Urine therapy is based on ancient alternative medicinal practices prescribed in the Shivambu Kalpa Vidhi, an East Indian text that among other things suggests using urine both internally and externally to cure a variety of ailments and to promote health. Urine therapy may alternately be called amaroli, urinotherapy, urotheraphy, uropathy or Shivambu Kalpa.
The use of urine as medicine is not restricted to East Indian cultures. The Chinese may treat some cuts or wounds with an application of urine. It is commonly believed that the urea in urine can help to cut down on the sting of certain sea creatures, like the sea urchin or jellyfish. Human urine contains hormones, corticosteroids and enzymes, which might be beneficial in some cases. Urine from pregnant horses is the main ingredient of Premarin®, an estrogen replacement therapy medication.
The central belief behind this therapy is that it contains many health benefits, though the traditional medical community does not see any proof for this. A uropath, a doctor promoting urine therapy, may suggest people drink their own urine as a natural way of preventing illness, preventing cancer, to cure menstruation problems, bed wetting, asthma and over 100 other diseases. Diseases of the skin like eczema, acne, and psoriasis may be treated with topical urine.
There remain some concerns about the safety of the therapy. Most of the time, urine is sterile. Yet it is a waste product excreted by the body and may contain high levels of ammonia and other toxins. Urine may not be sterile if a person has a bladder or kidney infection. Since these are common, drinking urine might introduce infection into the stomach, mouth and intestinal tract.
Supporters of urine therapy claim there have been no reports of illness as a result of drinking one’s own urine, and that it has saved lives. This is technically true. People caught in situations where they do not have access to water can stave off dehydration for a few extra days by drinking their urine.
The majority of urine therapy claims are anecdotal and unproven, and some uses of urine are based on urban legends. It is a fact that some baseball players pee on their hands in order to toughen them. This has the opposite effect; actually they achieve the opposite effect and soften their hands. Some athletes also drink their urine as part of their diet. Given the Western cultural prejudice against urine, its unlikely that urine therapy is about to become a popular alternative to traditional cures for the conditions it can supposedly treat.