Wriggling treatment: Indians swallow live fish for asthma

June 10, 2014

With pinched noses and watery eyes, thousands of Indians have lined up to swallow live fish in a traditional treatment for asthma administered annually in the country's south.

Asthma sufferers gather every June in the southern city of Hyderabad to gulp down the fish stuffed with a yellow herbal paste, in hopes it will help them breathe more easily.

The wriggling five-centimetre (two-inch) fish are slipped into the throats of patients in a bizarre treatment that leaves them gagging.

The Bathini Goud family, which administers the treatment, says the fish clear the throat on their way down and permanently cure asthma and other .

But the family has declined to reveal the secret formula which they say they got from a Hindu saint in 1845.

Parents are often forced to pry open the mouths of reluctant children who cry at the site of squirming fish, while others pinch their noses, tip their heads back and close their eyes.

Thousands of people travel from across India for the free medicine during a two-day period, the specific dates of which are determined by the onset of the monsoon every June.

Rights groups and doctors have complained that the medicine is "unscientific", a violation of human rights and unhygienic, claims rejected by the family.

The Indian government arranges special trains for the " medicine" festival every year and extra police are on duty to control crowds.

After digesting the , patients are told to go on a strict diet for 45 days.

Explore further: No harm in yoga: But not much help for asthma sufferers

Related Stories

No harm in yoga: But not much help for asthma sufferers

June 2, 2014
Yoga has long been promoted as a method for improving physical and mental well-being. And although yoga is often suggested to asthma sufferers to help alleviate symptoms, a new study found little evidence that yoga will improve ...

Link ID'd for introduction of fish, childhood wheeze

November 12, 2012
(HealthDay)—The introduction of fish between the ages of 6 and 12 months, but not consumption afterward, correlates with a reduction in the risk of wheezing in children at age 48 months, according to a study published online ...

Recommended for you

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

Experts devise plan to slash unnecessary medical testing

October 17, 2017
Researchers at top hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have developed an ambitious plan to eliminate unnecessary medical testing, with the goal of reducing medical bills while improving patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.