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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 camels has been used in prophetic medicine for centuries, being a part of ancient Bedouin practices and also Muslim tradition. According to the World Health Organization, the use of camel urine as a medicine lacks scientific evidence.[1] After the spread of MERS-CoV infections, the WHO 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.


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 climate of Medina did not suit some people, so Muhammad ordered them to follow his shepherd and drink his camel's milk and urine (as a medicine). So they followed the shepherd and drank the camel's milk and urine till their bodies became healthy. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels. When the news reached Muhammad he sent some people in their pursuit. When they were brought, he cut their hands and feet and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron.[12][13][14] The authentic hadith[15] 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".[16] The event has also been recorded in Sahih Muslim, History of the Prophets and Kings and Kitāb aṭ-ṭabaqāt al-kabīr.[17][18][19]

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.[20] 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.

Usage and research[edit]

In Yemen, camel urine is consumed and used for treating ailments, though it has been widely denounced.[13] Some salons are said to use it as a treatment for hair loss.[13] 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.[13]

Certain preclinical studies have claimed that camel urine possesses various therapeutic advantages, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties, and even potential cardiovascular benefits. For example, 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.[21]

A study published on the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal found that camel urine showed no clinical benefits in cancer patients, with two of the participants developing brucellosis.[1] Given the lack of scientific evidence supporting the use of camel urine as a traditional medicine, it is advisable to discontinue its promotion.[1]

In 2017, a joint study by King Faisal University and University of Hong Kong found that experimental infections of dromedaries from 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.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Administrator. "Observational study and literature review of the use of camel urine for treatment of cancer patients". World Health Organization - Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. Archived from the original on 2023-06-09. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  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". Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  12. ^ a b Muhammad al-Bukhari. "Sahih al-Bukhari 233". Sunnah.com. Archived from the original on 2020-09-28.
  13. ^ a b c d JB (9 August 2013). "Drinking Camel Urine in Yemen". VICE News. Archived from the original on 28 September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Error404". Archived from the original on 2022-09-14. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
  15. ^ arabnews.com Doubts Concerning a Hadith Archived 2021-08-27 at the Wayback Machine, 18 August 2003
  16. ^ "Bukhari 76:8". Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-07.
  17. ^ The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. Jointly published by the Association of Muslim Social Scientists; International Institute of Islamic Thought. 2007. Archived from the original on 2023-10-24. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  18. ^ "Sahih Muslim - Book of Oaths, Muharibin, Retaliation, and Blood Money". muflihun.com. Archived from the original on 2021-02-06. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  19. ^ "Sahih Muslim 1671a - Book 28, Hadith 12". Archived from the original on 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-05.
  20. ^ "An Anthology of Reformative Articles".
  21. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ 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.