We’ve heard natural health advocates extol the benefits of drinking Kombucha for our gut, or Chlorophyll for our skin. Turmeric lattes were also a thing for a while, because of inflammation… or something.
But what about urine?
Search the phrase ‘urine therapy’ and you’ll find a number of people who claim that regularly drinking/washing with your own wee is the key to good health.
But why? And is there any truth to their rather, erm, unconventional theory? We asked medical professionals to give us the wash.
What is urine therapy?
Urine therapy is an alternative health practise that involves ingesting urine or applying it topically to skin, gums and hair.
Proponents believe urine acts a natural treatment for a variety of ailments, from eczema to chronic illnesses, infections and even cancer.
Singer Kesha famously chugged a jug of her own wee on MTV in 2013, after a friend told her it was good for health. Madonna reportedly pees on her own feet in the shower to ward off Athlete’s Foot. And former Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai, once told US 60 Minutes that he relied on urine therapy (mostly drinking it) to prevent illness.
Is urine therapy a new concept?
Not at all. Urine has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia – think ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt – but there seems to have been a slight resurgence in the idea over the past decade. This is likely thanks to claims being spread via natural health websites and forums.
A number of advocates have even popped up in mainstream media lately. Just last month, author Miriam Lancewood told Mamamia’s No Filter podcast that she used urine to cure severe dandruff while living in the wilderness.
And last year, a 46-year-old Canadian woman claimed to have achieved a 60kg weightloss by combining a ‘hunter-gatherer’ diet with daily consumption of urine. She was so convinced of its benefits, The Sun reported, that she’d drink it, gargle with it, even put drops in her eyes [We can’t believe we need to say this but… DON’T DO IT! Please. Promise? Good. See below for explanation about why this is a very, very bad idea].
???? FFS people! DO NOT put urine drops in your #eyes. Risk/benefit analysis: no expected benefit over commercially available lubricating eye drops. Risks include self-inoculation with chlamydia & gonorrhoea. This is my public service announcement for today. #PublicHealth https://t.co/JwFdvlcce3
— Dr Daya Sharma (@DrDayaSharma) February 22, 2018
Australian filmmaker, Steven Williams, produced a documentary called Urine Aid in 2017 (available on Stan), which featured a women from Mexico who claimed drinking urine daily had eased the pain associated with her bowel cancer and even halted the progression of the disease. The film also included testimony from Melbourne-based naturopath Richard Iredale, who has been drinking a glass of his urine daily since 2010 and applies it to his skin to prevent ageing.