Camel urine consumption in Yemen and Saudi Arabia
Aug 10, 2013
Researchers in Muslim countries have lately been trying to lend some scientific basis to the claims that drinking piss will cure diseases. In February, a team from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, claimed they had extracted a substance called PMF701 from camel urine that could be used to treat cancer. Similar claims were made by the same researchers in 2009, when they said they’d seen evidence that camel milk and pee could fight eczema and psoriasis.
People have been consuming camel urine on the Arabian Peninsula for a long, long time. It’s been used by the Bedouin people as a shampoo and medicine for centuries, and it’s part of Muslim tradition as well; the Prophet Mohammed is said to have once told some of his sick followers to drink camel milk and pee “till their bodies became healthy.”
Since the seventh century, Yemenis have been following his advice. Statistics about camel urine use are rare, but if you spend any time in Yemen you’ll find some people, mostly in the countryside, who drink urine as a cure for whatever ails them. Some salons use it as a remedy for hair loss, and it’s even occasionally prescribed by some doctors.
Is there any claim to the assumption that camel’s urine is efficacious in the treatment of skin diseases such as ringworm, tinea and abscesses, sores that may appear on the body and hair, and dry and wet ulcers.
Camel’s urine brings the secondary benefits of making the hair lustrous and thick, and removing dandruff from the scalp?
Scientific experiments have proven that camel’s urine has a lethal effect on the germs that cause many diseases?
Camel’s urine is also efficacious in the treatment of swelling of the liver and other diseases such as abscesses, sores that appear on the body and toothache, and for washing eyes?
Dr. Faten Abdel-Rahman Khorshid is responsible for one of the Kingdom’s greatest national achievements in the field of science for her work which began with the urine of camels and concluded in a potential cure for cancer. After spending more than five years in lab research, this Saudi scientist and faculty member from King Abdul Aziz University (KAAU) and President of the Tissues Culture Unit at King Fahd Center for Medical Research, has discovered that nano-particles in the urine of camels can attack cancer cells with success. Her work began with experiments involving camel urine, cancer cells found in patients’ lungs and culminated in injecting mice with leukemic cancel cells and camel urine to test the results.
Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Dr. Khorshid claimed that she was inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) medical advice and that camel urine consists of natural substances that work to eradicate malignant cells and maintain the number of healthy cells in a cancer patient.
“This treatment is not an invention, but rather, taken from our Prophet’s legacy,” she remarked. A Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari (2855) and Muslim (1671) claims that some people came to Madina and fell ill with bloated abdomens. The Prophet (pbuh) told them to combine the milk and urine of a camel and drink that, after which they recovered. A swollen abdomen may indicate edema, liver disease or cancer. Dr. Khorshid added that she is not a medical doctor but a scientist and her job involves the preparation and testing of a drug in the lab and supervising the manufacture, testing and application of the drug.
“We have researched and studied (camel urine) for seven years, during which we have tested the effectiveness of camel urine in fighting cancer to prerequisites set by the International Cancer Institute,” she explained. According to her published study on the subject, the clinical trial her team conducted on patients indicated that the medicine (capsules and syrup) did not entail any harmful side effects.
In the case of a volunteer patient with lung cancer, the medicine helped in halving the size of the tumor after only one month. The patient, and others like him, are still undergoing treatment. Heeding the advice found in the Hadith, Dr. Khorshid is combining specific amounts of camel milk and urine to develop her medicine and focuses on particular types of cancer, including lung cancer, blood cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, brain tumors and breast cancer.
She added that she advises all of her volunteer patients to use fresh camel milk and urine with the two components given individually for a period of time and then combined together later. Other illnesses, including vitiligo (depigmentation in certain areas of the skin), eczema and psoriasis (an autoimmune disease which affects the skin and joints). However, Dr. Khorshid adds that she will only dispense this medicine to patients on a non-voluntary basis when pharmaceutical companies obtain a license to do so. Currently, the medication is still undergoing tests.
“We will provide ointments, capsules, syrup, shampoo, soap and gels to combat a number of the illnesses mentioned, but only after they have been licensed by the Ministry of Health and mass-manufactured by the pharmaceutical company,” she explained.
Her study has obtained the formal approval of the Ethics Committee of Scientific Research at KAAU. Meanwhile, her research has earned her team the gold medal for innovation in the Kingdom in 2008, and the medicine was also chosen as one of the six best innovations out of 600 entrants at the International Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2009, held in Malaysia.
However they were never given permission from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to conduct more studies on patients, however, and there have been plenty of scientists and doctors in the region who have publicly denounced the practice of sipping camel pee. Lecturers from Sana’a University, in Yemen’s capital, have gone out of their way to remind people that quaffing urine is bad for your digestive system, and Dr. Rida Al-Wakil, a professor at a medical school in Egypt, told Alrai, an Arabic-language newspaper in Kuwait, that ads for camel urine treatments for hepatitis were “misleading” and potentially dangerous.