Sunday, 10 August 2008

Most common and most unique uses of cow dung

Written by A Bisht

Different cultures have different beliefs regarding Cow Dung.But surprisingly some beliefs seem universal. So I tried to explore a bit and sum up some of the most common and some of the most unique uses of cow dung. After a long and tedious search I've compiled a list.

So here is the list:

1. Cow dung is a natural antiseptic, if applied on wounds heals them.[X]
2. Cow dung as a Fertilizer – The process of composting increases its effectiveness
3. As a source of heat - cow dung is naturally hot – so in colder regions people prefer to sleep in cow sheds.
4. Air Purifier
5. Floor coating - used mixed with mud and water on floors in mud houses. Improves water absorption of mud. Prevents muddy puddles resulting from spill water.
6. Mud brick additive - improves resistance to disintegration. Mud and lime (cow dung ashes) when mixed together acts like cement.
7. Cow dung when mixed with crushed neem leaves- when applied is good for boils and heat rash.[X]
8. Smoke producer - smoldering cow patties (also called Upale or Gossey in north India) keep away mosquitoes. Patties also used in cooking.
9. Pot cleaner – when used dry, it absorbs oil and fat; when used wet it acts as a general cleaner
10. Cow dung ash mixed with tamarind is used as a Brass polish. Tamarind removes oxidation; Wet ash polishes.
11. Fertilizer - alkaline - cow dung ash mixed with other minerals basic and good fertilizer for plants.
12. Pond PH balancer - thrown into pond neutralizes acid.
13. Tooth polish: in some cultures people use cow dung to polish their teeth. Thus it acts as bleach for the teeth. The dung ashes make excellent tooth power. [X]
14. In Hinduism, cow dung is an integral part of religious ceremonies.
15. Another use Seed protector- covering seeds in dung before planting helps to protect against pests.
16. A paste made by mixing cow dung pies with fresh water and applied on to skin diseases is believed to cure the skin infection. Some say it is an excellent cure for psoriasis. [X]
17. Bio gas made out of cow dung is used as a fuel and the sludge in the container is an essentially sterile odorless excellent fertilizer.
18. Smoke produced by smoldering cow patties acts as a mosquito repellent.
19. In some cultures it is believed that the smoke from Cow-dung increases the vision (as the smoke induces excessive tearing which cleans the eyes of possible toxins). [X]
20. Covering seeds with cow dung before planting protects them from pests.
21. Cow dung is used as a floor coat in Indian villages with mud floors. In mud housed walls are also regularly coated with a mixture of cow dung and water. Acts as a disinfectant and insect repellent.
22. Fresh cow dung is applied on newly cut umbilical cords in newborns in India. [X]

Although i tried to enlist, every possible use and belief; still if you think I missed some, please share them with me and others...

[Note: The list is just a compilation of the prevalent beliefs and practices and should not be considered scientifically and medically proven. Although some of the uses do have a scientific data to back them. Uses with '[X]' sign should not be tried; as it can be hazardous to one's health]

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