Cow urine, which has been touted as a miracle medicine for decades, has now been found to be unsuitable for direct human consumption as it contains potentially harmful bacteria.
Research carried out by Bareilly-based ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), the country’s premier animal research body, has found that the urine of buffalo was more effective on certain bacteria.
The study led by Bhoj Raj Singh of the institute along with three Ph.D. students found that urine samples from healthy cows and bulls contained at least 14 types of harmful bacteria with the presence of Escherichia coli, which can cause stomach infections, most commonly detected.
The findings of the peer-reviewed research have been published on the online research website, Researchgate. Singh, who heads the department of epidemiology at the institute, said, “Statistical analysis of 73 urine samples of cow, buffaloes, and humans suggest that antibacterial activity in buffalo urine was far more superior than cows. The urine of buffalo was significantly more effective on bacteria like S epidermidis and E Rhapontici.”
He explained, “We collected urine samples of three types of cows — Sahiwal, Tharparkar, and Vindavani (cross breed) from local dairy farms — along with samples of buffaloes and humans. Our study carried out between June and November 2022, concluded that a sizeable proportion of urine samples from apparently healthy individuals carry potentially pathogenic bacteria.”
The urine of some individuals, irrespective of sex and breeder species, might be inhibitory to a select group of bacteria but the common belief, that cow urine is antibacterial, cannot be generalized.
He further said, “In no case can urine be recommended for human consumption. Some people put forth the contention that distilled urine does not have infectious bacteria. We are carrying out further research on it.”
Notably, cow urine is widely sold in the Indian market without the food safety and standards authority of India (FSSAI) trademark by many suppliers.
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