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A fresh controversy hit the famous ‘fish medicine’ therapy for asthma patients as Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission Tuesday ordered that children below the age of 14 should not be administered it.

Acting on a petition by Balula Hakkula Sangham, an NGO working for children’s rights, the commission asked the Hyderabad district administration to ensure that no child below 14 years is given the ‘fish medicine’.The annual event of distribution of fish medicine is to take place at Exhibition Grounds here June 8-9.The Bathini Goud family of Doodhbowli in the old city of Hyderabad has been administering the medicine free of cost for 165 years.Asthma patients from different parts of India every year gulp down a live ‘murrel’ fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth. The herbal paste, the contents of which remain a family secret, is believed to cure asthma and other respiratory diseases.

The NGO president Achyut Rao said since the ‘medicine’ is given by the family members under unhygienic conditions, it may also spread infection.The fish medicine lost its popularity in recent years after NGOs, working to inculcate scientific temper among people, termed it as a fraud and approached court.They argued that the herbal paste contains heavy metals and caused more harm than good to the patients.After the controversy, the Goud family began calling it ‘fish prasadam’ or holy offering.The Goud family claims that the secret formula for the herbal medicine was given to their ancestor in 1845 by a saint after taking an oath from him that it should be administered free of cost.


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