Fear over Covid in India has some washing themselves with cow dung

Photo via Chiang Rai Times

Fears over Covid-19 has some people in India, bathing themselves in cow feces. Doctors, however, warn that there is no evidence that cow dung is effective at curing the novel coronavirus and even warn of other diseases that can be acquired from the bacteria and germs in the feces. The pandemic has brought widespread devastation to India, with 22.66 million infections of Covid-19 so far, and 246,116 deaths.

But experts say the numbers could be as much as 5 to 10 times higher than that reported as hospital beds, oxygen, and medicine has left many to die from a lack of treatment. The state of Gujarat, in western India, has seen some going to cow shelters once a week to bathe themselves in cow feces and urine with the hope that it will boost their immunity against the coronavirus.

It may sound disgusting and weird, but in Hinduism, the cow is a scared symbol of life and Earth. Hindus have used cow feces to clean their homes and in prayer rituals, believing that it has antiseptic and therapeutic components. Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceutical company, says the practise of using cow dung helped him recover from the virus last year.

“We see… even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear.”

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But not all doctors are in agreeance over its effects or healing properties. J.A. Jayalal, the national president of the Indian Medical Association, feels otherwise.

“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine works to boost immunity against Covid-19. It is based entirely on belief. There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans.”

He says it is also risky for groups to take part in bathing themselves, as it could spread the Covid virus further. But, those who believe in the dung and urine mixture, keep lining up to smother themselves in the concoction. As it dries, they hug or honour the cows at the shelter, and practise yoga to boost their energy levels. When the mixture is dry, they wash it off with milk or buttermilk.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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