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Your Suggestions for Urine—Please Don’t Try This at Home

portable outhouses picture
Photograph by Alan Schein, Corbis

Last week, I wrote a post about some strange new uses for urine. It turns out, I had only scratched the surface.

Many of you readers (thanks for your input!) shared some other uses for urine in the comments section, so the team here at Nat Geo thought it would be interesting to look into them in more detail.

Armed with Google, some medical knowledge, and a little common sense, I’ve taken a look at some of your ideas. I reached out to some kidney experts, including Lilach Lerman of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She said in an email that she had never heard of such creative uses for urine, so she couldn’t say anything about whether they might work.

Peeing on a jellyfish sting will make it feel better and heal faster.

It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but the science appears to be against those looking for some quick relief from a painful jellyfish sting. In fact, medical experts say that urinating on the injury will actually make it worse, since diluted urine will tell the barb to release more of its poison.

jellyfish sign
Urine isn’t an effective treatment for jellyfish stings. Photograph by Pete Karas, Getty Images

Your best bet, according to an article in Scientific American, is to rinse the injury with saltwater and take an over-the-counter painkiller to lessen the sting.

Urine is an effective shampoo and face cleaner.

Advocates of this technique claim that using urine to clean your skin and hair will “clean away dirt and oils from your skin.” Other things that also do this: soap and water.

While anecdotal reports of hair regrowth and skin cleansing after using urine are fairly common on the Internet, there haven’t been any formal scientific studies that show urine works any better or worse than anything else available. It’s also unclear whether there might be any health risks to using urine in this method.

Urine can stop seizures.

People experiencing tonic-clonic seizures (formerly known as grand mal seizures) frequently lose control of their bladders and bowels. There is no evidence, however, that drinking urine can treat or prevent a seizure. If someone you know is having a seizure and you’re unsure what to do, call 911 or seek emergency help.

Drinking your own urine each day can improve your health.

It’s known as “urine therapy” and it’s been a popular folk remedy in many cultures throughout the centuries. Although the urine produced in the kidneys is generally sterile, it can pick up some harmful microbes as it leaves the body. One study found large numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the urine consumed as a health remedy in a rural community in Africa.

(Watch a National Geographic video about people who drink cow urine for a long and happy life.)

Far from being beneficial, this golden juice may actually be harmful to your health.

Urine can treat an eye infection.

According to Stanford University ophthalmologist Theodore Leng, this is nothing but myth, a possibly dangerous one given the potential for microbial contamination. Writes Leng on his blog:

I also advise against putting your own urine or anyone else’s urine into your eye to treat anything. At best, you’ll end up with an irritated eye. At worst, you will get a nasty eye infection with a STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia. Yes, this is not only possible, but it happens all the time. In one year, I think I treated at least five people who had STD eye infections from putting urine into the eye.

Although I’d love to hear someone explain to their partner how they got clap of the eyeball…

Researchers have found many inventive and quirky ways to use urine, but DIY urine treatments appear ineffective at best and harmful at worst. It’s best to leave these things in the hands of professionals.

Other than medical remedies, what other uses have you found for urine?

Comments

  1. Alex
    October 3, 12:39 pm

    I have used urine eyebaths to cure pink eye on two separate occasions

    Just put urine in a shotglass and dip each eye in it for about 1 minute each.

    The pink eye should be gone in less than 1 hour.

    All the urine therapy books say urine curing pink eye has a close to 100% effectiveness rate.

    The doctor in the article above who said his patients got STD’s eye infections from putting urine in their eye could only get that if they already had a STD.

    The urine therapy books clearly state, don’t do these practices if you have a STD.

    If you are healthy, meaning no STD infection, then drinking urine or using it topically or in your eyes/ears will not harm you.

    Urine Therapy books to read:

    The Water of Life – by John Armstrong
    Your Own Perfect Medicine – by Martha Christy
    Golden Fountain – by Coen van der Kroon
    Shivambu Gita – by G. K. Thaaker

    Much love

    .

  2. Mayotte Ambah Maria Chow
    Trinidad and Tobago
    September 30, 2:41 am

    Drinking your own urine is beneficial to your health.

  3. Gail
    Oregon
    June 20, 9:05 pm

    People.

  4. Katrina Cisnes
    Panama (currently)
    April 17, 11:08 pm

    Big Pharm and Med Corp is the reason there are no studies done on UT, because it is free and has so MANY benefits. Even my mom, a nurse for over 25 years thought it was toxic until she did some research (oh, the lies they teach). If your liver and kidneys are healthy and you don’t take chemical drugs there is so much that it can cure. The multitude of testimonials out there are true. I started over two years ago topically, within a week the joint pain I had in my hands was gone and one of my toenails had been growing out black at the nail bed, it started reversing and disappeared. And my skin looked and felt like a newborn, I couldn’t stop ‘petting’ it. Quickly heals sores, acne and burns. There are no toxins or harsh chemicals to it and, as using it as a shampoo my hair at the ‘widow’s peaks’ has started filling in (and no build up in the tub). It also makes an awesome laundry detergent (also, no build up in the machine). So I took the plunge and started drinking it (but am bit of a coward) so I mix it with a glass of tea in the mornings. It has been a while since I had such energy and focus. My reflexes and mood improved. I use it instead of water on my toothbrush and the gal that cleans my teeth said she wasn’t sure what I was doing but my teeth looked amazing (of course I couldn’t tell her, they can’t even get over fluoride…). Unfortunately most of my friends in the US wouldn’t even entertain the notion (it has been given a bad rap for over a century) but as I traveled abroad I got a better reception. Yes it is a stinky undertaking but the benefits far outweigh the smell!!

  5. Steve
    Australia
    February 26, 1:46 am

    Wow ,after Nat geo has had two programs on its taboo series all about Urine therapy ,you might want to do better research , as dr Google will not give you the answers , there is also a film coming out on Urine therapy called URINE AID , that will put some of your moths to bed, antidotal evidence speaks volumes on the healing aspects , while proff is something the medical would will not give you first hand , as they would go broke. But if you dig deeper you can find the truth to the uses and healing from urine from cancer to even AIDS , yep one doctor speaks about how he cured a woman from AIDS with urine .

  6. Ralph
    South Africa
    February 6, 7:06 am

    Hoping desperately this will bring a response from
    Jim H of Illinois on his post of September 9, 2015
    (and anyone else who has had a similar healing below) .
    What caught my eye was despite all the other benefits he’d gained from UT he mentioned that using this therapy HEALED HIM FROM DEPRESSION.. God Knows how willing I’d be to give an arm or a leg for this IF IT’S TRUE!

  7. ali mehmet
    United Kingdom
    December 3, 2016, 2:16 pm

    this article is absolute rubbish i think you work for the pharmaceuticals companies

  8. Albert Ho
    United States
    September 29, 2016, 12:04 pm

    I’ve had countless time of pink eye where I used my own urine to completely get rid of the swell and getting rid of what normally takes days to heal on it’s own.

  9. Leah
    July 29, 2016, 2:08 am

    One of the most ignorant articles I have ever read. No one has ever been harmed through UT. There has also been a ton of studies published in journals about he use of urea or urine therapy for so called incurable diseases – all with very favorable (bordering upon miraculous) results.

    Many drugs are made from urine from human or other animals too. What a stupid and pointless article.

  10. Ajay Kumar
    kerala
    July 20, 2016, 9:09 am

    I had my reservations too, after all we were brought up in a well educated and scientific back ground and all irrational or simple myths were a strict no no. But all that changed, now that i am over my 60s and can confidently vouch for urine therapy or what ever you may call it, and would suggest ‘Go for it’. With the advent of 50 years of age and Office Jobs the irregular bowel movements and constipations were becoming a regular routine. I was in the process of researching on where to get my fissures treated when a casual encounter on therapeutic use of urine caught my attention. And ever since i have never visited a hospital, and confidently i can say that I got cured of a problem Psoriasis, along with cure for fistula, fissure and a whole lot of dental and eye diseases all through regular use of my own urine. if you want to wait for research and reports of authenticity, you may not find any as no MNC or research lab makes any monies out of proving that your own URINE can cure you out of a lot of your troubles!

  11. Ajay Kumar
    kerala
    July 19, 2016, 3:25 pm

    I had my reservations too, after all we were brought up in a well educated and scientific back ground and all irrational or simple myths were a strict no no. But all that changed, now that i am over my 60s and can confidently vouch for urine therapy or what ever you may call it, and would suggest ‘Go for it’. With the advent of 50 years of age and Office Jobs the irregular bowel movements and constipations were becoming a regular routine. I was in the process of researching on where to get my fissures treated when a casual encounter on therapeutic use of urine caught my attention. And ever since i have never visited a hospital, and confidently i can say that I got cured of a problem Psoriasis, along with cure for fistula, fissure and a whole lot of dental and eye diseases all through regular use of my own urine. if you want to wait for research and reports of authenticity, you may not find any as no MNC or research lab makes any monies out of proving that your own URINE can cure you out of a lot of your troubles!

  12. Dan
    south east
    February 5, 2016, 1:10 am

    I had read about urine therapy in the past but never took it seriously–until last week. Over the last 5 years we have struggled terribly financially. So when I found myself with three broken or cracked teeth (molars) a dentist was not an option. All three where infected and eating was terribly hard. It really killed any hunger I may of had. Anyway, this was becoming a big problem and I remembered urine therapy. The first time I tried it, I spit it out and knew I would never be able to do this. But when one of the teeth absessed, the pain was so intense I would of done most anything.
    Well, here is how it went—1am frantic I don’t know what to do I mean the pain went through all my teeth, jaw, head and body. I was nauseous from it. So I did it. I collected a good mouthful (midstream) and started rinsing my mouth with it as if it were a mouth wash. Now I am not exaggerating one bit. Within 15 minutes the pain was at a level I could deal with. Within a hour, —the pain was GONE!!! The next morning when I woke up my broken teeth felt at worst tender. By nightfall I was completely pain free, the soreness I felt deep down into the roots of my broken teeth WAS TOTALLY GONE!! Yeah, I was and still am blown away by this. This is going to change my life. It would of cost a few thousand dollars to go to a dentist and have him treat this with antibiotics, pain medicine, office visits–cripes it goes on and on. Listen, do your own research. All the info is right at your finger tips on the internet. Urine IS NOT A WASTE PRODUCT OF YOUR BODY. It contains anti bodies, hormones, stem cells (I think) and other nutrients your own body has produced. The fluid that a baby lives in before birth is basically urine. Look into this—for once something that claimed spectacular results is TRUE. Many many many drugs that pharm’s produce and sell contain parts of urine. Research it!! I’ve been doing this a little over a week, my teeth and gums are healthier than they’ve been in 15 years– my gosh only a week. I can’t say for certain that the feeling of well being I’ve had over the last few days is because of this but I’d say chances are good. Do it!

  13. vivian astridge
    india
    December 9, 2015, 6:33 am

    some years ago i used to suffer from an itch all over my body which used to come on at night. I tried special soaps, lotions and orally taken medication including antihistamines. A friend suggested I pour urine over my body when the itch occurs. When one night the itch did occur it was quite beyond putting up with and i stood in a basin and passed urine standing up. With a cup i attempted to pour the urine over my body but just could not bring myself to do it. I spent the rest of the night half sitting up and half dozing. The next night when the itch began i forced myself to pour the urine over my entire body. I waited for the urine to dry and noticed that the itch had either vanished or greatly reduced. and was able for the first time in a long while to sleep in bed. That itch never did return ever. It matters not in the least to me whether anyone believes this or not. So there.

  14. Jim H
    Illinois
    September 9, 2015, 6:01 pm

    My own experience after reading many articles on UT a month or so ago is better skin, vision, whiter teeth, no more arthritis or lower back pain and the best is no more depression which I’ve dealt with most/all my life! =) My suggestion to any considering UT first read up on it a few days, it can be harmful if not done correctly.

  15. monu
    india
    July 24, 2015, 4:01 am

    is all are true and tested ?

  16. Ann
    February 19, 2015, 8:52 am

    They’re just trying to discourage it because they can’t capitalize on it.

  17. lekshmana iyer
    chennai
    December 27, 2014, 10:45 am

    During September 2014 I was suffering conjectivities on both the eyes and I used the first urine to message on them,within 7 days iching and redness stopped now perfctly allright.

  18. Sarah
    California
    August 26, 2014, 12:24 pm

    As far as “harmful microbes” or potential infections to the eye go, it’s called “auto” urine therapy for a reason. You are using your own urine. Reintroducing one’s own infections into the body is not going to reinfect you with some pathogen with which you are already infected. This is the most ridiculous of arguments not-in-favor of urine therapy I’ve seen.

  19. prahalad
    India, hyderabad (TELANGANA)
    July 31, 2014, 10:22 am

    It’s real or false please clear the matter. Own urine THERAPY IS any risk for health , I dought ? PLEASE CLEAR.

  20. mithila
    SriLanka
    June 14, 2014, 11:33 am

    I feel we cant just publish good or bad results.But if people feel bad results ,this might be given up earlier.
    Hence it continues with possitive manner I suppose.

  21. Rajesh
    India
    April 29, 2014, 1:03 pm

    After reading and hearing about UT, I started using it to wash my face, clean my nose and sinuses with a nati pot, clean my ears with nati pot. I used old (12 h) urine as shaving cream and aftershave and it is great, I could feel the difference in my sinuses which were much clearer and my skin felt soft and fresh. I care damn of those who laugh it out as stupid, instead try it yourself to see if it works on u. I haven’t started drinking yet but will very soon….om shivambo…

  22. julie
    south africa kwazulu natal newcastle
    November 10, 2013, 11:55 am

    I am female indian 43 years old. I have iron deficiency and am vegetarian for over 20 years. I am also anemic. I jes wanted to know if rubbing urine on my scalp wil help stimulate hairgrowth as my hair has thinned out drastically. Tnk u very much.

  23. Felipe de Jesus Maldonado Guerra
    Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico.
    August 14, 2013, 1:57 pm

    Nobody ever mentioned drinking your oun urine is suposed to cure diabetis. Of course, if this will end being trut, no lab could make a cent on it, so they trie to dicourage the research on the subject.

  24. SK
    New Delhi
    August 14, 2013, 3:31 am

    There is a lot mis-information on use of urine and many of the application of urine is not documented or rubbished. Our ex Prime Minister (Moraji Desai) had made urine for health popular. Why does this thereapy not become popular or verified is a question we need to ask? Some thinking, lets say if urine is beneficial and is proven by research so what will be outcome, can some one make money by this development. Will pharma companies benefit by this, or will pharma companies loose some revenue for which people can solve their own problem by their own urine. This is a crux of the problem in my understanding. Urine cannot be marketed to be made money from, the social culture around it makes it a taboo. there are books written on benefits of urine, but they donot get mentioned or discussed (water of life by JW Armstrong) . In addition, urine not even a waste of the body, it is the excess in the body which is removed via a process of ultra-filtration of the body. Request the author to do some in-depth research, read some books on subject, get beyond the obvious. I am surprised NG is entertaining an article which is so shallow.

  25. THANGIAH SAMUEL
    Chennai India
    August 13, 2013, 11:23 am

    When I was six or seven old I used to walk without chappel
    some time I might hit a stone immediately my dad asked me to
    pass urine on the place where it was bleeding it might not be severeone he would ask me pass urine on the same place for
    another 3 or4 days I could see the wound completely cured
    I was doing this till I was 16 Ididnt take TT NOW for a small
    bruise I put TT AND tablets It is a fact not a fictious one

  26. bryan joyce
    perth west australia
    August 12, 2013, 4:24 am

    used urine on our feet in the army to combat tinea

  27. Cindy Roeker
    florida
    August 11, 2013, 4:04 pm

    there’s only one thing that I can think of to do with urine……flush it.

  28. Rick
    Curitiba, Brazil
    August 10, 2013, 10:35 am

    When I was a youngster living in the Bahamas, we would occasionally pick up sea urchin spines while surfing, snorkling, or walking across the reef. I remember David McQuorquadale (sp?) saying, “Pick up a sea urchin spine? Just piss on it.”

    I think he was referring to the effect that warm liquid has on opening a wound and (in this case) allowing a spine room to escape.

  29. Dominic Dominion-paul
    Aba,Nigeria
    August 9, 2013, 12:46 pm

    Urine helps the skin to radiant and glow.

  30. Carl Torres
    Oklahoma
    August 8, 2013, 11:41 pm

    I remember reading somewhere that the romans used Urine to whiten teeth…

  31. Claudia Wilson
    Canada
    August 8, 2013, 3:02 pm

    Horse urine is pretty power stuff. It can break down leather, shoe glue and just about anything biological. The only good use I’ve found for Urine is in a manure pit. When I pull thistles and nettle bushes out from around the barn, the only safe place to put them is in the liquid portion of a manure pit. The urine breaks down the seed pods and prevents the plants rapid spread.