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Urine therapy

Over the years people have ingested some fairly repulsive concoctions in the name of health. But it is hard to imagine a less appealing source of sustenance than the bladder. Nonetheless it's true. People swear by the health-giving properties of their own urine.

The Internet is a great enlightener in this respect - there is even a urine therapy home page. It brings us a variety of protag-anists for the amber nectar, like the Chinese Association of Urine Therapy, for instance, which has been advocating urine's beneficial properties for generations.

You will be relieved to know that you can enjoy its curative powers without having to drink it, according to the association's spokesman, Mr Chu Chin Fu. Soak your feet in it, he says, and it will see off athlete's foot or ringworm. Or use it as eye drops or eardrops, and if swallowing is beyond you, you could try gargling with it for up to 15 minutes a day and cure toothache or gum disease (though he doesn't mention bad breath).

Applications supported by other urine evangelists include: massaging or rubbing it in to leave you with beautiful skin; and as a cure-all for conditions such as sunburn, eczema, psoriasis and acne. You could rub it into acupressure points, particularly the ears. It's also said to make your hair soft and shiny.

But if you are going to drink it, the best time to, er, harvest it, is in the morning. "You can start with a few drops, building up to one glass a day, " advises Coen van der Kroon, author of The Golden Fountain: The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy.

But before you rush off to the bathroom, you may want to be reminded of what's actually in it. Apart from urea, uric acid and hydrogen ions, urine consists of stuff your body didn't want the first time around: excess salt,vitamins and other substances such as drugs. Which begs the question: if our bodies have the sense to get rid of it, why put it back in?

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