Can you brave gulping down a live fish? No, not as an act of dare, but because it is claimed to have medicinal values. Thousands of believers from all over the world travel to Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh every year to do just that in the hope to be cured of Asthma completely.
The Bathini Goud family of AP, India has been offering the treatment for Asthma for nearly 160 years. A live murrel or sardine fish, its mouth stuffed with a yellowish herbal paste is administered to each patient, to be swallowed in one go. The living fish squirms, wriggles and twists down your esophagus or trachea and vanishes somewhere inside your stomach within no time. This is not as difficult and scary as it sounds owing to the slippery body of the fish. But while it writhes down your trachea, it loosens the congestion of phelgm inside. This along with a strict diet for the next 45 days when undertaken for three consecutive years, is believed to cure asthma completely.
This ancesteral remedy is administered every year on the day of mrigashira karthi nakshtra, which is fixed according to the arrival of the monssons, by the Bathini Goud family on the blessed ground of Doodh Bowli, 2Kms from the historical location of Charminar in Hyderabad. The Bathini family of five brothers and their wives have inherited the secret formula of the herbal medicine from their ancestors, and gives the medicine free of cost to the patients who come from all over India and even abroad. It is said that Veerana Gaud, the great grandfather was a nobel and kind man who distributed free toddy (palm tree wine) and bread to labourers. One day, impressed by his act of kindness, a passing holy man told Veerana the secret formula of the herbal cure of asthma and blessed his family and the place on a condition that he must give the medicine to the needy free of cost. To this day, the Bathinis have kept the formula closely gaurded within the family circle and given them free of cost to the patients.
Thousands of believers claim that they have been cured of acute asthmatic condition by the Bathini fish medicine. The Scientists and the medical community have expressesed their skepticism and concern on the medicine and even tested a sample of the herbal mix, only to find it harmless but also of no apparent medicinal value. The Andhra Governement has declined the pleas of Jana Vigana Vedica, a rationalist organisation, to interfare and force the Bathini family to disclose the ingredients of the medicine, citing that it doesn’t contain any harmful substance in it.
Having no medicinal value, how it cures thousands of people every year of their asthmatic conditions is a mystery. Probably the secret ingredient is not in the medicine itself, but is in the faith of the people who give and take the medicine. Placebo effect or not, it works miracles among those who believe.