While most tap water is pretty safe to drink, water is most likely to be contaminated at the very last stage of the pipeline—your tap. Lead can seep into the water from older faucets and pipes. Using water filters, like Brita, can alleviate the problem, however with its strong bactericidal properties; water stored in a cooper vessel becomes bacteria-free in a couple of hours. The health benefits of copper are crucial for healthy existence, as this mineral enables normal metabolic process in association with amino acids and vitamins. Copper cannot be produced within the body and hence needs to be sourced from external food sources.
A look at the science behind storage of water in copper vessel and its benefits might be educative. Let us explore benefits of drinking water from a copper vessel.
Storage Kills Microbes in Water
Storing water in copper and silver pots for purification finds mention in ancient texts of Ayurveda. The storage process is known to kill micro-organisms that include virus and bacteria, making it perfectly fit for drinking. This ancient view is supported by research which states that when ground-water, with a slightly alkaline pH and contaminated with 500 colony forming units (CFU)/mL of bacteria, was stored in copper pots for 16 hours at room temperature, all bacteria were killed. It is reported to destroy diarrhea causing bacteria, such asVibrio cholerae, enteropathogenic E. coli, Salmonella. It is also effective against many other disease-causing bacteria such as, Shigella Flexneri and Salmonella Paratyphi.
How Does it Work?
When water is stored in a copper vessel for about 16 hours, copper, in very small quantities gets dissolved in water. This process known, in scientific parlance, as the “oligodynamic effect,” has the power to destroy a wide range of molds, fungi, algae and harmful microbes due to its toxic effects on living cells. The copper content of water which reaches levels of about 190 µg/l is well within the permissible limits set by the World Health Organization and thus remains safe for drinking. After 16 hours, a slight increase in the pH of water from 7.83 to 7.93 occurs in copper pots due to which the taste of water might change a little while the physicochemical parameters remain unchanged.
Stored Water—An Ideal Source of Copper
Copper is an essential micronutrient required by our body at a level of about 1mg/day. Though it is a trace amount, it has to come from our food. There are several food items containing copper such as whole wheat, beans, green leafy vegetables, honey etc., but the best method of meeting the body’s need of copper is by drinking water stored overnight in a copper vessel. Two liters of the water can supply 40% of our daily requirement of copper.
Other Health Benefits
Water stored in a copper jug is good for health and well-being. It stimulates the brain, promotes bone strength, aids in digestion, regulates body fat, acts as anti-carcinogenic, regulates functioning of thyroid gland, prevents joint pain, aids in hemoglobin synthesis, maintains acid-alkaline balance in body, helps in improving fertility and conception, prevents white patches on skin, helps in healing of internal wounds and slows down aging due to its antioxidant property.
Even if you do not have a copper vessel or copper container at home, you can just start with a copper cup. This way, you can slowly get introduced to the properties of drinking water from copper containers.
Sources: Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (IAIM) in Bangalore where researchers carried out the extensive study on water highly contaminated with bacterial colonies.
T. Ramamurthy, a scientist at Calcutta’s National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (Niced) who collaborated on the study that was published in the Journal of Health and Popular Nutrition.
S. Shivashankar is a scientist and the Head of Division for Plant Physiology and Biochemistry at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bangalore. He is also the author of “Antioxidants in Plants: Role and Function.”