Hyderabad: This is the time when thousands and thousands of people head to Hyderabad to get a dose of a miracle medicine, touted to cure asthma.
This medicine is peculiar because it is no pill or syrup, but a live fish that you are made to swallow down your throat. Commonly referred to as ‘fish prasadam’ by the locals, it is distributed by the Bathini Goud family in an annual event known as Mrigasira Karthi.
The family has been conducting this event for over a century now. It involves murrel fisherlings, which is also referred to as snakehead fish due to its close resemblance, and was declared as the state fish of Telangana in 2016.
The fish breeds in freshwater bodies, and is commonly found in ponds, lakes and rivers. In many native cultures, it is considered to be a health benefiting fish.
It’s a very simple and short process. Administrators of the treatment basically shove a wriggling fish, stuffed with yellow herbal paste down your throat. The fish in use, Murrel, is a freshwater breed, also known as the snakehead.
This ‘fish prasadam’ supposedly clears your throat of phlegm, allowing you to breathe easy. Patients are also required to maintain a strict diet, regulated by the administrators for the next 45 days. This includes avoiding intake of water for at least half hour after gulping the fish.
The Bathini Mrigasira Karthi Fish Prasadam Trust, who are the proprietors of the miraculous medicine, have stocked over 200 kgs of fish this year, ready to cure more than 4 lakh eager patients.
About 60,000 murrel fish were stocked for this event. Though there has been no evidence to indicate its clinical benefits, many people who have received the treatment claim that is has cured the illness for them.
Medical experts, however, are not in support of the treatment, stating that it is more a psychological effect. Since the people believe in it so strongly that after they swallow the fish, their minds make it feel real. The high court too ruled that they cannot term it as ‘medicine’.