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Caterpillar fungus on radar of International smugglers
Itanagar, Dec 1 (AGENCIES):
Published on 2 Dec. 2010 12:23 AM IST
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A rare mushroom grown in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, which is highly valued in China and Tibet as an aphrodisiac and for treating a variety of ailments, has become the target of an international smuggling ring. Recently 28 Tibetan nationals, including a woman, have been arrested in the Mechukha sub-division in West Siang district by ITBP personnel for allegedly trying to smuggle out the exotic mushroom whose medical
The Caterpillar Fungus is parasitic growing in alpine grass regions like Mechukha and Monigong in West Siang, Tuting in Upper Siang and Taksing in Upper Subansiri bordering China between June and August.
It is known in Tibet as Yartsa Gunbu which means “summer herb winter worm”, Yarchagumba in Nepal, Yartsa Guenboob in Bhutan and Keera Jhar or Keeda Ghas in India.
“One kg of wild fungus is sold at 30,000 to 60,000 in Nepalese currency while it fetches Rs one lakh in India,” Sona Mosing, an elder of the area, said. A study, conducted by German scholar Dr Gerhard Heller into the traditional healing systems in the state, said the fungus is rare and an exotic medicinal mushroom which is highly prized. Heller in his writings said the fungus is in high demand in Tibetan, Chinese and traditional herbal folk medicines in which it is used as an aphrodisiac as well as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer.

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