Camel urine

A camel in Socotra

Camel urine is a liquid by-product of metabolism in a camel's anatomy. Urine from camels has been used in prophetic medicine for centuries, being a part of ancient Bedouin practices and also Muslim tradition. According to the World Health Organization, the use of camel urine as a traditional medicine lacks scientific evidence.

Anatomy

Camel urine comes out as a thick syrup.

The kidneys and intestines of a camel are very efficient at reabsorbing water. Camels' kidneys have a 1:4 cortex to medulla ratio. Thus, the medullary part of a camel's kidney occupies twice as much area as a cow's kidney. Secondly, renal corpuscles have a smaller diameter, which reduces surface area for filtration. These two major anatomical characteristics enable camels to conserve water and limit the volume of urine in extreme desert conditions.

Each kidney of an Arabian camel has a capacity around 0.86 litres and can produce urine with high chloride concentrations. Like the horse, the dromedary has no gall bladder, an organ that requires water to function. Consequently, bile flows constantly. Most food is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. Any remaining liquids and roughage move into the large intestine.

Hadith on camel urine

A hadith in Book 4 (Ablution) of al-Bukhari's collection narrated by Anas ibn Malik was used to promote the consumption of Arabian camel urine as a medicine. The climate of Medina did not suit some people, so the Muhammad ordered them to follow his shepherd, i.e. his camels, and drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they followed the shepherd that is the camels and drank their milk and urine till their bodies became healthy. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels. When the news reached Muhammad he sent some people in their pursuit. When they were brought, he cut their hands and feet and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron. The authentic hadith also states "Some people of ‘Ukl or ‘Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them ... So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of Milch camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). ... So they went as directed and after they became healthy". Bukhari also narrated, an otherwise identical version of this Hadith, without the mention of "urine". The event has also been recorded in Sahih Muslim, History of the Prophets and Kings and Kitāb aṭ-ṭabaqāt al-kabīr.

Indian Islamic scholar Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi notes various theories proposed by Hanafi and Shaafi’e scholars for a canonical understanding of the implications. This book refers to topical application of milch camel urine as the actual word of the saying has the word Azmadu which means to apply a layer of something. However, Bachtiar Nasir, an Islamic scholar, advocated for and defended the consumption of camel urine, claiming the mixture of camel urine and milk has medicinal benefits.

Medieval times

Avicenna in The Canon of Medicine noted that a diet of camel milk and Arabian camel urine can be beneficial for diseases of the liver.

Usage and research

In Yemen, camel urine is consumed and used for treating ailments, though it has been widely denounced. Some salons are said use it as a treatment for hair loss. The camel urine from a virgin camel is priced at twenty dollars per liter, with herders saying that it has curative powers. It is traditionally mixed with milk.

Certain preclinical studies have claimed that camel urine possesses various therapeutic advantages, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties, and even potential cardiovascular benefits. For example, in 2012, a study conducted at the Department of Molecular Oncology of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, found that camel urine contains anti-cancerous agents that are cytotoxic against various, but not all, human cancer cell lines in vitro.

A study published on the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal found that camel urine showed no clinical benefits in cancer patients, with two of the participants developing brucellosis. Given the lack of scientific evidence supporting the use of camel urine as a traditional medicine, it is advisable to discontinue its promotion.

In 2017, a joint study by King Faisal University and University of Hong Kong found that experimental infections of dromedaries from with MERS‐CoV didn't show any evidence of virus in the urine. Therefore, the camel urine is an unlikely source of virus transmission to humans.

See also


This page was last updated at 2023-10-29 14:47 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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