Cow dung and urine neither prevent nor cure COVID-19, no matter how much political leaders or anyone insists on it.
Cow excrement is simply just that. Period.
Sharing a video of a group of men slathering cow dung and urine on themselves with a belief that it 'improves' their identity, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday, 12 May said – 'Do we laugh or cry over this...'
And Akhilesh Yadav is not the only person wondering this.
The video, reported by international news agency Reuters, is from Gujarat's Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwavidya Pratishthanam where men go once a week to pour cow dung and urine all over their body. They put their hand in a bucket filled with cow dung, take a handful of it and slap it on their bodies – head to toe – before starting to pray.
"... even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity...," Gautam Manilal Borisa, a participant of the ritual, told Reuters. Borisa claims that he is an associate manager at a pharma firm, and that this process helped him recover from COVID-19 last year.
The Embarrassing Times Indians Recommended Cow Excreta for COVID-19
This is barely the first time anyone or any section of the Indian society has offered cow excreta as a cure or protection against COVID-19. Just on 9 May, news agency ANI tweeted a video of UP BJP MLA Surendra Singh claiming that cow urine protected him from coronavirus.
He also recommended people to 'drink cow urine with a glass of cold water.'
Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Usha Thakur on 7 March advocated the need for a Vedic lifestyle for protection against coronavirus and claimed that ‘havan’ (ritual burning) of a cow dung cake can keep a house sanitised for 12 hours.
At a party meeting on 17 May, BJP MP Pragya Thakur claimed that she did not get infected with coronavirus as she had gau mutra every day.
"If we have desi gau mutra (urine from an indigenous cow) every day, then it cures lung infection from COVID. I am in deep pain but I take cow urine every day. So, now, I don't have to take any medicine against corona and I don't have corona," Thakur said, reported NDTV.
In March 2020, the BJP’s Bengal Chief Dilip Ghosh had said there was no harm in drinking cow urine and that “I have no qualm in accepting I consume cow urine”. He was speaking after a programme in north Kolkata to urge people to drink cow urine to guard against COVID-19.
Swami Chakrapani, president of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha in 2020 asked world leaders to drink cow urine and skip meat to beat the coronavirus. These pearls of wisdom were offered during a ‘gaumutra party’ he had arranged to tackle the threat of COVID-19.
Unscientific & Irrational: Doctors' Repeated Warnings
Doctors have been repeatedly and relentlessly maintaining that there are no scientific studies to support these claims. FIT had previously spoken to Dr Sumit Ray, a Senior Consultant, Critical Care Medicine, who had said that cow dung or cow urine cannot help in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.
“Scientifically, cow dung and cow urine are excreta from an animal’s (mammal’s) body, which is being thrown out. Unlikely to have any benefit to another mammal such as human beings. There are no scientific studies or evidence to show that cow urine or cow dung has antiseptic properties. It is not going to benefit us in any infections, including this coronavirus. Comments like these only add to the unscientific and irrational information that is spread!”Dr Sumit Ray
Doctors also warn that other diseases could spread from the use of cow dung and urine.
“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against COVID-19, it is based entirely on belief,” said Dr JA Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association.
"There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products - other diseases can spread from the animal to humans," he said, reported India Today.
Mask Up, Maintain Physical Distance to Prevent COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) and India’s health ministry have stressed on good hygiene such as washing/sanitising hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing and wearing a face cover to prevent oneself from contracting COVID-19.
The health ministry is also encouraging people to take the vaccine against COVID-19 to end the chain of transmission as soon as possible and prevent deaths.
These are the only scientifically backed claims to prevent coronavirus.
And, staying away from the belief that cow dung prevents coronavirus is also said to help!
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