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US stamp on cow urine drug booster

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By G.S. MUDUR in Delhi
  • Published 18.07.05

New Delhi, July 18: Sunil Mansinghka sounds pleased as he answers his phone with a customary “Jai Shri Ram”. The virtues of cow urine, which the director of the Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra near Nagpur has claimed for years, now has a seal of approval of the US patents office.

The US patents and trademarks office has granted a patent to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on what is claimed to be “an absolutely novel use of cow urine distillate”, or “go mutra”, in medicine.

Mansinghka is one of the 15 persons listed as inventors in the patent claim filed three years ago by the CSIR after scientists at its Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Cimap) in Lucknow, his co-inventors, subjected cow urine to scientific scrutiny.

The patent describes cow urine distillate as a “bioenhancer” ? a substance that can increase the efficiency of drugs such as antibiotics or anti-cancer agents in the body. A smaller amount of a drug given along with a bioenhancer can produce the same biological effect in the body as a larger amount given alone, said Cimap director Suman Preet Singh Khanuja.

The bioenhancer from cow urine has the potential to “drastically” reduce the dosage of antibiotics and anti-cancer agents, the patent claim said.

A top Indian biologist, however, said a patent is no authentication of the science underlying the claim.

“It’s very easy to file patents, it’s much harder to get a scientific paper published,” said Dr Pushp Bhargava, vice-chairman of the National Knowledge Commission.

Khanuja said Cimap procured the cow urine samples from the Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, or the Cow Science Research Centre, and conducted scientific experiments that revealed the bioenhancing property of cow urine.

The Nagpur-based centre produces about 3,000 bottles of cow urine distillate each month, each containing 200 ml of what it calls “Kamadhenu Arka”.

Mansinghka said the patent would help the product gain the confidence of people. “Our people have forgotten their heritage,” he said. A herd of about 260 indigenous cows at the Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra provides the urine that is boiled, distilled, and bottled.

Khanuja said the scientific investigations on cow urine were part of a bigger programme to search for bioenhancers from natural products.

“Many antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs have unwanted side-effects and bioenhancers are expected to lower the toxic effects by reducing the amount of a drug required to treat an illness,” the Cimap director said.