Naturally Rockford: DMSO: The paper maker pain reliever

One of the byproducts of the process that made this paper has an array of healing properties. Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is an industrial solvent produced during the process of making paper from trees, according to

This solvent has some amazing properties. It can pass directly through the skin. DMSO has a local analgesic (pain-relieving) aspect and also inhibits prostaglandins, which control physiological reactions in the body, such as nerve transmission. When applied to the skin, these abilities reduce inflammation in tissues, easing arthritis, sprains, and general aches and pains almost immediately, although the FDA does not approve treatment of these ailments by DMSO.

The FDA only approves a 50 percent DMSO solution for the treatment of interstitial cystitis, where DMSO is only in the body for 15 minutes at a time. The FDA’s main reasoning for their decision is based on two things. In 1965, animals being tested with DMSO showed changes in the eye’s lens structure. They were being given between 50-100 times the dosages for humans. Subsequent testing has shown no lens changes in humans given three-30 times the average dose, leading to the FDA to begin allowing further study into DMSO.

Studies on DMSO are difficult to administer. One of the side effects of taking DMSO is a garlic odor on the breath and skin. It’s a challenge to administer a blind, unbiased study with this noticeable characteristic apparent.

DMSO’s ability to penetrate intact skin membranes also becomes a problem when it is not in a pure state. Bacteria and other detrimental particles can easily become mixed in with DMSO, allowing them a direct path into the body; causing a slew of health problems, one of the reasons a medical doctor should supervise this treatment. Over-the-counter DMSO herbal solutions, unapproved by the FDA, are available, but aforementioned, one must be extremely careful if self-administering this solvent, which usually has a 99 percent DMSO mix, the industrial level. Also, claims DMSO can cure cancer have no substantial evidence. DMSO is also used in cryogenics to protect cells from being damaged during freezing, and is being looked into to treat head injuries, spinal cord trauma, amyloidosis (associated with arthritis), and scleroderma (thickening/hardening of the skin and connective tissues).

The side effects of DMSO are: aforementioned garlicky odor, skin irritation, transient hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), possible damage to the liver, kidneys, blood forming organs, central nervous system, as well as headache, dizziness, nausea, and sedation. Birth defects in animals have been shown after receiving high doses of DMSO. Source:

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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