Sadhvi Pragya Says Cow Urine Cures Cancer. Here’s a Fact Check
Bharatiya Janta Party’s candidate from Bhopal and Malegaon blast accused, Pragya Thakur claimed in an interview that a mixture of cow products helped her cure her breast cancer. We did a fact check:
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among women in India and accounts for 14 percent of all cancers. India has perhaps the worst mortality rate when it comes to a type of cancer that is very treatable if detected early. For every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, one woman dies of it in India.
Lack of attention towards their own health, delayed diagnosis and low access to healthcare means women reach for help when it's already too late.
Making this situation worse is myths, fake news and unscientific claims sold as cure by our leaders. The latest ‘cure’ comes ‘Sadhvi’ Pragya Thakur.
In a tweet promoting his interview with Pragya Thakur, India Today’s news director Rahul Kawal shared these gems from the candidate.
In an earlier part of the interview, Thakur says that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery. In the later part of the interview she claims she cured herself of cancer through panchagavya, a mix of of cow urine, dung, milk, yogurt, and clarified butter or ghee.
The same panchagavya has been disputedly hailed as a cure-all for everything from schizophrenia and autism to diabetes and cancer. Panchagavya is considered an important element of Ayurveda medicine and prescribed as cowpathy. The same mixture is also spread on fields to increase crop yield.
Cow Urine, Antimicrobial Properties and Cure
A lot of chatter around cow urine’s antimicrobial properties keeps doing the rounds. There have been a few papers that have examined it. Recently, researchers at Junagadh Agriculture University in Gujarat performed a series of tests against 4 types of cancer (breast cancer was not included). The claim was that the cow urine extract of the Gir Cow (also called the desi cow) was successful in killing cancer cells and preventing multiplication of cancer cells. Urine extracts of Jafrabadi Buffalo, Jersey Cow and Holstein Friesian failed to achieve these results.
Research from the same university also seems to have found gold in Gir cow’s urine.
But oncologists and scientists say there is simply no scientific study done to support these claims. They question the ethics of the studies and the methodology used.
We spoke with leading doctors on their view on the claims:
This is an ideal case for ‘Patanjali Ayurved’ to take up for research and analysis. Who knows, they may have blockbuster on their hands, and imagine the numbers who may benefit. A Nobel prize will certainly be thrown in. As a man of science I have learnt to not dismiss things offhand, but seek credible evidence.Dr Sameer Kaul, Oncologist
The modalities of carrying out research in both Ayurveda and Allopathy are different. Panchagavya may have a role to play, but we need credible evidence to support these claims. If the patient is terminal then the doctors often tell patients that they are free to explore other modalities of treatment, if there is no harm.Dr Ashwini Setya, Gastroenterologist
Cows and Blood Pressure
There’s more. While walking through a goushala with the journalist, Pragya Thakur says patting the cow from the back towards the neck helps cure your blood pressure. Mind you, not when you do the same thing from front to back - that is soothing for the cow and for you.
When the action is from the back to the front, it’s uncomfortable for the cow. But the cow takes that discomfort just so you can be cured of your blood pressure.
FIT reached out to Dr Ashok Seth, a leading cardiologist and head of Fortis Escorts Hospital for a comment.
“Hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc are serious diseases and require proper scientifically proven interventions,” he added.
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