.
We may remember that Hippocrates (like many others) held the view that health is the natural state to which an organism strives by nature. It is therefore ‘only’ a matter of removing the obstacles that prevent this natural state or the striving for it. The DMSO key is predestined for this, because no matter whether we consult the ancient theory of juices or the latest biochemical findings from research laboratories, the ‘correct’ functioning of all biochemical processes is based on the unhindered transport of substances from the outside to the inside and from the inside to the outside!
DMSO can also be seen as an unified remedy representing really and uniquely all three alchemical principles in one substance, namely body, spirit and soul:
- First, the liquid DMSO is strongly droplet-forming, because the polarity in the molecule is 3.96 Debey and thus is more than twice as much as that of water (1.84 D). In alchemy, the droplet-forming liquid element was assigned to the spirit.
- Secondly, DMSO is flammable and contains sulphur. The volatile sulfur was assigned to the soul.
- And thirdly, DMSO becomes solid already below 18.5 °C. This temperature is more than twice as high as continental average temperatures and exactly half our body temperature. The solid element was assigned to the body.
This is what we call a holistic concept of therapy today.
Coming back to modern science. DMSO can be mixed with water in any ratio and, due to the extremely high molecular polarity already mentioned, is able to dissolve the structural forces in water. These structural forces have a name in scientific teaching: Hydrogen bridge bonds. I’m sure you remember. When the two liquids DMSO and water are mixed, the momentaneous dissolution of the hydrogen bridge bonds finds expression in a spontaneous development of heat. Heat development to this high extent is a very rare natural phenomenon. It is exactly this process, that the structural forces between the water molecules are dissolved immediately upon “contact” with DMSO molecules, is fundamental for the astonishingly diverse effects that unfold in the body when we apply DMSO internally or externally. This leads to a reorientation in the water. For example, it enables local changes in viscosity or permeability.
What for, i. e. for which indications can DMSO be helpfully used?
DMSO can be helpful for all symptoms and illnesses in which the cause is suspected to be an aggravated biochemical transport of substances and an impeded exchange process. There is a multitude of them. DMSO has been shown to inhibit inflammation, relieve pain, reduce oedema, dilate blood vessels, relax muscles, erase radicals, improve blood viscosity, promote wound healing, improve oxygen saturation, have an antisclerotic effect, promote cell function and differentiation, smooth scars, improve connective tissue quality, protect cells, promote diffusion, increase parasympathetic activity, modulate life cycle, cell division and apoptosis, etc. There is more than enough specialist literature from over 50 years of research. It is therefore much more helpful to understand DMSO than to read instructions for use from an instruction leaflet.
Here is a current user report:
Dear Dr. Fischer,
it’s about time I thank you. Since using your book and DMSO already approx. 2 years for various aches and pains successfully, I decided to do the following self-treatment for glaucoma: I applied a 10% DMSO solution on the closed eyes. After about 20 minutes the pressure pain disappeared. With renewed eye pressure I applied it again.
Last visit to an ophthalmologist: Eye pressure 14
Conjunctiva: very good
Since October every evening: 1 drop DMSO 3 % from alchemist.de.
I am gratified and with excitement I expect your interesting monthly letters.
Many dear and grateful greetings H. P. Klee
This letter shows that DMSO can be applied intuitively if four simple basic rules are observed:
- Pure pharmaceutical DMSO is diluted sensibly for various applications. More about this in the following section ‘how much’.
- If possible, only glass, porcelain or metal containers are used for storing, measuring, mixing and applying DMSO. These are e.g. pipettes vials, measuring cylinders, teaspoons, egg cups, shot glasses etc.
If containers or measuring aids made of plastic are to be used, they should either be made of High Density Polyethylen or simply be pre-rinsed with pure DMSO so that the plastic surface in contact with DMSO is free of plasticides, UV stabilizers, mould release agents and other industrial production aids. This concerns e.g. disposable syringes, pasteur pipettes, spoons, bottles, spray nozzles etc. However, I would not overact this subject. There are rumours that the rubber used to make the pipette caps on the amber glass bottles releases “very bad things”. Such small contact surfaces, especially with rubber, which is known to be made of polybutadiene and usually contains no other fillers, do not play a role in my opinion.
By the way, an interaction between these caps and DMSO would result very quickly in cracking, discoloration etc., which apparently is not the case. I have been using my pipette bottles for years and no cracks or discolorations have formed. It’s more about large areas of cheap plastics, as mentioned above with the disposable syringes, which are made of PP (polypropylene) and are very popular for measuring.
There is still a second issue involved, namely the use of DMSO for infusions and injections. Here I consider it extremely important to use sterile, pre-diluted (!) DMSO solutions, which can be drawn up with a syringe. Open bottles/containers can be pre-cleaned with DMSO, but this makes little sense with syringes. Therefore one makes use of the fact that diluted DMSO, especially below 20% content, no longer shows a special tendency to absorb industrial substances from plastic surfaces. I strongly recommend to use only the formulation ampoules from the Viktoria Pharmacy in Saarbrücken for infusions and injections for therapy in your own practice. These are adjusted to 15 % DMSO content! Using ampoules containing pure DMSO has been an application error since the 1970s! It is unfortunate that this is still done wrongly today. In order to prepare infusions or injections, the contents of the ampoule have to be absorbed with syringes. If, however, pure DMSO is drawn up with syringes, larger amounts of undesirable substances enter the formulation together with the pure DMSO.
Note: The inner surface of a 10 or 20 ml syringe is many times larger than the inner contact surface of a screw cap on an amber glass vial. As I said, I would treat the whole subject soberly and sensibly, considering the many “environmental toxins” to which we are exposed. Infusions and injections should not be compromised. For all other applications, especially external ones, the “pre-rinsing method” with DMSO is completely sufficient.
- With all external applications pay attention to the skin, make sure it is free of any commercial cosmetic products! Anyone can take a look at the list of ingredients to have an idea what questionable substances the cosmetics industry uses in a variety of preparations (this also applies to pharmaceutical products). In fact, it doesn’t matter how expensive the products are or whether they come from Paris or London or Madrid. Only homemade cosmetics based on pure, unheated vegetable fats do not pose the risk of infiltrating harmful substances into deeper skin layers when DMSO is also used at the same time. Moreover, homemade skin care mixtures can be combined directly with DMSO. It is also important to stay objective on this subject – normal skin cleansing is completely sufficient to ensure that commercial cosmetics vanish from the skin.
- It should be noted that DMSO can also cause desirable and undesirable side effects. Side effects that are associated with the proper effect of DMSO are desirable. These include, for example, a temporary reddening of the skin (only with external use) due to improved blood circulation.
Another example of a desired side effect is increased salivation. This indicates that DMSO activates the parasympathetic nervous system so that various glandular functions and here the salivary glands are stimulated.
Another much discussed side effect is the formation of odours in the exhaled air shortly after the administration of DMSO. It is the reduction product of dimethyl sulfoxide that causes this odour, namely dimethyl sulfide. Sulphides, for example, are produced in the body even after the consumption of garlic and are usually unpopular for human noses, especially in Western Hemisphere. Depending on the reductase activity, the extent of odour formation varies greatly from person to person. Just recently a doctor wrote me about a patient who does not smell at all after DMSO administration. Others speak of strong evaporation that smells like broccoli, maggi, canned corn or garlic. In this respect the old joke has its justification that there is only one contraindication for DMSO, namely the desire to have children.
However, organic sulfides (not to be confused with sulfite, which is used to preserve wine or sausage and causes headaches!) have the advantage that they can bind atoms and ions of transition metals in a complex way. They therefore contribute to the gentle removal of metals such as cadmium, palladium, mercury and titanium. We already knew that, because that is why garlic has always been recommended for consumption.
Among the really undesirable side effects are for example temporary dizziness, head pressure, fatigue. Blood pressure may also drop because DMSO dilates the blood vessels. However, I personally experienced this only with the administration of larger amounts of DMSO by infusion, especially after getting up immediately from the couch.
Dimethylsulfoxide is purchased in a pharmaceutically tested purity called DMSO Ph. Eur. Due to the enormous popularity of DMSO knowledge, there are now, fortunately, many Internet providers who supply this quality. There are also suppliers who have ready-to-use DMSO mixtures in their product range. More about this later. Various purchase recommendations, FAQ’s about the use of DMSO and letters to the editor can be found on my website.
How much, how often, how long?
The answers of these questions are very simple!
1) How much?
For external applicationsof DMSO is mixed with aqueous liquids for dilution in appropriate proportions.
Pure DMSO is only used selectively, for example to dab aphthae, warts, herpes blisters, birthmarks etc. The selection of the respective aqueous dilution liquid depends on the intended application. Proven dilution liquids, for example are magnesium chloride solution 12 % (or other magnesium salts in solution), isotonic sea water, hydrogen peroxide 3 %, colloidal silver water, procaine solution 2 %, thermal water, ones own urine.
Depending on the different symptoms, different liquids are advantageous for the dilution of DMSO.
- for infectious sites/symptoms: hydrogen peroxide or colloidal silver water
- for the musculoskeletal system: magnesium chloride solution
- for pain: procaine solution
- for the application on mucous membranes: isotonic water
- for allergic reactions on the skin/mucosa: ones own urine,
- for beauty purposes: thermal or sea water
If pure pharmaceutical DMSO has to be mixed, the additional and synergistic effects of the thinning liquids are used at the same time. Such a combination of the agents makes sense. To use only water for dilution is too boring for me personally.
The following dilutions or rather DMSO concentrations have proven effectively:
60 % DMSO for all symptoms of the musculoskeletal system in joints, muscles, tendons, fascia and also for scar treatment. If one has very sensitive skin, a 30 % solution can also be used. You can buy these solutions ready to use, for example with magnesium chloride, or mix them yourself from the components above. If you mixe your own use 6 parts pharmaceutical DMSO and 4 parts magnesium chloride solution 12 % are simply mixed together. For 100 ml of such a mixture you need 60 ml DMSO and 40 ml of 12 % magnesium chloride solution.
For the application of DMSO solutions as nose and ear drops 15 % mixtures are indicated. These are also available ready to use or you mix 1.5 parts DMSO and 8.5 parts dilution liquid. In the case of ear/nose drops I like to use isotonic sea water or isotonic magnesium chloride solution.
10 % DMSO solutions are helpful in the field of cosmetics/anti-aging. Isotonic sea water or thermal water is used as dilution liquid. Thermal water contains the sulphates of sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium, which generally have a soothing effect on the skin. Together with DMSO, this results in a pleasant, skin regenerating effect, for example as a facial spray applied to moist skin.
3 % DMSO has proven itself many times as eye drops – both for degenerative and inflammatory eye symptoms. In this case DMSO should be diluted with isotonic solutions. Either the simple saline solution 0.9 % from a pharmacy or isotonic sea water. Own mixtures can be cleaned with the help of a simple sterile syringe filter, pore size 0.2 micrometer. However, ready-to-use 3 % DMSO solutions are now also available from pharmacies and on the Internet.
The lowest DMSO concentration with approx. 0.1 to 0.2 % DMSO content is used for inhalations. Here approx. 5 to 10 drops of DMSO Ph. Eur. in 20 millilitres of saline solution have proven to be effective for inhalation.
For the oral applicationof DMSO, usual quantities of approx. 5 to 15 ml DMSO are mixed in a 0.3 l drink. This corresponds to approx. 2 to 6 teaspoons.
Sterile, pre-diluted 15 % DMSO solutions are used for injections/infusionsand, if necessary, mixed with isotonic saline solution. For a usual 500 ml infusion, 50 ml of the sterile 15 % DMSO solution is transferred from the vial into the saline solution.
This corresponds to a concentration of approx. 1.36 % DMSO content (7.5 grams DMSO in 550 ml total volume). If a 250 ml infusion solution is used, a DMSO concentration of approx. 2.7 % results when a DMSO ampoule is used. Injections can be administered with maximum 15 % DMSO solutions intracutaneous, subcutaneous, intravenous, intraarterial and intraperitoneal. For intramuscularly injections, further dilution with saline solution and possibly procaine solution of 2 % is recommended.
2) How often?
DMSO applications are usually performed once a day. Exceptions to this are the treatment of the eyes and severe, acute symptoms, where DMSO can also be used several times a day. DMSO eye drops can be used up to 8 times a day for chronic and acute symptoms. The oral use of DMSO should be limited to a maximum of 2 to 3 times a day, even if the symptoms are very severe. Externally local applications on the skin require, with repeated application daily, an additional skin care, since otherwise the skin can become dry and even cracked. Skin care should be carried out with pure natural fats or aloe gel. No industrial cosmetics should be used!
3) How long?
The duration of the use of DMSO should be limited intuitively and sensibly, on the basis of ones own body perception or depending on the symptoms treated. Here there are consciously no defaults. A permanent use of DMSO, as well as the permanent use of any other natural remedy, contradicts the claim to holistic treatment. A holistic treatment always regards the substances used as tools which merely give the body impulses for healing. Neither a remedy nor a therapist heals – only the organism itself can do this. With DMSO the impulse is the described ‘key’, which opens the door for healing.
A frequently asked question is the possible interaction between DMSO and the numerous other drugs used in institutional medicine. Many patients, especially older ones, are usually confronted with these medications. It should be noted, that most of the drugs used today, were not even on the market at the time of the most intensive DMSO research (until the early 1980s). Accordingly, there are no scientific studies on this theme. In the case of small molecule substances – this is the case for most drugs – an increase in the effectiveness of these substances is to be expected. Accordingly, people who swallow many drugs should initially take low dosis of DMSO and observe the results.
Definitely there are strengthening effects with
- painkillers (both NSAIDs and morphine/opioids),
- insulin (secondary effect, although insulin is a large molecule – improving receptor responsiveness!)
- and various psychotropic drugs.
Important:Due to recent experience I strongly advise against using DMSO together with antibiotics (different substance classes) and chemotherapeutics. Before administering DMSO, patients should be explicitly asked whether they are taking antibiotics/chemo-therapeutics. The shared use of DMSO and such drugs has led in recent years to the occurrence of side effects of antibiotics/chemo-therapeutics which are listed as rare and very rare. I am aware of a total of four such cases. This included, for example, the spontaneous occurrence of large-area haematomas or generalized allergies. To put it in a nutshell, from my point of view, the simultaneous intake of antibiotics/chemo-therapeutics and using DMSO is the only real contraindication for the use of DMSO, regardless of the external or internal application!
Outlook:DMSO is a wonderful healing fluid. It can be used in many ways and on its own responsibility for the most varied symptoms. It is a real proven household remedy and at the same time a therapeutic medicine. The areas of application range from injuries, symptoms of the musculoskeletal system and the skin as well as pain of various origins to acute and chronic infections, allergies, autoimmune diseases and diseases caused by deposits. DMSO in combination with oxidants (artemisinin, H2O2, ozone, CD, …), organic dyes (hematoxylin, bengal pink) or small molecular intervention substances such as DCA (dichloroethanoic acid) and furfural have also proven to be surprisingly effective for the treatment of tumour diseases.
Dimethylsulfoxide is a combination agent. In practices and clinics it expands the proven and existing naturopathic therapy forms and improves their effect. 6 years after the publication of ‘Das DMSO-Handbuch’, more than 100,000 copies have now been sold. It has thus become a bestseller. Obviously people who have experienced the amazing effect of DMSO themselves recommend this simple tool to their family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbours. Every day we receive emails from both private users and therapists with descriptions of excellent applications. The wealth of experience grows enormously in this way. In this respect DMSO, the remedy itself, has carried a very important message into the world. This is the general idea of my work: natural medicine should, may and have to return to everyone!
Dr. Hartmut Fischer