Quantum Leap

Cow urine and dung: Coming to pharmacy next door

They may be a matter of faith for some but they do have serious pharmaceutical value too.

 |  Quantum Leap  |  1-minute read |   27-02-2015
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Drugs made out of cow urine and cow dung are not just a matter of faith for some but they do have serious pharmaceutical value and several Indian drug companies are already manufacturing them, the central government informed Parliament on Thursday.

Combination of five cow products - milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung - known as panchagavya in ayurvedic system of medicine has several therapeutic uses. The applications of urine-dung combos range from deworming to treating jaundice, minister for Indian systems of medicine Shripad Yesso Naik informed Lok Sabha.

"The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences has undertaken study to evaluate immune-modulatory activity and safety/toxicity of panchgavya ghrita, which is an Ayurvedic formulation made from cow's five products and mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts and Ayurvedic Formulary of India, part one," the minister said. In addition, according to Naik, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has conducted research in collaboration with Nagpur-based Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra on cow urine distillate, and has even got American patents. These studies were initiated in 2001.

One pharmaceutical product containing cow urine distillate with anti-oxidant property is already available in the market, the minister informed.

A professor of Ayurvedic pharmaceutics from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) - on the condition of anonymity - said "while classical indications about the use of cow urine as a distillate in preparation of ayurvedic formulations are there, therapeutic agents made from cow urine and cow dung have not been put through clinical trials to test their efficacy." Moreover, he said, the classical texts mention that cow urine that can be used should come from cows that graze in pristine environments of high mountains.

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Dinesh C Sharma Dinesh C Sharma @dineshcsharma

Journalist, columnist and author based in New Delhi.

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