Most of us love the prasadam we get from temples. But have you heard of a prasadam that can cure asthma?
Yes, you heard it right. In India, a family claims that their prasadam can cure asthma for a lifetime.
So let’s see which is this prasadam? Does it really cure asthma? Or is it just a superstition?
The Bathini Goud family from Hyderabad, India, claims that their ancient herbal medicine (popularly called fish prasadam) can cure asthma.
Hundreds of thousands of people from India and all around the world come to this exhibition held in June every year at Nampally exhibition ground, Hyderabad. People line up in a queue to take the fish prasadam in the hope to cure their asthma.
The fish prasadam contains a herbal medicine which looks like a yellow paste. This paste is placed in a live murrel (snakehead) fingerling fish, which is 5-7 cm long. This fish (along with the herbal paste) is put into a person’s mouth and should be swallowed without drinking water. This therapy is said to be effective if the wriggling of the live fish is felt during swallowing.
The Goud family offers this prasadam for free. Every year nearly 450 kilos of prasadam is prepared and given to asthma sufferers. Along with the prasadam, a diet will also be prescribed to the visitors.
While many people believe that this prasadam will cure their asthma and wait in a long queue to take this prasadam, many doctors and researchers doubt the effectiveness of this medicine and believe that there is no evidence that this prasadam works.
Apart from this, the ingredients of this prasadam are not revealed to anyone. The Goud family says that the ingredients of this prasadam are secret and cannot be revealed. According to them, a holy man has passed on this recipe to their ancestor Veeranna Goud and forbade them from revealing its ingredients to the public. According to the family, revealing its ingredients may make the medicine ineffective.
Since the ingredients of this fish prasadam are unrevealed, doctors and scientists have requested to put a ban on it, as it may have potentially toxic or dangerous ingredients.
Some doctors believe that fish prasadam has no effect on asthma, while according to others, it can actually worsen the condition.
The doctors are constantly trying to figure out the ingredients of this mysterious drug. Some assumed that the prasadam contained steroids as the Goud family asked the patients to come and take the prasadam for 3-4 consecutive years. According to them, depot steroids of lump sum one-time dose, which can be effective for a long-time, were present in herbal medicine. But later on, it was proved to be a false claim.
The Goud family has been questioned in court by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on its ingredients. IMA claims that herbal medicine contains harmful chemicals like heavy metals, which can be very dangerous. However, the Goud family denies all the claims and says that their medicine is tested in laboratories and is said to be safe.
Some doctors also believe that it is actually the fish and not the prasadam that is helping in curing asthma. According to them, N3, a type of fatty acid present in fish which helps manage coronary heart disease, could even help with asthma.
Though the Goud family claims that their medicine can cure asthma, some people come to the exhibition every year (for more than 8-10 years) and still take the prasadam. They say that prasadam has not completely cured their asthma but is much better than allopathic medicines and provides long-term relief from symptoms.
The Goud family also offers this prasadam to vegetarians. Instead of placing the medicine in the fish’s mouth, the yellow paste or herbal medicine will be given with jaggery. Taking the herbal medicine with jaggery may take a longer time to cure asthma compared to taking it with live fish.
While the Goud family and many people believe that fish prasadam cures asthma, there are many controversies around it. Hence, it becomes very important to have evidence to support its safety and effectiveness.