How Are These Cows Literally Peeing Gold? - Chromatography Explores
Aug 05 2016
A recent headline in The Times of India reported that cow’s urine contains gold. The research by scientists at the Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU), was undertaken over four years and analysed the urine from 400 Gir cows - a distinctive breed of cow originating in the Gir forest region of India.
The researchers analysed the urine to look for metabolites and toxins. Gas chromatography in tandem with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) found gold traces ranging from 3 - 10 mg in one litre of urine. The gold was discovered in the ionic form as gold salts in the urine. The analysis of ionic salts in water is discussed in the article, Determining Inorganic Anions in Drinking Water.
More than gold in the pee
The team of researchers - led by Dr Golakia, head of JAU’s biotechnology department - analysed for gold following the writings in ancient scriptures. Dr Golakia stated:
"Till now, we have heard about presence of gold in cow urine from our ancient scriptures and its medicinal properties. Since there was no detailed scientific analysis to prove this, we decided to undertake a research on cow urine. We analyzed 400 samples of Gir cow urine and found traces of gold."
The team found over 5100 compounds in Gir cow urine, with almost 400 said to have some medical value according to ayuverdic medical principles. Ayurveda medicine is a system of medicine and treatments with its roots in the Indian subcontinent. They are considered a form of complementary or alternative medicine practices in Western culture.
Practitioners say that ayurvidic texts like Charak Samhita and Atharva Veda identify cow’s urine as a powerful medicine and treatment when used on its own, or when mixed with cow dung, milk, curd and ghee forming a concoction known as Panchgavya.
In India, the practice of using cow’s urine in medical treatments is widely practiced and researched in organisations including Jain’s Cow Urine Therapy Health Clinic. The owner of the clinic holds several US patents relating to cow’s urine, and in one of the patents the constituents of cow urine includes gold ashes. The clinic carries out research on the potential effects of cow’s urine and possible treatments. Among the testimonials listed on its website include cures, or reduced symptoms, for blood pressure, heart problems and Aids.
Are the cows making gold?
But how does the gold get into the cows? Current scientific knowledge knows of no synthesis of metals in a living body. If we, or a cow, need metal ions then we have to eat or drink them.
One possible path for the gold into the cow’s urine is that the cows fodder contains minute amounts of gold that the plants have accumulated and stored. But this has not been seen before. The study has probably raised more questions for scientists including:
- Do all cows excrete gold?
- Will the study be peer-reviewed?
So, urine or milk on your cornflakes tomorrow?
Photo from Wikimedia commons
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