Caixin OnlineEnvironment Making a Killing on Herbal Medicine
09.05.2012 17:01

Making a Killing on Herbal Medicine

Commercial harvesting on the Tibetan Plateau continues to push many of China's most treasured medicinal plants and wildlife to the edge of extinction
By staff reporter Liu Hongqiao

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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