Villagers drink a toast to health with urine
Wen Manliang believes there is nothing quite like a cup of his own urine to start the day off.
It is highly nutritious and the habit even cured his father of blindness, Mr Wen believes.
The 70-year-old Mr Wen is from the village of Wuzhuang, near Xian in Shaanxi province, where 'urine therapy' is immensely popular.
'And it doesn't taste as bad as people think,' he said. 'When you take it every day you quickly get used to the taste.'
Of the village's 2,000 residents, more than 500 drink their own urine every day, believing it will keep them healthy and make them live longer. The practice in the village dates back to the 1930s, when a Taoist monk told Mr Wen's father that drinking his own urine would eventually cure his blindness. Some months later, his father was able to see, Mr Wen said.
Du Ximin, 47, who runs a urine clinic in the village, said hundreds of people came to visit him every year to learn about the benefits of the practice. He said he also organised study groups to introduce the concept to people.
Experts in the field say that about three million people drink their urine every day on the mainland, and about eight million indulge in Japan. Yesterday, the second conference on urine therapy was held in Xianyang in Shaanxi.
About 50 people reportedly turned up to the first conference three years ago, also in Xianyang. The conference was organised by the Laozi Society in Xianyang. Laozi was the founder of Taoism.
'It cures all types of health problems,' Mr Du said, 'including flu, asthma, tuberculosis and cancer'.
Physicians around the world are highly sceptical of the practice and say there is no benefit to a person from recycling their own waste.
But Mr Du believes they are wrong.
'Miracles often happen when people use urine therapy,' he said. He gave an example of a woman who had been crippled after a bad fall and was unable to speak. 'After a few years of drinking her own urine, she was able to walk and was starting to speak again.'
Zhou Yanfang, Wen's daughter-in-law, 45, said she had never drunk her own urine but believed the therapy was effective.
'My son used to wet the bed at night and he stopped only after we tried urine therapy. So I think it has a benefit,' she said.
'Now I'm strong and healthy, but I think I'll start taking it every day when I get older to ensure I live longer.'