Fish Medicine for asthma

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The Bathini Goud family, living in Hyderabad, claim that they can cure asthma by making people swallow a 2–inch live fish filled with medicine. They claim that they have been using this treatment for over 160 years.

As per their claim the medicine is stuffed inside the mouth of a live murrel fish, 5–6 cm in size. This fish with medicine is slipped into the mouth of the asthmatic patient, which can easily be swallowed as the fish is slippery. This needs to be taken for three consecutive years.

The medicine is administered on a specific day Mrigashira Kanthi Nakshatra, which normally coincides with arrival of monsoon rains in the first or second week of June. Three doses are given to the patients after every 15 days.

The Goud family never discloses ingredients of their drug. They provide the medicine free of cost. Some people went to the Court of the Andhra Pradesh on 27.01.2013 but the court declined to interfere and pass any orders regarding the administration of substances popularly known as Fish Medicine. They reasoned that although the treatment had no medicinal value, analysis had shown the samples to not be harmful. They said that “if people flock to have a substance out of faith the courts cannot interfere”.

My opinion

Asthma is classified as mild intermittent asthma, moderate persistent asthma and severe persistent asthma. The distinction between intermittent and mild persistent asthma is important because current guidelines for moderate persistent asthma call for initiation of daily control medicine. For moderate persistent asthma, the preferred long–term controller is low–dose inhaled steroid.

Mild intermittent asthma is the largest segment of asthmatic patients and they do not require long term treatment. These are the people who may never require steroid inhalers. Over a period of time, these asthmatics may show improvement. Many mild intermittent asthmatics who are allergic to a particular protein may improve over a period of time.

Homeopaths, Ayurveda physicians, naturopaths and others who claim that they can cure asthma, they work only on patients with mild intermittent asthma. If they can demonstrate their results in severe asthma, then their methods can be believed to be of use.

The very fact that somebody has claimed does not mean that it is not scientific or scientifically validated. If they can prove their claim, there is no reason why they should not get Noble Prize. We have seen a similar claim by a person who gives a medicine for jaundice in Chandni Chowk and another person in Agra who claims that the can cure any type of cancer with a herb mixed with goat milk.