Miracles of God are never limited and can be discovered in the most eccentric of ways. Such is the case of the mystery healing of asthmatics in Hyderabad, a city in India. The weirdness is to an extent of absurdity whereby the patient is made to swallow a live sardine wrapped in a yellow herbal paste.

As funny as it sounds, it is a practice that has been followed for nearly a century now, by a single family named Goud. They are the only trustees of this medicine, and have not commercialized it nor given out the recipe of this secret elixir.

As legend goes, the medicine was gifted to the Gouds by a Hindu Saint about 170 years ago, and he had warned them that the treatment would lose its effectiveness if commercialized. Not just it, he also blessed a well around their area Doodhbowli, which is in a mile′s distance from historic monument, Charminar in Hyderabad. The Goud family use the water from that well to mix the medicine. Currently there are three Goud brothers performing the treatment, and they strictly to adhere to the practice of their ancestors. And still to date, the medicine and treatment is free of charge. There is an alternative to the fish, for thick-headed vegetarians, they can swallow a banana instead of the fish. However the Goud’s emphasize on the importance of fish. Since the therapy is based to a large extent on the effectiveness of the fish. As the live fish moves down, it opens up the pores in the windpipe blocked by phlegm or mucus, making way for the herbal paste.

The treatment is said to be very simple. After swallowing the live fish, the patient is given another three doses of a different medicine on three successive auspicious days called €˜Arudra Karthi,’ €˜Punarvasu Karthi′ and €˜Pushyami Karthi′, which fall every 15 days in a regulated span of 45 days. Along with this, the patient is also put on a strict diet for a period of 45 days which is said to be harder than swallowing the fish itself by some patients, abstaining from most edibles. Harinath Goud, one of the three Goud brothers says, “unless you strictly adhere to the diet, the effect of the medicine will not be optimum.”

Simultaneously every fortnight, morning and evening, two pills made out of the paste are to be taken without fail with warm water. The reason for the fortnightly gap is as much of a enigma as the medicine, and is religiously marked on every patient’s calendar. The patient′s life resumes to normal on the 46th day, but this is not the end of the treatment. The miracle also takes some time to show its success, and the Goud’s suggest that the fish medicine has to be taken for three consecutive years.

But does this treatment really work? Sheela Chakravorty, a patient who is satisfied with the results said: “The first time I took the fish, it was hard to follow the diet. I was tempted to eat, not delicacies, but simple things such as eggs and coffee, and maybe use a few spices that weren’t allowed. The next year, I was more relaxed and took it upon myself to follow it through. And I did. Today, I am 75 percent cured.”

Most patients notice an improvement in their state in the first year itself. However there isn′t any fixed pattern to recovery by this treatment. And then again there are a few people, who have shown no change, and the reason for this could be not strictly following the diet.

There is almost no scientific explanation for the cure. Yet thousands of asthmatics come to Hyderabad for this treatment both from India and other foreign countries to date to experiment this €˜wonder-therapy′ or like some say €˜God′s blessing,’ and many return eased off from this suffering of wheezing and severe breathing disorder.