Tens of thousands of people flocked to Hyderabad on Sunday to swallow a small live fish whole as part of an infamous traditional cure for asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The cure is widely popular despite there being no evidence to support its efficacy. A paste made of turmeric, starch and other unknown ingredients is stuffed into the mouth of a murrel fish, which is then handed to "patients."

Many children in particular are unwilling to receive the 'treatment,' with family members holding them down to force the fish down their throats.

In Hyderabad, southern India, a local family has been dispensing their 'Bathini Fish Prasadam' for almost 170 years to anyone who turns up on the chosen day.

The day of the treatment is defined each year by astrologers, and people are asked to come for three consecutive years to receive the 'prasadam,' which generally refers to an offering made to the gods in Hinduism, which frequently consists of food that is later shared by worshippers.

Bathini family members claim that the wriggling fish clears any congestion and phlegm, but experts and activists have pointed out a lack of scientific evidence to back this claim.

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