Urine therapy

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Urine therapy
Alternative medicine / fringe therapies
Urine sample
A sample of human urine
Claims Various therapeutic uses of urine.
Related fields Naturopathy

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 with one's own urine. While there is currently insufficient evidence for the therapeutic use of urine, many chemical components of urine have wide-scale industrial and agricultural use, such as urea and urokinase.[1][2][3][4][5]

Rome[edit]

As in ancient Rome, urine was used for tooth-whitening.[6] A famous poem by the Roman poet Catullus, criticizing a Gaul named Egnatius, reads:[7][8]

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.

The Bible[edit]

Some advocates[who?] 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."[9] 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.[10][dubious ]

Hinduism[edit]

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".[11] In this text, urine therapy is referred to as Shivambu Kalpa.[11] 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".[12][13][14] One of the main aims of this system is to "prevent illness, heal the sick and preserve life".[13][15]

Islam[edit]

In Islam, drinking urine is forbidden and is considered "najasa" due to its toxicity. In Islam urine is considered an impurity (najasa) that it is forbidden to urinate in standing position lest the droplets and spray from striking of urine against the ground or a wall or some other obstruction, may pollute one's clothing. Prayers are not allowed in clothing that are polluted even with a single droplet of urine (but cleaning it is not made difficult i.e. sprinkling lightly with water may suffice, if only a few drops). Washing of the privates (Urethra) is Sunnah (recommended) after urinating (As it is after passing the stool), for both sexes. Wiping is the alternate method of purification, and one or the other, or both methods must be used. Ablutions are also compulsory, including washing of both hands after urinating. Islamic commentators find urine to be something that is "filth"[16] However, only in life saving conditions and utmost necessity of thirst when it is matter of life and death, scholars such as Abū Ḥanīfa have said only that "it's disliked" ("makruh" or "almost" haraam).[16] and it would be best that it should be avoided even under those circumstances.

Other cultures[edit]

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.[17]

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".[18]

Modern claims and findings[edit]

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,[5][19] including corticosteroids.[20] 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.[1][2][3][4][5]

It has been claimed that urine is similar to other body fluids, like amniotic fluid or even blood, but these claims have no scientific basis.[4]

Urinating on jellyfish stings is a common folk remedy,[21] 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.[22]

People who use Amanita muscaria as an intoxicating drug will sometimes drink their own urine in order to prolong its effects, especially when there are shortages of the fungus.[23][24]

Use as anti-cancer agent[edit]

Urine and urea have been claimed by some practitioners to have an anti-cancer effect. It has been hypothesized that because some cancer cell antigens are transferred through urine, through "oral autourotherapy" these antigens could be introduced to the immune system that might then create antibodies.[25] 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".[26]

The discredited cancer treatment offered by the Burzynski Clinic was initially synthesized from urine collected in a Texas park.[27]

Public figures[edit]

Morarji Desai, Fifth prime minister of India, and an advocate of urine therapy

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.[28]

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."[29]

British actress Sarah Miles has drunk her own urine for over thirty years, in claiming the belief that it immunizes against allergies, amongst other health benefits.[30]

Former Major League Baseball player Moisés Alou urinates on his hands to alleviate calluses, which he claims allows him to bat without using batting gloves.[31]

Madonna explained to talk show host David Letterman that she urinates on her own feet to help cure her athlete's foot problem.[32]

Mixed martial arts fighter Lyoto Machida revealed in an interview that he drinks his own urine.[33] His father, Yoshizo Machida, admitted he got Lyoto to start doing that after he couldn't get rid of his cough three years ago.[34]

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.[35]

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.

Author J.D. Salinger is also said to have been an adherent.[36]

Auto-urine drinking and meditation[edit]

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.[37] 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.[37] Melatonin, when ingested or given intravenously, amongst other effects, provokes tranquility and heightened visualisation.[37] There are high concentrations of melatonin in the first morning urine, but not in a physiologically active form.[37] 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.[37] Difficulties in constructing a double-blind clinical trial make it hard to test this to any requisite evidence-based standard.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christopher Middleton (2003-02-24). "A wee drop of amber nectar". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  2. ^ a b Gardner, Martin (2001). Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?: Debunking Pseudoscience. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 92–101. ISBN 0-393-32238-6. 
  3. ^ a b "Taking The Piss: Is urine drinking a good idea?". Correx archives. 
  4. ^ a b c Robert Todd Carroll (2003). The skeptic's dictionary: a collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions (illustrated ed.). John Wiley and Sons. pp. 391–394. ISBN 9780471272427.  (also online version)
  5. ^ a b c Urine Therapy, Jeff Lowe
  6. ^ Marc Geissberger (19 April 2010). Esthetic Dentistry in Clinical Practice. John Wiley & Sons. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8138-2825-1. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Your Teeth!, to Egnatius, poem by Catullus
  8. ^ Aspects of Catullus' Social Fiction. Christopher Nappa, Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 2001. Pp. 180. ISBN 3-631-37808-4. SFr.56.00.
  9. ^ "Urine: The body's own health drink?", The Independent, archived from the original on 5 Dec 2008 
  10. ^ Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. By Robert B. Hughes, J. Carl Laney. p.233. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001 ISBN 0-8423-5444-1
  11. ^ a b Joseph S. Alter. Yoga in Modern India. Princeton University Press. p. 144. ISBN 0-691-11874-4. 
  12. ^ "Amaroli". YogaMagazine.net. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Das, Subhamoy. "What is Ayurveda?". About.com. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Ayurveda". Religion Facts. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Man drinks cow urine to control diabetes". GoWeirdFacts. 2014-01-27. 
  16. ^ a b John Alden Williams (1994). The Word of Islam. University of Texas Press. pp. 98, 103. ISBN 9780292790766. 
  17. ^ Urine therapy, Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer, May–June 1999.
  18. ^ A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, John Henry Clarke, London: Homoeopathic Pub. Co., 1900–1902.
  19. ^ Clinical value of 24-hour urine hormone evaluations, Alan Broughton, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, January 2004.
  20. ^ Tompsett, SL (1953). "An Investigation into the Determination of Corticosteroids in Urine: I. The Determination of Corticosterone-like Substances". Journal of clinical pathology 6 (1): 74–7. doi:10.1136/jcp.6.1.74. PMC 1023535. PMID 13034924. 
  21. ^ Peschek-Böhmer, Flora; Schreiber, Gisela (1 May 1999). Urine Therapy: Nature's Elixir for Good Health. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-89281-799-3. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Curtin, Ciara (4 January 2007). "Fact or Fiction?: Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting is an Effective Treatment". Scientific American. 
  23. ^ Charles Julius Hempel (1859). A new and comprehensive system of materia medica and therapeutics: arranged upon a physiologico-pathological basis for the use of practitioners and students of medicine. W. Radde. p. 1100. 
  24. ^ unknown (1990). "unknown title". Karstenia (Mycological Society of Finland Suomen Sieniseura). 30-39. 
  25. ^ Eldor, J. (1997). "Urotherapy for patients with cancer". Medical Hypotheses 48 (4): 309–315. doi:10.1016/S0306-9877(97)90099-2. PMID 9160284.  edit
  26. ^ "Urotherapy". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved August 2013. 
  27. ^ Marshall, E. (1994). "The politics of alternative medicine". Science 265 (5181): 2000–2002. doi:10.1126/science.8091220. PMID 8091220.  edit
  28. ^ Chowdhury, Prasenjit (July 27, 2009). "Curative Elixir: Waters Of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. 
  29. ^ Cameroon threatens to jail urine drinkers, Jane Flanagan, Daily Telegraph, on line, article dated March 15, 2003.
  30. ^ 'I can't wait to get off this planet', interview with Sarah Miles in The Independent, September 2007
  31. ^ "ESPN.com: Page 2 : Pee is only a wee bit gross". Sports.espn.go.com. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  32. ^ Cecil Adams (2007-03-30). "The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  33. ^ "O segredo do sucesso de Lyoto Machida". TATAME. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  34. ^ Helwani, Ariel. "Lyoto Machida's Father Talks Urine Drinking, Then Does It Himself". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  35. ^ Juan Manuel Márquez (September 17, 2009). "Juan Manuel Marquez's training diary". ESPN 
  36. ^ "''The Independent'': Urine: The body's own health drink?". Independent.co.uk. 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  37. ^ a b c d e Mills MH and Faunce TA (November 1991). "Melatonin supplementation from early morning auto-urine drinking". Medical Hypotheses 36 (3): 195–9. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(91)90129-M. PMID 1787809. 

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