rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Sikkim to market Himalayan Viagra

Sikkim to market Himalayan Viagra

June 03, 2009 14:04 IST
The Sikkim government is considering a proposal by the Forest and Wildlife Department to market the medicinal herb Cordyceps Sinensis, popularly known as Himalayan Viagra. The herb, whose scientific name is Caterpillar Fungus, is found abundantly in the forests of the Himalayan state.
    
Apparently taking cue from the neighbouring countries of Bhutan and Nepal that have legalised the trade of the Cordyceps Sinensis herb, the Forest and Wildlife Department of the state has also proposed a similar measure.
    
The department's officials argued that since the herb's availability in the black market fattened the pockets of only a handful of smugglers, its sale in the open market would benefit both the Forest and Wildlife Department as well as the local people.
    
They also cited the widespread illicit trade of forest produce to buttress their argument in favour of the open market sale.
    
The department also suggested that a regulated mechanism for plucking the herb from the forests be put in place with authorised dealers marketing it, official sources told PTI in Gangtok.
    
The Himalayan state could generate a significant amount of revenue from marketing the medicinal plant which costs between US $ 2000-2600 per kg in the open market, the sources said.
    
The draft proposal has suggested a mechanism for collection and marketing of the herb under which only the Joint Forest Management Committees, registered with the forest department, will be allowed to collect it. The only condition is that the JFMCS will have to be from the area where the herb is found.
    
The collection of herbs from the wildlife and forest sanctuaries will, however, not be permitted under any circumstances in view of the sanctity of the reserved forests, they said.
    
The draft proposal has also suggested a formula for sharing of the revenue from marketing of the medicinal herb on
the basis of 25:75 to the forest department and JFMCS, the sources said.
    
It may be mentioned that the valued medicinal herb is found in vast forest areas in East, West and North districts of Sikkim at places like Green Lake, Dzongri, Thamjey, Nathu La pass, Doman Valley, Tholung pass, among others, located above 8,000 feet under the jurisdiction of the forest department.
    
Though the marketing of the medicinal plant is banned in Sikkim, it is available in the black market for years with smugglers making crores of rupees by selling it to shady dealers--both Indian and foreign, the department's  officials said. Recently, forest department sleuths nabbed two smugglers with a haul of 17 kg of the Himalayan Viagra from Singtam in July last year.
© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.