What Was Urine Used for in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, urine was not just a waste product, but it was considered to be a valuable resource that had several uses. Urine has been used for various purposes throughout history, including medicinal, cosmetic, and even industrial applications. Let’s take a closer look at how urine was used in ancient times.

Medicinal Use

One of the most common uses of urine in ancient times was for medicinal purposes. Urine contains various compounds that have therapeutic properties. For instance, urea, a major component of urine, is known to have skin-softening properties and can be used to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Additionally, urine was believed to have antiseptic properties and was used as an antiseptic agent for wounds and burns. It was also used as a mouthwash to cure bad breath, toothache and gum disease.

Cosmetic Use

Urine has also been used as a cosmetic product in ancient times. It contains ammonia which is an excellent cleaning agent that can remove stains from clothes and act as a natural bleach for teeth whitening. Ancient Romans even used it as shampoo to clean their hair.

Also, women in ancient Greece would use urine to lighten their hair color or create blonde highlights by applying it on their hair under the sun.

Industrial Use

Urine was also used for industrial purposes in ancient times. In fact, during the Middle Ages in Europe, tanners would use urine to soften animal hides before tanning them into leather. The ammonia content in urine would help break down the animal fat on the hides and make them more pliable.

Moreover, some industries would collect large amounts of human urine to use as a raw material for making gunpowder because it contains saltpeter (potassium nitrate) which is one of the key ingredients used for manufacturing gunpowder.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, urine was used for a variety of purposes in ancient times, from medicinal to cosmetic and industrial applications. While some of these uses may seem strange or even repulsive to us today, it’s important to remember that our ancestors had a different relationship with bodily fluids than we do. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating to look back at how our ancestors made use of what we now consider waste material and find ways to turn it into something valuable.