Known for its magical medicinal benefits, Yarsagumba (Ophiocoedyceps Sinesis), also known as Keedajadi in Hindi & Garhwali is a type of fungus endemic to the Himalayan region. What makes this fungus so unique is that it is a entomopathogenic fungus – a fungus that grows on Insects. This fungus is known to have huge medicinal properties and has been used extensively in traditional medicines in the Himalayan region.
But this rare fungus is sadly on the verge of extinction due to the alarming increase in smuggling and over grazing of cattle and yaks. This, in turn, has led to the price of this scarce fungus to skyrocket, fetching up to Rs. 50 lakh per kg!
Read on to find out more about this pricey fungus.
A fungus that grows on Insects
Yarsagumba or Keedajadi infects living larvae of a of a particular kind of caterpillar simultaneously killing and mummifying the larva. It then develops as a stalk-like fruiting body which is used as a herbal remedy.
It’s use in traditional medicine
Four hundred species of fungus, all rolled into one
It is also called Yart Swa Gun Bu, which in Tibetan means ‘herb in the summer and insect in the winter’. In Nepali, it is referred to by the colloquial term Yachagumbu or Yaxagumbu while the Chinese call it Dong Cong Xia Cao.
Pretty rare to find
The penicillin of Tibetan and Chinese medicine
Facing extinction, it is illegal to harvest
The wonder bug with a mythological connect
Known by many names, found in relative abundance in the Devbhoomi
Sold for Rs 50-freaking-lakh per kilogram!
It is one of the biggest natural mysteries of the Great Himalayas
Just like everything that’s in high demand, this wondrous plant-slash-bug will soon go extinct and little is being done to prevent it. Nepal has long been fighting the ill-effects of over harvest. This is a medicinal wonder and a biological marvel, and therefore, needs to be preserved.