The Science Behind the Viral Nonsense About Patanjali Gaumutra (COWPISS)

This is a video posted by Postcard News that’s been doing the rounds on social media. It claims that gaumutra (cowpiss) purifies body by getting rid of toxins.

But this is bullshit.

What actually happened here:

The lady mixed Betadine in water. Betadine is povidone iodine. Povidone iodine is a chemical complex of povidone, hydrogen iodide, and elemental iodine. Its brown colour comes from the elemental iodine that is slowly released from the complex. That is why the water turns brown.

Then the lady adds gaumutra to the brown solution and it turns clear. The reason is that cow urine contains a chemical called sodium thiosulphate. Sodium thiosulphate reacts with elemental iodine to form sodium iodide, which is colourless, and that’s why the solution turns colourless.


It isn’t only cow urine that contains sodium thiosulphate. Human urine also contains sodium thiosulphate, as does the urine of most mammals – cats, dogs, etc. So if you add your own urine to the brown water (brown due to iodine), it will turn colourless.

I tried this last night with my own urine. I have some Betadine at home because it is an excellent gargle solution (much better than salt solution – you can get it at any chemist’s shop over-the-counter). I added it to a glass of water and mixed it, turned brown. Then I peed into the glass – became clear again!

If decolourization of iodine is all that matters to you when choosing a drink, don’t waste your money buying the gaumutra. Drink your own!

Long live Morarji Desai! 😉 😉

There is a corollary to this. Sodium thiosulphate is excreted in the body because it is a byproduct of protein metabolism in the body. So, the more protein you eat, the more sodium thiosulphate in your urine. So a meat eater will have more thiosulphate in his/her urine than a vegetarian and can turn more iodine colourless. Again, if decolourization of iodine is your idea of the perfect drink, you may wish to request it from a non-vegetarian! 🙂 Or, if you can, your cat or dog…


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Dr. Seshadri Kumar Written by:

Seshadri Kumar is an R&D Chemical Engineer with a B.Tech from IIT Bombay and an M.S. and a PhD from the University of Utah, U.S. He writes regularly on political, social, economic, and cultural affairs at

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