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AFP
July 10, 2020

Overharvesting threatens ‘Himalayan Viagra’ fungus: IUCN

World

AFP
July 10, 2020

PARIS: A parasitic fungus that grows inside the ghost moth caterpillar and then kills its host by bursting through its head is itself threatened with extinction, the IUCN said Thursday, as demand surges for Chinese medicine’s “Himalayan Viagra”. Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the world’s most expensive fungus, only grows on the Tibetan Plateau where it has become the main source of income for some communities. It has been prized as a health tonic and aphrodisiac in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries, but demand has intensified since the 1990s. Overharvesting has slashed populations by at least 30 percent in the last 15 years, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which has now listed it as “vulnerable” to extinction in its directory of threatened animal and plant species.