dimethyl sulfoxide

Dimethyl sulfoxide


The Physical and Biological Side of DMSO

Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH3)2SO.

It was discovered from pine trees and since then, has been known for its versatility.

Chemical Properties of dimethyl sulfoxide

This colourless liquid is an important polar aprotic solvent that dissolves both polar and nonpolar compounds and is miscible in a wide range of organic solvents as well as water.

It has a relatively high boiling point.

DMSO has the unusual property that many individuals perceive a garlic-like taste in the mouth after contact with the skin.

That is due to the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMS).



Dimethyl sulfoxide is oxidized in the marine atmosphere to various sulfur-containing compounds, such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).

Industrial grades of DMSO have higher quantities of dimethyl sulfoxide thus, the garlic taste is reported.

To prevent this odour, DMSO can be refined through an extraction process to remove dimethyl sulfoxide and any other contaminating agent to render it odourless.

In terms of chemical structure, the molecule has idealized Cs symmetry. It has a trigonal pyramidal molecular geometry consistent with other three-coordinate S(IV) compounds, with a nonbonded electron pair on the approximately tetrahedral sulfur atom.

Simply put, DMSO is a chemical formulation with the molecular formula – (CH3)2SO. It is a chemical and highly medicinal substance (medical DMSO), which is used as a pain reducer or removal in some cases, as well as a treatment of various kinds of disease infections.

The IUPAC name is Methylsulfinyl-methane and it’s a well known industrial duo tropical solvent.

The chemical molecular structure of DMSO is bipolar (water-loving and fat-loving poles).

Research suggests that it freezes at a temperature of 68-degree Fahrenheit, with a molecular weight of 78.3.

Its solubility in water is high, making it readily dissolvable.

Customarily, it is best to use medical DMSO as a medicine for its medicinal properties only after it is prescribed by a medical professional.

DMSO belongs to the class 3 solvents and to date, no reports of harm have been found after the use of both industrial and medical DMSO.

DMSO is derived without artificial support as despite it being a by-product of the paper manufacturing industry, it is also found in plants and body cells where it aids detoxification.


Biological Origin of dimethyl sulfoxide

A great part of DMS (Dimethyl sulphide) is exhaled by the plant called phytoplankton belonging to the plankton species, which has some marine origin.

This Dimethyl Sulphide exhaled gets evaporated into the Earth’s atmosphere.

There it corrodes to form DMSO and this DMSO comes back to land in the form of rain.

Since we’re talking about its physical, chemical and biological properties, let’s talk about how DMSO reacts to extreme temperatures, keeping in mind its use as a medicine.


Physical Properties of  this Wonder Drug – sulfoxide


Studies have shown that a place’s climate condition has an effect on the state of this wonderful healing drug.

DMSO in the liquid form is said to be highly temperature-sensitive as reports arise of it converting to its crystal form from its liquid state in cold climates.

One must make sure to store their bottle of DMSO in a warm place. That should be enough to preserve it in its liquid state.

If DMSO happens to crystallise, the bottle can be placed in a waterproof bag and sealed. The water-proof bag can then be put in warm water to reverse it to its liquid form from its crystalline state.

It is dangerous to heat DMSO directly.

Never put it near fire or put it in the microwave

It would simply render the medical DMSO useless and kill its efficacy.

To conclude, keeping in mind the wonderful chemical and biological composition of medical DMSO, each research continues to beat our expectations as to what a by-product solvent can do on its own.

Its medical and industrial uses remain super utilitarian.

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