Most think of urine as a distasteful cocktail of water and waste products. But as any good recycler will tell you, “waste” is just a valuable resource. Lab analyses show that urine contains hundreds of compounds and chemicals absorbed from food, beverages, dust, and even the air we breathe. Some of these pass through us pretty much unchanged, and some have been broken down by our bodies or the billions of microorganisms that live within us.

Proponents of urine therapy, such as Sullivan, believe these compounds can actually be very beneficial when returned to the body. While this may sound strange or downright repulsive, even mainstream science has used urine to create medicines. Emmenin, the first estrogen replacement product marketed in the US, back in 1933, was made from the urine of pregnant women. The more affordable Premarin arrived a decade later and is still used today. It’s made from the urine of pregnant mares. More recently, the fertility drugs Pergonal and Metrodin were developed from urine. And Urokinase, which is used to unblock coronary arteries, comes from the same, err, wellspring. Urine is also rich in natural urea, a product found in high-end skin moisturizers, as well as in ear drops designed to remove wax.