Yarsagumba or Yarchagumbu is an exceptional and incredible herb that grows in the pastures above 3,300 meters upto 4000 meters in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet. Yarsagumba literally means summer plant and winter insect (dong cong xia cao) in Tibetan. In India it is usually known as ‘Kira Jhar’ which means Insect Plant . Scientific name of this herb is Cordyceps Sinensis.
Yarsa gumba is a exceptional combination of a yellow caterpillar and a mushroom (fungus). Just earlier to the rainy season, spores of cordyceps fungus infect these Himalayan caterpillars that live on moist grass and hollow soil. After the fungus buries itself in the caterpillar’s body, it works its way out through the insect’s head. The parasite gets the energy from the caterpillar. The fungus parasite gets so much into the body of the caterpillars’ that it drains all the energy from the insect and ultimately it dies. As temperature increases and the snow melts -yarsa gumba emerges and is collected at this time. During monsoon, the yarsa gumba is swept away. Continue reading