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Upholding 170-year-old Tradition, Patients Swallow Live Fish in Hyderabad to Cure Asthma

The patients gulped down a live ‘murrel’ fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery.

IANS

Updated:June 9, 2018, 10:27 PM IST
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Upholding 170-year-old Tradition, Patients Swallow Live Fish in Hyderabad to Cure Asthma
A file photo of patients being administered the 'fish prasadam'.
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Hyderabad: Thousands of asthma patients on Friday took the ‘fish prasadam’, which has been prepared and distributed by the Bathini family here for over 170 years, as a cure for the respiratory ailment.

Patients from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and some other states queued up at the Exhibition Grounds to take the ‘prasadam’ as the medicine began to be called a decade ago after rationalists challenged its efficacy.

Members of the Bathini Goud family started administering the “wonder drug” at 9am to mark ‘Mrigasira Karti’, which heralds the onset of monsoon.

The patients gulped down a live ‘murrel’ fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery.

The Goud family has been distributing the ‘fish prasadam’ free of cost for the past 174 years. It claims that the secret formula for the herbal medicine was given to their ancestors in 1845 by a saint after taking an oath from him that it would be administered free of cost.

Like in the past, the Telangana government made elaborate arrangements for the annual event. Minister for animal husbandry and fisheries T Srinivas Yadav, along with Telangana legislative council chairman Swamy Goud, inaugurated the distribution of the offering.

The fisheries department supplied 1.30 lakh fingerlings for sale at its counters at the venue. However, the actual number of patients taking the offering could be less than a lakh.

The cure lost its popularity in recent years after some groups, working to inculcate scientific temper among people, termed it a fraud. They also approached a lower court, claiming that since the herbal paste contains heavy metals, it can cause serious health problems.

However, the Goud family claims that the tests in laboratories conducted as per court orders revealed that the herbal paste is safe.

Despite the controversies that hit the popularity of the fish medicine over the last few years, people continue to throng the venue in the hope of finding some relief to their nagging respiratory problems. However, the numbers have dwindled over the years.

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