Collection of Yarsagumba was illegal until 2001 but
following its popularity and the lobbying from various
organizations, the Government lifted the ban but imposed a
royalty rate of Rs. 20,000 (US$ 280) per kilogram (2.2lbs).
One kilo of yarsagumba that costs about Rs. 315 (US$ 5/6) in
1992 increased to Rs. 105,000 (US$ 1,435) by the year 2002
and the price has been shooting up so as the international
interest on the mysterious half-caterpillar-half-mushroom
known as Yarsagumba.Yarsagumba
with its Latin name cordyceps sinesis literally means summer
plant and winter insect in Tibetan. Before the rainy season
begins, spores of the cordyceps mushroom settle on the heads
of caterpillars’ that lives underground. The fungus gets so
much into the body of the caterpillars’ that it grows out
through its head and drains all the energy from the insect
and ultimately it dies.