Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Thousands queue for asthma therapy

A boy in Hyderabad sticks out his tongue to swallow live sardines smeared with secret herbs, believed to be a cure for asthma (AP)

Thousands of people seeking relief from asthma are lining up in southern India to swallow an unconventional treatment - live sardines smeared with secret herbs.

People travel from across India to Hyderabad every June for the treatment offered for free by the Goud family on a day chosen by astrologers.

The family members claim they received the special herbal formula from a Hindu saint about 170 years ago. They refuse to let doctors into the secret, saying the saint warned it would lose its potency if commercialised.

After swallowing the live fish, the patients begin a strict 45-day diet of 25 different foods, including lamb, rice, white sugar, dried mango and spinach. They must abstain from deep-fried food and repeat the treatment within two years.

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