A sample of human urine
|Claims||Various therapeutic uses of urine.|
In alternative medicine, the term urine therapy or urotherapy, (also urinotherapy or uropathy) refers to various applications of human urine for medicinal or cosmetic purposes, including drinking of one's own urine and massaging one's skin, or gums, with one's own urine. Along with the therapeutic use of urine, many chemical components of urine have wide-scale industrial and agricultural use, such as urea and urokinase.
As in ancient Rome, Urine (from Latin Urina, ae, f.), the liquid by-product of the body secreted by the kidneys through the process of urination and excretion, was used for tooth-whitening. A famous poem by the Roman poet Catullus, criticizing a Spaniard named Egnatius, reads:
Egnatius, because he has snow-white teeth, smiles all the time. If you're a defendant in court, when the counsel draws tears, he smiles: if you're in grief at the pyre of pious sons, the lone lorn mother weeping, he smiles. Whatever it is, wherever it is, whatever he's doing, he smiles: he's got a disease, neither polite, I would say, nor charming. So a reminder to you, from me, good Egnatius. If you were a Sabine or Tiburtine or a fat Umbrian, or plump Etruscan, or dark toothy Lanuvian, or from north of the Po, and I'll mention my own Veronese too, or whoever else clean their teeth religiously, I’d still not want you to smile all the time: there's nothing more foolish than foolishly smiling. Now you’re Spanish: in the country of Spain what each man pisses, he's used to brushing his teeth and red gums with, every morning, so the fact that your teeth are so polished just shows you’re the more full of piss.
Some believe that the Bible recommends urine therapy. A verse in Proverbs (Proverbs 5:15) advises: "Drink waters from thy own cistern, flowing water from thy own well." However, subsequent verses contain warnings against adultery, and advice for husbands to stay faithful; hence the interpretation of this verse as a literary device or analogy.[dubious ]
A Sanskrit text called the Damar Tantra, not part of core Hinduism, contains 107 stanzas on the benefits of "pure water, or one's own urine". In this text, urine therapy is referred to as Shivambu Kalpa. This text suggests, among other uses and prescriptions, massaging one's skin with fresh, concentrated urine. In the Ayurvedic tradition, which is related to the Hindu scriptures called the Vedas. Urine therapy is called amaroli which when practised requires some dietary requirements such as mixing it with water to "cure cancers" and other "diseases" along with "raw food and certain fruits like banana, papaya and citrus fruits" which are claimed to be "very good in the practice of amaroli".
Islamic commentators find urine to be something that is "filth" However, in life saving conditions and in the utmost necessity of thirst when it is a matter of life and death, scholars such as Abū Ḥanīfa have said that "it's disliked" ("makruh" or "almost" haraam) only and one may drink urine but strictly only if no other drinkable liquid is available.
In Sierra Madre[disambiguation needed], Mexico, farmers prepare poultices for broken bones by having a child urinate into a bowl of powdered charred corn. The mixture is made into a paste and applied to the skin.
The homeopath John Henry Clarke wrote, "…man who, for a skin affection, drank in the morning the urine he had passed the night before. The symptoms were severe, consisting of general-dropsy, scanty urine, and excessive weakness. These symptoms I have arranged under Urinum. Urinotherapy is practically as old as man himself. The Chinese (Therapist, x. 329) treat wounds by sprinkling urine on them, and the custom is widespread in the Far East. Taken internally, it is believed to stimulate the circulation".
Modern claims and findings
Urine's main constituents are water and urea; the latter of which has some well-known commercial and other uses. Urine also contains small quantities of thousands of compounds, hormones and metabolites, including corticosteroids. Pregnant mare's urine has high amounts of estrogens, which are isolated and sold as Premarin. There is no scientific evidence of a therapeutic use for untreated urine.
It has been claimed that urine is similar to other body fluids, like amniotic fluid, but these claims have no scientific basis. Urine is a by-product of the body secreted by the kidney, and cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products that require clearance from the bloodstream.
Urinating on jellyfish stings is a common folk remedy, however Scientific American reports that it may be counterproductive, as it can activate nematocysts remaining at the site of the sting, making the pain worse.
Urine and urea have been claimed by some practitioners to have an anti-cancer effect. According to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not support claims that urine or urea given in any form is helpful for cancer patients".
In 1978, the Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai, a longtime practitioner of urine therapy, spoke to Dan Rather on 60 Minutes about urine therapy. Desai stated that urine therapy was the perfect medical solution for the millions of Indians who cannot afford medical treatment.
Cameroon's Health Minister Urbain Olanguena Awono warned people against drinking their own urine, believed in some circles to be a tonic and cure for a number of ailments. "Given the risks of toxicity associated with ingesting urine," he wrote, "the health ministry advises against the consumption of urine and invites those who promote the practice to cease doing so or risk prosecution."
Mixed martial arts fighter Lyoto Machida revealed in an interview that he drinks his own urine. His father, Yoshizo Machida, admitted he got Lyoto to start doing that after he couldn't get rid of his cough three years ago.
Boxer Juan Manuel Márquez drank his own urine during a filmed training session for the HBO series 24/7 promoting the Marquez/Mayweather fight, he revealed that he believed the practice was of great nutritional benefit aiding his intensive workouts.
Urine therapy was used as a plot line in the fifth-season episode "Crow's Feet" of the popular television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Auto-urine drinking and meditation
Drinking one's morning urine ('amaroli') was an ancient yoga practice designed to promote meditation. The ancient Hindu and yoga texts that mention auto-urine drinking, require it be done before sunrise and that only the mid-stream sample be used. The pineal hormone melatonin and its conjugated esters are present in morning urine in significant quantities, the pineal gland secreting melatonin maximally at about 2 am, this secretion being shut off by the eyes' exposure to bright sunlight. Melatonin, when ingested or given intravenously, amongst other effects, provokes tranquility and heightened visualisation. There are high concentrations of melatonin in the first morning urine, but not in a physiologically active form. Mills and Faunce at Newcastle University Australia in 1991 developed the hypothesis that ingestion of morning urine into low pH gastric acid would cause deconjugation of its esters back to the active form of melatonin. This, they suggested, might restore plasma night-time melatonin levels. Thus, they argued, oral pre-dawn consumption of auto-exogenous melatonin, by either re-setting of the sleep-wake cycle or enhancement of the physiological prerequisites for meditation (decreased body awareness (i.e. analgesia) and claimed slowed brain wave activity, as well as heightened visualization ability), may be the mechanism behind the alleged benefits ascribed to 'amaroli' or auto-urine drinking by ancient texts of the yogic religion. Difficulties in constructing a double-blind clinical trial make it hard to test this to any requisite evidence-based standard.
- List of ineffective cancer treatments
- List of topics characterized as pseudoscience
- Urinalysis - tests performed on the urine for the sake of medical diagnosis
- Panchgavya - one of several medical uses of cow urine, particularly in Ayurveda
- Premarin (PREgnant MARes' urINe) - one of several medical uses of Horse Urine
- Fecal bacteriotherapy
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- 'I can't wait to get off this planet', interview with Sarah Miles in The Independent, September 2007
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- Urine Therapy: Skeptic's Dictionary entry