Making a Killing on Herbal Medicine
Mushroom gatherers arrive in Qinghai Province every March to forage for wild caterpillar fungus
There's nothing garden variety about the caterpillar fungus, but its slow elimination from the hillsides of the Tibetan Plateau is far from surprising.
A parasitic fungus that infects and mummifies its host, the mushroom tip that sprouts from the head of the caterpillar now fetches up to 100 yuan. Used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine treatments for a variety of ailments, the caterpillar fungus, along with many other forms of wildlife found on the Tibetan Plateau, is being drastically diminished by commercial harvesting.
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