Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is an organosulfur compound with the formula (CH 3 ) 2 SO. It is a
colorless liquid and is an important polar aprotic solvent that is able to dissolve both polar
and non-polar compounds and is miscible in a variety of organic solvents as well as water.
DMSO has the unusual property that many individuals perceive a garlic-like taste in the
mouth after contact with the skin.
In terms of chemical structure, the molecule has idealized C s symmetry. It has a trigonal
pyramidal molecular geometry consistent with other three-coordinate S(IV)
compounds, with a non bonded electron pair on the approximately tetrahedral sulfur atom.
DMSO was first synthesized in 1866 by the Russian scientist Alexander Zaytsev, who
reported his findings in 1867. Dimethyl sulfoxide is produced industrially from dimethyl
sulfide, a by-product of the Kraft process, by oxidation with oxygen or nitrogen dioxide.
DMSO is a polar aprotic solvent and is less toxic than other members of this class, such
as dimethylformamide, dimethylacetamide, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, and HMPA. DMSO is
frequently used as a solvent for chemical reactions involving salts, most notably Finkelstein
reactions and other nucleophilic substitutions. It is also extensively used as an extractant in
biochemistry and cell biology.
Use of DMSO in medicine dates from around 1963, when an Oregon Health & Science
University Medical School team, headed by Stanley Jacob, discovered it could penetrate the
skin and other membranes without damaging them and could carry other compounds into a
biological system. In medicine, DMSO is predominantly used as a topical analgesic, a vehicle
for topical application of pharmaceuticals, as an anti-inflammatory, and
an antioxidant.  Because DMSO increases the rate of absorption of some compounds
through biological tissues, including skin, it is used in some transdermal drug
delivery systems. Its effect may be enhanced with the addition of EDTA. It is frequently
compounded with antifungal medications, enabling them to penetrate not just skin but also
toenails and fingernails.
General adhesive and binding agent for a variety of uses