Saturday, November 27, 2010

Himalayan Viagra leads to violent clashes

Violent confrontations that are occurring in Tibet, as people scramble to collect ‘Himalayan Viagra’.
The official name for this aphrodisiac is cordyceps sinensis, or the caterpillar fungus (Tib: Yartsa Gunbu or “Winter Insect and Summer Grass”), and it grows on the mountains of Tibet and China.
Aside from enhancing libido it is said to help treat cancer, and have other health properties. It was previously thrust into the media limelight when China’s Olympic coach hailed it as the reason for the success of three female runners, in the 1993 Olympics.
Because the fungus is so highly valued in the region, many locals are taking to the mountainsides to hunt for it. Some are working 12 hour days to maximise their takings. Yet as more and more people pick the fungus, competition is sometimes turning nasty. In 2007 violent confrontations with guns and knives broke out, The Guardian reports. Eight people were shot to death, and fifty people were wounded.
There are fears that if this intense gold rush for the fungus continues, clashes such as these could occur again. There are also concerns that the mountains will soon be bare of the fungus.

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