19 Jun 2015

A child gags and squirms as he is given treatment for his asthma.

But rather than a puff from an inhaler or a pill – the boy is forced to swallow a live fish.

Every year, thousands of Indians line up to swallow the slimy sea creatures, a traditional treatment for the condition.

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

Administered by the Bathini Goud family, the therapy is a secret formula of herbs, handed down by generations only to family members.

The clip shows the wriggling fish being marinaded in the paste, before members of the Goud fmaili appear to stick their fingers down people’s throats to make sure the fish goes down.

They often clamp their hands over their mouths afterwards to prevent gagging, and give the neck a quick massage afterwards.

The family, who will not reveal the secret formula of the yellow paste, claim was received from a Hindu saint in 1845.

The herbs are inserted in the mouth of a live sardine, or murrel fish, and the wriggling 5cm fish are slipped into the patient's throat, often leaving them retching.

The family maintains the fish clear the throat on their way down and permanently cure asthma and other respiratory problems - if the treatment is administered three years running.

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