“Himalayan Viagra” or ‘yarsagumba’ (Ophiocordyceps sinensis)


It’s the time of the year that the mushroom called ‘yarsagumba’ (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), also known locally as ‘keerajari’, appears in the meadows when the snow starts melting.  it is also known as Himalayan Viagra.

The mushroom, which has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine (thousands of years), fetches a price of Rs 2 to 5 lakhs per kilogram or much  above locally, depending on quality. It plays a vital role in the local economy, that’s largely pastoral.

It is also called Yart Swa Gun Bu, which in Tibetan means ‘herb in the summer and insect in the winter’. In Nepali it is referred to by the colloquial term Yachagumbu or Yaxagumbu while the Chinese call it Dong cong xia cao.

Usually, as the month of May approaches, villagers from Dasholi, Ghat, Urgam valley, Niti valley, Deval and Joshimath blocks of Chamoli district start start moving into the the higher ranges, armed with essentials and rations. They camp there for at least two months while hunting for the prized mushroom, yarsagumba or Himalayan Viagra.

The heavy snowfall in the higher ranges of Himalayas earlier this week has disrupted the hunt for a prized aphrodisiac fungus popularly referred to as Himalayan viagra. There’s a lot at stake.

Heavy snowfall  has forced villagers to call off the hunt for yarsagumba and climb down from the higher reaches of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. They will have to wait till the snow melts and that may leave only a handful days left in the Yarsagumba season.

Usually, as the month of May approaches, villagers from Dasholi, Ghat, Urgam valley, Niti valley, Deval and Joshimath blocks of Chamoli district start  moving into the higher ranges, armed with essentials and rations. They camp there for at least two months while hunting for the prized mushroom.

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Ancient traditional Chinese medicine


Assorted  plant and animal parts used in traditional Chinese medicines: dried Lingzhi, ginseng, Luo Han Guo, turtle shell underbelly, and dried curled snakes.

China also developed a large body of traditional medicine. Much of the philosophy of  traditional Chinese medicine derived from empirical observations of disease and illness.  and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. These causative principles, whether material, essential, or mystical, correlate as the expression of the natural order of the universe.

The foundational text of Chinese medicine is the Huangdi neijing , written 5th century to 3rd century BCE.  Near the end of the 2nd century AD, during the Han dynasty, Zhang Zhongjing, wrote a  Treatise on cold damage, which contains the earliest known reference to the Neijing Suwen. The Jin Dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupuncture and moxibustion, Huangfu Mi (215-282), also quotes the Yellow Emperor in his Jiayi jing, c. 265. During the Tang dynasty, the Suwen was expanded and revised, and is now the best extant representation of the foundational roots of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine that is based on the use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and other forms of therapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years.

In the 18th century, during the Qing dynasty, there was a proliferation of popular books on traditional medicine. Jesuit missionaries introduced Western science and medicine to the royal court, the Chinese physicians ignored them.

Finally in the 19th century, Western medicine was introduced at the local level by Christian medical missionaries from the London Missionary Society (Britain), the Methodist Church (Britain)

Because of the social custom that men and women should not be near to one another, the women of China were reluctant to be treated by male doctors. The missionaries sent women doctors such as Dr.  Mary Hannah Fulton (1854–1927). Supported by the Foreign Missions Board of the Presbyterian Church (USA) she in 1902 founded the first medical college for women in China, the Hackett Medical College for Women, in Guangzhou.

 

Link    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_medicine

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