Asthma patients in Southern India are lining up for a purported therapy for their lung disease that involves swallowing live fish, according to media outlet NewVision.

Every year in June asthma patients gather in the southern city of Hyderabad to gulp down the fish stuffed with a yellow herbal paste, hoping it will help them breathe more easily.

The wriggling five-centimetre (two-inch) murrel fish are slipped into the throats of patients in a bizarre treatment that leaves them gagging.

The family that administers the treatment says the fish clear the throat on their way down and permanently cure asthma along with other respiratory problems.