Fight Over ‘Himalayan Viagra’ leaves Nepal villager dead

Fight Over ‘Himalayan Viagra’ leaves Nepal villager dead

KATHMANDU (NEPAL): A villager was shot dead in a remote mountainous area of Nepal and three others were injured in clashes over a rare and valuable fungus known as the “Himalayan Viagra” for its reputed aphrodisiac qualities, an official said on Friday.

Yarsagumba is also known as the “Himalayan Viagra” or “Himalayan Gold” for its high medicinal and commercial value. It is mainly used as a treatment for impotency in many countries. Numerous scientific studies and research reveals that it has properties of antibiotic in it. Every year, thousands of villagers in Nepal and Tibet harvest the parasitic fungus Cordyceps sinensis, known locally as yarchagumba, which grows on the body of a caterpillar.

It can fetch huge sums in neighboring China where it is used in herbal medicines, but is only found at certain elevations and for a few weeks a year.

Officials in the western district of Mugu where the clash occurred said they had dispatched a police team on Wednesday after receiving reports of the clash, but they only arrived on Friday morning. As per the locals, the gang had stolen their collection as well.

It is not the first time that violence has broken out over the yarchagumba harvest — in 2009 seven people were brutally murdered in a fight over harvesting rights. Two years after, the court convicted 19 villagers over the case.

Yarchagumba, which means “summer plant, winter insect” in Tibetan, is only found above 3,500 metres (11,550 feet) and forms when the parasitic fungus lodges itself in a caterpillar, slowly killing it. No definitive research has been published on the beneficial qualities of the fungus, but Chinese herbalists believe it boosts sexual performance.
Boiled in water to make tea, or added to soups and stews, it is said to cure a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. In recent years researchers have said supplies are declining, perhaps due to over-harvesting.

(TNT Desk with inputs from NDTV)

(Image: internet)


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