Scientists at some of India’s premier labs in Nagpur are spending time and taxpayer’s money to scientifically study whether cow urine can cure infections and cancers.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is collaborating with Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Nagpur, to study cow urine distillate for its antioxidant and bio-enhancing properties on anti-infective and anti-cancer agents and nutrients, said minister of state for ayush (ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, homeopathy) Shripad Yesso Naik in a written reply to Lok Sabha on Friday.
The current research is on Panchagavya, the collective name for five cow products and byproducts that include milk, yoghurt, ghee, urine and dung.
“The medicinal uses of Panchagavya and its individual ingredients including cow urine are mentioned in the authoritative books of Ayurveda,” said Naik.
Since 2002, India has got four US patents on medicines containing anti-oxidants from cow urine, with one of the medicines being commercially available.
The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences is also studying whether Panchgavya Ghrita, an Ayurvedic formulation made from all five products, can help regulate immunity and is safe for human use. The formulation is mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts and Ayurvedic Formulary of India, Part I.
The manufacturing, quality control and sale of Ayurvedic medicines is regulated under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Rules, 1945.
India has 7,835 licenced Ayurveda drug-manufacturing units, many of which are manufacturing medicines using cow urine and dung.
Cancer specialists, however, say they are wary of prescribing traditional medicines, which they label as “experimental”.
“Some people believe in it, some even drink urine in hope for a cure, but the benefits aren’t yet proven. These are experimental treatments and we prefer going for proven treatments,” said a senior cancer specialist at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).