Yarsagumba in Nepal
Know every details about caterpillar fungus, Yarsagumba!

Yarsagumba in Nepal

Yarsagumba is a traditional medicine that has so many beneficial attributes in human health. We have tried to include the information about Yarsagumba uses, Yarsagumba benefits, uses and importance, Yarsagumba price per kg in Nepal, side effects of Yarsagumba and many other relevant resources regarding Yarsagumba in Nepal.

Deepak Raj Bhatta
Author | Deepak Raj Bhatta Date Published:
Yarsagumba Price in Nepal

Yarsagumba, found in the High altitudes, basically in the Himalayan region is considered as a biological gold because of its high demand and skyscraping price. It is a kind of fungi which grows out of the head of the dead caterpillar.

Name of medicine

Yarsagumba

English Name

Chinese Caterpillar Fungus

Binomial name

Ophiocordyceps sinensis

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Fungi

Division: Ascomycota

Class: Sordariomycetes

Order: Hypocreales

Family: Ophiocordycipitaceae

Genus: Ophiocordyceps

Species: O. sinensis

Conservation Status

Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)

Found In 

Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet

Favorable Elevation to grow

3000 m. - 5000 m. ASL

Harvesting season

Summer (Before Monsoon)

Yarsagumba is also known as ‘Ophiocordyceps Sinensis’, formerly Cordyceps Sinensis, and colloquially known as caterpillar fungus, ‘Yartsa Gunbu’ in Tibetan which means summer grass winter worm, and ‘dōng chóng xià cǎo’ in Chinese and Yarsa-gumba or Yarcha-gumba in the Nepali language. Yarsagumba is an entomopathogenic fungus which acts as a parasite of insects that kills and grows on them.

Table Of Content

    What is Yarsagumba?

    In the scientific division, Yarsagumba is an Ophiocordycipitaceae family member. It is found above the altitude of 3500 m in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet. 

    The formation of Yarsagumba is after the parasitism of larvae of swift moths, resulting in the development of fruiting bodies which is highly popular as a herbal remedy and popular as Yarshagumba. 

    The most suitable altitude to grow the Yarshagmba is between 3000 m. to 5000 m. in the Himalayan meadows. After the germination of larvae by a fungus, it kills the insect and mummifies it, from the fruit body a dark brown coloured emerges from the dead insect and stands upright.

    Highly valued as traditional medicine, especially in the Asian subcontinent, Yarsa gumba acts as medicine with huge benefits. In Nepal, caravans of people move to the Higher elevations in the Himalayas in search of the gold rush. The lucrative hunt of Yarsagumba is a challenging task as many people from the rural villages climb to the mountains to find the Yarsagumba as it has huge economical benefits uplifting the lifestyle.

    Yarsagumba in Nepal

    Yarshaguba or Yarchagumba is a popular medicinal fungus found in the higher elevations of Nepal. The harvesting and selling of Yarsagumba was banned before 2001 in Nepal. But later by collecting some royalties the trade of Yarshagumba was allowed by the Government of Nepal. 

    Every year during May and June, the people from the villages of Nepal go to the higher elevations. Also popular as the gold rush, Yarshagumba is a most beneficial and extensively expensive herb that has huge health benefits.

    Yarsagumba in Nepal is collected from the 12 districts for commercial purpose in Nepal. Since it’s production is only in high altitudes, the collection of Yarsagumba in Darchula, Dolpa, Jumla, Mugu, Bajang, Rukum, Myagdi, Manang, Gorkha, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Sankhuwasabha districts is popular. 

    The Yarsagumba from Nepal is then exported to the high demand countries such as Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, the UK and the US.

    Nepal is one of the major countries that produce Yarsagumba in its higher elevation.

    The collection of Yarsagumba is decreasing year by year now is decreasing because of the environmental changes. The decline in the collection of Yarsagumba is a matter of concern to the different communities of Nepal. The livelihood of the local people highly depends upon the medicinal herbs and Yarchagumba. 

    According to some reports, overharvesting is one cause and the regeneration of larva that produces Yarsagumba is lacking. Environmental change is the main reason that is affecting the supply of Yarsagumba in abundance worldwide.

    Apart from the domestic reasons harming the sustainability of Yarsagumba in Nepal, the importance and benefits of Yarsagumba are very high. Yarsagumba undoubtedly lifts the life standard of rural Nepalese making it the most valued work in peak season. 

    More than 50,000 people from the different villages of Nepal move to the upper mountains to collect Yarshagumba. However, the collection of Yarsagumba is not that easy. The collectors have to pay around 20,000 royalty for every one kg collection of Yarsagumba. 

    The estimated price of Yarsagumba per kilogram in Nepal is Rs 25000 in 2018. However, in the international markets, the price reaches up to $130000 per kilogram according to sources.

    Yarsagumba Benefits, Uses and Importance

    Yarshagumba is significantly uttered as a Himalayan viagra, because of its impact on the reproductive system and huge health benefits. It is used for clinical purposes and home remedies as well. Firstly, the medicinal properties of Yarsagumba were discovered in China around 2000 years ago. 

    The potentiality of Yarchagumba includes, but not limited to, strengthening lungs and kidneys, increasing energy and vitality, stopping hemorrhage, decreasing phlegm etc. Its impact on the reproductive system is also beneficial.

    Yarsagumba is also used for impotence, backache etc. It also contributes to increased blood production and sperm production as well. Cordyceps or Yarshagumba also helps to cure tiredness, chronic cough and asthma, impotence, debility, anemia, to build the bone marrow, emission, soreness of knees, and Yarchagumba also helps to strengthen the immune system for tumour patients.

    Yarsagumba is popular for medication purposes.

    Sometimes, for the patients who are receiving Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy and deficiency syndrome, it is used. The medicinal properties of Yarsagumba are also beneficial in alleviating fatigue, respiratory problems, and other lung-related kidney-related issues. It also helps to combat infertility in women and also cures erectile dysfunction in men.

    The use of Yarsagumba is also beneficial for cardiovascular problems, sexual health, irregular heartbeats, allergic issues, and develops a strong immune system.

    According to WebMD, Yarsagumba or Cordyceps is beneficial for Anemia, Breathing disorders, Lung infections (Bronchitis), Cough, Decreasing fatigue, Dizziness, Frequent urination at night, Heart arrhythmias, High cholesterol, Liver disorders, Promoting longevity, Ringing in the ears, Weakness etc. 

    It also mentions that Yarsagumba can be beneficial for sexual problems that prevent satisfaction during sexual activity, Kidney transplant. Also the Inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus, Kidney damage caused by the drug cyclosporine. 

    Kidney damage caused by contrast dyes, Chronic Kidney diseases, Kidney injury caused by antibiotics etc is also cured by yarchagumba. However, it also mentions that there is not enough evidence for the mentioned problems.

    Side Effects of Yarsagumba

    The oral use of cordyceps or Yarsagumba is safe in most of the cases. However, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, Bleeding disorders and Surgery, there’s not enough evidence that the use of cordyceps is safe, so it’s better to stay on the safe side and avoid use in these conditions. The use of cordyceps might cause mild side effects such as diarrhoea, constipation and abdominal discomfort etc.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is Yarsagumba used for?
      Yarsagumba is a popular medicine in the Tibetan plateau and China. It is believed to increase energy and have healing effects of various medical conditions. The main commercial use of Yarsagumba is as an aphrodisiac.
    • Where do we find Yarsagumba?
      Yarsagumba is found in the higher elevations. The himalayan and mountainous regions of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet grow the Yarsagumba. It usually germinates at an elevation of 3000 m to 5000 m.
    • Can we grow Yarsagumba?
      The cultivation of Yarsagumba is very natural in the mountain region of Nepal. But some countries like the United States are cultivating the strain of Yarsagumba on Soybeans for medicinal purposes.
    • What is the price of Yarsagumba in Nepal?
      The price ranges from its rawness and origin. In Nepal, the raw yarsagumba is found between 2,50,000 to 25,00,000 per kilogram. However, the international market of Yarsagumba is anticipated to be $130,000 per kilogram.
    • How do you eat Yarsagumba?
      The recommended dose of Yarsagumba for an adult is 0.3 g - 0.7 g daily. However, it is usually taken after the prescription of a traditional physician or doctor.
    • What is the English name of Yarsagumba?
      The English name of Yarsagumba is Chinese caterpillar fungus. The scientific name of the medicine is Cordyceps sinensis.

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