What Does Ayurveda Say About Cow Urine and Cow Dung? Are They Good for the Microbiome?

Cow dung and cow’s urine are majestic medicines in Ayurveda: they can help heal our microbiome AND the earth’s microbiome! And urine and dung are just two of five cow-products here to support us… In classic Ayurvedic philosophy: that which is good for us is good for the earth. This is one of the reasons cow's are so holy in India. 

The five substances the cow produces (called Pancagavya in Sanskrit) are: Ghruta (or ghee), cow dung, urine, curd and milk. These products are a great example of how taking care of the soil and animals of the earth, will help heal our guts and bodies. 

For us to safely use cow dung and urine, we need to take care of the cows that produce them. They need to feel safe, so their milk is not filled with threat and fear. They need to feed on pesticide-free grass, they need to roam freely and feel safe in their habitat.  This in turn produces organic faeces or dung that can feeds the fields that grow crops, meaning we can eat vegetables and grains that are free from contaminants.

The same goes for the Ghruta or ghee, curd and milk. If we want contaminant, chemical, pesticide free produce, we need to make sure the cow’s lives mirror this. We need to know that we could basically consume their defecation without risk of disease or chemical contamination… this is the circle of life, and it requires us to look at whole picture. This is the gift of Ayurvedic philosophy, it takes a wide-angle perspective, leaving no stone unturned. 

After all, we need to treat the earth with the same care as we want to treat our bodies, and cow produce could allow us to do this...

The Five Substances of the Cow: Pancagavya 

Panca once means five, and gavya, that which is obtained from a cow. These five substances (cow dung, ghruta, cow urine, curd and milk) can all be used as medicine. 

These five cow substances revered by Ayurvedic medicine can be used in a variety of ways: for the land and agriculture, as medicine, as food, and topically. Each of these five gavya can be used as therapy on its own or in combination. 

As Kothari and Prasad point out in their research paper Cow Products: boon to human health and food security “These products provide all the necessary energy and nutrients to ensure the proper growth and development of the human.”

Agriculture + soil biome and our microbiome 

Using these cow products is a holistic systems approach, meaning no waste, and care at every level. It also means that no synthesised fertilisers, pesticides, insecticides and glyphosates are needed. By using them, we are not polluting the earth nor our bodies! They improve soil health, help earthworms thrive, and increase nature’s biome meaning our microbiome is also improved. Modern western biodynamic farming also knows this to be true. Farmers have been using cow manure and dung for centuries across the globe, and continue to… but we need to integrate this into large scale productions and get rid of glyphosates that are wreaking havoc on our bodies 

A healthy soil microbiome means a healthy human microbiome 

Cow Dung - is a gold mine of nutrients, microflora, friendly bacteria, fungi, yeasts, proteins, fats and fibres. Ayurveda sites that cow dung serves as a germicide, helps increase intelligence, and has antiseptic properties. Its uses are as good for a human as they are for the land and soil. 

Bio fertiliser made of cow dung can be used for farming, it is also a heat and energy source for fire and cooking.

Cow urine - is the top product used for purification of raw materials such as minerals, metals and plants in Ayurvedic medicine. Panchagavya is also a medicine made up of these five cow-substances. The medicine, panchagavya, is a rejuvenating tonic which boosts the immune system. It is highly nutritional, containing loads of micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes. It is also filled with healthy bacteria for a rich and nourished microbiome. 

Curd - also called yoghurt - is one of the best probiotics for cultivating a healthy gut and microbiome. Curd when properly consumed is anti fungal, purifies blood, enhances the immune system, provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and friendly bacteria. Curd is made by fermenting milk, adding a starter and leaving it to cool and set in a clay pot. 

Milk - strengthens all seven dhatus (tissues in Ayurveda): circulating fluids + lymph, blood, muscle, fat, nervous system + bone marrow, and reproductive tissue. It supports memory and therefore neurological function as well as boosting immunity. It is one of the most nutritious substances on earth, but one wants it to be of an A2 variety, so it can be properly assimilated by human digestive systems. 

Ghruta / Ghee - this is clarified lipid that is a holy grail of Ayurveda. It nourishes the body and dhatus, it is a rejuvenate tonic or rasayana. It is the best tonic for the nervous system. Ghruta nourishes the cells and is a brain tonic. See here for more info. 

Cow Dung as renewable energy and protector against nuclear radiation! 

  • Cow dung or manure, when broken down by an anaerobic digester creates a gas that can be used to generate renewable energy
  • Cow dung was spread near the Hiroshaima region of Japan to decrease the side effects of nuclear radiation
  • It was reported that in the Union Carbide region of India, people living in huts covered in cow dung were unscathed

The Circle of Life…. 

If we take care of the cows and the land they use for pasture, feed the earth with their dung to produce nutritious organic vegetables and crops. Let them eat the crops and grass that is fed with this nourishment, and then in turn use their produce and waste material for fuel, food, medicine and fertiliser… the world might be a healthier happier place!

Let’s start the pancha gavya cow revolution! :-)

By Selina Van Orden 

Selina is an Ayurvedic physician living and working in the UK, for more information visit atyourbest.one 

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