Chennai: After biotechnology scientists at Junagadh Agriculture University in Gujarat claimed to have succeeded in their first attempt to kill cancer cells using cow urine, the study had become debatable among doctors.
While doctors agree on the health benefits of cow urine or ‘gaumutra’ against various kidney ailments and non-communicable diseases, many are questioning the effectiveness of cow urine against cancer.
DC talked to researchers, health experts and oncologists on use of cow urine in medicine and claims of being able to kill cancer cells using cow urine.
The research team consisting of assistant professors Shraddha Bhatt, Rukamsinh Tomar and research fellow Kavita Joshi of biotechnology scientists at Junagadh Agriculture University in Gujarat performed a series of tests on cancer cells against four cancer lines of lung, cervix, mouth and kidney cancer.
“The cow urine extract of Gir Cow, Jafrabadi Buffalo, Jersey Cow and Holstein Friesian were prepared in a powder form in different concentration of 100 to 1,000 milligram and cancer cells were treated with the extract. We conducted DPPH antioxidant activity test, MTT reduction cytotoxic acid test, Trypan blue cell viability test and Apotosis assay on cancer cells,” said Shraddha Bhatt, Assistant Professor at the biotechnology department of the university.
The qualitative and quantitative analysis of action of Gir cow urine extract was successful in killing cancer cells and reducing the multiplication of cancer cells over time. Similar result was not obtained for other urine extracts, but Gir cow urine showed anti-proliferation and cytotoxic action of killing cancer cells procured in a bottle.
The dead cells were confirmed using fluorescent microscopy and Trypan blue cell viability test and we found that the cells had died over 48 hours and greater the concentration, better the action on cancer cells, added Dr Shraddha.
Researchers claim that cow urine had scavenging effect on cancer cells and could successfully kill them. However, the report turned controversial as many political leaders and medicos called it propaganda for the central government that went against cow slaughter and other events that followed concerning cows.
With different claims on cancer treatments popping up every day, allopathic doctors deny the authenticity of the research. However, Indian medicine doctors say hat cow urine has been in use for medicinal purpose for various diseases such as blood pressure regulation, diabetes, kidney ailments, bloating and leprosy.
Senior oncologist Dr Anitha Ramesh says that any such report cannot be accepted for cancer treatment as the ethics and authenticity is questionable.
“Urine consists of toxins of an organisms body, which can rather be harmful than being able to treat diseases. There are claims of treating cancer and other diseases but these are based on weak or no scientific data. A report that is not socially acceptable and unscientific cannot be used for treatment of as serious a disease like cancer. If cancer could just be treated by cow urine, the treatment would have boomed up in the world,” added Dr Anitha.
However, researchers say that similar research will be conducted by them on 25 cancer lines, on which patent will be claimed. “Unlike celebrities, poor sections of society give up on treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiation due to high treatment costs and medication. We wanted to develop something for the poor to be benefited from and have no political agenda behind the research,” said research fellow Kavita Joshi.
Consultant oncologist at Meenakshi Mission Hospital, Dr Kirushna Kumar says that before advanced treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation came up, we have been using various alternative forms of medicine for cancer treatment.
“The difference in lifestyle and environmental factors have led to an increase in cancer cases, on the other hand, the treatments have also been developed. In the absence of enough substantial data to prove effectiveness of cow urine on cancer cells, we can encourage more research in the field. If these forms of medicine are useful, it will be of great help to the mankind,” said Dr Kirushna Kumar.
Doctors of Indian medicine argue that cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation do not have a 100 per cent success rate on cancer patients.
“Despite being termed as curable, there are 60- 70 per cent cancer patients who get cured of cancer using modern methods of cancer treatment, while 30-40 per cent of them have various factors such as genetic issues, late diagnosis and other problems restricting complete cure to cancer. Likewise, one not claim that cow urine is a 100 per cent cure, but more research should be done in the field to investigate the same,” says Siddha practitioner Dr Shree Devi.
Researches on treating several diseases with urine
In many earlier occasions, the use of cow urine for various ailments has triggered debates. A 2013 study in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology claimed that distilled cow urine might help to prevent the development of kidney stones in rats, which could prove effective on humans too.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research received a US Patent in 2013 for a mixture of cow urine distillate as an antibiotic, promoting antimicrobial functions of antifungal and antibiotic agents.
Deolapar and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute acquired US patent was acquired in 2010 for a claimed anti-cancer drug based on gomutra.
On the contrary, a study at National Center for Biotechnology Information said that nearly 8.3 percent of people who used cow urine on injured eye, had harmful effects of it. The use of these harmful and traditional eye medications on injured eyes can reduce further the visual prognosis despite ophthalmic intervention, the research said.
Various online reports say that anaemia can be treated using a mixture containing herbal powder of Triphala, cow milk and cow urine. Ayurveda recommends use of cow urine for the treatment of fever, along with ghee, yoghurt and black pepper.