Ayurveda and Cow

The cow selflessly provides the whole of mankind with exceptional riches. These are known according to the Vedas as Panch Gavya – milk, ghee, yogurt, urine and dung.
Milk is also much more than a healthy food substance. It is the manifestation of a mother’s love. When a baby suckles the mother there is more than bodily nourishment taking place. It gives a deeper bond with the mother. The natural relationship with the cow, our second mother, is now almost lost as we drink milk stored in cartons, vaguely conscious of its source. What we consume affects our consciousness. If a calf is allowed to drink milk to its full satisfaction, then the cow is milked – that milk has a subtle ingredient; love. Nowadays, due to ignorance of these facts, the calf (if at all allowed to feed) is used only to instigate the milking process before being dragged away from the distressed mother – that milk has a subtle ingredient; anxiety. These samskaras, or subtle impressions, effect us psychologically. The Vedas teach how this universe is like one giant organism, and everything that happens in the universe has an effect on every other part of the universe. The movements of the stars and planets effect our life and what we do in our life effects all other parts of the universe. We can see now the negative effects of polluting the rivers and flattening rainforests. 

Similarly, when you put food into the body, it effects all other parts of the body; and that also includes the consciousness. Most of our diseases are only due to incorrect diet. In Ayurveda, stress is given to correct diet for maintaining good health and restoring poor health. Therefore milk and its by-products are glorified to such an extent in Ayurveda as they not only keep the body healthy, but also the mind, intelligence and spirit.

Cow ghee and yogurt 
The best of all foods 
Like milk, both ghee and yogurt are used regularly as part of daily diet in India and are accepted as beneficial for health. In Susruta-Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, this is confirmed. “The virtues and properties of these modifications of curdled cow milk have been described in detail since it is the best of all kinds of food.” 
According to another scripture, the Bhav Prakash Nighantu, cow ghee is helpful for eye-sight and improving digestion. Cow butter increases natural beauty and is a blood purifier. Paralysis and Asthma are also controlled by the use of butter. It also states, “Ghee made from cow’s milk improves memory, intelligence, complexion, voice and personal beauty. It gives strength to the body, improves the eyesight and increases the duration of life. It is a cooling tonic that gives peace to the mind. It eliminates poison from the body.”


Curd or yogurt is a lactic fermentation of milk. It is esteemed for its smoothness, its pleasant and refreshing taste. It is highly versatile and one of the most valuable therapeutic foods. The best and purest milk should always be used for preparing the curd.

Before it is curdled, the milk should be boiled for about 10 minutes and the temperature of the milk brought down to lukewarm state. Freshly cultured starter should then be added to it and mixed thoroughly with the milk. Generally one teaspoonful of starter is sufficient for every 500 mi. of milk. The quality of curd depends to a great extent on the starter used. The better the seed the sweeter will be the aroma and firmer, will be texture of the curd. In hot season the milk curdles easily. But in cold season, it is necessary to cover it with a blanket and keep it in a warm place. It generally takes about six to eight hours for the milk to coagulate in the hot season. In cold weather it takes 12 to 16 hours for it to form a firm mass.

Curd* is a very nourishing food. It is a valuable source of protein, essential vitamins and minerals. It is also a rich source of calcium and riboflavin. The proteins in curd is more readily digested than the protein in milk. It has been estimated that regular milk is only 32 per cent digested after an hour in the digestive tract, whereas 91 per cent of curd is digested within the same period of time. It is, therefore, an ideal diet for those with sensitive digestive systems, particularly young children and elderly persons.

(* Food Value   Minerals and Vitamins  Moisture- 89.1% Calcium – 149 mg Protein – 3.1% Phosphorus – 93 mg Fat – 4.0% Iron- 0.2 mg Minerals-0.8% Vitamin A – 102 1. U. Carbohydrates – 3.0% Vitamin C Small amounts of Vitamin B Complex I mg Calorific Value – 60 *Values per 100 gms edible portion) 


Natural Benefits and Curative Properties 

Although curd has a nutritive content similar to fresh milk, it has extensive special values for therapeutic purposes. During the process of making curd, bacteria convert milk into curd and predigest milk protein. These bacteria then inhibit the growth of hostile or illness causing bacteria inside the intestinal tract and promote beneficial bacteria needed for digestion. These friendly bacteria facilitate the absorption of minerals and aid in the synthesis of vitamins of B group. Buttermilk, which has same nutritive and curative value as curd, is prepared by churning curd and adding some water, removing the fat in the form of butter.

Curd is also considered one of the best aids to natural good looks. It supplies the nerves and the skin with healthy ingredients and counteracts the ill-effects of exposure to the scotching sun. The bacteria in curd make the skin soft and glowing. Curd mixed with orange or lemon juice is a good face cleanser. It supplies moisture to the skin and fruit juice provides the essential vitamin C. One tablespoonful of juice should be mixed in one cup of curd. This should be applied to face and neck and allowed to dry for 15 minutes. It should then be wiped of with a soft tissue and washed with water.


Hair Treatment – Curd is also considered valuable in conditioning the hair. It makes the hair soft, healthy and strong. Curd should be massaged right into the roots of the hair before being washed off. Dandruff can be removed by massaging one’s hair for half an hour with curd which has been kept in the open for three days. 

Hepatitis and jaundice – Excessive liberation of ammonia, which is one of the major causes of coma in hepatitis, can be prevented by liberal use of curd. The lectic acid organisms in the curd counteracts the formation of ammonia. In jaundice, curd or buttermilk sweetened with hon
ey, makes an ideal diet. 

Burning in Rectum – Severe burning and intense itching in the rectum, after passing the stools, can be controlled and successfully treated in a couple of days by liberal use of curd and lemon juice with bland diet. Curd makes the stool acitic and alleviates the burning and itching sensations.


Skin Disorders  – The use of curd in the form of buttermilk is highly beneficial in the treatment of obstinate skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. The application of buttermilk compresses will also be useful in these conditions. Pads of muslin or thin cloth saturated with buttermilk may be applied to broad surface. The compresses may be worn continuously or only at night. The surface should be properly cleaned when the compress is removed. The compresses are very effective in case of skin inflammation. The intense skin irritation generally disappears quickly after the application of buttermilk compresses.

A mixture of oatmeal flour and yogurt has been found effective in making the skin fairer and softer. This mixture should be kept on the facial skin for 15 to 20 minutes and then washed off with warm water. For pimples, a paste of curd and Bengal gram flour or besan should be applied on the face and then washed off.


Gastro-intestinal Disorders – Apart from the lactic acid organisms placed in the milk for the purpose of souring it, the acid of sour milk and its lectose content are important curative factors in a number of diseases. Curd brings relief to patients suffering from gastro-intestinal disorders such as chronic constipation and diarrhea. The germs which give rise to infection and inflammation such as those which cause appendicitis, diarrhoea and dysentery, cannot thrive in the presence of lactic acid found in curd and buttermilk. Beneficial results have been achieved by the use of buttermilk in the cases of colitis. Buttermilk enemas have been found beneficial in the treatment of colitis, chronic constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, chronic appendicitis and gastric ulcer.

Insomnia  – Curd is valuable in the treatment of insomnia. The patient should take plenty of curd and massage it on the head. This will induce sleep. 

Cow’s Urine “gomutra” 
Cow’s Urine is prescribed as an ingredient of various plasters and mixtures (sometimes with fermented wine) or alone, as an antidote for obesity, as a purgative; for eliminating vermin from an ulcer; vayu disorders, abdominal dropsy and many other uses. [ Su. 15.35; 44.35 ] [ Ci 1.87; 14.13 ] Bitumen and cow’s urine is taken internally to cure malignant jaundice. [ Utt. 44.29 ] Antimony sulfide and cow’s urine taken internally is also used to cure malignant jaundice. [ Utt. 44.29 ] [ Ray 234 ]. For the case of sebaceous cysts (large swellings that exude a fatty liquid on bursting), incision followed by washing with cow’s urine is prescribed. Another treatment is the surgical incision and the removal of fat followed by cauterization of the wound
[ Ray ] = `Susruta-Samhita (A Scientific Synopsis)’ – P.Ray, H.Gupta and M.Roy, Indian National Science Academy, N.Delhi 1st ed. 1980, 1993 reprint [ Utt ] = `Uttarasthana’ [ Ci ] =`Cikitsasthana’ , ed. by C.Bhattacharya, Calcutta 1914

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