A clip of a young Nepali politician, Gyanendra Bahadur Shahi, claiming that cow's urine has antibacterial properties in a programme has gone viral on the internet. His claim has garnered tonnes of scrutiny on Twitter.
Shahi asserts that cow urine has a powerful antibacterial property that can kill any bacterial species, as has been proved by NASA, the United States civil space programme. He goes on to say that cow urine is the only thing that can do the job.
The uploader of the video clip on Twitter has shared the video, regretting the fact that "someone spreading such superstition and hypocrisy should be called 'honourable'! That is our 'fate'!"
While a comment on the video from a user, Suvash Acharya, read: "First, the composition of human urine and cow urine is the same; there is not much of a difference."
Another user, Surendra Kandel, wrote: "I am also a Sanatani Hindu, I regard cow as Goddess, I eat Panchakavya in puja, but I don't believe that NASA says cow urine kills bacteria."
While people on the internet are doing what they do best – sharing their views – NepalMinute fact-checked the claims made in the video.
First things first, did NASA say that cow urine is antibacterial?
A plain yet emphatic answer is NO. We did not find any mention of NASA backing the claim that cow urine has any medicinal value on the internet. We tried Bing AI-enabled chat to scour the internet for any mention by NASA, but it returned no result.
So, this claim turns out to be false.
His next claim is that cow urine, having a powerful antibacterial property, can exterminate any species of bacteria on planet Earth.
A lot of research has been carried out to investigate the medicinal value of cow urine. Most of which have been the works of researchers in India.
Cow's urine is described in Ayurvedic texts, such as the Susruta Samhita, Ashtanga Sangrah, and Bhav Prakash Nighantu, as a potent medicinal substance with countless therapeutic applications.
The findings of the research show that cow urine has antibacterial properties against certain types of bacteria. A few research studies have also suggested cow urine to be a fungicide and bioenhancer – meaning, it can improve the effectiveness of other drugs.
A 2008 article by H. Yadav, M. Yadav, S. Jain and team, published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, states: "The results of the present study also indicate that pure cow urine exhibited good antibacterial potential, more than standard antibiotics. It indicates that cow urine itself has some potent antimicrobial substances."
The researchers also mixed cow's urine with herbal extracts of sissoo tree and datura, which increased the efficacy of cow urine in fighting bacteria in certain cases.
However, such research is not as rigorous and has been carried out on urine from indigenous breeds of cows in India, like Gir. As things stand, these research findings need further validation. It appears that no research has been carried out in Nepal, though. Also, the research is in vitro, meaning it was carried out in a Petri dish in a lab environment and may yield different results in clinical trials.
So, Shahi's claims of cow's urine being effective against "all species and strains of bacteria" cannot be validated. But it has shown promising results in fighting certain types of bacteria and fungus. The use of cow urine as a medicine should be approached with caution because even cows can often contract diseases.
A paper with a collection of many such research findings can be accessed here.
In conclusion, the claims are partially true but can be misleading.