WORLD: Pandemiv kills annual hunt for Himalayan viagra

 
603Views 0Comments Posted 09/05/2020

The lucrative annual trip to the high peaks of Nepal to harvest the "Himalayan viagra," which costs more  than gold in China, will be banned this l because of the pandemic.

From its Tibetan name yarchagumba ("plant in summer, insect in winter"), the parasitic "caterpillar mushroom,"  is only found for a few weeks in spring, above 3,500 meters in when it grows outside the caterpillar's body, which it infected and killed.

'Miracle' mushroom
Himalayan Viagra is coveted in Asia, where herbalists claim it stimulates sexual performance and helps cure cancer. When ingested in tea or soups. However, no study  has  yet demonstrated the medicinal properties of the mushroom.

The harvest of Ophiocordyceps sinensis is very lucrative and every spring thousands of villagers rush into the mountains despite the dangers of the journey.

Due to pandemic restrictions in Nepal, many districts have banned the collection.

Many Himalayan families are financially dependent on its collection and sale. Some even get most of their annual income from this few-week collection that usually starts in mid-April.

"This is my only job, my only chance to earn an income," says 29-year-old Harak Singh Dhami, adding that last year he earned Rs 200,000 (€ 1,500) for 300 mushrooms.



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