Urine therapy

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Urine therapy
Alternative medicine
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 or auto-urine therapy) 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.[1][2]

History[edit]

Though urine has been used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in several traditional systems,[a] and mentioned in some medical texts,[b] auto-urine therapy as a system of alternative medicine was invented and popularized by British naturopath John W. Armstrong in 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 "drink water from your own cistern...", 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.[7][9]

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.[c] 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 ones 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.[7]

Urine-therapy has also been with other forms of alternative medicine. For example, in her book Your Own Perfect Medicine: The Incredible Proven Natural Miracle Cure that Medical Science Has Never Revealed!, Martha M. Christy describes homeopathic preparations of urine and their uses, and says that they are "extremely potent."[5]

Modern claims and findings[edit]

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.[10] 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, with the remaining constituents, 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.[11][12]

There is no scientific evidence of a therapeutic use for untreated urine.[5][10][13]

Urinating on jellyfish stings is a common folk remedy,[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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".[16]

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.[17]

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."[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

Madonna explained (possibly jokingly) to talk show host David Letterman that she urinates on her own feet in the shower, perhaps to help cure her athlete's foot problem.[21]

Mixed martial arts fighter Lyoto Machida revealed in an interview that he drinks his own urine.[22] His father, Yoshizo Machida, admitted he got Lyoto to start doing that after he couldn't get rid of his cough three years ago.[23]

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.[24]

Author J.D. Salinger is also said to have been an adherent.[25]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Urine was recommended for whitening teeth in ancient Rome.[3] Islamic legist Abu Yusuf allowed for use of camel urine for medicinal purposes.[4] It has also been used in some traditional remedies in Mexico[5] and in Nigeria.[6]
  2. ^ Such as Solomon's English Physician published in 1665, One thousand notable remedies published in early-nineteenth century,[7] and A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica published in 1902.[8]
  3. ^ Shivambu Kalpa (Śivambu: Sanskrit for "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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Why You Definitely Shouldn't Drink Your Own Pee, Gizmodo, 22 Oct 2014
  2. ^ Urine: The body's own health drink?, The Independent, 15 May 2015
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Williams, John Alden (1994). The Word of Islam. University of Texas Press. p. 98. ISBN 9780292790766. 
  5. ^ a b c 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b c Atler, Joseph S. (2004). Yoga in Modern India: The Body Between Science and Philosophy. Princeton University Press. pp. 181–210. 
  8. ^ A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, John Henry Clarke, London: Homoeopathic Pub. Co., 1900–1902. See Médi-T online version
  9. ^ Armstrong, John W. (2011). The Water Of Life: A Treatise on Urine Therapy. Random House. ISBN 1446489922. 
  10. ^ a b 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. 
  11. ^ David F. Putnam Composition and Concentrative Properties of Human Urine. NASA Contractor Report. July 1971
  12. ^ Dan Nosowitz for Popular Science. September 5, 2013 What's in your Pee?
  13. ^ Christopher Middleton (2003-02-24). "A wee drop of amber nectar". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Curtin, Ciara (4 January 2007). "Fact or Fiction?: Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting is an Effective Treatment". Scientific American. 
  16. ^ a b "Urotherapy". American Cancer Society. November 2008. Retrieved August 2013. 
  17. ^ Chowdhury, Prasenjit (July 27, 2009). "Curative Elixir: Waters Of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. 
  18. ^ Cameroon threatens to jail urine drinkers, Jane Flanagan, Daily Telegraph, on line, article dated March 15, 2003.
  19. ^ 'I can't wait to get off this planet', interview with Sarah Miles in The Independent, September 2007
  20. ^ "ESPN.com: Page 2 : Pee is only a wee bit gross". Sports.espn.go.com. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  21. ^ Cecil Adams (2007-03-30). "The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  22. ^ "O segredo do sucesso de Lyoto Machida". TATAME. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  23. ^ Helwani, Ariel. "Lyoto Machida's Father Talks Urine Drinking, Then Does It Himself". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  24. ^ Juan Manuel Márquez (September 17, 2009). "Juan Manuel Marquez's training diary". ESPN 
  25. ^ "''The Independent'': Urine: The body's own health drink?". Independent.co.uk. 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 

Further reading[edit]