From Notes on the Spirit Basis of Belief and Custom (Bombay Government Central Press)
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Dung, like urine, is an early medicine ; it is used as a plaster, and the fumes of burnt dung restore consciousness. It is also used (in some parts of Western India) as a cure for itches. Dung was, therefore, believed to hold a high place as a spirit-scarer.
[The fact that spirits in India and in Melanesia eat excrement (Jonr. Anthrop. Inst., X, 282) shows that it is the healing power of dung, not its nastiness, of which spirits stand in dread.]
See also See also Urine, Dung and Folk Medicine 1892
Most Hindus deny that the every-day smearing of a house with cow-dung has any basis except the fact that it keeps the house sweet and clean. The smearing of Hindu houses after a death is generally admitted to be done with the object of driving out spirits, and this, there seems little doubt, is the original reason why cow-dung wash was used. In several Hindu religious books cow-dung is admitted as a spirit-scaring article. In a work called Govardhananhik it is stated that cow-dung protects from evil spirits. Manu says to the same effect, and a similar statement appears in the Bhagvat (Mr. B. B. Vakharkar, B.A.) In the East Deccan the medium threatens the spirit that he will burn pig's dung if he does not say who he is. In the pregnancy ceremony of the Gujarat Kunbis goat's and mouse dung is laid in a jar. In a Parsi's house, if a boy is much wished for and a boy is born, he is hidden, and instead of the boy a lump of cow-dung is shown to the mother. The reason is to cleanse the mother's look of the evil eye. Nearly the same idea seems to explain the practice of Hindu mothers, when a person over-praises or, as the Scotch say, 'fore-speaks ' their children, turning aside the evil eye by saying: 'Look at your foot; it is covered with excrement.' Compare the Barhawan (Wilson's Glossary) a cake of cow-dung placed on the top of a heap of corn to protect it against an evil eye, and to secure it good luck. Dalton notices that the Parheyyas of East Bengal used to smear their houses with sheep and deer dung instead of cow-dung (Dalton, 131). The Gonds make the bridegroom sit on a heap of cow-dung (Hislop's Gond Poem, 59). In Bengal cow's urine and dung are offered to the goddess Durga (Ward's View of the Hindus, I, 115). In Mysore the guru, or spiritual teacher, pours cow-dung and water on his disciple's head (Buchanan's Mysore, I, 147). The Mysore Smart Brahmans mark their brows with three horizontal lines of cow-dung ashes (Do., 14). At Nandgaon, about 30 miles south of Seringapatam, barren couple, according to Dubois (II, 368), used to go outside of the temple, made cakes of human dung, and ate a portion of them. Cowdung and cow urine with milk, curds and butter form the five cow products which are worshipped as a god in South India. The house is cleansed by a wash of cow-dung. In new earthen pots, one for each, are poured the five cow products—milk, curds, butter, dung and urine. The five pots are set on darba grass and worshipped. They are called the god Panch-gavia, and the worshipper thinks on their merit and good qualities, flowers are laid on them, and a golden throne is mentally given them. Water is sprinkled and waved over them, and some sprinkled on the ground to wash their feet, and the face, and to bathe. They are crowned with coloured rice, and mentally given jewels, rich dresses, and sandal wood. Flowers, incense, a burning lamp, plantains, and betel are offered, and a low bow is made. Then a prayer, in part modern, Panch-gavia forgive our sins and the sins of all beings who sacrifice to you and drink you. You have come from the body of the cow; therefore I pray to you to forgive my sins and to cleanse my body. Cleanse me, who offers you worship, from sins of pardon and save me." Then another bow and the remembrance of Hari. Then the five products are mixed in one cup; the priest drinks a little, pours it into the hollow hands of the worshippers and they drink. Brahmans get betel-nut and a reverence. Nothing is so cleansing as this mixture. All Indians often drink it. The five nectars—milk, curds, butter, sugar and honey—are good, but much less powerful (Dubois, I, 207.) Cow-dung is generally used in Brahman purifications (Colebrooke's Miscellaneous Essays, I, 138). Cow-dung is eaten by Hindus as an atonement for sin (Ward's View of the Hindus, I, xliii). In consecrating fire and hallowing sacrificial implements a space must be smeared with cow-dung (Colebrooke's Miscellaneous Essays, I, 149). In the Malay Archipelago Oderic (1321) found a poisonous tree for which the only cure was to eat human dung mixed with water (Yule's Cathay, I, 91). Cock-dung is used as a cure in Burma (Shway Yoe's The Burman, II, 140). Pigeon's dung is a medicine in China (Gray's China, II, 190). In China horse-dung is used as a cure for the black sweat in horses (Do., 173). All animal dung, and especially cow-dung, is valued as fuel by the Chinese, and their opinion is shared by some of the English peasants. The Chinese consider cow-dung an excellent salve for boils, inflammations and abscesses (Do., 122). Human dung is considered in China a very useful medicine. It is used in fever and small-pox. Some Buddhist monks are famous for the preparation of this medicine. Some consider it an elixir of life (Do., 124). According to Taveriner (?) the excrements of the Dalai Lama are kept with care, dried, and eaten as medicine) (Dubois, II, 367). The Australians living near the junctions of the rivers Page and Isis cure wounds by laying the burning dung of kangaroos on it (Jour. Anthrop. Inst., VII, 256). At the end of the bora or man-making ceremony in Australia the youths have to eat the excrement of old women (Do., 252). The dressing of abscesses in North-West Africa is cow's dung (Park's Travels, I, 276). In Morocco wounds are dressed with cowdung (Rohlf's Morocco, 90), while the Abyssinians eat human dung and water as a cure for snake-bite (Yule's Cathay, I, 191). The Romans believed that the dung of different animals wrought many cures.
[Pliny, XXVIII., 17. A few of the prescriptions may be cited. Calf-dung sodden in wine for melancholic, and the ashes of calf-dung in wine and goat's dung for dropsy, for shingles, and for a dislocated joint, and the smoke for consumption. Goat's dung cured dislocations and rheumatism; hart's dung for dropsy; hare's dung for burns; and pig's dung for consumption, measles, swellings, burns, convulsions, cramps and bruises. Perhaps it is owing to its manifold medical uses that the pig's dung is believed in Western India as an object of the smell of which spirits stand in awe.]
The early Germans (a.d. 100) covered their underground with great quantity of dung (Tacitus Germania, Cap. 16). Burton in 1620 mentions sheep's dung as a cure for epilepsy, and notes that the excrements of beasts were good for many diseases (Anat. of Mel., 431). In Scotland (1800), before the calf ate anything, cow-dung was forced into its mouth. It was believed that, after this, witches and fairies could do no harm to calf (Brand's Pop. Ant., III, 257). In Strathsprey, in North Scotland, a country or wise woman's cure for illness caused by charms is a warm cow-dung poultice (Cumming's in The Hebrides, 265.)