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Urine: The Money PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Ever since I was part of the Rosemary Hunter challenge, I've been associated with urine. I find this ironic, as the result of that test was NO urine, and I'd prefer to be associated with that. Nonetheless, I received this e-mail from Swift reader Michael:

I have no comment.

And that leaves it to me to comment. The item he had no comment on was this piece in the Telegraph UK concerning a new "cola" beverage that will becoming out soon. From the article:

It will be a revolution of sorts. The acceptance of cow urine as a potent medicine is increasing day by day and once it comes as a cold drink, its demand will definitely increase. It will prove and justify the high stature accorded to a cow in Indian culture.

While I have no reason to believe such a concoction would be harmful, I also have no reason to believe that there are any health benefits to drinking urine. Ayurvedic medicine is one of those "ancient wisdoms" that "western medicine" has ignored in favor of the bio-chemical complex or whatever. Ayurvedic claims to be able to cure cancer, and cow urine is part of that regimen. Believe me: if curing cancer were as easy as drinking urine, we'd see people in all cultures doing it.

Rather than focus on Ayurvedic medicine, I'd like you to consider something. Why not drink cow urine soda?

This drink is an interesting mix of cultures, where the ubiquitous soda of the west is being adapted to appeal to a new generation of Indians who find themselves in a world influenced both by ancient tradition and modern consumerism.

As a person of science, you understand that urine is sterile under normal conditions, and that its chemical composition isn't harmful. In fact, cow urine is probably less harmful than a standard cola product that many of us enjoy daily. A trip down the soda aisle of a US supermarket reveals beverages made from phosphoric acid, glycerol ester of wood rosin, and other unappetizing ingredients.

So what's the problem? It's simply that our culture associates urine with filth and disgust. Hindu culture does not.

So while I absolutely condem the unproven health claims, I can't condemn drinking cow urine. It shows how even skeptics can react with emotion, in this case disgust. And I'm not immune. I find the idea of drinking cow urine cola digusting, but I can't logically back that up. For all I know, I might like it. And you might too. If anyone out there ever tries it, please let me know. But don't expect it to cure your disease.

 

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Let's go one better...
written by BillyJoe, February 13, 2009
Sewerage.
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No, I'm serious...
written by BillyJoe, February 13, 2009
...we should all drink sewerage.



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written by BillyJoe, February 13, 2009
Properly treated of course.

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What IS that on your breath?!?!
written by AcinonyxScepticus, February 13, 2009
Sure, urine is a sterile fluid, so you can't get infected from it. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve disgust. As far back as I can remember, I have found the smell of urine to be completely repellent, I don't recall being taught that this is the way I should feel about the smell, it just seems to have happened. If I was in a culture where urine was more acceptable as a drink then I might have been taught to overcome this reaction, but I don't think that their position is more in step with human nature than mine.

The scenario that I would hate to imagine is sitting down to lunch around a table when one of my fellow diners cracks open a cold one (or should that be "warm one"?) and the smell drifts around while I'm eating - and even worse if we are in a conversation and the heated liquid's scent periodically wafts in my direction. It would stop me in my tracks and possibly end the conversation immediately (note to woo-proponents; start drinking cow urine, it will shut me up straight away and you can continue to argue in my absence).

:x

James
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written by Mikebo, February 13, 2009
Even if urine is sterile, as a product of the body's waste elimination system, mightn't it contain substances our body tries to GET RID OF (eg urea), that we would be introducing into our body?
Plus, would it contain any hormonal residues that might have adverse effects?
Any biochemists out there, let us know.
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Even water can be lethal...
written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009
From what I have been able to find out, drinking urine is not harmful in reasonable quantities. Of course, even plain water can be lethal if enough is consumed quickly enough (and it doesn't have to have come from sewerage!). Urine does contain waste products, but these waste products are already in the blood before they are eliminated through the kidneys, so re-introducing them back into the body should not effect the body adversely (with the above caveat).

BJ
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written by Kuroyume, February 14, 2009
There must be some trace of something in there, sterile or not. Why would there be such procedures as giving 'urine samples' for drug or other medical testing? Urea, as noted, is not a harmless substance. And, after sitting for a while, urine starts to produce ammonia. I'll pass on the Pissy Cola, thank you very much. smilies/wink.gif
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written by MadScientist, February 14, 2009
I've got "cow juice" (milk), "brown cow juice" (chocolate flavored milk), and perhaps now I can add "fizzy cow juice" to my lexicon. I wouldn't drink it, but I can think of a few people I'd love to hand a bottle of that stuff to. Whenever people tell me that waste water (sewage) should be 'recycled' and that the resulting water is clean enough to drink, I always tell them they're welcome to drink my pee, but I'd rather build a dam and drink the diluted pee of whatever animals are upstream.
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written by GMJ, February 14, 2009
Maybe they should name the product "Mountain Ewww"

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written by Kuroyume, February 14, 2009
Jay Leno already did that one. smilies/smiley.gif
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Bad meanings drive out good meanings
written by Paul Murray, February 14, 2009
Sigh. Here in Oz, "Moo Juice" means "Milk". So now we'll have to start being more specific.
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Urine therapy
written by Mikebo, February 14, 2009
Just found this on the webthingy: http://www.cowurine.com/.
It seems there's a whole pseudoscience (pronounced PEEseudoscience in this case?) built on this marvellous liquid. Imagine what miracles the homeopaths could work with a drop of cow pee and a whole lot of water!
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written by GMJ, February 14, 2009
Kuroyome, I did not know Leno had said that. Credit where credit is due, thanks.

I won't be suprised if the urine therapy thing becomes a homeopathic product. It already has a small following among the "western medicine is evil" crowd. I talked with a guy at a "healing arts" fair who advocates that people should sit in a bath tub of their own urine. He claims to save his up in plastic milk containers. I told him to be very careful to avoid dihydrogen monoxide when bathing
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written by TDjazz, February 14, 2009
I like mine on the rocks with a twist of lemon.
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written by Cuddy Joe, February 14, 2009
Dang, Jeff Wagg... I only just now got the pun in the title Urine: The Money

Sometimes it's like I've got two brain cells left -and they're waving goodbye to one another.
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My first instinct was to check the date
written by FrankH, February 14, 2009
It's not 1st April so this must be serious.

Yuck!!

smilies/shocked.gif smilies/shocked.gif

I'm sure if it becomes available McDonalds will add it to their menu. It'll complement the rest of their offerings. smilies/wink.gif
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Skimmed answer.
written by lukedoughaines@hotmail.co, February 14, 2009
I admit I didn't follow the link to the pro-urine site above (I'm not sure how much I really care about drinking pee, after all) but I dimly remember a pro-urine advocate I saw on TV saying that drinking your own brand, as it were, replaces the nutrients that the kidneys "missed" the first time, and therefore tops your system up.
I can sort of see the logic behind that, although I would never partake. A friend of mine once told me that he read somewhere that if you have no other source of liquid, drinking your own pee and nothing else, and then repeating the process three times, causes insanity. It's third-hand information, though, so I take it with a grain of salt.
Finally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn1cJ-9CBUM
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Can't viruses pass through in urine?
written by huonia, February 14, 2009
Surely, a person can be exposed to pathogens in untreated urine -- can't they? Someone out there might clarify (sorry about that) this for us.
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It is a common prejudice.
written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009
MadScientist

Whenever people tell me that waste water (sewage) should be 'recycled' and that the resulting water is clean enough to drink, I always tell them they're welcome to drink my pee


In the state of Victoria (Australia), treatment plants produce recycled water from sewerage which is suitable for use in agriculture, horticulture, public gardens, golf courses, and industry. And there are several new suburbs that have a second water pipe that carries this recycled water for use on lawns and in toilets. A minor inexpensive upgrade could produce drinking water from sewerage cleaner than that obtained from water catchment areas. It is also the cheapest way to augment our dwindling water supply. The government, of course, senses the reluctance ot its constituents and therefore are going for two much more expensive options - a pipeline and a desalination plant - which will not be able to provide any water for years until the infrsatructure is completed.

Yes, the problem is overcoming the "yuk" factor, but as sceptics, I would have hoped we are beyond that. smilies/wink.gif

regards,
BillyJoe
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written by Retromancy, February 14, 2009
Well I guess you are assuming that the practitioner of this collects the urine properly, as while fresh urine from the bladder is sterile, it can be contaminated by the passage out through the urinary tract. Also it's only sterile if the person/animal doesn't have a urinary tract infection which aren't particularly uncommon (I've had a number of my animals acquire this condition who needed antibiotics to clear it up). Also if I remember rightly, some hormones and drugs are excreted too, so don't think I'd be very keen to try it without proper recycling treatment either.
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written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009
it can be contaminated by the passage out through the urinary tract. Also it's only sterile if the person/animal doesn't have a urinary tract infection

Practically all urinary tract infections are by organisms from the person's own gastrointestinal tract. You would, therefore, simply be placing that organism back into the gut from whence ot came.
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written by Lee, February 14, 2009
Is there any more or less merit in the claim "urine is sterile", compared to the similar claim "cerebro-spinal fluid is sterile"? Sure, CSF under normal conditions should not contain any pathogens, being that it is a filtered blood product. CSF from a meningitis patient on the other hand, is not so safe. Likewise, urine is pathogen free... except when it isn't.

Why then are people so eager to point out that urine is sterile? Is it any more valid than my CSF example, or is it mentioned more to reduce people's disgust at the thought of consuming piss?
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written by bosshog, February 15, 2009
BillyJoe:
Just wondering - what would be a "reasonable amount" of cow piss to drink?
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written by Cuddy Joe, February 15, 2009
Depends. Holstein? Black Angus? Hereford? Geurnsey?
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written by Willy K, February 15, 2009
I'm late to this discussion.

I thought folks from the UK have been drinking urine for years.

I've heard they go out drinking and get "pissed." smilies/wink.gif
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But that's bad
written by Weatherwax, February 15, 2009
written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009

"Practically all urinary tract infections are by organisms from the person's own gastrointestinal tract. You would, therefore, simply be placing that organism back into the gut from whence ot came."

But putting organisims back into the body in places they don't belong is bad. Like ecoli.
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but be carefull
written by Weatherwax, February 15, 2009
It is a common prejudice.
written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009

MadScientist

"In the state of Victoria (Australia), treatment plants produce recycled water from sewerage which is suitable for use in agriculture, horticulture, public gardens, golf courses, and industry. And there are several new suburbs that have a second water pipe that carries this recycled water for use on lawns and in toilets."

We do the same in California, but in one area the pipes got mismatched, and the re-cycled water ended up being piped into the drinking water system. A number of people were sickened, fortunantly none seriously.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20070822-9999-1n22otay.html
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written by BillyJoe, February 15, 2009
"Practically all urinary tract infections are by organisms from the person's own gastrointestinal tract. You would, therefore, simply be placing that organism back into the gut from whence ot came."
But putting organisims back into the body in places they don't belong is bad. Like ecoli.

E coli actually belong in the gastrointestinal tract where they noramally comprise about 1% of the total biomass. They even help to digest your food.
As an interesting but irrelevant fact, the human body contains 10 times more cells not of human origin than of human origin.
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Bosshog
written by BillyJoe, February 15, 2009
BillyJoe:
Just wondering - what would be a "reasonable amount" of cow piss to drink?

You are directing this at the wrong person. I was talking about water recycled from human sewerage.
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weatherwax
written by BillyJoe, February 15, 2009
We do the same in California, but in one area the pipes got mismatched, and the re-cycled water ended up being piped into the drinking water system. A number of people were sickened, fortunantly none seriously.

Was that before or after they found out the error? smilies/cheesy.gif
But, yes, the system has to be foolproof.
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written by C.Watts, February 15, 2009
Drinking cow's piss seems like the rational thing to do after you've swallowed bullshit.
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That's right.
written by Weatherwax, February 15, 2009
"E coli actually belong in the gastrointestinal tract where they noramally comprise about 1% of the total biomass. They even help to digest your food."

That's my point. Ecoli belongs in the gastrointestinal tract, but if you eat it, and get it into the upper digestive system, you have a debilitating, potentially fatal problem. If most urinary tract infections are caused by organisms from the body that have gotten into an area they don't belong, and I don't know if that's true, but will accept it, then drinking those organisms and putting them into your upper digestive system is probably not harmless.

.
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it's other peoples' that's the problem folks
written by huonia, February 15, 2009
... don't forget, this is not really about drinking one's own excreta, it's the prospect of drinking some from another organism. We are all susceptible to pathogens from other organisms, so all this talk about "if it came out of your body you can take it" is not really relevant to this discussion.

I don't want to offend anyone, but I'm not in a hurry to drink bovine urine.
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written by BillyJoe, February 15, 2009
Weatherwax: That's my point. Ecoli belongs in the gastrointestinal tract, but if you eat it, and get it into the upper digestive system, you have a debilitating, potentially fatal problem.

No. that's how it gets into the gastrointestinal tract in the first place.

huonia... don't forget, this is not really about drinking one's own excreta, it's the prospect of drinking some from another organism.

Oops, yes, you are correct.

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written by Roo, February 15, 2009
Yep, I can confirm that here in the UK we do go 'out on the piss' or to 'get pissed'. I think that's more to do with one of the unfortunate side-effects of massive alcoholic beverage consumption though. Some lagers, I feel, could be poured straight down the loo, cuts out the middle man...

Surely cow (or any other beast's) urine is stuff from which the cow's body has extracted all the nutrients and is entirely waste matter? Or maybe Jeff is just taking the piss out of us all. smilies/wink.gif
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Probably not a risk free hobby
written by chrisevald, February 15, 2009
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (also called serum hepatitis) is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms ranging from general malaise to chronic liver disease that can lead to liver cancer.

The hepatitis B virus spreads through:

* infected body fluids, such as blood, saliva, semen, vaginal fluids, tears, and urine
* a contaminated blood transfusion (uncommon in the United States)
* shared contaminated needles or syringes for injecting drugs
* sexual activity with an HBV-infected person
* transmission from HBV-infected mothers to their newborn babies
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written by bosshog, February 16, 2009
written by BillyJoe, February 14, 2009

"From what I have been able to find out, drinking urine is not harmful in reasonable quantities. Of course, even plain water ..."

THAT'S what I'm talking about.
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written by bosshog, February 16, 2009
Oh-oh-oh, okay, I gotchya.
So:
What would be a reasonable amount of your own piss to drink?
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written by Lee, February 16, 2009
About the same as water, if it is a one off event. It is only if the consumption is repeated that it would become a mounting problem.
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written by Roo, February 16, 2009
OK - re. drinking your own wee. What happens if you drink your wee and then you wee again and drink that? Then, you wee again and drink that wee? Wouldn't you be drinking wee that is itself "recycled" wee? And would that be harmful? smilies/sad.gif

Or am I going down the same route that homeopathy treads? Eventually, after repeating this ('wee-cycling'? smilies/wink.gif) pattern, wouldn't we just be drinking plain water containing "the memory of wee"? And where would wee be then?

Personally, I don't think the supposed health benefits are sufficient for me to overcome the 'yuk' factor. If it was proved that the stuff helped the cure of cancer or depression or some other nasty then I might think about it. I'd probably swill it down with a couple of pints of vodka though... smilies/tongue.gif
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written by BillyJoe, February 16, 2009
There are three topics here, drinking your own urine, drinking others urine, and drinking water recycled form sewerage. It's hard to tell which one of these three topics some people are referring to, so I'll pass for the moment.

BJ
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Pedant alert
written by pxatkins, February 16, 2009
Sewerage is the system used to carry away sewage, not the sewage itself. You might be rightly peeved if a lump of sewage fell on your head from a great height, but you'd be in truly deep doo if it were a piece of sewerage.
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written by Lahurongirl, February 16, 2009
Ick! If I had to drink it (gun to my head and all that), I think I would rather drink my own. I don't know that cow!!
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written by BillyJoe, February 16, 2009
Sewerage and sewage can be used interchangeably but pedantically, yes, you are correct.
(which goes to prove there's a first time for everything)
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written by mama1974, February 24, 2009
Seems like the newest (and far more disgusting) version of bottled water without the bother of finding a spring seeing as the source of this stuff is mobile. "Have a cow? Make some dough!" Just don't forget to tell folks how "beneficial" it is to drink. McDonalds can make it part of the new healthier menu as a combo meal with a double cow patty with cheese. Mmmm, I'm lovin' it. Do the morons deserved to be suckered this way? Isn't being stupid enough of a punishment?
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