AHMEDABAD: Doctors in India are warning against using cow dung in the hopes of warding off COVID-19, claiming that there is no scientific evidence for its efficacy and that it could spread other diseases.
India has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with 22.66 million cases and 246,116 deaths recorded so far.
Real figures may be five to ten times higher, according to experts and people around the country are unable to find hospital beds, oxygen, or medications causing many to die due to a lack of treatment.
Some believers in Gujarat have been going to cow shelters once a week to coat their bodies in cow dung and urine in the hopes of boosting their immunity to the coronavirus or aiding their recovery.
The cow is a sacred symbol of life and the earth in Hinduism and Hindus have used cow dung for cleaning and prayer rituals for centuries, claiming it to have medicinal and antiseptic properties.
According to the sources, participants hug or honour the cows at the shelter while waiting for the dung and urine mixture on their bodies to dry, and they practise yoga to increase their energy levels. After that, the packs are washed in milk or buttermilk.
Alternative COVID-19 therapies have been consistently cautioned against by doctors and scientists in India and around the world, who believe they can lead to a false sense of security and exacerbate health problems.
"There is no concrete scientific proof that cow dung or urine improve immunity against COVID-19; it is entirely dependent on faith," said Dr. JA Jayalal, national president of the Indian Medical Association.
Smearing or eating these items carries health risks, as other diseases may be transmitted from the animal to humans.
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