World’s expensive weed ‘Himalayan Viagra’ worth more than 50 lakh seized at Uttarakhand

The Corbett Tiger Reserve’s special operation group along with police arrested a Ramnagar resident and seized from him 2.3 kg of Himalayan Viagra, a unique caterpillar fungus locally known as Yarsagumba, officials said on Wednesday.

Yarsagumba, which looks like dried weed and is found in the Himalayan region, has a huge demand in China and Korea where it is used in pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing energy booster drugs. The fungus is generally found in Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts.

The Uttarakhand Forest Development Corporation (UAFDC) markets the fungus but without any clear policy, which the experts said is one of the reasons behind smuggling.

The corporation buys fungus for Rs 50,000 per kg from locals and keeps 5% of it as royalty. Contrarily, locals get almost Rs 10 lakh for a kg from traders of New Delhi and Nepal. The huge difference in price offered by the corporation versus traders plays a key role in the smuggling racket

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