“This urine, you use three times every day, in the morning, noon and night. If symptoms persist, you must use it for four months without missing using same prescription. You then visit a doctor. If you still feel pain in that month, don’t worry it will vanish,” said Idriss Shaban, a camel urine seller.
World Health Organization has urged people to refrain from drinking the camel urine since it has been scientifically proven to cause a viral respiratory disease reports African news
The trade in camel urine is a very lucrative one for Arabs and local teenagers in Azare (Bauchi State), who ply their trade along the Kano-Maiduguri federal highway. Whenever motorists slow down at military check points, they are often faced with an army of teenage hawkers running towards them and holding containers of camel milk and urine. “Buy camel urine and milk, they are highly medicinal,” they would chorus.
“A 750 ml bottle of the urine costs N200 while a four litre gallon costs N1, 000,” one of the girls said.
At the background, Arab women can be heard listing the health benefits of drinking camel urine. Both the buyers and sellers of the waste product, who cut across all strata of the society, believe it is medicinal and can heal even complicated ailments and those that have defied orthodox medical treatment.
Ironically too, the urine merchants say camel urine can be poisonous, fatal and dangerous if not used in accordance to instructions. They often warn that the dosage must be strictly adhered to, and diluted with water to avoid problems.
One of the Arab women from Mali who simply gave her name as Khadijah was in the midst of the teenage girls contesting to sell the camel urine; and beside her was a little girl who interprets every transaction she makes. “Maganin Hawan Jini da Cansa, Naira dari biyu”(A medicine that cures high blood pressure and cancer, N200), she repeats loudly.
For Khadijah, the camels’ by-product can cure every disease as long as the patient knows how to use it. “We depend on these camels as sources of medicine, food, transportation and now it is giving us money,” she said.
“During the dry season, we usually migrate to the South from Mali through Niger Republic to Nigeria and Burkina Faso. We return North before the rains start to avoid clash with farmers. Throughout this journey and in my entire life, I rely on camels for food and medicine. I have never been to the hospital. My camels are my everything,” she said in local Arabic dialect.
She said they prefer staying close to soldiers at check points because soldiers are kind to them, adding, “This fresh milk is good for the body especially when people drink it early in the morning. It cures asthma, hypertension and stomach ache because it washes the body system,” she said.
But, it is not all about selling camel urine. There are herbs mixed with camel milk that are sold secretly to specific customers by the Arab men for sexual performance.
Umarou Sental said the viagra ‘Zurmut’ is strictly sold to married men to avoid promiscuity among unmarried ones. “Initially we didn’t sell it, we only gave to friends and acquaintances free but when the demand for it increased, we started selling,” he added
Some of the hawkers told Daily Trust that the camel urine and milk has taken over their snacks and soft drink business.
Curiously, this reporter asked if the camel products are not mixed with goat milk and urine. One of the Arab women quickly responded in Arabic “Lah lah, algus haram. Haza labalul jamal” meaning “No, it’s forbidden to mix it. It’s purely camel milk.”
Dr. Idris Yusuf Madaki of the Animal Health Unit, Yobe Livestock Development Programme, said the medicinal efficacy of the camel urine and milk has not yet been confirmed clinically, and the process of collecting the products from the camels can lead to the spread of zoonotic diseases.
“I’ve argued severally that the camel milk and urine could have the medicinal efficiency to treat these ailments, but people must have practical ways to administer its dosage using the safest approach to avoid contamination and catastrophe.”
He said that recently the Yobe State Livestock quarantine officers had reported cases of camel herds transcending the Nigerian border with zoonotic diseases that can affect man and animals, saying “I am afraid that some of the nomads are already selling the milk and urine of the infected camels. What do think will happen to patients if they drink it? We should make sure both the urine and milk are safe before taking them,” he said
Online investigations conducted by this reporter revealed a certain Professor in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Sudanese Al-jazeerah University, Professor Ahmad A Ahmadani, who discovered a practical way of using camel urine to treat dropsy and swelling in the liver. He experimented with two patients; each given a daily dosage of camel urine mixed with milk to make it palatable. Fifteen days later, the patients’ stomachs went back to their normal sizes.
He said that camel urine has large amount of potassium, albumen and magnesium because it only drinks water four times during the summer and once during winter, which makes it retain water in its body so as to preserve the sodium, and the sodium causes it not to urinate a great deal while storing the water.
The Chief Medical Director, Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital Damaturu, Dr Garba Fika, said drinking camel milk and urine as medicine has not been clinically proven. “I heard that it’s medicinal, but it’s not clinically proven. So, my advice to those consuming it as medicine is to be sure it is pure and safe to drink, because it can predisposed one to other diseases if contaminated,” he said.