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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Mad rush for ‘Himalayan Viagra’ in Pithoragarh hills

Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times  Pithoragarh, June 27, 2014
First Published: 15:16 IST(27/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:20 IST(27/6/2014)

The higher reaches of border district Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand are buzzing with activity these days as several locals are hunting for Yarsa Gambu, a rare caterpillar fungus found there.

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Yarsa Gambu, also known as Himalayan Viagra, has medicinal value and as per experts, the fungus is much in demand in the international market particularly in China for aphrodisiac use. It primarily grows in the higher reaches of Tibet, Nepal, North East India and Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts in Uttarakhand.

According to reports, with the melting of snow in the higher reaches of Darma, Vyas and Chaudas valley, a large number of locals and Nepalese have reached here to collect the the wonder drug.

This year due to extended winter conditions, the snow started melting now in the hills. The administration said they are keeping an eye on reports of the gathering. “We have taken action against those who were involved in the clash at Bana area. The administration is also collecting inputs on daily movement in the valley,” said AK Shukla, sub divisional magistrate.

The fungus is sold for more than $3,100 in the international market and ‘higher dividends’ apparently attract more individuals year every year to enter into the fungus business.

“The fungus is used in 200 types of medicines including those for the cure of cancer and asthma,” said Anup Sah, mountaineer and botanist who had scaled the higher reaches in India and Tibet.


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