The benefits of Homams
#1
A recent FB post caught my attention and I've been trying to follow up the validity of this post.

The post read the Burning of Cow dung cakes and Ghee in a Homam releases loads of Oxygen.

This ofcourse seems absurd and defies the basics of all the chemistry that I've learnt. I'd like thoughts on this.

On a little Googling i also happened to come across the following paper.
http://www.ipcbee.com/vol30/017--ICEST2012_N20012.pdf

I was wondering if anyone could throw some light on the subject of the paper.

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#2
Quoting from Sam Harris' The Fireplace delusion:

Quote:Because wood is among the most natural substances on earth, and its use as a fuel is universal, most people imagine that burning wood must be a perfectly benign thing to do. Breathing winter air scented by wood smoke seems utterly unlike puffing on a cigarette or inhaling the exhaust from a passing truck. But this is an illusion.

Here is what we know from a scientific point of view: There is no amount of wood smoke that is good to breathe. It is at least as bad for you as cigarette smoke, and probably much worse. (One study found it to be 30 times more potent a carcinogen.) The smoke from an ordinary wood fire contains hundreds of compounds known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and irritating to the respiratory system. Most of the particles generated by burning wood are smaller than one micron—a size believed to be most damaging to our lungs. In fact, these particles are so fine that they can evade our mucociliary defenses and travel directly into the bloodstream, posing a risk to the heart. Particles this size also resist gravitational settling, remaining airborne for weeks at a time.

So it appears that it is better to stay away from homams.

As to so called "studies" on benefits of homams, they are pseudo scientific at best. The paper you linked to makes dubious claim after dubious claim without any justification. Even the one point which seems relevant is a result of wishful thinking:

Quote:The results of analysis of heavy metals in the suspended particulate matter cleared showed very high concentrations of Zinc (Zn). This is because of the escape of Zinc from homa materials like pumpkin etc. in the form of Zinc oxide, a very useful product to cure skin diseases. Many of the modern skin ointments in the market contain 5% Zinc oxide.

How much zinc oxide was released? How much is needed for it have any affect on the skin? And does the skin really absorb zinc oxide without the help of an ointment base?

There was another thread here regarding these "benefits" of vedic rituals - http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Vedic-ritual-...fic-claims
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