Drink To Your Health
(from Yoga Journal)
by Blake More
Wealthy French women bathed in it, Chinese doctors used it to soothe sore throats, and now you - all squeamishness aside - can drink to cure what ails you.
Odds are youíre among the 27 million Americans who recycle. Separating bottles, cans, plastic containers, newspapers, maybe even composting your kitchen and garden scraps, is one of the ways you show respect for your earthly home. But would you be willing to take the act of recycling a step further¾ into the realm of your bodily home¾ if it meant youíd have more energy, a stronger immune system, and an ageless complexion? Of course you would. What if I said you can have all this and more for the mere cost of¾ a cupful of urine? A little hard to swallow? Well, its true. Itís urine therapy (UT), and all it takes is eight ounces a day and an unwavering pledge to throw out some of the distastes you associate with the human filtering system.
Thatís what I did, and now, four years later, Iím a different person. Iím more in tune with my bodyís needs and functions and no longer anemic nor hypoglycemic. I rarely get colds and havenít had the flu for years, and the yeast infection that had long been plaguing me is gone. UT has even heightened my connection to my daily yoga practice: I know feel as healthy and strong as a handstand.
Even so, Iíll be the first to admit the road to health took more than one sitting. I initially heard about urine therapy while I was living in Japan. I was interviewing Dr. Ryosuku Uryu, a respected naturopath, for an article in a Tokyo magazine. The interview was going fine until he mentioned pee drinking. I laughed, and he launched into a serious monologue on the virtues of urine therapy. Weeks later, still haunted by his heartfelt narrative of personal and clinical success, I decided to give urine a more serious look. At Dr. Uryuís counsel, I began UT gradually, rubbing it on my face at night (I refused to use it in the morning because I was terrified people would smell me on the trains), until Iíd worked up enough courage to actually drink it. I can still remember the effort it took not to throw up that first morning. Believe me, itís all downstream from there.
If You Got Rid Of It, Why Put It Back?
Contrary to what we learned in biology, urine isnít a dirty byproduct of intestinal work. Instead, itís a highly useable, sterile fluid that comes from the kidneys. The main function of the kidneyís is to balance and filter the blood, which means that urine is made from life-sustaining ingredients, like vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and amino acids¾ estimated to be thousands of compounds in all. For example, urine, which is also the primary component of amniotic fluid, contains DHEA (the wonder steroid heralded with anti-aging, anti-cancer, and other benefits), allantoin (added to creams and ointments to promote wound healing), factor S (used to naturally induce sleep), gastric secretory depressants (combats ulcer growth), urokinase (an enzyme known to dissolve blood clots), and of course, urea (a key constituent in many antibacterial substances). Some scientists even suggest that uric acid, the most touted property of urine, may be one of the things allowing humans to live longer than most other mammals.
While this culture continues to call it pee, piss, wee-wee, tinkle, and number one, there are others who speak more poetically of urine, calling it, among other things, the soma beverage, the mother of [ayurvedic] medicine, the water of life, living water within, life elixir, the water of Shiva, and the water of a thousand flowers. Whatever its name, this drugless self-remedy appears in all the ancient religious and medical texts of recorded history¾ the earliest of which is attributed to the 5,000 year old Indian text known as the Damar Tantra.
"Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well," proclaims a proverb from the Old Testament. "The Soma beverage is a universal remedy," declares the Atharva Veda. Hippocrates taught people to support their bodyís intrinsic defenses and to try natural interventions, such as urine, before resorting to stronger measures. The Romans, according the historian Suetonius, valued urine so much that the emperor placed a tax on every drop collected from public reservoirs. Wealthy French women bathed in it, and Chinese doctors used it to soothe sore throats. And, in the 19th century French chemist Fourcroy devoted an entire volume to the properties of human urine, because, in his words, the "urine of man...has furnished the most singular discovers to chemistry,...as well as to the art of healing."
UT even managed to sneak into American lore. Once such example was recorded in 1810 by Dr. Richard Hazeltine who wrote of a proven healing agent used by "affectionate" mothers (as well as himself) called a "buttered-flip"---a mixture of recent urine, hot water, honey, and a little butter. In addition, there are isolated stories of Native Americans using it, and tales of European and African-American grandmothers massaging it into their skin to stay beautiful. More recently, TV archived it in 1978 when Indiaís former prime minister Moraji Desai told a shocked Dan Rather and his 60 Minutes viewing audience of the remarkable effects of drinking urine, going so far as to say UT was the perfect way to help the millions of Indians unable to afford medical care.
Whose Urine Is It Anyway?
Unequivocally the most primitive and primordial form of internal medicine, urine was isolated as a healing agent around 1773. Thus, UT isnít a holdover from some silly old wives tale or quacky folk remedy as some might suggest, but instead, is a serious medicine supported by dozens of successful research trials. According to Martha Christy, author of Your Own Perfect Medicine, urine is highly respected by mainstream medical scientists and researchers, even if the general public doesnít know it. To see for yourself, check out the ingredient list of face creams, shampoos, antibacterial ointments, sleeping medicines, diuretics, estrogen supplements, and many of other grooming products and over-the-counter medications on the shelves today.
Although I like to avoid conspiracy theories, itís hard not to wonder why few people know about urine therapy. Could it be thereís no money to be made from it? Christy reports that the majority of the scientific research on UT has been financed by the pharmaceutical industry "with the hope of isolating substances for specific cures so they can be produced artificially and marketed as a new product." The Ares-Serono Group, one of the worldís largest fertility-drug companies, produces the fertility hormone drug Pergonal from the urine of post-menopausal women volunteers in Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. In 1992, the company reported earnings of $855 million, and women pay up to $1,400 per month for this urine extract. The U.S. company Enzymes of America uses a special filter to collect the proteins from menís urinals in the 10,000 portable outhouses owned by its subsidiary firm, Porta-John. Theyíve turned their collections into a pricey heart attack medicine called Urokinase.
Yet, even supposing money werenít an issue, a manufactured substance is no match to what comes out of your own body. No matter what companies claim, thereís no synthetic equivalent to your own urine: You and only you produce the natural vaccines, anti-cancer agents, hormone balancers, allergy relievers in the exact forms needed by you. (I like to think of urine as a window into the body, providing a glimpse at everything present in the blood stream.) Furthermore, milligram per milligram, urine is a better supplement to your diet than vitamins, because the vitamins in urine have already been digested and synthesized. Besides, your own urine wonít produce any lasting side effects---unlike like Urokinase which causes abnormal bleeding. On top of all this, your urine has antibodies that can stop a disease long before recognizable signs or symptoms could be detected by modern technology.
UT tackles the root of a problem or imbalance rather than merely masking its symptoms by reinforcing the auto-inoculation---or more simply, homeopathic---actions of the immune system; as cells discharge traces of diseased substances and allow them to escape into healthy tissues, leukocyte activity increases and creates a powerful antigen serum, remnants of which are passed into the urine. To take one of Christyís examples, letís say you take a pill to help you sleep, even though, unbeknownst to you, your insomnia is caused by a an undiagnosed food allergy. Thanks to the pill, you start sleeping again, but after a while, fearful of becoming over-reliant on the drug, you stop taking it. Then eyes wide again, youíre back to counting sheep. Using UT, both of your ills¾ sleep deprivation and food allergies¾ can be overcome at once. Your urine offers the exact antibodies you need to eradicate your allergy and provides factor S to naturally induce sleep. All this for free.
Please Pass The Pee
For the truly faint of stomach, a homeopathic tincture is a safe prelude to UT. The more adventuresome can start out with one ounce and slowly work up to six or eight ounces daily. It is preferable to drink first thing in the morning, since hormonal secretions increase at night, when the body is totally relaxed and repairing itself. Always collect the intermediate flow and drink it right away; donít boil or dilute it, as this destroys or reduces urineís most beneficial properties. Some experts suggest waiting at least 15 minutes after UT before eating or drinking---although I have to admit I bend the rules a little and brush my teeth immediately afterward.
Personally, I also like to create a ritual around drinking my urine. Although this sounds a bit weird, I go into the bathroom alone and pee into a round glass cup (a special one with the earth etched on it). Before drinking, I hold it to my heart, close my eyes, and connect with the intrinsic power of body, thanking myself for healing. In this way, I begin every day in communion with myself.
UT works best with adequate sleep, meditation, and exercise, and like any other natural technique, it requires patience, discipline, and self-love. Also, the better your diet, the better the taste, although even within the perimeters of a clean, preferably vegetarian, diet---one free of refined sugars, caffeine, nicotine, preservatives, and drugs since these substances can cause toxic build-up---the flavors of urine will vary: The morning after miso soup, my urine tastes particularly strong and salty; likewise, after curry, it tends to be spicy sweet. Although it does come out bitter at times, the only time I have any real difficulty is when I eat asparagus (Iíll let you figure out this one). Most of the time, it has a subtle, slightly salty taste, and itís color reminds me of an oaky, full bodied chardonnay.
Although I didnít experience it, the first-time recipient of UT will sometimes undergo a "healing crisis." Anytime from 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, to 1 month, you may experience discomfort while the body releases long held toxins. Symptoms like headaches, nausea, rashes, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, boils, and sweating are just part of the natural release process and well worth the final results. The best way to get through the detox period is to monitor your bodyís changes and regulate your UT intake accordingly, cutting back your amount until your symptoms subside.
Other effective uses of urine include: topical applications (itís best to store it for a couple of days first, because bacterial fermentation enhances its healing effects), rubbings, foot baths, enemas, gargling, douching, eye and ear drops, and sniffing. I still use my urine as a nighttime face treatment (for I later uncovered studies showing that urine, more specifically urea, increases the water binding capacity of the skin¾ plus I liked all the compliments on my smooth, clear complexion). Believe it or not, Iíve even read that spraying fruits and vegetables with a urine and water solution will keep them bug and fungus-free, and most importantly, will prevent the need for chemical sprays.
Both externally and internally, urine functions as an excellent antidote for infections, skin ulcers, wounds, burns, snake bites, and insect stings. This was proven to me¾ long before I heard of UT¾ on a summer field trip to the beach. About ten of us were walking along the water with a counselor, when one my friends stepped on a dead jelly fish. Much to my amazement, the counselor lifted up his shorts (carefully so none of us kids saw anything) and peed on my friendís swelling foot. Within seconds my friend forgot about the jelly fish and started screaming about the treatment. To this day, I wonder if this unusual act of first aid was the seed that prepared me to accept urine therapy some 17 years later.
It May Save Your Life
But more than just a rescue aid or supplement for the healthy, UT is also for those with chronic, acute, even severe illnesses. A practicing urine therapist in the 1930s and 40s and author of The Water of Life, a non-scientific book of case studies, Dr. John Armstrong showed that urine fasts could heal just about any disease that wasnít caused by traumatism or structural defects. He was especially fond of urine fasts, believing them superior to other liquid fasts because of urineís ability to rebuild as well as cleanse. And he could make such claims, since he not only cured others with urine fasts, but he cured himself of both tuberculosis and diabetes---something years of allopathic treatments had failed to do.
As with all "do it yourself" healing, UT recipients, myself included, often become infused with a vitality they feel compelled to share. Every book I have read about UT is supported by powerful testimonials, the most convincing of which coming from those whom conventional medicine had sentenced to death. For example, Christy writes of a woman with an inoperable uterine tumor who drank nothing but her urine for seven days and made the tumor disappear, and of another "terminal" patient with metastatic cancer of the liver who, in the throes of hepatitis and a high fever, decided she had nothing to lose by drinking her morning urine: "By the fifth day, I felt more energetic, by the tenth, I returned to the doctor. He couldnít believe I was alive."
The testimonials of PWAs (people with AIDS) are especially potent. In Urine-Therapy: It may save your life, author Dr. Beatrice Bartnett, a Naturopathic and Chiropractic Physician who co-founded the Water of Life Institute in Florida, cites a case of a man whose T-cell count went from 285 to 489 in four months while under UT alone. Other books document successful results in using UT to combat Kaposi sarcoma lesions, thrush, intestinal parasites, Ebstein-Barr, herpes, diarrhea, and colitis. Researchers believe UT works so well with AIDS and its opportunistic viruses because the urine of a PWA not only has anti-cancer agents, such as DHEA, retine, antieoplastons, uric acid, H-ll extract, HUD (human urineís derivative), but it also contains the antibodies to HIV-1, a fact discovered in 1988 by Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien at the New York University Medical School.
In study after study, UT comes across as nothing short of miraculous. It fights free-radicals, eases morning sickness, acts as a diuretic, and has redressed a remarkable number of aliments, including arthritis, hair loss, jaundice, eczema, leprosy, gangrene, malaria, venereal diseases, menstrual irregularities, candida, warts, prostate problems, obesity, asthma, migraines, toxemia, rabies, peptic ulcers, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Some even profess it enhances spiritual growth. The general theme is one of a therapy that works when all others have failed.
UT is a medicine we always have at our disposal (so to speak), one that can actually save our life during an emergency. During Jordanís Nine-Day War, Newsweek reported that the Red Crescent, the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross, told the nation on public radio: Your children are expiring of thirst. We cannot help you except by telling you that you may be able to save their lives by letting them drink their own urine. A friend of mine, benefited from a similar understanding when he became sick in the middle of an unauthorized bicycle tour through the backroads of China. In his words, "I was alone, feverish, completely dehydrated, and unable to get help for myself. Then I remembered urine therapy, and after a few weeks of my own urine, I was strong enough to continue my ride." I donít know about you, but Iíd say, pee drinking sure beats the alternative in these two situations.
I realize accepting UT as the saving water of life or as the elixir that allows yogis to traverse great deserts doesnít mean your ready to wake up tomorrow and have yourself a cup of pee. Even so, whether your curious or completely grossed out, vast rewards are waiting. Give yourself a chance to get comfortable with the idea. When I got started, I imagined myself as a baby floating in the waters of my mother's urine, but if this doesnít work for you, try returning to the recycling analogy. Think of UT as composting, where leftovers are miraculously turned into prized nutrition. Remember, nature rarely wastes a thing.
Christy, Martha M. Your Own Perfect Medicine. Future Med, Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona, 1994, 221 pages.
Armstrong, J.W. The Water Of Life: A Treatise on Urine Therapy. Health Science Press, Essex, England, 1971, 136 pages.
Bartnett, Dr. Beatrice. Urine-Therapy: It may save your life. Water of Life Institute, Hollywood, Florida, 1989, 34 pages.
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