Meadows Replenished Post Lockdown, ‘himalayan Viagra’ Rises In U’khand | Dehradun News

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PITHORAGARH/DEHRADUN: A surge of almost 20% has been recorded in the collection of one of the most sought-after aphrodisiacs, the herb locally called ‘keeda jadi’ (Cordyceps Sinensis) or ‘Himalayan viagra’, that is found in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand.
This has come after keeda jadi, primarily found above 2,500m in the Himalayas, witnessed a decline in “area, production and market from 2014 to 2019”, as per researchers involved in a clutch of recent socio-economic surveys. Significantly, all the “three factors” improved this year.
Experts, who study the area and its topography extensively, attributed the keeda jadi surge to the Covid lockdown and the empty bugyals — alpine pasture lands or meadows in the higher elevation range.
According to them, the area flourished in the “absence of pollution and human activity” in the bugyals.
Only local villagers are allowed to collect keeda jadi, between May and July. This year villagers have returned happy, mainly from the lush green meadows of Laaspa, Chhipal Kedar, Golfa, Naagris Dhara, Jantari, Panchachuli, Ralam, Milam, Rajrambha and Kanar.
Sachin Bohra, assistant professor of zoology at the government degree college in Pithoragarh, told GLOBAL PRABHAT, “Our socio-economic survey showed that between 2014 and 2019, there was a reduction in the keeda jadi area, its production and market. However, this year, the results are just the opposite. It has broken even the 2019 record.”
Diwan Singh Bisht, a resident of Panto village in Pithoragarh, added, “Market rates of keeda jadi have improved to Rs 12 lakh per kg, which in 2019 had slumped by almost half. Bugyals got time to recuperate from anthropogenic pressure like trekkers pitching tents and carrying baggage and other logistics for months, grazing of cattle by locals, pilgrims, etc, along with nitrogenous waste left by humans like excreta and food.” A pollution-free environment for two years would have definitely helped in the revival of bugyals, said Koko Rose, Pithoragarh DFO.
“In the bugyals, fresh herbs and shrubs germinate from June to July. This is also the time when villagers usually till the soil. But due to the pandemic, bugyals remained untouched. As a result, the area which was earlier yielding almost nothing got a fresh yield of keeda jadi,” she added.
Basanti Devi (name changed on request) from Laspa, who went to collect keeda jadi this year, said, “Climatic factors like moving up of the treeline, more heat in the bugyals and shifting altitude of keeda jadi from the earlier 2,000-2,500m to at least 3,000m now kept the villagers away. But, locals knew that the bugyals would be laced with the herb in lower altitude (like 2000m) postpandemic, and hence the collection surged.”

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