Hyderabad, June 9 (ANI): Hundreds and thousands of people jostled in Hyderabad on Monday to swallow medicine stuffed inside live fish - a treatment believed to cure asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Eager patients lined up for the medicine - a herbal formula placed inside a small fish and thrust into their mouths - in an annual event set in Hindu astrological tradition.
Hyderabad's Bathini family has been performing the medicinal ritual for centuries now.
For patients to be cured, they 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 clear the patient's oesophagus as it makes its way down to the stomach, and later releases the medicine. It survives for some time inside the body, reportedly helping to clear phlegm in the lungs as it struggle for survival.
Mohammad Hafis, a patient from Karnataka, said that he has come for the first time after hearing the worldwide popularity of the "wonder cure".
"People say that asthmas gets cured by swallowing fish. They also say that there are no side affects. So we have also come here to swallow fish. I have come from Karnataka," Hafis added.
The medicine comes free, but patients have to buy the fish, which is locally called "murrel".
Legends 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.
B. Harinath Goud, who administers the treatment to patients, said that they have now been carrying on the treatment for years and since then the number of patients visiting them has grown manifold.
"Earlier there used to be very less people. But slowly the number reached to hundreds and then to thousands. And at present hundreds of thousands of people are here to take this medicine and get cured," said Goud.
The medicine is distributed to patients during an auspicious solar phase, an astrological phenomenon that occurs once a year for two days.
Complete treatment requires an annual dosage for three years. (ANI)