Hunt begins for rare 'Himalayan Viagra' on Uttarakhand hills | india | Hindustan Times
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Hunt begins for rare 'Himalayan Viagra' on Uttarakhand hills

Uttarakhand's hilly Pithoragarh district is suddenly buzzing with activity, as locals are busy hunting for Yarsa Gambu a rare caterpillar fungus found in the higher altitudes. Anupam Trivedi reports.

india Updated: May 16, 2012 10:49 IST
Anupam Trivedi

Uttarakhand's hilly Pithoragarh district is suddenly buzzing with activity, as locals are busy hunting for Yarsa Gambu a rare caterpillar fungus found in the higher altitudes.

Yarsa Gambu also known as Himalayan Vigra, has several medicinal values. According to experts, the fungus is in very much demand in international market particularly in China for aphrodisiac use.

Fungus primarily grows in the higher reaches of Tibet, Nepal, northeast India and Pithoragarh, Chamoli and Bageshwar in Uttarakhand.

“Yarsa Gambu is used in 200 types of medicines, including for the cure of cancer and asthma” told Anup Sah, mountaineer and Botanist who had scaled higher reaches in India and Tibet. “Its a thread like structure visible these days in the alpine meadows”.

The rare fungus is sold for more than $ 3,100 per kg in the international market and perhaps the ‘higher dividends’ attracting more people year every year to enter into the fungus business.

Sah added last year each family in the villages such as Gaona, Paunok earned to the tune of Rs 5 lakh per kg by selling Yarsa Gambu

Forest department sources say villages falling in Munsyari area of Pithoragarh alone produced around 2.5 quintals fungus last year.

“Hundreds of locals have been gathered in and around these areas to gather the fortune changer Yarsa Gambu fungus” revealed Chandra Shekhar Dwivedi a scribe from Pithoragarh.

Reports suggest the fungus is found in the plateau of Ralam, Rajrambha, Panchachuli and Chiplakedar in the Pithoragarh district and Pindar valley in Bageshwar district.