I’m going to try not to use the P word too much in this post, as tempting as it is as that would be taking the Pee but urine has actually had a long history of practical uses especially in medicine.
None other than Pliny the Elder back in Rome recommended fresh urine for the treatment of “sores, burns, affections of the anus, chaps and scorpion stings”, while stale urine mixed with ash could be rubbed on your baby for what we would now call nappy rash.
In early-modern Europe urine went on to have even more uses with pioneering French surgeon Ambroise Paré noting that itching eye-lids could be washed in the patient’s urine provided that it had been kept “all night in a barber’s basin” first. The father of chemistry, Robert Boyle, advised certain patients to drink every morning “a moderate draught of their own urine”, preferably while “tis yet warm”. He also performed numerous experiments with human blood and urine including using both as invisible inks and noted how the latter was highly valued by dyers;
As disgusting as this might sound, Thomas Willis who was then the richest doctor in England instructed a young lady to drink her own warm urine against “extreme sourness” in her throat.