High up in the mountains, in the high altitude areas of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, there are moth caterpillars and larvae which are underground. They are infected by a fungus called Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which mummifies the caterpillar and grows out of it. It is highly valued for its supposed anti-ageing, anti-cancer and aphrodisiac properties, and has been used as a miracle drug to cure kidney and lung diseases as well. In China, it is listed as an endangered plant species. The cost of the fungus with the mummified larva attached is astronomical, with one single hand-picked, good quality plant being sold for over 10 USD. A kilogram fetches over 20,000 USD!!!
This “Keeda Booti” or “Caterpillar fungus” shown above was brought to us by our gardener. I took a picture and returned it, as he did not want any money for it. The fruiting body grows out of the head of the caterpillar and appears aboveground in high altitude areas. It has to be hand picked. It is called the Himalayan Viagra!!! One thing I have realised is that any herb/ plant/ drug that is sought after and overpriced generally possesses some form of anti-cancer, aphrodisiac or anti-ageing properties…..If legend is to be believed, this one possesses all three 🙂
Click here if the image slider / comments don't load