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Ethnobotany of the Medicinal Plants: Case of Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Yarsagumba) and Its Benefits for Nepal, India, and Bhutan

S. Giri1 *, N. Ojha2, S. Subedi2, S. Rana2, Y. Bhandari2, and A. Khanal3

  1. Global Research Institute and Training Center (GRIT), Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
  2. Agriculture and Forestry University, College of Natural Resource Management, Katari 00977, Nepal
  3. Department of Energy and Environment, Teri School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi 110003, India

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +977-989843818363. E-mail address: (S. Giri).


Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Yarsagumba) is complex combination of fungus and dead caterpillar having high medicinal and economic value. From the ancient time, it is being used as traditional medicine in countries like Nepal and India. It naturally grows in the Himalayan alpine pastures of Nepal, India and Bhutan. However, there are limited literatures which explores the people’s interaction with the medicinal plants. This study focuses on availability and usage of Yarsagumba in Nepal, India and Bhutan. For this, systematic literature review was conducted to gather information from online resources using different keywords. Ophiocordyceps sinensis is largely used for brain and body nourishment to improve the immune system and used as a renoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-metastatic, and neuroprotective agent. Despite of major opportunity, India, Nepal, and Bhutan have been only contributing 1.6, 1.4, and 0.5%, respectively of the total annual production of Ophiocordyceps sinensis. This paper has explored details on the ethnobotany and use of medicinal plants in the context of Nepal, India, and Bhutan. Apart from this, the production, benefits, and usage of Ophiocordyceps sinensis have also been discussed in this paper.

Keywords: ethnobotany, medicinal plant, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, South Asia, Yarsagumba

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