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Yarsagumba An Ayurvedic Herb

Yarsagumba these days is a very popular name. One might hear about it in social media, in articles, or even in some business research. In fact, due to its uses and becoming of a trend like in this in the modern world, it is becoming more popular day by day and its value is ever increasing. Due to its economic value and unmatching health benefits, it is also nicknamed the biological gold. Its value in the international market is reaching a new height. More people are realizing and experiencing the ayurvedic aspect of Yarsagumba. But what is Yarsagumba? Why it is so popular? Why is it linked with Ayurveda?

Yarsagumba is a unique biological phenomenon that occurs in nature. It is unique in the aspect that it is neither animal, nor plant, not completely insect, nor complete fungus. Then what is Yarsagumba if it is a biological material, one must fit inside one of the following rights?

Yarsagumba is a collective name given to the fusion of the caterpillar with a special kind of fungus. What happens is that in its early period it is a caterpillar, which in its later year gets infected by fungus. The fungus ultimately kills the caterpillar and grows inside it. After some time, the fungus develops a fruiting body extending out of the body of the caterpillar which is collectively known as the Yarsagumba. This is the basic knowledge of what Yarsagumba is. Which is then is harvested and sold in the market.

Natural habitat where Yarsagumba is found

Yarsagumba is naturally found in the mountains of the Himalayas. The alpine grass of these mountain ranges is the home of the caterpillar that later turns into biological gold. It is native to the altitude of 3000 to 5000m. Not every mountain with a similar altitude has such caterpillars. They are only found in the mountains of Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and reports also claim that they had been found in some northern parts of India. These beings are very rare and only found on the very exacting topography of the slopy mountains which contribute highly to its high price.

Lifecycle of Ophiocordyceps Sinensis

The caterpillar that gets infected by the fungus is found in the alpine regions of some of the selected countries in the world. On the alpine grassland of the upper regions of Nepal, Bhutan, and some Tibetan regions the caterpillar lives inside the ground with a depth of 15cm. There are about 57 species of caterpillar that can act as the host of this variety of fungus and turn into biological gold. When a susceptible host is infected by the fungus, it slowly succumbs to it.

Then from the head of the caterpillar rises a fruiting body that emerges into the ground from the depth where the caterpillar is ground. This fruiting body emerges into the ground in the time of spring in the Himalayas. The fruiting body of the fungus grows and prepares itself for the late summer and remains nearly inactive till that time. Then at the time of the late summer, the fruiting body starts to release a huge number of spores into the air.

The varieties of the caterpillar that the fungus can make its hosts live inside the soil. They survive inside the depth eating the roots of the grass. The larva during the late summer season shed their skin. It is the exact time when the mycelium of the fungus releases spores in the air. Due to the shedding of their skin, the caterpillar is very susceptible to fungal infection. Then in the late autumn, the fungal spores present in the skin of the caterpillar start to grow.

The infected larva faces an upward position and remains in a vertical position from the ground.  Slowly it starts to absorb the nutrients from the caterpillar which in turn makes the caterpillar weak. Then it attacks the entire system of caterpillars, from inside and all orans. Ultimately the caterpillar dies due to the fungal growth. In time the caterpillar’s body turns rigid due to the formation of the fungal sclerotia. In time a sporing body ruptures out of the head of the caterpillar and moves upward the surface of the ground. In time the mass also releases the spore to infect the caterpillar.

Price of Yarsagumba

Yarsagumba is one of the costliest ayurvedic medicines in the world. Due to its many benefits, the demand for Yarsagumba keeps on increasing with only a limited supply. Which in turn increases the costs very high. A significant increase in the price can be seen from the 1990s. From then the price of Yarsagumba has not known anything but to increase. 

In 2004 A.D. the price of Yarsagumba in Nepal ranged from 30,000 to 60,000 Rs depending upon the quality of the product. Whereas at the same time when the product reached India it was sold for around 100000 Rs. Similarly, in 2008 A.D for the best quality Yarsagumba one ad to pay around 18000 dollars per kg.

In 2012 the price of top quality Yarsagumba had climbed to the peak of 50,000$ per kg. Looking at the status of Nepal the price of Yarsagumba today is Rs 15,00,000 for average quality.

The price also heavily differs from where one is buying. If buying directly bought from Nepal the rice can be reduced significantly. While the same product when reaches to the international market and popular destinations can be increased expediently. China is the biggest consumer of Yarsagumba. When the Yarsagumba from Nepal reaches China, the cost can be escalated up to 100$ per gram. This cost when compared with the gold makes, gold looks cheap compared to biological gold.

Advantages of Yarsagumba by Ayurveda perspective

Increased sexual drive and potency

Yarsagumba is also nicknamed the Himalayan Viagra as it enhances the sexual drive of the person who consumes it. Many products in the market enhance the sexual drive of the person when consumes it. However, they all come with a cost. The enhancers that usually we find in the market is like a temporary thing, in the long run, it has many disadvantages and results can be dreadful. It is very hard to find the cure which naturally enhances the drive and comes without any disadvantages. Yarsagumba is one of the medicines that do it without any of the long-term disadvantageous effects.

From ancient times in the Chinese medicines and Tibet, Yarsagumba had been used as a tool to fight impotency and lack of sexual drive. When people consumed the medicine, they realized their body more active and increased desire. 

Some modern research and experiments claim that Yarsagumba when consumed in a certain amount over a period increases the libido production in the body, which then enhances the sexual performance of the individual. 

Yarsagumba has many other medicinal benefits, however, this may be the topmost benefit which is making its demand go high in the sky-piercing the roof every year.

Overall performance of the body

It is another benefit of taking Yarsagumba. Medicine is long taken by the ancient people to increase the overall performance of the body and increase their physical strength. Everybody differs in their strength. Some have a natural gift of enhanced strength, stamina, and many more physical benefits. However, everyone has an upper limit of enhancement that they still haven’t unlocked and can reach up to that limit. There are various methods to reach that limit, a balanced diet and constant workout is one of the most natural methods to achieve this. However, there is also another method which is by consuming Yarsagumba.

It is believed that Yarsagumba increases the production of ATP in the body. ATP plays a crucial role in the energy supply and energy output system of the body.  It also enhances the oxygen consumption ability and enhances the oxygen usage efficiency of the body. In the long term, it enhances the body in more than one way. In the fixed amount it should be consumed for a long time rather than a huge amount for short time.

Anti-aging property

Aging is a natural process no one can avoid. By the processing of aging one who is born as a helpless infant turns into a giant adult. Adulthood is the peak of everything in the human life span. They have a high amount of energy, look beautiful and strong minds. However, all that goes away with aging turns them old. Looks, energy all will be gone after a certain time. Various research and various people have attempted to stop and slow down the process of aging. However, not much success had been gained in that sector.

However, there are many ancient method and medicine that has been used for centuries to preserve the youth for the longer period. Yarsagumba is one of those medicines that had been used for ages for those types of purposes.   researchers believe that their antioxidant content may be the key to their anti-aging properties. The Chinese and other elites around the world even today consume Yarsagumba to preserve their youth for a longer period. 

Healthy heart

A healthy heart is another organ that is numerously benefitted by the Yarsagumba. The consumption of ayurvedic medicine can benefit the heart of the consumer in several ways.

Some researchers had claimed that the consumption of Yarsagumba enhances the flow of blood in the body and oxygen content in the blood. Which ultimately keeps the heart healthy and away from clogging of the arteries and veins. 

Also, the use of Yarsagumba is the cure for arrhythmia. It is said to be done in China. It is the condition in with a heartbeat at irregular rhythm either it is too fast, or it is too slow.

It also helps to balance and maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in the body, which ultimately benefits the heart and overall health.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Yarsagumba is also found to have anti-inflammatory properties. In ancient China, Tibet, and the upper regions of Nepal it has been used as a drug to reduce inflammation and infection for centuries. 

Knee and Joint pains

It is also one of the widely used purposes of Yarsagumba. The consumption of Yarsagumba reduces the old knee and joint pains that have been caused by either disease, injury, or even by old age. Yarsagumba helps to ease them all.

Anti-tumor properties

The occurrence of tumors in the body can be genial to life-threatening. Its occurrence is always fearful until diagnosed as a non-threatening one. Yarsagumba also has been found to stop the growth of the tumor as well as prevent its occurrence.

Strengthen the Immune system

Our immune system is always active and protects us from dangerous microbes such as viruses and bacteria. If the immune system is not strong to repel them, we get ill. Yarsagumba is also known to improve and strengthen the immune system of the body and protect against dangerous and harmful diseases.

Relation of Yarsagumba and Nepal

The harvesting and selling of Yarsagumba were only allowed in Nepal after 2001A.D., Before that, it was illegal there to harvest and sell those medicines. The government allowed the harvest with a certain amount of royalty, thinking to benefit all the parties. The Yarsagumba hunt spread like the wildfire. The higher rural mountain region does not have many opportunities lying around like those of the developed cities. They are engaged in minor occupational activities with minimum wages.

However, with the arrival of the Yarsagumba hunt, they believed that this all will change. They with their all effort were involved in the Yarsagumba hunt in the season. The search was so huge that the school children of that region instead of going to the school went to search for Yarsagumba in hope of generating some money. 

The government is getting a huge amount of royalties, the local people are generating a good amount of money without investment, the customers are happy they are getting good quality Yarsagumba with their money. However, in this relation, there is one party that is suffering the most that are the alpine ecosystem. 

The ecosystem of the alpine region is very fragile due to the topography, climate change, and other factors. The people’s haphazard involvement and haphazard harvesting are making the population of those caterpillars very thin.

Researchers claim that due to the over and untimely harvesting the ecosystem there is on the verge of collapsing. Researchers claim that the government should ban harvesting for some time. If strict regulation on the harvesting is not done, there is the risk of destruction of the alpine ecosystem beyond recovery and repair shortly. 

Yarsagumba as an Ayurveda medicine and source of economy is a great possibility for Nepal. However, haphazard use, harvesting can burn our ecosystem that ultimately will hamper us.