We all know that a spot of fishing is good for what ails you – a day on the river bank is the perfect antidote to the pressures and strains of modern living.
There’s little doubt that dangling your fishing tackle in the great outdoors is a great remedy for many ailments. But if you’re in need of alternative medication, read on for more fishy prescriptions.
Asthmatic? You may wish to travel to Andhra Pradesh in India, to receive a dose that should put you right. The cure, given just once a year has become somewhat of a craze, attracting many thousands of sufferers hoping for a result.
The recipe comes courtesy of the grandfather of the Bathini Goud brothers – famous in India for working their fishy magic. The old man claimed he received the remedy from a travelling saint. So what is it? A small live fish, dipped in a special potion, and shoved down your throat. Open wide.
Tony Blair, Terry Wogan and Joan Collins all take a daily dose of this fishy medicine. As well as giving the taker a very slippery tongue indeed – it’s also thought to bring a number of important health benefits. In fact, studies have shown that swallowing a spoonful a day can prevent, slow and even reverse the effects of arthritis.
Research also shows benefits for sufferers of Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and depression. The magic ingredient is omega-3, the essential fatty acid that’s received so much good press for being heart healthy. So what is this wonder cure? Good old cod liver oil – Mmm fishy breath.
South American remedy
Feeling peaky – try a Brazilian! The trahira (Hoplias malabaricus) is a species of freshwater fish native to South America and found in many rivers in Brazil. If you believe the local indigenous population, this fish is a great cure all. For conditions ranging from asthma to burns, bone diseases and snakebite, trahira is a highly sought after remedy.
Other fish used in traditional medicine include electric eels, rays and the redtail catfish. Interestingly it’s the fat that’s most sought after by native Americans for the treatment of alcoholism – recent studies have suggested that omega-3 helps to relieve patients’ anxiety during withdrawal from drugs.
Swimming to a conclusion
Got a health problem – get a fish to take a look. If you thought all a fish could give you was a fun day out on the riverbank, or a tasty treat at teatime, think again. Researchers in New Zealand have come up with what they hope will be a breakthrough in diagnostic technology – by using fish eye lenses.
They’ve found a way to extract protein from the eyes of the Hoki fish for use in the manufacture a nanofiber 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. Protein nanofibers can be used to diagnose a range of diseases including cancer.
For ‘tropical’ application
If you’re feeling crook, a trip to the tropics could do you the world of good. Critters found in coral ecosystems have led to this fast disappearing natural wonder being described as the medicine cabinet of the 21st century. Stonefish, sea snakes, box jellyfish, cone shells, and pufferfish rank among the most venomous species on earth.
And it’s that toxicity which has attracted the interest of scientists looking for treatments for a whole raft of ailments. Think cancer, arthritis, asthma, ulcers, bacterial infections, and heart disease – in the battle against disease – fish are turning the tide.