According to some Alt-med practitioners, we all carry around with us an amazing medicine that when applied topically can toughen skin, treat eczema, calluses, psoriasis and other skin complaints; when rubbed on gums can prevent decay, whiten teeth and freshen breath; and when taken internally can treat almost all known diseases from asthma to zika virus, via cancer, strokes, depression and Parkinson's. It's a wonder really that big-pharma even bother it is so useful a treatment. We are of course talking about urine.

A brief Google search of the practice (as well as making you feel nauseous) reveals so many claims and shows it is very popular in India and some African countries. Pulse.ng (a Nigerian News and Entertainment TV channel and website) lists "some of the unbelievable health benefits of urine therapy". They include the standard "enhances immunity", "prevents allergies", and "promotes a healthy heart" but it also claims that it cures baldness when rubbed on the scalp and of course "fights cancer". Though, like many alternative practices the claims made are supposed to be ancient (the Bible verse "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well" is often cited), as usual it is much more modern. British Naturopath John W. Armstrong published 'Water of Life: A treatise on urine therapy' in 1918 and it formed the basis of the modern practice.

His book sold well in India and by 1978, the Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai (who also drink his own piss) stated that urine therapy was the perfect medical solution for the millions of Indians who cannot afford medical treatment; and more than three million Chinese now drink their own urine in the belief it is good for their health. Today you can often find (minor) celebrities who claim they have been drinking their own urine regularly, and newspapers and TV shows regularly wheel out someone who extols the benefits, claiming they've never had a days illness since they started. Needless to say, please don't drink your pee. As Dr Andrew J Thornber puts it: “The whole point of urinating is for the kidneys to filter the blood and it gets rid of any excess fluid and salts, as well as minerals. Urine in a healthy person is made up of about 95% water, but the other 5% is waste products the body is looking to expel - such as potassium and nitrogen - which, if you have too much in your body, can cause problems.”