- Urine therapy
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In alternative medicine, the term urine therapy (also urotherapy, 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 are no known scientifically proven health benefits of such therapeutic use for urine, some chemical components of urine do have some well known commercial and other uses, like urea and urokinase. For instance, urea in urine has been found to be antibacterial to bacteria causing urinary tract infections specifically, and ingestion of urea has been found to increase this antibacterial activity in urine itself, though no evidence was found for such an effect upon the actual ingestion or application of urine.
Some of the earliest human cultures used urine as a medicine.
RomeEgnatius, 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./
A religious Sanskrit text called the Damar Tantra contains 107 stanzas on the benefits of "pure water, or one's own urine". In this text, urine therapy is referred to as Shivambu Kalpa. This ancient Indian text suggests, among other uses and prescriptions, massaging one's skin with fresh, concentrated urine. In the Indian ayurvedic tradition, urine therapy may be called amaroli.
Some advocates 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." However, subsequent verses deal with warnings against adultery, commanding the husband to stay with his wife and not pursue other women, hence a likely interpretation of this verse is that of a literary device or analogy.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 590:
Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 82, Number 794:Narrated Anas: Some people from the tribe of 'Ukl came to the Prophet and embraced Islam. The climate of Medina did not suit them, so the Prophet ordered them to go to the (herd of milch) camels of charity and to drink, their milk and urine (as a medicine). They did so, and after they had recovered from their ailment (became healthy) they turned renegades (reverted from Islam) and killed the shepherd of the camels and took the camels away. The Prophet sent (some people) in their pursuit and so they were (caught and) brought, and the Prophets ordered that their hands and legs should be cut off and that their eyes should be branded with heated pieces of iron, and that their cut hands and legs should not be cauterized, till they die.
Although it is recorded in the Bukhari that Prophet Muhammad advocated drinking camel urine as a medicine to his followers, and did not describe it as dirty or demeaning, later commentators find urine to be something that is "filth in an extreme degree" without denouncing its alleged medicinal properties. Abū Ḥanīfa said that it's disliked, but not forbidden, to drink the urine from camels. Abu Yusuf said that urine from camels can be consumed for medicinal purposes.
In China, the urine of young boys has been regarded as a curative. In southern China, babies' faces are washed with urine to protect the skin.
The French customarily soaked stockings in urine and wrapped them around their necks in order to cure strep throat. Aristocratic French women in the 17th century reportedly bathed in urine to beautify their skin.
As in ancient Rome, urine was used for teeth-whitening during the Renaissance, though they did not necessarily consume their own urine.
John Henry Clarke
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".
Modern claims and findings
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, including corticosteroids. 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.
Urinating on jellyfish stings is a common folk remedy, but has no beneficial effect and may be counterproductive, as it can activate nematocysts remaining at the site of the sting.
Use as anti-cancer agent
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. However, the American Cancer Society's position is that scientific evidence does not support individual claims that urine or urea given in any form is helpful for cancer patients, and that the safety of urine therapy has not been confirmed by scientific studies.
In 1978, the former 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.
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."
Among other modern celebrities, the 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. Major League Baseball player Moisés Alou urinates on his hands to alleviate calluses, which he claims allows him to bat without using batting gloves. Madonna explained to talk show host David Letterman that she urinates on her own feet to help cure her athlete's foot problem.
Mixed martial arts fighter Lyoto Machida revealed in an interview that he drinks his own urine. His father, Yoshizo Machida, admitted he got Lyoto to start doing that after he couldn't get rid of his cough three years ago. MMA fighter Luke Cummo has been a long-time advocate of the practice.
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.
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.
Auto-urine drinking and meditation
Drinking one's morning urine ('amaroli') was an ancient yoga practise 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. 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. Melatonin, when ingested or given intravenously, amongst other effects, provokes tranquility and heightened visualisation. There are high concentrations of melatonin in the first morning urine, but not in a physiologically active form. 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. Obvious experimental difficulties (particularly in constructing a double-blind clinical trial) mean that this is a difficult hypothesis to reliably test to any requisite evidence-based standard.
- Cow urine - which incorporates the belief of some Hindus that the urine of cows has healing properties
- ^ a b Christopher Middleton (2003-02-24). "A wee drop of amber nectar". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?xml=/health/2003/02/24/hhel24.xml.
- ^ a b c d 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.
- ^ a b c "Taking The Piss: Is urine drinking a good idea?". Correx archives. http://www.abc.net.au/science/correx/archives/piss.htm.
- ^ 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 0471272426, 9780471272427. http://books.google.com/books?id=6FPqDFx40vYC&pg=PA391&dq=urine+drinking+therapeutic. (also online version)
- ^ a b c Urine Therapy, Jeff Lowe
- ^ Donald Kaye (1968). "Antibacterial activity of human urine". The Journal of clinical investigation 47 (10): 2374–90. doi:10.1172/JCI105921. PMC 297400. PMID 4877682. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=297400.
- ^ Your Teeth!, to Egnatius, poem by Catullus
- ^ Aspects of Catullus' Social Fiction. Christopher Nappa, Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 2001. Pp. 180. ISBN 3-631-37808-4. SFr.56.00.
- ^ a b Joseph S. Alter. Yoga in Modern India. Princeton University Press. pp. 144. ISBN 0691118744.
- ^ The Independent:"Urine: The body's own health drink?"
- ^ Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. By Robert B. Hughes, J. Carl Laney. p.233. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001 ISBN 0842354441
- ^ a b Sahih Bukhari 7:71:590
- ^ Sahih Bukhari 8:82:796
- ^ CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY: Interesting quotes from the Hadith about Muhammad
- ^ Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 82, Number 794
- ^ a b c d John Alden Williams (1994). The Word of Islam. University of Texas Press. pp. 58, 98, 103. ISBN 0292790767, 9780292790766. http://books.google.com/books?id=cbaZiqERLEQC&pg=PA103&vq=urine&dq=islam+urine+prohibition.
- ^ Urine therapy, Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer, May–June 1999.
- ^ A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, John Henry Clarke, London: Homoeopathic Pub. Co., 1900–1902.
- ^ Clinical value of 24-hour urine hormone evaluations, Alan Broughton, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, January 2004.
- ^ 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. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1023535.
- ^ 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. http://books.google.com/books?id=d4ZNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA1100&dq=urine+drinking+therapeutic.
- ^ unknown (1990). "unknown title". Karstenia (Mycological Society of Finland Suomen Sieniseura) 30-39.
- ^ Urotherapy for patients with cancer Article regarding "oral autourotherapy" published in the unconventional journal Medical Hypotheses
- ^ Urotherapy, fact sheet at the American Cancer Society.
- ^ Chowdhury, Prasenjit (July 27, 2009). "Curative Elixir: Waters Of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. http://www.webcitation.org/5qsj22uyt.
- ^ Cameroon threatens to jail urine drinkers, Jane Flanagan, Daily Telegraph, on line, article dated March 15, 2003.
- ^ 'I can't wait to get off this planet', interview with Sarah Miles in The Independent, September 2007
- ^ ESPN.com: Page 2 : Pee is only a wee bit gross
- ^ The Straight Dope
- ^ http://tatame.com.br/2009/03/21/O-segredo-do-sucesso-de-Lyoto-Machida
- ^ http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/05/05/lyoto-machidas-father-talks-urine-drinking-then-does-it-himsel/
- ^ Juan Manuel Márquez (September 17, 2009). "Juan Manuel Marquez's training diary". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=4431484
- ^ The Independent: Urine: The body's own health drink?
- ^ 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.
- Urine therapy, Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer, May–June 1999.
- Urine Therapy: Skeptic's Dictionary entry
- Urotherapy, fact sheet at the American Cancer Society
- Urotherapy for patients with cancer, J. Eldor, MD; originally published in Medical Hypotheses 48 (#4, April 1997), pp. 309–315.
- Urotherapy.com, Exploration into Urine Therapy
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