Panchagavya and Ayurvedic Medicine
Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine advocates using
Panchagavya as a cure-all for ailments
ranging from diabetes to cancer, from schizophrenia to autism.
Panchagavya is a concoction of five products of the cow.
It includes three direct products —
dung, urine, and milk — and two derived products —
yoghurt and ghee (or clarified butter).
These ingredients are mixed in specified ratios and then allowed to ferment.
Some references include four more ingredients:
jaggery (or raw cane sugar),
The dung and ghee are thoroughly mixed during the morning and evening,
and then kept for 3 days.
After settling for 3 days, it is mixed regularly for another 15 days.
Then the other ingredients are mixed in,
and the result is left to sit for another 30 days.
The resulting concoction is stored in a wide-mouthed earthen port
or in a concrete tank in the open.
If you want a concoction without the dung and urine, you can replace them
with honey and sugar to make panchamrita.
But once you've started down this path,
why would you leave out the dung and urine?
Origins of Panchagavya
The word panchagavya is Sanskrit —
pancha meaning five,
and gavya (from gau) meaning from the cow.
The Charaka Samhitā or
is a Sanskrit text on Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine.
It is thought to have been written between the fourth century BCE and
second century CE, with the version used today assembled in the 6th
It consists of 120 chapters in eight books,
and it describes panchagavya among many other concoctions.
The concoction is used in ritual settings.
It is used as a prasada, a food offering which is offered to a
deity in a temple and then is consumed by the worshipers.
The 2016 Program to Validate Panchagavya
Science on Panchagavya, February 2017
The journal Science reported
in early 2017 that India's science ministry was starting a program
to "validate" the millennia-old concoction.
India's science minister, Harsh Vardhan, said
"The truth is that panchagavya is very strong."
He said that the science ministry's project will use modern scientific tools
"to show the world the supremacy of Ayurveda."
M. S. Swaminathan is the chairman of the M. S. Swaminathan Research
Foundation of Chennai, India, a non-profit organization devoted to
He said, "Scientific validation is desirable in all cases."
And Again in 2023
Nature on the 2023 WHO summit
In August 2023 the World Health Organization or WHO
convened its first summit dedicated to traditional medicine.
One of the major goals was discussing how to gather evidence
for traditional healing systems that include Ayurveda, yoga, and homeopathy.
Your Results May Vary
Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, a biologist and a former director of the
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Hyderabad, India,
has reviewed the medical literature of panchagavya, to the extent
that it exists.
He reports that in the few papers he found, the authors
"had absolutely no inkling of what scientific research is."
Studies on the ingestion of individual components, such as cow urine,
have shown no positive benefit.
They have shown significant to deadly side effects
from the urine itself.
Leptospirosis and other infectious diseases can also be passed through
Medical journal articles have investigated poisoning cases caused
by ingesting cow urine and nicotine in Nigeria.
Those studies concluded that cow urine and nicotine cause excitement
in low doses, depressed respiration at moderate doses,
and convulsion and death in higher doses.
[Tropical and Geographical Medicine 27: 194-202, PMID 1179485;
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
1977 71(2): 127-132]
The irony is that cow's urine and nicotine form a
traditional Nigerian remedy to treat convulsions.
So, this treatment causes and intensifies what it claims to cure.
Those are some of the risks just for drinking cow urine.
As for eating cow dung, well, it would be challenging to estimate
how many strains of harmful microbes and parasites you would ingest.
External Use? Maybe
Ayurvedic practices urge other uses of cow's urine.
It has been used in soap, shampoo, hair oil, skin cream, and so on.
As for its recommended use in tooth powder and nasal powder,
now you're ingesting it.
I'm not sure how you use nasal powder, but it sounds like you dry
cow urine, grind that into a fine powder, and snort it up your nose.
Thank you, but no.
Panchagavya is commonly used as a fertilizer and pesticide.
Yes, urine will provide needed minerals, and dung is commonly used
all around the world as a crop fertilizer.
With panchagavya you're just mixing dairy products
into the traditional fertilizer.
You can mix panchagavya into water to grow plankton,
which you can collect and use as fish feed.
But in this case it's really just an aquatic fertilizer for plankton.
Panchagavya proponents claim that it is useful as animal feed,
promoting growth in chickens, cows, and pigs.
Well, chickens are notoriously coprophagous, and pigs will eat most anything.
The real benefit from using this as livestock feed comes from the ghee and
milk and yoghurt which, unfortunately for the animals,
is horribly contaminated with urine and dung.
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