|"Every summer, Himalayan villages empty as locals rush to the mountains of northern Nepal to harvest yarchagumba, a high-altitude wild fungus that is prized for its aphrodisiac qualities.|
In recent years, however, the yield has been severely depleted by over-picking and the probable effects of climate change, experts have warned, prompting fears about the future of the "Himalayan Viagra" harvest.
|"There are over 680 documented species of the sac fungus genus Ophiocordyceps, and one of the best known of these is Ophiocordyceps sinensis, colloquially known as caterpillar fungus. The fungus is known in Tibetan as yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu.|
Caterpillar fungi are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost moth genus Thitarodes, several species of which live on the Tibetan Plateau. The fungus germinates in living organisms (in some cases larvae), kills and mummifies the insect, and then the fungus grows from the body of the insect."
Year Price/kg (Yuan)
|"Neighbouring China has a huge appetite for the fungus, pushing prices above $11,500 per pound (450 grams) and putting its value somewhere between silver and gold."|
|On the good news front ... "Jesus Gabriel was born with a benign tumour that grew to cover the right side of his body from his armpit to his hip, the Associated Press reports.|
At the time of surgery on June 14, the tumour weighed more than Jesus, who weighed just 12kg.