Tens of thousands of asthma sufferers have swallowed live sardines or murrel fish smeared with a yellow herbal paste they believe will cure their breathing problems.
The Goud family that administers the traditional asthma treatment says its ancestors received the secret formula from a Hindu saint about 170 years ago. They refuse to reveal the mixture's ingredients, and rationalists are skeptical of it.
People seeking the fish-and-herbal treatment started arriving early this week in Hyderabad, the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states.
Bathini Harinath Goud, whose family has been administering the mixture for years, said the treatment started Wednesday morning and will continue for 24 hours.
The herbal paste is slipped into the sardines and then put into the mouth of the asthma sufferers.