People in India are smearing cow dung over their bodies to ward off COVID-19 as second wave crisis worsens

  • Doctors in India are warning against the practice of using cow dung to ward off COVID-19.
  • Some believers have been smearing cow dung on their bodies in the hope it will boost their immunity.
  • Hindus believe cow dung has therapeutic and antiseptic properties.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Doctors in India have urged people not to smear their bodies with cow dung and urine, saying there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in warding off the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

As the second COVID-19 wave continues to ravage the country, some believers have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung in the hopes it will boost their immunity, or help them recover from the virus.

Photos of one shelter in the western state of Gujarat show a group of men covering themselves from head to toe with a mixture of cow dung and urine.

While they wait for the dung to dry, the men hug or honor the cows at the shelter, and practice yoga to boost energy levels, Reuters reported. They then wash off the excrement with milk or buttermilk.

But medical officials have warned against this practice, saying that it actually risks spreading other diseases.

“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against COVID-19, it is based entirely on belief,” said Dr. J. A. Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association, according to Sky News.

“There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products — other diseases can spread from the animal to humans,” he added.

In the last month, the coronavirus has wrought devastation in India as people are struggling to find hospital beds or oxygen, leaving many to die for lack of treatment.

The country has reported more than 24 million cases and more than 264,000 deaths so far, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher.

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