Here's a pop-health-quiz: what highly sterile derivative of blood plasma has been used for thousands of years as a sleep aid, a fertility drug, a cure for the common cold and practically everything else-from cleansing wounds to rapidly healing burns to creating lustrous skin and hair? Need more hints? Most known cultures have used it. Studies show that it may contain antibodies to deadly infectious diseases.1 At least one clinic in Mexico uses it to cure autoimmune problems.2 Former Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai attributed his long and healthy life to it-he died in 1995 at the age of 99. Madonna used it to cure athlete's foot and actress Sarah Miles swears by it.
If you haven't figured it out yet, we're talking about urine therapy, also known as autourotherapy, urotherapy, amaroliand shivambu shastra or kalpa. An ultrafiltrate of blood plasma from which nutritive elements not needed by the body at that moment have been removed, urine is not a waste product so much as it is 'leftovers'. Comprising 95 per cent purified water, 2.5 per cent urea (also used as a feedstock for cattle) and traces of glucose, amino acids and minerals, urine is simply what the body is too 'full' to use. It's cleaner than the saliva in our mouths, has kept countless people who were trapped in collapsed buildings, stranded on capsized boats and marooned between oases alive, and actually-if your diet is healthy-doesn't even taste bad. Which doesn't stop people from making disgusted noises when they first hear about it-or dying before they'd drink it. Stories and myths about urine therapy abound, and one popular tale has it that on October 16, 1992, NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw reported, "In Egypt, rescue workers found a 37-year-old man alive in earthquake rubble. He survived almost 82 hours by drinking his own urine. His wife, daughter and mother would not and they died." True? Urban legend? Who knows. But considering the astonishing amount of positive modern and historical data linking autourotherapy to health, healing and longevity (and even to a cure for baldness), it seems well worth the trouble getting past the skeptics, naysayers, and social and psychological barriers to take a long, hard look at the facts. Highly controversial The most obvious fact aside from its worldwide use (except in Muslim countries) is that autourotherapy is tremendously controversial-and not just because of its social stigma.
It's impossible to miss the fact that autourotherapy is not just cheap, it's free. And although most health practitioners recommend using it under a doctor's supervision, it's as easily available as walking to the bathroom with a cup in your hand. It also apparently works on many, if not most, illnesses to some degree. "I could talk about hundreds of cases [where] urine-therapy cured or reduced different difficulties [in] patients during my 20 years of experience in the field of urine therapy," says Dr Vilma Partykov'a, graduate of the Faculty of General Medicine of Charles University in Prague, Czechoslovakia. An anaesthesiologist, practical physician and therapist in Prague, Partykov'a took a job as chief doctor of the Policlinic at the Czechoslovak Embassy in Moscow. During her stay in Russia, friends at the University of Moscow introduced her to several non-traditional healing procedures, including autourotherapy. Administered orally, topically and via injections, she found it amazingly effective for a wide variety of illnesses and conditions, and continued to use the therapy after her return to Prague.
"I recommend using subcutaneous injections of urine for cardiac patients who are taking medications," she says. "Urine thins the blood and acts similarly to nitroglycerine. This kind of urine treatment also helps to heal patients from Borrelia (Lyme's disease) and Chlamydia diseases." According to Partykov'a, urine injections can also be administered subcutaneously for the treatment of allergies, hay fever, asthma, spasms, migraines, eczema and toxaemia in pregnancy, as well as for infectious diseases in children such as whooping cough, rubella and chickenpox.
Automatic antibodies So how does it work? And why does it work? Repeated clinical studies show that when a person is exposed to a disease, the body rapidly forms antigens at the molecular level-antibody generators that provoke an adaptive immune response. And those antibodies show up in urine. As summarized by the authors of one multicentre US study, "Urines from persons immunized with tetanus toxoid and poliovirus vaccine were shown to contain low-molecular-weight antibodies specific for the immunizing antigens."1 According to Coen van der Kroon, practitioner and co-founder of the Academy of Ayurvedic Studies in the Netherlands, from the Ayurvedic medical perspective, urine contains information about the disease or infection the body has been exposed to that the body can then use to cook up its own internal pharmacopoeia to fight the disease. "Whether you ingest it, inject it, or use it homeopathically, in all cases urine therapy uses, at least to some extent, a feedback loop through the body where the body gets its own information very compactly returned to itself as a small information package," he
says. "The body does this inside itself most of the time.
And as long as the system works well, the feedback loop is continuously giving feedback information so the body can adjust things." Author of one of the most globally respected books on autourotherapy, The Golden Fountain: The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy, van der Kroon points out that not only does urine supply information, it literally supplies food to the body as well.
"You go to farms and they have big bags of urea they feed to the cows. It's just food in a way," he points out. "I think that is one of the bases of stories of people with cancer and other very chronic diseases who are doing these intense urine fasts and why they do well through these fasts because they really feed on the urea and don't lose too much weight." So, is autourotherapy an effective treatment for cancer and other major illnesses?
Little known facts about urotherapy
World War II doctors used it when they ran out of antiseptics in the trenches. Bedouins used it to clean and heal burns. Amazonian tribes used it to cure poisonous snakebites. The Aztecs used it on wounds. The Ancient Chinese used it for a wide range of things, writing extensively about its curative properties in their earliest medical texts. But the most ancient known reference to
autourotherapy is the Shivambu Kalpa Vidhi from the Damar Tantra in the yogic Vedas, which date back, by some accounts, to as much as 8,000 years ago or even earlier. A recounting by Lord
Shiva of the infinite benefits of Shivambu Kalpa (autourotherapy) to his divine consort the Goddess Parvati, the text outlines the exact procedures that should be followed (some of
which are still in use today) in order that the "heavenly nectar, which is capable of destroying senility and diseases . . . and make one a veritable treasury of luster" might have its most potent effects. Interestingly, stanzas seven and eight talk about using only a midstream catch, as "just as there is poison in the mouth and tail of the serpent, O Parvati, it is even so in the case of the
flow of Shivambu."
Might this be an answer to avoiding re-ingesting the modern toxins present in urine today as well? An early remedy in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it is still practised by some Ayurvedic
doctors today. As a tonic for all the gag reflexes and jokes about urine therapy, people might do well to recall that we all entered this world after first swimming in a vat of urine called 'amniotic fluid' for nine months-a fluid the Medical Establishment has no trouble saying good things about. As researchers from the department of pediatrics at the University of California at Davis put it,
"Amniotic fluid (AF) is a marvelously complex and dynamic milieu that changes as pregnancy progresses. AF contains nutrients and growth factors that facilitate foetal growth, provides mechanical cushioning and antimicrobial effectors that protect the foetus, and allows assessment of foetal maturity and disease."1 Perhaps what's good for the foetus is good for the adult as well.
1 J Perinatol, 2005; 25: 341-8
Autourotherapy for cancer
Clinical studies show that cancer antigens and antibodies do show up in cancer patients' urine, and urinary antigen analysis has been promoted in some areas as a viable prognosticator of cancer nd cancer recurrence. In one report published in 1983, the authors' conclusion states that "urinary antigen in stage I and II melanoma patients may prognosticate recurrence of the disease."3
So, if antigens to specific cancers are present in the urine and antibodies produced by an individual's body to fight the disease are present, doesn't it make sense to feed the bespoke antibodies back into that person's system? Practitioners of autourotherapy give a resounding 'yes'. They also point out that, in addition to cancerspecific antigens and antibodies present in the bodies of cancer patients, there are several naturally occurring elements in the urine of every human being that have been proven to attack cancer. 3-Bromopyruvate (3BP), a derivative of methylglyoxal in urine, is being studied for potential cancer treatment applications by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.4 Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted an application for the use of 3BP in a phase-I clinical trial of liver cancer.5 Methylglyoxal has long been considered a potent anticancer agent ever since the 'Father of Nutritional Science' Dr Albert Szent-Gy"orgyi, winner of the Nobel Laureate in Medicine in 1937 for the discovery of vitamin C, worked with it in the early 1960s. Heralded as a "New Approach in Cancer Fight" in the 23 March 1964 edition of the Chicago Tribune, Szent-Gy"orgyi called it "retine"-an "autobiotic" substance naturally occurring in urine and body tissues that stops the growth of cancer cells without poisoning other cells.
More recently, Dr Manju Ray and four other researchers in India used methylglyoxal as the main ingredient in laboratory studies with human cells and in-vivo studies with animals, creating an anticancer formulation with . . . a tumoricidal effect by inhibiting specifically, in cancerous cells, the electron flow and the transfer of . . . ATP, the cellular energy currency."6 They published their findings on the effectiveness of methylglyoxal as an anticancer agent in the Indian Journal of Physics. Urokinase, which was originally isolated from human urine, is a residue protein that has been found to affect many aspects of cancer biology, such as cancer cell adhesion, migration and cellular mitosis pathways. The pharmaceutical company Bharat Serums and Vaccines Limited (BSV; Mumbai, India) markets and sells urokinase as a thrombolytic agent in the treatment of severe or massive deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and myocardial infarction.
Urea, which, as we have seen, is a prominent component of urine, is an organic compound that is a colourless, odourless solid and highly soluble and non-toxic. Over the years it has been effectively used to treat a wide variety of ailments, such as gastric ulcers, liver metastases, sickle cell disease, heart failure, brain oedema, glaucoma and Meni`ere's disease.7 As an osmotic diuretic, urea also relieves intercranial pressure (ICP). In one study, University of Michigan researchers stated that urea is among the "first-line pharmacologic agents used to lower elevated ICP".8 A"hypertonic urea solution" has also been found to relieve cerebrospinal fluid pressure.9 An all-purpose medicine? If we approach autourotherapy from a less clinical viewpoint, things get ven more interesting. From the folk perspective, autourotherapy is good for just about any ill that can beset man or beast.
The lengthy list of conditions it supposedly treats includes arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, high or low blood pressure, Sometimes urine therapy can be very useful and sometimes it isn't. You really need to know what system you're dealing with conjunctivitis, constipation, diabetes, gangrene, influenza, leprosy, lupus, malaria and peritonitis. "I got hundreds of letters back then when I wrote the book from people who had incredible results with it, from the common cold to certain skin complaints," says van der Kroon. "I am convinced beyond any doubt that urine is the best wide-spectrum medicine we know," agrees Harald Tietze, Australian author of Urine: the Holy Water (Beekman Pub, 3rd edn, 2003) and two-time presenter at the World Congress for Urine Therapy. (Held every three years, the 7th World Congress will be in London in September 2016.) "I believe that urine could well be an answer to Ebola." Fervent enthusiasm tends to characterize most advocates and users of autourotherapy-which is hardly difficult to understand given its price tag, its apparently carte-blanche usefulness, availability, and frequently stunning results. Unfortunately, research and viable medical content is often overshadowed by bold statements, anecdotal tales, rumors and quotes from untraceable scientists, along with bald accusations about the Medical Establishment and Big Pharma's conspiracy to make this freely available treatment a crime to use.
All this makes separating fact from fiction no easy task. "It becomes sort of like a religion," says van der Kroon, who admits it would be more helpful promoting the therapy if people stopped making extravagant claims such as 'it helps everything in all conditions all of the time'. "Bodies are complicated systems, and sometimes urine therapy can be very useful and sometimes it isn't, and sometimes it is contraindicated. So you really need to know what system you're dealing with to see if this could work for that person or not." Excessive claims, he says, keep the Medical Establishment up in arms and make professional research into autourotherapy less likely. They also spook medical professionals who understand its effectiveness into becoming wary of exposing their use of the practice and even stopping it altogether. For such a simple and ubiquitous therapy, it's hard to find medical voices brave enough to talk about it.
More than 15 doctors and clinical researchers were approached for this article and only three agreed to be interviewed. One, who could not be reached in time to talk, has already been stripped of his medical license for using and advocating autourotherapy. A medical urologist in the US refused to talk about his extensive research and use of urine therapy in his practice because it was "too radical" to publically discuss.
How to do it
Anyone who has ever been to a doctor's office and performed the ritual with the little plastic cup knows the first part of how to collect your own urine. Just like at the doctor's, a midstream
catch is required-do not use the opening salvo or the trickle at the end. Also, use a clean cup that is preferably made of glass or ceramic. Place the liquid in a sterile bottle with an eyedropper and start with just a few (two to three) drops on or under the tongue once a day, usually in the morning. Increase this to 10 drops when you feel ready for it. You can stay at this level or, as you get used to the idea and the taste, you can increase the amount ingested. But remember that more is not necessarily better. It helps tremendously to keep your diet as healthy and as free from pesticides, processed foods, and high levels of sugar and alcohol as possible. Eat fresh, organic food and make the bulk of your diet plant-based. If you
eat moderately and drink lots of pure water every day (two or three quarts, or 64-96 oz), flavour and odour shouldn't be a problem. If you're keen to experiment, try it when you feel a cold or an itchy rash coming on. Autourotherapy proponents even recommend it as an eyebath for computer-tired eyes. But don't try this if you're taking prescription medications, as urine therapy might increase the effects of the drugs. If you're pregnant, only use urine therapy under a doctor's supervision.
Like any medication, autourotherapy is a potent tool that is not without its complications. One doctor has voiced concerns about continuing to use autourotherapy because of the toxins most people now carry in their bloodstreams. Dr Andrew Iverson, a naturopath in Washington State in the US and long-time proponent of autourotherapy, has recently backed-off prescribing oral applications because of the amount of heavy metals, solvent compounds and xenoestrogens he finds in patients' urine samples. "About the only way I do it now is to make a homeopathic tincture," he says "You can send urine to a homeopathy company that creates isodes of incredible strength." Which begs a couple of questions. If the contents of urine are so good for us, why does the body toss them out in the first place? And if they aren't good for us, is it really dangerous to re-ingest them? The answers from practitioners, like the therapy itself, are simple. The body is supremely efficient and only uses what it needs at any given point in time to maintain optimum health and stability. And that balance changes from moment to moment-which is why proponents of autourotherapy use fresh samples of urine every day. According to van der Kroon, the 'information' on what the body needs changes constantly and it constantly eliminates what's not needed. The body is also smart enough to simply boot out harmful substances again and again. But with little interest in researching such questions, any clinical evidence for this is currently
As with any medical therapy, practitioners differ in their opinions. Dr Partykov'a dismisses the 'toxins' issue and continues to use and prescribe urine therapy in all its methods of application. "Me? I am using my urine for 20 years. I have not found any problem nor difficulties. I do, however," she adds, "drink distilled water that's been filtered." Autourotherapy advocate and current president of the 6th World Congress on Urotherapy Andrew Norton Webber advises those with concerns about 'swallowing' urine to simply place 10 drops on the tongue and hold it in their mouth for a few minutes. "You don't even have to swallow it," he says. "Just spit it out afterwards." A thing of beauty No conversation about urine therapy would be complete without a discussion of its
cosmetic applications. Urea is a softening agent that absorbs, attracts and retainswater. It contains vitamins A, D and E, and has been added to antiperspirants, moisturizers, mouthwashes, deodorants, shampoos and expensive cosmetic creams for decades. It also serves as an anti-inflammatory and helps protect skin against damage from the sun. "It's supermodels' biggest secret-they put it on their face and go to sleep with it," says Webber. As the Eucerin Hyal-Urea ad plainly puts it: effective for dry skin -proven against wrinkles. Of course, they are talking external application and there is no available clinical evidence as to the effectiveness of autourotherapy for wrinkles-but the anecdotes abound. For example, Grand Master Mantak Chia, founder of Universal Healing Tao, recommends urine massage to get rid of wrinkles, and varicose veins and cysts too (see his website at www.universal-tao.com/article/therapy.html).
Women have done a lot worse than drink and apply their own urine in the name of vanity over the millennia.And if that itchy rash or gastric ulcer just happens to disappear down the road
too, well then, so much the better. Cate Montana Cate Montana is a freelance writer and editor with 30 years' experience.
The Golden Fountain:
The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy
by Coen van der Kroon
Your Own Perfect Medicine by
Academy of Ayrurvedic Studies:
Dr Vilma Partykov'a: www.
7th World Urine Therapy
Drs Andrew Iverson, ND, and Cy
Fisher, ND: www.triliumhealth.com