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The Many Benefits And Uses Of Cow Dung

In Hinduism, cow dung has a special spiritual significance. From Govardhan Puja to havans, cow dung is used during pujas, rituals and traditional ceremonies. These are some of the spiritual significances of cow dung, true; however, there are some science-backed benefits for this 'golden' faeces. Let's take a look.

Benefits Of Cow Dung

Cow dung, a commonly used manure, is nothing but the 'poop' of cows. Apart from the religious significance the manure has, cow dung is a useful material and can help us in a variety of ways. A renewable resource that is easily available, the benefits of cow dung are usually overlooked - owing to its excreta classification.

Cow dung is comprised of organic matter including fibrous material that passed through the cow's digestive system, among other liquid digests that have been left after the fermentation, absorption and filtration, acidified and then absorbed again [1]. Cow dung is the undigested residue of plant matter which has passed through the animal's gut, making the resultant faecal matter rich in minerals.

In India, cows are very important animal resources and are highly useful in agriculture and dairy industry. As reports point out, Panchagavya is the term used to describe five major substances, obtained from cow, which include cow's urine, milk, ghee, curd and dung; where studies assert that all the five products possess medicinal properties against many health disorders [2].

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While it may seem weird, cowpathy is an old system of medicine mentioned in ancient Indian literature (Ayurveda) as Panchagavya Chikitsa and are said to boost up the body immune system [3]. There was a limitation of studies that stressed the health benefits of cow dung. After exhaustive research, the following can be accredited as the benefits of cow dung:

  • Indian cow dung possesses superior antimicrobial activity than normal cow dung [4].
  • The antimicrobial activity may make it beneficial for boosting immunity.
  • Cow dung has medicinal properties that can be used to formulate drugs for several diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogenic microorganisms [5].
  • Due to the anti-bacterial properties, it is said that cow dung can be used as a body pack for detoxification and prevention of pimples [6].
  • Dry cow dung powder was used in the treatment of skin diseases.
  • Some reports suggest that cow dung may help reduce infection and improve blood circulation.
  • Cow dung contains a substance similar to penicillin, which has a disinfecting effect and reduces bacteria that cause disease [7].

Uses Of Cow Dung

Although the health benefits of cow dung need more extensive studies to gather a clear idea, the uses of cow dung as a fertiliser, manure and so on have been effectively followed for years.

  • Dried cow dung can be used for biogas and fuel [8].
  • A mud and cow dung paste are often used as a building material, mostly in rural parts of India.
  • The high fibre content of cow dung also enables the production of paper from the dung [9].
  • The smoke from burning cow dung has been found to repel insects, including mosquitoes.
  • Cow manure can increase the quality of the soil and promote the growth of plants.
  • Dried cow dung can be used as a replacement for firewood.

Side Effects Of Cow Dung

Studies point out that burning of dung cakes causes serious health problems. According to health experts, the smoke released in the burning process contains hazardous gases [10]. Also, pathogens that cause illness in humans can be passed through cow manure that has not been correctly processed before using as manure.

On A Final Note...

Not all cow dungs possess benefits. And simply because cow dung has certain benefits, it does not mean that it is harmless. Cow dung is also used in Hindu religious fire yajna as an important ingredient.

Story first published: Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 19:04 [IST]
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