Camel urine

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A camel in Socotra

Camel urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in a camel's anatomy. Urine from Arabian camels has been used in the Arabian Peninsula as prophetic medicine for centuries, being a part of ancient Bedouin practices.[1] After the spread of MERS-CoV infections, the World Health Organization urged people to refrain from drinking "raw camel milk or camel urine or eating meat that has not been properly cooked".


Camel urine comes out as a thick syrup.[2][3][4][5]

The kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at reabsorbing water. Camels' kidneys have a 1:4 cortex to medulla ratio.[6] Thus, the medullary part of a camel's kidney occupies twice as much area as a cow's kidney. Secondly, renal corpuscles have a smaller diameter, which reduces surface area for filtration. These two major anatomical characteristics enable camels to conserve water and limit the volume of urine in extreme desert conditions.[7]

Each kidney of an Arabian camel has a capacity around 0.86 litres and can produce urine with high chloride concentrations. Like the horse, the dromedary has no gall bladder, an organ that requires water to function.[8] Consequently, bile flows constantly.[9] Most food is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. Any remaining liquids and roughage move into the large intestine.

Hadith on Camel Urine[edit]

A hadith in Book 4 (Ablution) of al-Bukhari's collection narrated by Anas ibn Malik was used to promote the consumption of Arabian camel urine as a medicine.[10][11] The Islamic prophet Muhammad is said to have advised some diseased people to use it "till their bodies became healthy". [12][1] [13] The authentic hadith[14] also states "Some people of ‘Ukl or ‘Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them ... So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of Milch camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). ... So they went as directed and after they became healthy".[12] Bukhari also narrated, an otherwise identical version of this Hadith, without the mention of "urine".[15] The event has also been recorded in Sahih Muslim, History of the Prophets and Kings and Kitāb aṭ-ṭabaqāt al-kabīr.[16][17][18]

Indian Islamic scholar Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi notes various theories proposed by Hanafi and Shaafi’e scholars for a canonical understanding of the implications. This book refers to topical application of milch camel urine as the actual word of the saying has the word Azmadu which means to apply a layer of something.[19] However, Bachtiar Nasir, an Islamic scholar, advocated for and defended the consumption of camel urine, claiming the mixture of camel urine and milk has medicinal benefits. In response, scientists in Muslim and non-Muslim majority countries rejected those claims and actually link the consumption of camel urine to the spread of a disease known as Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS).[20][21]

Medieval times[edit]

Avicenna in The Canon of Medicine noted that a diet of camel milk and Arabian camel urine can be beneficial for diseases of the liver.[22] [23]

Usage and effects[edit]

In Yemen, camel urine is consumed and used for treating ailments, though it has been widely denounced.[1] Some salons are said use it as a treatment for hair loss.[1] The camel urine from a virgin camel is priced at twenty dollars per liter, with herders saying that it has curative powers. It is traditionally mixed with milk.[1]

In 2012, a study conducted at the Department of Molecular Oncology of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, found that camel urine contains anti-cancerous agents that are cytotoxic against various, but not all, human cancer cell lines in vitro.[24]

In 2017, experimental infections of dromedaries with MERS‐CoV didn't show any evidence of virus in the urine. Therefore, the camel urine is an unlikely source of virus transmission to humans.[25][26]

In 2019 the World Health Organization has said that camels are the source of the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and has urged people who have "diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS-CoV infection" to avoid contact with camels, drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.[27][21][28][29][30]

In 2020, the WHO said, "People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine or eating meat that has not been properly cooked".[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e JB (9 August 2013). "Drinking Camel Urine in Yemen". VICE News.
  2. ^ Davidson, Alan; Davidson, Jane (15 October 2006). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 68, 129, 266, 762. ISBN 978-0192806819.
  3. ^ "Kidneys and Concentrated Urine". Temperature and Water Relations in Dromedary Camels (Camelus dromedarius). Davidson College. Archived from the original on February 25, 2003.
  4. ^ "Fun facts about the Camel". The Jungle Store. Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  5. ^ Fedewa, Jennifer L. (2000). "Camelus bactrianus". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Morphometric analysis of heart, kidneys and adrenal glands in dromedary camel calves". Journal of Camel Practice and Research. 14 (1): 27. Archived from the original on 2017-03-04. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  7. ^ Rehan S and AS Qureshi, 2006. Microscopic evaluation of the heart, kidneys and adrenal glands of one-humped camel calves (Camelus dromedarius) using semi automated image analysis system. J Camel Pract Res. 13(2): 123
  8. ^ Hegazi, A.H. (1953). "The spleen of the camel compared with other domesticated animals and its microscopic examination". Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 122 (912): 182–4. PMID 13044660.
  9. ^ Giffen, James M.; Gore, Tom (1998) [1989]. Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (2nd ed.). New York: Howell Book House. ISBN 0-87605-606-0.
  10. ^ David Waines. Milk, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  11. ^ Bukhari 76:9
  12. ^ a b Muhammad al-Bukhari. "Sahih al-Bukhari 233". Archived from the original on 2020-09-28.
  13. ^ "Error404".
  14. ^ Doubts Concerning a Hadith, 18 August 2003
  15. ^ Bukhari 76:8
  16. ^ The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. Jointly published by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists; International Institute of Islamic Thought. 2007.
  17. ^ "Sahih Muslim - Book of Oaths, Muharibin, Retaliation, and Blood Money". Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  18. ^ Sahih Muslim 1671a - Book 28, Hadith 12
  19. ^ "An Anthology of Reformative Articles".
  20. ^ Persio, Sofia Lotto (9 January 2018). "An Islamist leader encouraged his Instagram followers to drink camel urine, sparking debate in Indonesia". Newsweek. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  21. ^ a b Boyer, Lauren (10 June 2015). "Stop Drinking Camel Urine, World Health Organization Says". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  22. ^[bare URL PDF]
  23. ^ Mahdizadeh, Shahla; Khaleghi Ghadiri, Maryam; Gorji, Ali (2015). "Avicenna's Canon of Medicine: A review of analgesics and anti-inflammatory substances". Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. 5 (3): 182–202. PMC 4469963. PMID 26101752.
  24. ^ Al-Yousef, N.; Gaafar, A.; Al-Otaibi, B.; Al-Jammaz, I.; Al-Hussein, K.; Aboussekhra, A. (2012). "Camel urine components display anti-cancer properties in vitro". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 143 (3): 819–25. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.042. PMID 22922085.
  25. ^ Hemida, M. G.; Elmoslemany, A.; Al‐Hizab, F.; Alnaeem, A.; Almathen, F.; Faye, B.; Chu, D. K. W.; Perera, R. a. P. M.; Peiris, M. (2017). "Dromedary Camels and the Transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)". Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 64 (2): 344–353. doi:10.1111/tbed.12401. ISSN 1865-1682. PMC 4749478. PMID 26256102.
  26. ^ Adney, Danielle R.; Doremalen, Neeltje van; Brown, Vienna R.; Bushmaker, Trenton; Scott, Dana; Wit, Emmie de; Bowen, Richard A.; Munster, Vincent J. (2014). "Replication and Shedding of MERS-CoV in Upper Respiratory Tract of Inoculated Dromedary Camels - Volume 20, Number 12—December 2014 - Emerging Infectious Diseases journal - CDC". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 20 (12): 1999–2005. doi:10.3201/eid2012.141280. PMC 4257817. PMID 25418529.
  27. ^ "Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)". 11 March 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  28. ^ "MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)". Eco Lab. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  29. ^ Tom, Brooks-Pollock (9 June 2015). "Drinking camel urine could give you potentially deadly virus, warns WHO". The Independent. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  30. ^ Parry RL (10 June 2015). "Travel alert after eighth camel flu death". The Times. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  31. ^ "Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Qatar". World Health Organization. 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on March 25, 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.