“Your own urine can be a powerful home remedy, especially as a way to immediately soothe the sting of insect bites, jellyfish venom, and the toxins in certain plants such as stinging nettles. Urine is naturally antiseptic, making it great for treating fungal infections, preventing infections of open wounds, and generally restoring skin health (including getting relief from acne!).”
Or at least that’s what I read on Earth Clinic Home Remedies: Natural Cures Using Urine along with some other good info. I’m skeptical; so I did a little more research and here’s what I found. I’m not going into any info about drinking urine because I’ve already hit that in a different article; in short, don’t do it, even if you have seen it on the television.
First is the use of urine as a battlefield antiseptic. “Gross though it may sound to normal folk, the oft-cited practice of irrigating battlefield wounds with urine isn’t completely stupid – if the other options are using water of dubious sterility or letting things fester, what the hell. The question is whether it makes any sense if you’ve got a choice of antibacterial or antifungal agents.” Further study shows that this really is a last ditch effort, and only one utilized extensively by primitive cultures. From a discussion page on the 13th Warrior movie I read this statement in regards to urine as an antiseptic; “It’s only an anecdote, but a friend of my fathers who served as a medic in Korea told me that when there was no other disinfectant available, they would pee on their hands for sterilization. He said it was the Uric acid that did the trick. I would guess cow pee had uric acid too and might work as a disinfectant?”
The second theory is the one that we are most familiar with. I’m not even going to paraphrase this as I found this particular response very humorous: “With athlete’s foot so tough to lose, you can see why some might give urine a whizz (har!), and in fairness there’s a scrap of sense to the idea. The key isn’t urine itself but a compound in it called urea, which is also an inactive ingredient of many athlete’s foot treatments. Urea is used in skin preparations as an emollient (softener) and exfoliant (flake remover) – it goes after the thickened skin athlete’s foot produces, allowing the fungicide to penetrate and kill the fungus. In fact, because the compound can break down proteins, preparations containing up to 40 percent urea are available to treat nail fungus and even remove toenails nonsurgically, although they take days to work. So why won’t tinkling on your tootsies help with athlete’s foot? First, there’s not enough urea in urine to do much good – typically only 2 to 2.5 percent. Second, urea per se isn’t what attacks the athlete’s foot fungus; it mainly helps antifungals work. Finally, unless you stopper the tub and let your feet soak, any contact you’d have in the shower would be brief.” I don’t think I could have summed that up better even after exploring a fair number of articles posted on prestigious websites. If you want to read the full article check it out on The straight dope: Can urinating on your feet in the shower cure athlete’s foot?
Another big rumor propagated by the television sitcom Friends is that one method for relieving the pain from a jelly fish sting is to urinate on it. From Scientific America: Fact or Fiction?: Urinating on a Jellyfish Sting is an Effective Treatment, I pulled some large excerpts on the matter: “Jellyfish stings are painful, but they are rarely life-threatening. For most such injuries, in North America at least, the pain will not last longer than 24 hours. ‘[But] it depends on what jellyfish gets you,’ notes Christopher Holstege, a toxicologist and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia. Those 24 hours, though, could be uncomfortable without any treatment, which can be administered on the beach. Both Burnett and Holstege recommend washing the area with saltwater. Such rinsing will deactivate those pesky nematocysts that are still hanging on. A freshwater rinse will have the opposite effect. Any change to the balance of solutes, such as the concentration of salts inside and outside of the cnidocyte, sets off stinging. Adding freshwater to the sting site dilutes the salts outside the cell, unbalancing the solutes. In reaction to this change, the nematocysts in the cells release more venom–and cause more pain. But what about urine? It contains salts and electrolytes. ‘I can think of many other things I’d rather have on me,’ Holstege notes. The concentration of salts and other compounds people have in their urine changes, he explains. If it is too dilute it will be similar to freshwater and cause those stingers to fire. Other liquids and compounds, however, can help. Most stings in North American waters can be assuaged by vinegar, or 5 percent acetic acid. For stings from a few species, Cyanea capillata and Chysaora quinquecirrha, a baking soda and seawater paste is even better. Once rinsing deactivates all the nasty nematocysts, the attached bits of tentacle can be removed by coating them with shaving cream or a slurry of seawater and sand followed by shaving with a razor or even a credit card.”
Last medical theory for the moment is one that surprised me; the use of urine in treating acne. There are quite a variety of ways to applicate the urine, but most common is topographically. From Earth Clinic Home Remedies: Natural Cures Using Urine I read this personal response to the acne remedy: “07/22/2013: Jennifer from Bronx, Ny: ‘I always wanted to find another way of getting rid of the small pimples that grows on my face. I am very happy that I found this website because I did not know that urine is good to treat acne. So after I read every person’s comment about the Urine Therapy, I decided to put urine on my face the areas where I have acne last night. I did not wash my face and when I woke up I saw a difference on my face. I saw that the small acne pimples that I had were shrinking and also my face look clear. I am very satisfied with the results and I will continue using my urine. Thank you.’” If it works it works; FYI, I did make some grammatical corrections to that last bit I did not alter the material content. I was surprised by how many similar comments were left by readers on this and other pages.
A lot of quoting, but I hope you enjoyed. It seems urine has little modern value as a medical treatment aside from and alternative treatment for acne.