News Monday January 17, 2011

‘Himalayan Viagra’ sells for $800 in New York

Yarsagumba – a caterpillar fungus that grows in Nepal and which has become known as 'Himalayan Viagra' – has become popular among older men in New York City, the New York Post reports.

Impotent men are willing to pay $800 for the entombed worms that grow naturally in the mountains of Nepal. Thomas Leung, owner of Kamwo, a Chinese herbal pharmacy, said: "It is hard to come by, and the demand for it is very high because of there's a lot of hype." Leung says he is baffled by the amount that westerners are willing to pay for the plant. He said: "People always ask, 'Is it really that good?' And I say, 'It's not $800 good'". The plant can be taken in the form of a tea.

Violent clashes

Demand for yarsagumba is so high that in Nepal there have been cases of fighting over the plant. Last year a court case began in which a whole village was arrested on suspicion of murder; the seven men who died had been outsiders, and had been picking the fungus.

Some reports suggest that the men died in an accident. Other reports suggest that 5 of the men were beaten to death by the villagers, while 2 fell from the mountainside as they attempted to flee. Residents of villagers in northern Nepal have previously complained to police about intruders. The court case is ongoing.

Erectile dysfunction treatments

Viagra remains by far the most popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. Using the active ingredient Sildenafil, Viagra begins to work in less than an hour, and can help men to maintain erections for up to four hours. Viagra has been joined on the impotence treatment market by Levitra and Cialis over the past decade. A new drug called Avanafil could be the next big erectile dysfunction drug to go on the market.

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