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Last Updated:  Thursday, 13 March, 2003, 16:14 GMT
Cameroon bans urine 'health drink'
Urine sample
A glass a day keeps the doctor away?

The Cameroon health minister has deemed it necessary to warn people that drinking urine may not be good for your health.

Urbain Olanguena Awono has even warned that those who advocate drinking urine risk prosecution.

He was moved to speak after a wave of interest in "urinotherapy".

Advocates are convinced that it can cure afflictions such as haemorrhoids, ulcers, infertility and even snake bites.

"Given the risks of toxicity associated in the short, medium and long term with ingesting urine, the health ministry advises against the consumption of urine and invites those who promote the practice to cease doing so forthwith or risk prosecution," Mr Awono said in a statement.

Best seller

But "urinotherapists" are sticking to their beliefs that a glass of urine a day keeps the doctor away.

"I used it to treat my haemorrhoids," Emile told Cameroon newspaper, Le Messager.

"Everyone uses it in secret. But you need to be brave," he said.

But not everyone has the necessary courage.

"I tried but I just couldn't," said G Gisele.

"For several years now, I haven't had a hair on my head, but since I started drinking my urine, it's started growing again - it's quite extraordinary," the French news agency, AFP, quoted an unnamed magistrate as saying.

Le Messager says that a book on "urinotherapy" published in Switzerland has become a best seller.

But others say it is part of Cameroon's traditional medicine.

"When my grandmother who is 80 was bitten by a snake in the fields, she drank her own urine. This slowed down the progress of the venom to her heart until she got to hospital," said Omer Otabela.

Country profile: Cameroon
24 Jun 02 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Cameroon
20 Nov 02 |  Africa

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