“Himalayan Viagra’ under threat from climate change

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Context:

  • A prized caterpillar fungus that is more valuable than gold and is nicknamed “Himalayan Viagra” in Asia.
  • The cone-shaped fungus is only found above an elevation of 9,800 feet (3,000 meters), and forms when the parasitic fungus lodges itself in a caterpillar, slowly killing it.
  • To grow it needs a specific climate with winter temperatures below freezing but where the soil is not permanently frozen.
  • It is seen as a wonder drug, is becoming harder to find due to climate change.
  • Although it has no scientifically proven benefits, people who boil yarchagumba in water to make tea or add it to soups and stews believe it cures everything from impotence to cancer.
  • It is “one of the world’s most valuable biological commodities, providing a crucial source of income for hundreds of thousands of collectors,” said the report.
  • Communities throughout the Himalayan region have become very financially dependent on collecting and selling caterpillar fungus.
  • The decreasing availability of this fungus will be devastating to local economies and that these communities need other viable livelihood options.

Source:Downtoearth