India’s Baba Ramdev, also fondly called “Babaji” by his many followers, has come under fire for his comment about cow urine in the Quran being mentioned as a form of medicine. He said that this should be enough for Muslims to also be open to drinking it like how it is used for therapeutic purposes in traditional Indian medicine. However, Baba Ramdev may have gotten his information mixed up.
Advocates of urine therapy tout it as the body’s own perfect medicine. Most people say drinking your own urine is enough to reap its benefits while others will also massage the urine onto their skin, inject it back into their body, or even have it put in an Intravenous (IV) drip line.
Dr. Nakao in Japan was one of the first medical doctors to research and voice the clinical benefits of urine therapy. But rather than drinking it, he said that that gargling a small amount of your own urine helps the body strengthen its own immune system and fight off diseases and infections more effectively as a result. He said that in 1937, four years after he became a doctor, he used urine therapy on himself to cure his gonorrhea.
An English-subtitled interview with Dr. Nakao may be viewed on YouTube:
Many have claimed that urine therapy has cured them of cancer, baldness, acid reflux, depression, and many other diseases.
Urine therapy is indeed a practice that is hundreds, even thousands, of years old. Most attribute its origins to traditional Indian healing practices like Ayurveda. Historical records also show that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans from the Middle Ages and Renaissance also practised urine therapy.
Baba Ramdev and Cow Urine Medicine in India
The practice goes beyond consuming ones own urine in India where the cow is a sacred animal. In Hinduism, one of the avatars, or mortal incarnations of the god Krishna, was a cow. The cow is also known as Gau Mata (Mother Cow) – the mother of all deities. So slaughtering cows and eating beef is outlawed in many parts of India.
However, the cow is still an important animal for agriculture and many parts of its body are used for practical purposes, such as its hide, taken after it has died of natural causes and used for its leather. Its milk, urine, and even excrement are used for therapy and ritual.
Although even Western advocates of alternative and natural therapies may find cow urine as medicine a squeamish thought, in India, it is one of the fastest growing alternative medicines with factories devoted to collecting and purifying cow urine.
In a Global Post report, a factory owned by Divya Pharmacy collects thousands of gallons of cow urine daily which are processed into numerous products like natural supplements, facial creams, nasal drops, hair tonics, and other Ayurvedic-based medicines.
Anil Kumar, a vaidya (practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine), who worked for Divya Parmacy said that the benefits of cow urine are described in ancient texts.
“Cow’s urine is a diuretic. It helps in detoxification of the body, and many other beneficial effects are described in the Sanskrit scriptures, such as helping to expel excess bile,” he said.
Even the government of Indian Prime Minister Modi, has been promoting the use of traditional Indian medicine and holds dozens of patents to related to cow urine.
Patanjali Yogpeeth, the parent company of Divya Pharmacy, is one of the many Ayurveda-based companies in India that produce health and home care products. Baba Ramdev is the face of the company that was established over ten years ago.
According to Indian Express, his comments about cow urine were made during a TV appearance on the Indian TV show Aap Ki Adalat with host, Rajat Sharma.
To defend himself from detractors who accuse Patanjali Yogpeeth as being a Hindu company, he said that natural remedies from Ayurveda, like cow urine, may even be used by Muslims because it is mentioned in the Quran.
“It is written in Quran that cow urine can be used for treatment. Some people are targeting Patanjali by saying that it is a Hindu company. Did I ever target Hamdard (set up by the Hamid brothers)?
[Editor’s Note: Hamdard is a company which produces health, home, and beauty products based on Unani, a traditional healing system from Persia.]
“I have full support for Hamdard, and Himalaya drug company too. Farooq bhai of the Himalaya group even donated land to me for setting up yoga gram [sic]. If some people level such charges, they will only be creating a wall of hate,” he said.
Ramdev’s comments are misinformed, however, because the Quran – the holy book of Islam – does not mention cow urine as a medicine.
The Truth About Cow Urine in The Quran
Actually, camel urine, not cow urine, is mentioned in one of the Hadith, a collection of sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. Sunni Muslims, who make up around 90 percent of the world’s Muslims believe there are six authentic Hadith which are second to the Quran in authority. Other hadith are also considered as authentic, but not included as part of the Authentic Six.
Shia Muslims reject any Hadith that were not narrated by a member of the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad’s household).
The Hadith recorded by Al-Bukhari and narrated by Anas detailed how some people became ill at Al-Madinah (Medina). Muhammad instructed them to drink the milk and urine of his camel until their bodies became healthy, which they did.
But generally, animal urine and excrement is unclean and therefore haram (forbidden) in Islam. This exemption might have been given because of the necessity of it as a medicine for those who fell ill. Some writers believe that the exemption was given for this specific group of people using a particular camel, which did not come from Al-Madinah and therefore would not make them sick. And should not be seen as permission to use camel urine as a regular medicine or health supplement.
Although scientific research has yet to validate any solid claims about the health benefits of urine therapy, whether it be from yourself, a cow, or a camel, it is clear that this form of medicine has been around for thousands of years and continues to have thousands of practitioners in India and many other parts of the world.