Cow manure and urine: the popular “miracle cure” against COVID-19 in India

Amid the deadliest wave of COVID-19 in India, more and more people cover their bodies with cow dung and urine trying to protect themselves from the virus.

A month after infections soared to record highs, India remains the global epicenter of the pandemic. With 23 million total cases and 250 thousand deaths, the curve does not give way and the situation has forced millions to take desperate measures.

One of them is the increasingly common practice of bathing in cow dung and urine in order to “immunize” or heal of COVID-19. This alternative treatment has gained popularity in the western state of Gujarat, where 63 million inhabitants coexist and the situation is not as dire compared to the center of the country.

Photo: Mayank Makhija / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The origin of these manifestations is based on the status of sacred animal that cows have in India as a result of the story of Krishna, one of the main deities of Hinduism. In addition, since the arrival of the conservative government headed by Narendra Modi, the role of these ruminants has been exacerbated to the extent that issues related to this species are dealt with by a separate agency, the Cow Ministry.

In October 2020, the Ministry introduced a “chip” for mobile phones made from cow dung and designed to supposedly protect the user from radiation. Without any scientific explanation, the device was launched on the Indian market as part of a series of investigations focused on the alleged beneficial uses of cow manure and urine.

In the case of the pandemic, countless people go to stables at least once a week in search of excrement and bovine urine, making line to receive a bucket with them and smear them all over your body. Once they are covered in organic matter, they perform some prayers or meditate, before being bathed in milk to end the ritual.

cow dungPhoto: The Times of India via AFP

In this regard, Indian doctors have alerted the population that there is no scientific evidence some that support the application of cow manure and urine on the body as a form of protection or effective treatment against COVID-19. Actually, the exposure to fecal matter is risky and it can bring with it some bacterial infection, especially in people with chronic diseases or a weakened immune system.

This practice continues to gain popularity in the current context of India, in the same way that other alternative treatments such as chlorine dioxide and various “miracle products” have become popular around the world in the wake of the pandemic, despite the fact that it does not exist. some evidence that they can fight the coronavirus and in some cases, are harmful to health.

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