Hyderabad, June 8: Thousands of people jostled in Hyderabad to swallow medicine stuffed inside a live fish - a treatment believed to cure asthma and other respiratory ailments.
The Asthma medicine is a herbal formula placed inside a small fish and thrust into patient's mouths which is celebrated as an annual event. Since 1845, members of the Bathini Goud family have been performing the closely guarded medicinal ritual. Patients have to buy a two-inch-long Murrel fish, and swallow it live after Bathinis stuff their secret herbal mixture inside its mouth. The fish helps to clear the patient's oesophagus as it makes its way down to the stomach, and later releases the medicine. It survives for about 15 minutes inside the body, and clears phlegm in the lungs as it flaps about.
The patients have to take the complete course of the treatment for four years continuously to get cured fully.
"This time we are expecting many more people. Many of the patients have not come because of chillness in the weather at night but they will come tomorrow," said B. Harinath Goud, a Fish Therapist on Saturday.
The fame and success of the treatment has attracted lots of people from all walks of life.
"Many of my relatives were cured after coming here. After hearing so much about this medicine, I decided to bring my wife along, as she is an asthma patient. There is no permanent cure for asthma in allopathic so I decided to give this traditional technique a chance," said Aseem Kumar Ojha, a doctor by profession.
The medicine comes free, but patients have to buy the fish, which is locally called "murrel".
The Bathinis say a saint gave the wonder cure in 1845 to Bathini Veeranna Gowd, a generous farmer, and asked him to treat all who came to him free of cost.
The medicine is distributed to patients during the auspicious Mrigasira solar phase, an astrological phenomenon that occurs once a year for two days.