Bizarre treatment: Indians swallow live fish to cure asthma (w/gallery)

Published: June 10, 2014

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Indian residents wait to receive 'fish medicine' from the Bathini Goud family at the exhibition grounds in Hyderabad on June 8, 2014. The medicine, which has been offered by the family of the southern Indian city to patients for the last 163 years as a cure for asthma and other breathing disorders, is placed in the mouth of a live murrel fish and then slipped into the mouth of the patient. The medicine is administered on the auspicious day of 'Mrigasira Karti' which falls in June with the onset of the annual monsoon. The treatment, which is based on a secret herb formula, draws thousands of people from all over the country. NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

VANCOUVER DESI

Bizarre news India

A member of the Goud family administers fish medicine to an asthma patient in Hyderabad, India, Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Thousands of Indians in Hyderabad swallow live fish every year in what they believe to be a traditional treatment for asthma, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Every June, Indians line up to gulp down a small fish stuffed with a herbal yellow paste. And while left gagging in the process, they believe the remedy will help them breathe easier.

According to AFP, the Bathini Goud family – who administers the treatment – claims this is a permanent cure for asthma and other respiratory problems.

The family has refused to reveal their secret formula, which they say comes from a Hindu saint in 1845, AFP reported.

People of all ages can be seen at the free medicine camp – including reluctant young children,  forced to undergo the treatment by their parents.

While rights groups have called the procedure “unscientific,” the Bathini Goud family rejects the claim.

The Indian government arranges special trains for the two-day fish medicine festival every year. The dates of the event are determined by the onset of the monsoon each June, according to AFP.

In order to complete the asthma-curing treatment, patients are asked to go on a strict 45-day diet after swallowing the fish.

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