Urine therapy

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Urine therapy
Alternative medicine
Urine sample
A sample of human urine
ClaimsVarious therapeutic uses of urine.
Related fieldsNaturopathy

Urine therapy or urotherapy, (also urinotherapy, Shivambu,[a] uropathy, or auto-urine therapy) in alternative medicine is the application 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. No scientific evidence exists to support any beneficial health claims of urine therapy.


Though urine has been believed useful for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in several traditional systems,[1][b] and mentioned in some medical texts,[c] auto-urine therapy as a system of alternative medicine was popularized by British naturopath John W. Armstrong in the early 20th century. Armstrong was inspired by his family's practice of using urine to treat minor stings and toothaches, by a metaphorical reading of the Biblical Proverb 5:15 "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well", and his own experience with ill-health that he treated with a 45-day fast "on nothing but urine and tap water". Starting in 1918, Armstrong prescribed urine-therapy regimens that he devised to many thousands of patients, and in 1944 he published The Water of Life: A treatise on urine therapy, which became a founding document of the field.[6][8]

Armstrong's book sold widely, and in India inspired the writing of Manav mootra (Gujarati: Urine therapy; 1959) by Gandhian social reformer Raojibhai Manibhai Patel, and many later works. These works often reference Shivambu Kalpa, a treatise on the pharmaceutical value of urine, as a source of the practice in the East.[d] They also cite passing references to properties and uses of urine in Yogic-texts such as Vayavaharasutra by Bhadrabahu and Hatha Yoga Pradapika by Svatmarama; and Ayurvedic texts such as Sushruta Samhita, Bhava Prakasha and Harit. However, according to medical anthropologist Joseph Atler, the practices of sivambu (drinking one's own urine) and amaroli recommended by modern Indian practitioners of urine therapy are closer to the ones propounded by Armstrong than traditional ayurveda or yoga, or even the practices described in Shivambu Kalpa.[6]

Urine-therapy has also been combined with other forms of alternative medicine. It was used by ancient Roman dentists to whiten teeth.[9][10][11]

Modern claims and findings[edit]

An exhaustive description of the composition of human urine was prepared for NASA in 1971. Urine is an aqueous solution of greater than 95% water. The remaining constituents are, in order of decreasing concentration: urea 9.3 g/L, chloride 1.87 g/L, sodium 1.17 g/L, potassium 0.750 g/L, creatinine 0.670 g/L and other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds.[12][13]

In China there is a Urine Therapy Association which claims thousand of members.[14][15]

According to a BBC report, a Thai doctor promoting urine therapy said that Thai people had been practicing urophagia for a long time, but according to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, there was no record of the practice.[16]

Urinating on jellyfish, wasp or bee stings, sunburns, cuts, and blood vessel bursts is a common "folk remedy",[17] 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.[18]

Urine and urea have been claimed by some practitioners to have an anti-cancer effect, and urotherapy has been offered along with other forms of alternative therapy in some cancer clinics in Mexico.[19]

In the Arabian Peninsula, bottled camel urine is sold by vendors, as prophetic medicine with its claimed urine therapy, health benefits.[20][21][22] Saudi police arrested a man, "because the urine in the bottles was his own".[23]

In January 2022, Christopher Key, a spreader of COVID-19 misinformation, claimed that urine therapy is the antidote to the COVID-19 pandemic.[24] Key also falsely claims that a 9-month research trial on urine therapy has been conducted.[25] There is no scientific evidence supporting urine therapy as a cure to the COVID-19 disease.

Health concerns[edit]

There is no scientific evidence of a therapeutic use for untreated urine.[4][26][27][28][29]

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".[19]

In 2016 the Chinese Urine therapy Association was included on a list of illegal organizations by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. However, the Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs in Wuhan, said they had no jurisdiction over the association.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sanskrit: शिवाम्बु, romanizedŚivambu
  2. ^ Urine was recommended for whitening teeth in ancient Rome.[2] Islamic legist Abu Yusuf allowed for use of camel urine for medicinal purposes.[3] It has also been used in some traditional remedies in Mexico[4] and in Nigeria.[5]
  3. ^ Such as Solomon's English Physician published in 1665, One thousand notable remedies published in early-nineteenth century,[6] and A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica published in 1902.[7]
  4. ^ Shivambu Kalpa (lit. "water of Shiva") is said to be a section of the larger work Ḍamara Tantra, which is described by practitioners of urine therapy as "belong to the Puranic age". According to Joseph Atler the 107-shloka Kalpa is not well attested or in wide circulation, and is most easily accessible through modern Indian books on urine therapy, where it is often attached as an appendix.


  1. ^ J.S. Alter (19 September 2004). Yoga in modern India: The body between science and philosophy. ISBN 0691118744.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Williams, John Alden (1994). The Word of Islam. University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780292790766.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Ogunshe AA, Fawole AO, Ajayi VA (2010). "Microbial evaluation and public health implications of urine as alternative therapy in clinical pediatric cases: health implication of urine therapy". Pan Afr Med J. 5: 12. doi:10.4314/pamj.v5i1.56181. PMC 3032614. PMID 21293739.
  6. ^ a b c Atler, Joseph S. (2004). Yoga in Modern India: The Body Between Science and Philosophy. Princeton University Press. pp. 181–210. ISBN 0691118744.
  7. ^ A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, John Henry Clarke, London: Homoeopathic Pub. Co., 1900–1902. See Médi-T online version
  8. ^ Armstrong, John W. (2011). The Water Of Life: A Treatise on Urine Therapy. Random House. ISBN 978-1446489925.
  9. ^ Lenkeit, Roberta Edwards (2018-10-23). High Heels and Bound Feet: And Other Essays on Everyday Anthropology, Second Edition. Waveland Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-4786-3841-4.
  10. ^ Perdigão, Jorge (2016-08-03). Tooth Whitening: An Evidence-Based Perspective. Springer. p. 170. ISBN 978-3-319-38849-6.
  11. ^ Bonitz, Michael; Lopez, Jose; Becker, Kurt; Thomsen, Hauke (2014-04-09). Complex Plasmas: Scientific Challenges and Technological Opportunities. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 465. ISBN 978-3-319-05437-7.
  12. ^ David F. Putnam Composition and Concentrative Properties of Human Urine. NASA Contractor Report. July 1971
  13. ^ Dan Nosowitz for Popular Science. September 5, 2013 What's in your Pee?
  14. ^ Jamincost, Ben (5 May 2018). "Wuhan man claims 'urine therapy' cured his hyperthyroidism". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b Mu, Natalie (16 August 2016). "Group that advocates drinking urine still active despite being ruled illegal". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  16. ^ "BBC NEWS - Asia-Pacific - Thais drink urine as alternative medicine". 21 July 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Curtin, Ciara (4 January 2007). "Fact or Fiction?: Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting is an Effective Treatment". Scientific American.
  19. ^ a b "Urotherapy". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014.
  20. ^ JB (9 August 2013). "Drinking Camel Urine in Yemen". VICE News. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  21. ^ Abdel Gader, Abdel Galil (2 April 2016). "The unique medicinal properties of camel products: A review of the scientific evidence". Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences. 11 (2): 98–103. doi:10.1016/j.jtumed.2015.12.007.
  22. ^ Al-Yousef, Nujoud; Gaafar, Ameera; Al-Otaibi, Basem; Al-Jammaz, Ibrahim; Al-Hussein, Khaled; Aboussekhra, Abdelilah (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.
  23. ^ Rehman, Dawood (16 August 2016). "Saudi police arrest Pakistani man in camel urine scam". Daily Pakistan. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  24. ^ Mahdawi, Arwa (11 January 2022). "Anti-vaxxers are touting another new Covid 'cure' – drinking urine. But they are not the only obstacles to ending the pandemic | Arwa Mahdawi". the Guardian.
  25. ^ "Fact Check-No evidence that 'urine therapy' cures COVID-19". Reuters. 12 January 2022.
  26. ^ Robert Todd Carroll (September 12, 2014). "Urine Therapy". The skeptic's dictionary: a collection of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  27. ^ Christopher Middleton (2003-02-24). "A wee drop of amber nectar". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2012-12-23.
  28. ^ Why You Definitely Shouldn't Drink Your Own Pee, Gizmodo, 22 Oct 2014
  29. ^ Maxine Frith (21 February 2006). "Urine: The body's own health drink?". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-09-26.

Further reading[edit]