Cow’s Excreta as Medicine: Insult to Humanity

Written by October 4, 2008 3:53 am 131 comments

The cow is, at the least, an animal domesticated by man for help in agricultural activities.[1]  Although the mighty machines now used in farming have made these animals irrelevant in agriculture, valiant attempts are being made, at least in India, to preserve the exalted position of the so called ‘second mother’ [2] or even ‘mother of the world’ [3,4].

The stringent agitations to protect the ‘cow-mother’ [4,5] and even riots and murders of dalits for the sake of the cow,[6,7] suggest that the human life is far less important than a dead cow in this part of the world.[7] This extraordinary reverence for the cow has led to the development and marketing of many ‘products’ made from the secretions and excretions of the cow, with claims that these products may be more ‘lucrative’ than even the dairy.[8]

‘Cow Products’

The list of ‘products’ developed from the milk and excreta of the cow is quite long. Panchagavyaand cow urine distillate (gau arka) are the most quoted of these preparations.

Panchagavya is a blend of five (pancha) products obtained from the cow (gavya = from gau) – the dung, urine, milk, ghee and curd.[9,10] Three preparations of cow’s urine, namely gau-mutra asav (fermented preparation), gau-arka (or distillate) and Ganavati (or tablet) are also used as medicines.[8,11] Two US patents have also been obtained for the gau -arka [11] and this fact has been highlighted over and over again.

Various products from the cow have been suggested as a successful remedy against more than hundred diseases, from fever to cancer.[8,11,12] Panchagavya is most reverentially used as a ‘body and soul cleanser’, following the birth or death of a family member. It has also been suggested as a medicine and more profusely as a pesticidal spray for plants and as a soil enriching manure.[10]

Very recently, panchagavya has been suggested as a remedy for chikungunya as well.[13] Cow’s urine has been used in the preparations of hair oil, shampoo, skin cream etc.[8] Preparations like soap, nasal powder, body powder, body cream, incense sticks, tooth powder etc. have been prepared from the cow dung and recommended for medical use[8]. Probably to add sanctity to the entire gamut of these ‘medications’, it has been claimed that Indian pure breed cows have ‘immunology power’ from 90% to 98% while the cows of mixed breed have less than 40%.[11]

The ‘evidence’:

Curious to know about Panchagavya, I asked an Ayurveda physician about its utility. She briefed me about all the virtues of the gau mutra (cow’s urine), gau maya (cow dung) and Panchagavya, quoting the Charaka Samhita. But how can we, living in the 21st century,  rely on an ancient text to justify the use of these excreta, I wondered. All these have been well studied by Charaka, she told me. May be, but the concept of biochemical molecules (and the modern biochemical analysers) and of microbes (and the means of isolating them) were non-existent during Charaka’s time, I countered. But the cow’s urine hasn’t changed since Charaka’s time, she averred. I was dumbstruck!

Most articles on the virtues of cow’s excreta extensively quote from scriptures and the Charaka Samhita. Here are some of these arguments:

  • The cow is our mother and we are her children. Therefore cow urine is beneficial.[8,11]
  • Diseases are caused by imbalance of elements bile, mucous and air and cow urine balances elements.[8]
  • Amongst urines, cow urine is best.[8]
  • Ganga resides in the cow urine and it contains copper and gold salts, which are elixirs. It does not decay, older the cow urine, the more useful it is.[8]

Recently a lot has been written about the patents for cow urine; one obtained on the basis of laboratory studies (on culture plates and cell lines) on the usefulness of cow urine distillate in enhancing the efficacy of antibiotics and anti cancer drugs, [14,15] and the other patent obtained for cow urine therapy.[16] There are reports of the use of cow’s urine therapy from Myanmar [17] and of a cow’s urine concoction used as a traditional remedy for convulsive seizures in Nigeria.[18] There have also been reports of studies on the cow’s urine distillate in gouty arthritis, lymphocyte and polymorphonuclear cells and carbon tetrachloride poisoning, all done on experimental animals in small numbers.[19-22] These results have been extrapolated freely and wild conclusions have been drawn about the ‘magical powers’ of the cow’s urine in treating almost all the diseases afflicting mankind today.[14,17] Even the Department of Animal Husbandry of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, has published reports that seek to promote the marketing of cow’s urine as a therapeutic agent.[23]

The facts:

Faced with this blitzkrieg of marketing of cow’s urine and the real danger that cow’s urine and other products of cow’s excreta may be pushed into the throats of hapless patients, with active support from the govt., agencies., it is time we look into the facts.

One need not go far to see the hypocrisy of the ‘cow urine promoters’ than have a look at the ayurveda texts themselves, extensively quoted as the primary source of support for the utility of cow’s urine as a therapeutic agent. All three major ancient texts of ayurveda, by Charaka (1st-2nd century), Susruta (3rd –4th century) and Vagbhata (7th century) mention of the therapeutic uses of beef[24,25] as well, but this fact is no where mentioned by the proponents of cow’s urine. Eating beef is a sin and drinking cow’s urine or eating its dung brings health, if these self-styled guardians of ancient Indian tradition are to be believed.

What about the much touted patents for cow’s urine? A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to an inventor to prevent or exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the invention.[26] Nothing more, nothing less. A patent in itself cannot be the proof for the utility of any product. It is hardly surprising that while International patents have been registered for cow’s urine and its products, no such patent has been obtained from the Govt. of India. An Indian patent may not make enough and weighty news, but an international patent, on the other, helps to claim that even ‘foreigners’ have accepted the virtues of cow’s urine!

All the studies available in the literature about the therapeutic efficacy of cow’s excreta are small studiesconducted in the labs and on animals or tissues. There are no reports of any controlled, double blind clinical studies in humans, other than some anecdotal reports and claims by the practitioners of ‘cow therapy’ and all these so called claims of research appear dubious by any scientific standards.[27] Most of these papers contradict their own claims: the claims made about the gold and copper salts in urine, for example, are not supported by the data provided by the protagonists themselves.[8,28]

Urine is urine, the liquid waste that is filtered by the kidneys and excreted through the urinary system. It contains many solutes and biological products that are unnecessary for the living body and hence excreted and also some substances secreted by the urinary tract to facilitate this excretion. Chemical constituents of human and animal urine are almost alike.[28,29] For example, Urokinase is an enzyme secreted into the urine to prevent its clogging; today, it is extracted from human urine and used to dissolve clots in the coronary arteries in patients who suffer a heart attack.[30] Does this justify drinking one’s own urine in case of a heart attack? Far from it.

Is cow’s urine safe for mankind? There are reports of severe adverse effects, even fatal, of drinking cow urine concoctions, further supported by experimental evidence.[31] Cow’s urine can also be a source of infectious diseases, especially leptospirosis, [32] that can spread through oral mucosa. The claim that cow’s urine and cow dung have antiseptic properties is not only baseless, but also dangerously misleading. While cow dung (and all fecal matter) is teeming with bacteria excreted from the intestines, several bacteria have been isolated from Panchagavya too.[33,34] Application of these bacteria-rich excreta onto wounds may lead to life threatening sepsis. Only those who are absolutely ignorant about such facts can daringly market cow’s excreta as antiseptics, but the tragedy is that some practitioners of modern medicine, blinded by their faiths in their ‘spiritual heads’ or ‘Mathadhipathis’ also appear to support such nonsense.

Conclusions:

It is clear that cow’s urine and other excreta are only the waste products rejected by the animal’s body and are similar to the excreta of other animals and therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the cow’s urine or other excreta should be venerable over those of humans beings or other animals.

The claims of the efficacy of cow’s excreta (and their products) in the treatment of almost every disease are not supported by any evidence and there are no clinical trials reported on the use of these products in human beings. With reports available about the possible adverse effects of the use of cow’s excreta, it is shocking that such products are being allowed to be not only marketed but also trumpeted, even supported by the agencies of the govt. of India, as the ‘cure-for-all’ wonder drugs.

Propaganda regarding the utility of cow’s excreta largely emanates from the obscurantist and Hindu fundamentalist forces and appears to be designed to condemn the ordinary human beings into ingesting cow’s excreta under the alibi of ‘treatment’ and ‘long life’. This is not surprising at all, given the several instances of the down trodden dalits forced into eating even human excreta by the same fundamentalists.[35]

Eulogising the cow (and not buffalo and other cattle that are equally ‘useful’) as ‘second mother’, ‘God mother’, ‘mother of the world’ etc., largely because it provides milk,[11] (and hopefully not because of its excreta) raises a fundamental question about the concept of motherhood itself: Do we love and respect our own mothers solely because we have been breastfed and is motherhood only about milk?

This entire exercise of marketing the cow’s products and promising huge economic benefits (a claim not supported by any data) of keeping the cows even after they have passed the age of secreting milk  is part of the grand design to prevent the slaughtering of the cows so as to deprive the poor sections of the society from quality meat as well as some economic benefits of marketing the beef. But sustaining the livestock is proving to be very costly for the environment, with a large share of global warming attributed to the livestock.[36,37] It is time we take a rational view of all the issues involved.

References:

  1. Cattle. The Wikipedia Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle
  2. Discover how cows have altered human life, human biology, and the geography of the world Availalbe at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/holycow/
  3. Subhuman Das. Indian Cows: Blessed Bovines! http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa101800a.htm
  4. http://www.vishwagou.org/
  5. Cow Protection Available at http://www.vhp.org/protectthecow.php
  6. Taneja N. Mangalore ‘Riots’. People’s Democracy. October 22, 2006; 30(43) Available at http://pd.cpim.org/2006/1022/10222006_nalini.htm
  7. Rajalakshmi TK. Slaughter of the Dalits. Frontline November 09 – 22, 2002;19(23) Available at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1923/stories/20021122003703800.htm
  8. Cow Urine: Principles & Applications Available at http://www.hkrl.com/cowurine.html

  9. Panchagavya. Available at http://www.thereligiousproducts.com/panchagavya.html
  10. Natarajan K. Panchagavya: How to Make. Available at http://www.agricultureinformation.com/forums/organic-farming/15995-panchagavya-how-make.html
  11. Seminar on mother cow and Panchagavya. Available at http://www.goshala.com/articles/panchagavya.php
  12. http://www.goshalaindia.com/scientific-propeties.html
  13. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=48836&n_tit=Belthangady%3A+Live+Naturally%2C+Be+Free+From+Ailments+-+Raghaveswara+Bharathi
  14. Dhama K, Chauhan RS, Singhal L. Anti-cancer activity of cow urine: Current status and future directions. International Journal of Cow Science 2005;1(2) Available at http://indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:ijcs&volume=1&issue=2&article=001
  15. Khanuja SPS et al. Use Of Bioactive Fraction From Cow Urine Distillate (‘Go Mutra’) As A Bio-Enhancer Of Anti-Infective, Anti-Cancer Agents And Nutrients Available at http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP1330253.html
  16. Jain VK. Cow Urine Therapy And Herbal Medicinal Composition With Cow Urine And Method Of Manufacturing The Same World Intellectual Property Organisation, International Patent No WO/2002/096440 Available at http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=IN2001000136&WO=2002096440&DISPLAY=DESC
  17. Awale et al. An amazing cow’s urine therapy in Myanmar. J Trad Med. 2006;23:178-83 Available at http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jtm/23/5/178/_pdf
  18. Elegbe RA, Oyebola DD. Cow’s urine poisoning in Nigeria: cardiorespiratory effects of cow’s urine in dogs. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1977;71(2):127-32.
  19. Influence of “Divine Cow Powder” on Peripheral Tissues of Acute Gouty Arthritis Acta Universitatis Traditionis Medicalis Sinensis Pharmacologiaeque Shanghai 2007 http://www.shvoong.com/medicine-and-health/1597348-influence-divine-cow-powder-peripheral/
  20. Dipanwita Dutta, S Saravana Devi, K Krishnamurthi, T Chakrabarti Anticlastogenic effect of redistilled cow’s urine distillate in human peripheral lymphocytes challenged with manganese dioxide and hexavalent chromium. Biomed Environ Sci. 2006 Dec ;19 (6):487-94 http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:17319276
  21. K Krishnamurthi, Dipanwita Dutta, S D Sivanesan, T Chakrabarti. Protective effect of distillate and redistillate of cow’s urine in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes challenged with established genotoxic chemicals Available at http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:15602821
  22. Achliya GS, Kotagale NR, Wadodkar SG, Dorle AK. Hepatoprotective activity of panchagavya ghrita against carbontetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity in rats Indian journal of pharmacology 2003;35(5):308-311 Available at http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15240774
  23. Sunil Mansinghka Bi Products Of Cattle – Organic Manure And Cow Urine – Medicines – Draught – Gas – Electricity. Available at http://dahd.nic.in/ch5/chap5.htm
  24. Jha DN. Paradox of the Indian Cow: Attitudes to Beef Eating in Early India. Available at http://www.indowindow.net/sad/article.php?child=17&article=11
  25. Cathy Wong Ayurvedic Foods for Your Type: How to Eat for Your Dosha. Available at http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/2/a/ayurveda.htm
  26. Patent. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent
  27. Research paper and observation. Dr. Jain’s Cow urine Therapy. Available at http://www.cowurine.com/research-paper.html
  28. The Main Elements of Cow Urine and Their Functions. Dr. Jain’s Cow urine Therapy. Available at http://www.cowurine.com/main-element-of-cow.html
  29. Putnam DF. Composition And Concentrative Properties Of Human Urine. Available at http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19710023044_1971023044.pdf
  30. Urokinase. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urokinase
  31. Oyebola DD, Elegbe RA. Cow’s urine poisoning in Nigeria. Experimental observations in mice. Available at Trop Geogr Med. 1975 Jun;27(2):194-202.
  32. Sharma S, Vijayachari P, Sugunan AP, Sehgal SC. Leptospiral carrier state and seroprevalence among animal population – a cross-sectional sample survey in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Epidemiology and Infection 2003;131:985-989
  33. Akinde SB, Obire O. Aerobic heterotrophic bacteria and petroleum-utilizing bacteria from cow dung and poultry manure World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 2008;24(9):1999-2002
  34. Bhat SS, Vinu AK, Naidu R. Association of Diverse Groups of Bacteria with ‘Panchagavya’ and their Effect on Growth Promotion of Coffee Seedlings. The Association for Science and Information on Coffee (ASIC): Proceedings of ASIC Conferences – 20th Colloquium : Agronomy Available at http://www.asic-cafe.org/pdf/abstract/PA224_2004.pdf
  35. Siriyavan Anand. India Shining with Hindu Diet: Cow urine and dung for caste hindus, Human shit and piss for dalits Available at http://www.chowk.com/ilogs/65586/48030
  36. Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=warming
  37. Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/longshad/A0701E00.pdf
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This post was written by:

- who has written 9 posts on Nirmukta.

Physician practicing at Mangaluru, South India

131 Comments

  • This article looks like an “anti-cow” propaganda. I agree that using cow excretes directly as a medicine is not good, sometimes it would be too dangerous. But this article goes beyond the original topic and thrashes/questions the abilities of cow bi-products and its uses without any proof, which is proven to work for thousands of years. Its impossible to think a sustainable agricultural system, which can exists without cow bi-products. This is one of the “God-alike” companion of farmers for thousands of years. I am not sure whether science is capable of fully explaining what good it can do for the world. If you were to blame for the methane emissions, it should go to concentrated farming which happens in western countries. That kind of practice is not common in India.

    • “It is clear that cow’s urine and other excreta are only the waste products rejected by the animal’s body and are similar to the excreta of other animals and therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the cow’s urine or other excreta should be venerable over those of humans beings or other animals.”
      is this a scientific argument?
      counter-example: honey

      • Captain Mandrake

        rajeev,

        *is this a scientific argument? counter-example: honey**

        Honey is not waste product rejected by bees. It is a reserve food that bees store up to survive the winter when food sources are scarce.

        These cow shit eaters are totally clueless. LOL!

      • I too believe that cow waste is similar to many other herbivorous animals. This article questions “Panchakavya”, your curious mind including Mr. Mandrake’s never questions Endosulfan like panchakavya, why? Just because it was given to you by the so called scientists and supported by scientific evidences? We are using cow bi-products in agriculture and generating pesticide/fertilizer free vegetables for your consumption. The science what you and me know is not capable of explaining everything what is being followed(maybe blindly), some of them may look absurd. Never dismiss everything just because you don’t know or don’t want to know.

  • Read this below fully.

    Do not believe until you try it out yourself.

    http://ajitvadakayil.blogspot.in/2012/08/agnihotra-ghee-cow-dung-fuel-capt-ajit.html

    http://palekarzerobudgetspiritualfarming.org

    May be some of the reasons why the cow is called holy.

    -Mahesh

    • Here’s a hilarious excerpt from the first article linked above, that sounds like something right out of a technobabble generator:

      The Hindus knew the earths heart beat of 7.83 hertz as the frequency of OM — and the MMMMM humming of OM boosts the production of Nitric oxide in the body , and it was documented 7000 years ago.

      Mantras resonate your pineal gland and reprogramme your DNA. The human DNA can produce longitudinal scalar waves.

      Anyone interested in that sort of reading is invited to check this out. Anyone interested in calling its bluff is invited to check out this earlier post.

      Also, anyone interested in boosting nitric oxide is invited to climb up the stairs.

      • I don’t think humans can hear 7.83 Hz… that’s definitely not the frequency of someone chanting “Om” and I don’t know what it means for the earth to have a heartbeat of this frequency.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Ashwin,

          **I don’t think humans can hear 7.83 Hz… that’s definitely not the frequency of someone chanting “Om” and I don’t know what it means for the earth to have a heartbeat of this frequency.
          **

          You need to do some yoga and eat some quantum cow shit. If you do that you will not only be able to chant OM at the same frequency of Earth’s heart beat but you can also accomplish other feats like stopping your heart for 8 hours with out starving your brain of much needed oxygen, reset your several of your body dimensions to the ratio of 1:1.618 and fly across the globe using stone age technology.

      • And wouldn’t it be a bad thing if DNA were reprogrammed? I mean, isn’t that what we call a mutation? So mantras are a mutagen?

        • Captain Mandrake

          Ashwin,

          Unfortunately this (cow shit and om mamtras) is what Hindus have to offer. You still want to hold on to that Hindu label as a proxy for your penchant for wearing sari and celebrating Diwali?

          • well u can’t confuse hinduism with these new age justifications

          • Captain Mandrake

            Sue,

            **well u can’t confuse hinduism with these new age justifications**

            What is hinduism and what is new age justification?

            Can you please elaborate?

          • why shld u abandon hinduism bcause some people are misusing scientific terms?

        • Well if this is where it leads I guess not. I won’t use Indian atheist though, that would merely project the Hindu identity on all of India. I’ll make do with atheist, and if asked questions, explain myself.

      • this mantra does not solve the problem of hunger, poverty, and crimes like rape, etc.

  • if you want to know more about om, read this.

    ajitvadakayil.blogspot.no/2013/03/secrets-of-shankh-or-conch-product-of.html?m=0

    -mahesh

  • above statement is absolutly baseless.In Veda importance of Cow urine and cow dung is mentioned.some atheist like you too belive “cow’s urine and other excreta are only the waste products rejected by the animal’s body”

    Now morden scientist have reasarched and found out the anticeptic property in excreta.there are many chemicals which are very good for health.please find below the list.In village,the house floor is applied with cow dung It gives the colling effect and nice aroma.

    Vedic literatures are infalliable,whatever mentioned in thousands of years,its 100% true till now. as its given by Lord only.it does not change as the time goes.
    Medicinal values of Cow urine

    Uses

    Urea : Product of protein metabolism. Strong antimicrobial agent.
    Uric Acid : Anti microbail activity helps to control cancer.
    Nitrogen : Diuretic, stimulates kidney
    Sulphur : Purifies blood, increases intestinal peristalsis
    Copper : Controls fat deposition
    Iron : Production of RBC in blood
    Sodium : Purifies blood, checks hyperacidity
    Potassium : Appetizer, eliminates muscles fatigue
    Other salts : Antibacterial, prevents comma and ketoacids
    Carbolic Acid : Antibacterial, prevents gas gangrenes
    Ammonia : Integrity of body tissue and blood
    Sugar-Lactose : Heart, thirst, giddiness
    Vitamin A,B.C,D, E : Prevent excessive thirst, infuse vigour, increase potency
    Creatinine : Antibacterial
    Swarna Kshar : Antibacterial, improves immunity (aurum hydroxide) acts as antidote

    Enzyme-urokinase : Dissolve blood clot, improves heart disease, blood circulation

    Colony stimulating factor : Effective for cell division and multiplication
    Erythropoietin stimulating factor : Production of RBCs
    Gonadotropin : Promotes menstrual cycle, sperm production
    Kallikrein : Releases Kallidin which expands peripheral veins and reduces blood pressure.

    Allantoin : Heals wounds and tumors
    Anticancer substances : Prevents multiplication of carcinogenic cells
    Phenols : Bactericidal, antifungal

    • Captain Mandrake

      You missed one key component of cow urine – water. Urine is 95% water. And scientists say that humans can not live with out water. So clearly vedas are very scientific.

      I really hope Hindus drink this nutritious beverage on a daily basis as per the prescription in vedic scriptures. As an atheist I will take a pass.

  • I can’t just let go without replying to Mr. Captain’s pure atheistic comments, and the following LOL, though what Manoj said looks extreme. Just for a comparison take our purified or municipal water which is clean by the standard and we drink it everyday, I am sure the urban population is free of any waterborne diseases(*), but are we noticing that it lacks essential salts & minerals which leads to chronic diseases like blood pressure and diabetes, far more serious then the waterborne diseases. There is no debate that our urban populace increased many fold, and are living by the standards set by the so called scientific community, yet with degrading health. I know still many villages drink the rain water which may be dangerous to drink as per the standards, yet living so healthy without even waterborne diseases. THINK, atheism doesn’t mean that you just don’t believe everything followed by a religion, or mentioned by a religious book. Turmeric and Ash(dried cow dung, paddy husk etc ..) are used and prescribed in vedas, do you think these are just a bunch of lies? I personally used turmeric to heal wounds and it works like a charm, Vibuthi when applied after bath suck out water around it sometime people do mention that it avoids getting a headache, probably you would use a costly and non-environmental friendly hair drier for the same purpose. I am happy that you are an atheist who questions everything, but never make a joke without understanding the other side of the problem.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Rajan,

      That was an amazing reponse to my post. So, in your view drinking water standards are responsible for diabetes and blood pressure and degrading health, huh? I think vedas have solution for you. Please drink cow urine instead.

      Rest of us will just drink clean water that meets safety standards. As for diabetes and blood pressure we will deal with those with a combination of excercise, diet and modern medicine (I know this is going to make your head explode).

      • Thanks for the reply Captain. I don’t know how much did you read about the chronic diseases I mentioned above and has a first hand experience of combating them. Those standards set by someone(??) may be very convincing to us, and if you look closely they do have roots going deep into some giants pockets. The purified water industry is the one who mints money in large scale, and sadly we have no option to go back now. I have seen so many of my friends complaining about severe throat pains and taking off for few days, ofcourse with few doctor visits and a burnt out pocket. The reason they get this illness is because of some low quality packaged water(note its still not an unpurified water). I wondered where the so called immunity is gone?? Do you know our body is capable of fighting and rejuvenating itself to some extent, where all these are nothing? When a commaon man is presented with the concepts like Purified water, energy drinks, per kilo proteins, carbs, exercise, 3 liters of water everyday, eat oats etc .. do you think these recommendations match for everyone, say a white collar at office and a farmer at work? Please widen your views, I had the same perception as yours few years ago. Please watch this video if you get a time, and think where this science community is taking us ..

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSDkJEF9aBY

        I always welcome constructive science, and never accepts anything without questioning whether its science or religion. All the way you are supporting other users(!) to drink cow urine, probably they have more immunity then you and me, and are living strong, hope you drink milk and know the origin of it, expecting an answer that its boiled :-).

    • Dear Rajan,

      At the risk of pouring petrol over the flames, let me add my two paise to your
      disingenuous claims:

      > I am sure the urban population is free of any waterborne diseases(*)…

      Sarcasm appreciated. Thank you.

      > …are we noticing that it lacks essential salts & minerals which leads to
      > chronic diseases like blood pressure and diabetes…

      No. We’re not noticing it, and it does not lack any «essential» salts or
      minerals (being usually underground water or river water). In fact, in several
      places, *hard* water—containing excess salts and minerals, is a problem. Also,
      there is not a shred of evidence that «water lacking in essential salts and
      minerals» causes high blood pressure or diabetes.

      > …far more serious then the waterborne diseases.

      Absolutely not! Where did you get that impression? Water-borne diseases like
      cholera have the capacity to kill entire populations within a matter of days.
      Other famous names are dysentery, typhoid (enteric fever), hepatitis A
      (jaundice), etc. You’re claiming high blood pressure and diabetes are «far
      more serious» than these killers, among others? Even today, an outbreak of
      cholera sends the public health deptts into a tizzy.

      > There is no debate that our urban populace increased many fold, and are
      > living by the standards set by the so called scientific community…

      The slum dwellings most of the poor city folk inhabit are scientifically
      *designed*?

      > …yet with degrading health.

      No wonder, given the complete lack of hygiene, overpopulation, and complete
      absence of civic amenities. Where’s the surprise?

      > I know still many villages drink the rain water which may be dangerous to
      > drink as per the standards, yet living so healthy without even waterborne
      > diseases.

      We presume that the villagers who *did* get waterborne diseases died out so
      quickly that you didn’t get to know them? And rain water is a relatively safe
      source of drinking water, provided it isn’t contaminated with fæces. But then,
      it also lacks salts and minerals (which you deem «essential»)!

      > …atheism doesn’t mean that you just don’t believe everything followed by a
      > religion, or mentioned by a religious book.

      It does. For an atheist to believe anything followed by a religion or
      mentioned by a religious belief, it must have independent corroborative
      evidence. This criterion (of evidence) is not limited just to religious
      beliefs but to ALL beliefs. Up to now, your claims do not satisfy this.

      > Turmeric and Ash(dried cow dung, paddy husk etc ..) are used and prescribed
      > in vedas, do you think these are just a bunch of lies?

      Turmeric works, yes—but not for healing wounds—that is done by the body
      itself. It prevents infection of the exposed flesh by the ever-present
      bacteria—an antiseptic action. It may be(?) due to its iodide content. A lot
      of other poultice formulæ work too. Ancient Indians were not fools, no. But
      the state of the antiseptic art has come far, far ahead from those times.
      Modern antiseptics are safer, cheaper, easier to prepare and administer, and
      of proven efficacy.

      > Vibuthi when applied after bath suck out water around it sometime people do
      > mention that it avoids getting a headache, probably you would use a costly
      > and non-environmental friendly hair drier for the same purpose.

      Let me get this straight—you smear your «whole head» with ash, making sure it
      penetrates to your scalp, to «dry you hair»? Please, please try a towel
      instead!

      If you’ve read this far, thank you. Remember, we’re not trying to impose our
      views (however true) on you, unlike many of your religious brethren/sisters
      who are trying to force their views on us! We’re only trying to help those who
      may otherwise be taken in by the sheer propaganda surrounding baseless
      beliefs.

      Cheers!

  • Hi Alex,

    Echoing Captain, Thanks for your patience explaining your views.

    «water lacking in essential salts and
    minerals» causes high blood pressure or diabetes. – Then why every vendor is trying to project the water as “Mineral water”, do you really think a trivial imbalance in trace elements doesn’t cause anything to overall health, exacerbating when we never get them for long enough. Are there any clear explanation for why BP, diabetes and Cancer? Patients never come out of “Modern medicine” once fall prey to it, it suck their life savings and confidence to recover from the illness, its a bitter truth. How many instances in the past we know them, where these pharma companies paid hefty amount to conceal truth about few life saving(!) medicines they found.

    We presume that the villagers who *did* get waterborne diseases died out so
    quickly that you didn’t get to know them? And rain water is a relatively safe
    source of drinking water, provided it isn’t contaminated with fæces. But then,
    it also lacks salts and minerals (which you deem «essential»)!

    Do you think I never know about a death(mysterious one) in my surrounding? Without feces.., its everywhere, rain water never just pours into our pond, it comes along the filed where the fertilizer is just feces of poultry and farm animals. Do you think it will kill everyone one of us, please be aware that we are living strong drinking that water without even boiling it. Sad part is after seeing folks from nearby towns my villagers too started using these bottled water, hope it brings a smile into your face :-)

    It does. For an atheist to believe anything followed by a religion or
    mentioned by a religious belief, it must have independent corroborative
    evidence. This criterion (of evidence) is not limited just to religious
    beliefs but to ALL beliefs. Up to now, your claims do not satisfy this.

    Alternate to turmeric – yes there are far cheaper antiseptics, how long its going to be available cheap and how long its going to work, hope you know what I mean. The use of powerful anti bacterial agents, medicines introduced innumerable strains of organisms which we never account for properly. Guess the so called science is laborious, and eventually you’ll come up with something stronger(cheaper too), but who is actually bothered about the health implications it could create. We had ash used to clean the utensils, and cow dung to clean the surface inside the house, which never polluted the streams and locality around. Science gave me bleaching powder, bar soaps .. funny that it contains neem extract :-), liquid cleaners, 5x toilet cleaners, now 10x cleaners … so on … what happens when I release everything around me along with the polyethylene bags(who cares, chalta hai). Does it ring any bell to the atheists brain(I believe including me) ?

    The true view of yours doesn’t look so true to me, I believe you never thought about the issue as a whole like the author. Modern medicine is not perfect and it never will, because the science is always funded by capitalists. I am not asking someone to drink cow urine, but I am saying that if you are exposed to it from your childhood its highly likely that nothing will happen to you. I don’t want to add anymore comments and lengthen the discussion, hope I made my viewpoint well and clear like yours. Again thanks for your time Alex & Captain.

    • I’ll try once more, to clarify the new (and some old) points raised
      by Rajan.

      > Then why every vendor is trying to project the water as “Mineral
      > water”…

      Simply because «Mineral Water» is a genericised trademark, where
      the proper term should be «bottled water» or «packaged drinking
      water». This latter is the actual term you’ll see on all reputable
      brands of bottled water. «Mineral Water» actually refers to water
      that is derived from mineral springs, which may be effervescent
      (sparkling) due to Carbon dioxide content, and packaged with
      minimal processing, no additives, and «Mineral Water» branding. In
      old (very old) times, bathing in and drinking «Mineral Water» was
      thought to be good for health. While there may have been some truth
      to the claims, only rich people could normally afford to take the
      expensive trips required. Thence «Mineral Water» acquired its
      snobbish cachet among the middle class, which is what is exploited
      by marketers of packaged water. To claim that this water is somehow
      superior for health than our otherwise clean good old underground
      or treated river water is not only false, but unethical as well.
      However, you seem to make a similar assertion that lack of certain
      mysterious «minerals» is the cause of chronic age-related diseases.

      > …do you really think a trivial imbalance in trace elements
      > doesn’t cause anything to overall health, exacerbating when we
      > never get them for long enough.

      Trivial imbalance in trace elements DOES NOT cause high blood
      pressure or diabetes. NEVER EVER. There are well documented
      diseases due to deficiency or excess of trace elements in drinking
      water, but they are rare, and occur in large populations only in
      the areas where the underground water is deficient or otherwise
      unsuitable for drinking. Again, most problems are due to *excess*
      minerals, and the local residents soon learn to deal with the water
      and treat it themselves. These techniques are developed
      scientifically! Eg: Fluorosis occurs due to excess fluoride in
      drinking water (some areas of Rajasthan and MP), while most areas
      are actually fluoride deficient! Hence fluoridated toothpaste.

      > Are there any clear explanation for why BP, diabetes and Cancer?

      Why what? Please complete your question if you want a good answer.
      If you’re asking why do they occur? Yes it is a valid scientific
      question, and the whole sub-field of study—Ætiology—is focussed on
      finding out why diseases occur. I won’t attempt detailed
      explanations of these diseases (which would take several books),
      but you should realise that high blood pressure, Diabetes and
      Cancer are not just «diseases» in the way cholera is, but are
      collections of symptoms that have several causes. In case of HBP
      and Diabetes (the common kind), two very important causes are high
      body fat (including obesity) and ageing. Fatty and old tissue
      becomes more resistant to insulin, causing diabetes, while fat
      causes blood vessel blockage and ageing causes their hardening and
      narrowing causing HBP. These are *very* simplistic explanations,
      but illustrate my point that these diseases are not beyond the
      comprehension of the common Indian person. For example, an
      important factor I neglected to mention here was heredity, since a
      person cannot really do anything about it.

      > Patients never come out of “Modern medicine” once fall prey to
      > it, it suck their life savings and confidence to recover from the
      > illness, its a bitter truth.

      You are a liar and a cheat, sir. A patient cured of leprosy, TB,
      malaria, cholera, typhoid, a host of other diseases; any person
      who’s vaccination avoided smallpox, polio, measles, tetanus,
      rabies, has every right to spit in you face if you DARE to insult
      Modern Medicine on the basis of lies and half truths. Its not
      perfect, but its better than anything yet. Ask your elders how
      much they spent on smallpox vaccinations, how their life savings
      are sucked every time they go to a hospital to get tetanus shots.
      Every treatment I’ve mentioned in this paragraph is available for
      free or at nominal rate through various National programmes funded
      by our country’s taxpayers so that our poor and needy folk do not
      suffer preventable misery.

      > How many instances in the past we know them, where these pharma
      > companies paid hefty amount to conceal truth about few life
      > saving(!) medicines they found.

      I don’t know any incidence where a pharma company concealed any
      life saving medicine. In fact, the more critical the drug, the more
      aggressively companies try to market it, far from concealing it!
      Remember—they earn money by *publicising* and selling drugs, not by
      concealing them!

      > Do you think I never know about a death(mysterious one) in my
      > surrounding?

      I was being sarcastic, since the untold numbers who die of TB (and
      in the past, smallpox) and water-borne diseases (including cholera)
      evidently elude you.

      > Without feces.., its everywhere, rain water never just pours into
      > our pond, it comes along the filed where the fertilizer is just
      > feces of poultry and farm animals. Do you think it will kill
      > everyone one of us, please be aware that we are living strong
      > drinking that water without even boiling it.

      No. It won’t kill everyone of you. Just the weak, infirm, pregnant,
      newborn, aged, wait… who’s left? Just wait for the day a single
      sufferer of Typhoid discharges his/her fæces into the water supply.
      Ol’ Salmonella’ll do the rest, for she is wise and powerful. Of
      course, if an informed citizen like you dies of cholera or typhoid
      it is your own responsibility, but the fact that you encourage
      others to drink that water without as much as boiling it is very
      damning.

      > Sad part is after seeing folks from nearby towns my villagers too
      > started using these bottled water, hope it brings a smile into
      > your face :-)

      The real sad part is that the villagers, instead of learning about
      how to collect and preserve their rain water for drinking use, and
      learning how to purify it by boiling or simple treatment—which
      would have served generations to come—have fallen prey to the
      bottled water marketers. This serves to show that status-symbols
      are always in high demand, be they mobile phones or bottled water.

      > Alternate to turmeric – yes there are far cheaper antiseptics,
      > how long its going to be available cheap and how long its going
      > to work, hope you know what I mean.

      What makes you think turmeric is going to outlast alcohol? Why
      would tincture of iodine or betadine stop working? Tincture of
      Iodine has been in use for over a hundred years, and has a vast
      log of proven efficacy, unlike turmeric—whose efficacy is based on
      hearsay.

      > The use of powerful anti bacterial agents, medicines introduced
      > innumerable strains of organisms which we never account for
      > properly. Guess the so called science is laborious, and
      > eventually you’ll come up with something stronger(cheaper too),
      > but who is actually bothered about the health implications it
      > could create.

      We *are* bothered about the health implications, and want as few
      (or no) people to die/fall ill at all! That’s why we invent
      better *and* cheaper drugs all the time!

      As for resistant strains, that’s true, and a thing called
      Evolution. Bacteria evolve much faster than we do, so the fight
      against them is never ending, but its not hopeless. It is like we
      were in a one sided war with them fol millennia, with us on the
      losing end, but now that we’re fighting back, they are escalating
      their defence. But be aware, the fight has turned from one of *our*
      survival to one of *their* survival, and even that too looks
      suspect today!

      > We had ash used to clean the utensils…

      Ash is a good scouring agent. You can also use sand, rocks, or even
      Scotch Brite for all I care. However, that ash is generated
      (usually) by a hapless woman blowing over a smoky chulha for hours
      on end, with teary eyes, grey skin, sweaty body, bent back, hands
      that bear innumerable burn marks, inhaling the smoky air to live,
      her throat clogged with the smoke, smoke generated by green shoots
      and wet leaves and dung-cakes that she has laboriously collected
      after getting up before dawn and sacrificing her body at the altar
      of family duty. You can use whatever you want, but *I* will use
      Rasoi Gas=> No ash available=> *I’ll* wash the bloody utensils with
      liquid soap and Scotch Brite. Thank you.

      > …and cow dung to clean the surface inside the house, which
      > never polluted the streams and locality around.

      If you do not consider animal shit, with its obnoxious smell, loads
      of bacteria and good potential for spreading leptospirosis (if
      contaminated with urine), as pollution, I have no further comment.

      > Science gave me bleaching powder, bar soaps .. funny that it
      > contains neem extract :-) ,

      You’re aware that «nimbu power», «neem power» etc. are marketing
      tools to sell soap to an Indian-label crazy population, and does
      not actually depend on the said ingredients for its action, if it
      even contains them at all, right?

      > liquid cleaners, 5x toilet cleaners, now 10x cleaners … so on …
      > what happens when I release everything around me along with the
      > polyethylene bags(who cares, chalta hai). Does it ring any bell
      > to the atheists brain(I believe including me) ?

      Where are you going to «release» large quantities of all these
      cleaning materials wrapped in polythene bags? Please inform us so
      we can get you arrested for eco-terrorism. ;-) Are you
      *threatening* to release all this? Unlike you, we care about the
      environment, and believe that the only purpose of toilet cleaner is
      to clean toilets. Have you cleaned your toilet before? Have you not
      seen how easy and safe the new cleaner is compared to the old
      scrubbing or (horror) acid?

      > The true view of yours doesn’t look so true to me, I believe you
      > never thought about the issue as a whole like the author.

      As I said, I’m not trying to make you come around to a different
      way of thinking. The mere fact that you’re willing to reason in a
      civilised manner gives enough me pleasure and hope in the Indian
      citizenry. However, there are many others who do not share your
      ideals and are willing to use force to thrust their ignorance upon
      the population. It is their ideas that I counter, and unfortunately
      you share many of them. Oh well.

      > Modern medicine is not perfect and it never will,…

      Absolutely. To perceive perfection in oneself is only a flaw of
      pride or vanity. It is only an ideal we always strive to attain.

      > …because the science is always funded by capitalists.

      Please remember, science existed thousands of years before
      capitalism, and even modern medicine has a known history predating
      capitalism.

      Also, while you use «Capitalist» as a term of disgrace, I
      respectfully differ and instead commend all Socialists to a speedy
      journey to whichever Hell they wish to believe in.

      > I am not asking someone to drink cow urine…

      That’s good enough for me!

      > …but I am saying that if you are exposed to it from your
      > childhood its highly likely that nothing will happen to you.

      I’m saying this is wrong. W.R.O.N.G. Even if you’ve been swimming
      in cow urine since birth, cholera can still kill you in a matter of
      days.

      > I don’t want to add anymore comments and lengthen the discussion,
      > hope I made my viewpoint well and clear like yours. Again thanks
      > for your time Alex & Captain.

      There is nothing more to say, really, so

      Good Bye, and Good Luck!

  • Thanks Alex, it is indeed a detailed explanation :-) Appreciated. I really had a long wait, 30+ years for some cholera sufferer to release his feces into my waterstream then die or seek modern medicine for help, guess I am having a bad luck like so many others. I am not going to live in fear for every small thing on my way. I must agree to some of your points but not all. Well, good buy, guess you less likely need a good luck .. modern medicine is with you :-)

  • Any urine has so much bacteria as to cause grave diseases. Leptospirosis being one. Jus because something is written in religious scripture doesnt make it infallible. MEdical books are updated and corrected from time to time. That means Medicine or even science is ready to take criticism and/or questions which religion clearly does not. Its your choice- to believe in sumthing that is tried and tested from time to time or just sumthing that was written thousands of years ago. Open your minds. Im a Hindu. But that doesnt mean I havta be blind.

  • Krishnaprakasha B

    This article entirely depends upon the “the false negative”, according to which the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.

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