COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow for the cordyceps collectors in Bhutan

Email

Prior to 2004, harvesting of cordyceps was considered illegal in Bhutan. Only in 2004, harvesting of cordyceps was legalized by the Royal Government of Bhutan under the Royal Decree.

Cordyceps sinensis, a type of parasitic fungi is popularly known for its high medicinal value. The Bhutanese cordyceps, grown 5000m above sea level have caught the interest of people from all over the world. The Himalayan cordyceps known as yartsa guenbub locally was the most trending products from Bhutan in the year 2019-2020 due to their organic value.

The high demand is due to the many health benefits of cordyceps. Cordyceps are known to cure and ease various diseases such as cough, chronic bronchitis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, nighttime urination, high cholesterol, liver disorders, etc. Cordyceps are also known as the ‘Himalayan Viagra' in the market. It is said to treat male impotence and erectile dysfunction.

Check out the 7 health benefits of Cordyceps.

WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO HARVEST CORDYCEPS?

Prior to 2004, harvesting cordyceps was considered illegal in Bhutan. Only in 2004, harvesting of cordyceps was legalized by the Royal Government of Bhutan under the Royal Decree. Since then, cordyceps has been a resource for Bhutanese traditional medicines.

However, not all Bhutanese are allowed to harvest cordyceps. Only highlanders living in Gasa, Bumthang, Thimphu, Paro and Trongsa districts can harvest the Himalayan cordyceps. According to the guidelines from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Department of Forest and Park Services, only nomads and semi-nomads are granted permission to harvest cordyceps. And they are only allowed to do harvesting once a year. The cordyceps harvesting season in Bhutan is from the second week of May to the third week of June.

Eligible households are required to apply for a collection permit. The collection permits are issued by the respective local leaders (gups) upon verification by the forest officers.

Only highlanders who have their household number (thram) registered in the Gewog Administrator will be approved to harvest cordyceps. Even then, not all the household members are allowed to do the harvesting. There is a restriction of a maximum of three members per household that can harvest cordyceps. Civil servants and children below 12 years old are prohibited from harvesting.

To avoid conflict of interests, the nomads are also allocated specific boundaries for their harvesting.


SOURCE OF LIVELIHOOD
Since the legalization of harvesting cordyceps, many nomads have seen improved lifestyles. Before the legalization of cordyceps harvesting, the main source of income for the highlanders was from dairy products. With the sustained income through the sale of cordyceps, many nomads have invested in building proper housing in the lowlands and send their children to pursue higher education. Some also run their own businesses in their locality.

THE EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON THE NOMADS


 Aum Dorji Bidha showing the cordyceps she has harvested  


The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted many highlanders and those involved in the cordyceps trading business. "We have not made any money because the dealers could not export the product", said Aum Dorji Bidha, a semi-nomad hailing from Soe Gewog near Mt. Jomolhari. With teary eyes, Aum Dorji shared her fears that the cordyceps accumulated in her home might dry up. The lesser the weight of the cordyceps, the lesser money they can earn. The pandemic has definitely come as a huge blow for these highlanders who depend on the sale of cordyceps as their source of income.


CORDYCEP PRODUCTS
Apart from the raw cordyceps, there are also various cordyceps products made in Bhutan in the form of tablets and herbal tea. If you wish to purchase some of these cordyceps products, you can visit Bhutan Natural online store. There are also other made in Bhutan products sold online. 



Related Posts

7 Benefits of Cordyceps

Cordyceps have been widely used in traditional chinese medicine (TCM) and some branches of herbalism for centuries....

Sep 01, 2020 16:24

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans...

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022,...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from...

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Bhutan Prime Minister urges children aged 5 to 11 to get their...

Bhutan's nationwide vaccination drive for children will be held from 6th to 12th March 2022.

Mar 07, 2022 14:18

Bhutan will be rolling out nationwide vaccination drive for...

Earlier today, Bhutan has received the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccines for children aged 5 to 11.

Mar 02, 2022 14:01

His Majesty the King continues to encourage the Bhutanese amidst...

His Majesty the King spent his 42nd birthday touring the region that's most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb 22, 2022 10:36

Latest

News

Bhutan to host the world’s toughest race

The race will cover a distance of 222 kilometres through difficult terrain, majestic mountains, and lofty glaciers.

Aug 29, 2022 22:08

New Riverside Market opens in Thimphu

As the old centenary farmers market undergoes its much-awaited renovations, the vendors of the first floor have now set up shop at the new...

Aug 15, 2022 18:04

Features

Cordyceps Sinensis, the super mushrooms of Bhutan

Cordyceps Sinensis has many health benefits, which includes being an aphrodisiac.

Sep 25, 2022 16:50

The King of Bhutan regularly visits his people

The royals of Bhutan have an honourable legacy. Visiting their people is part of it.

Sep 25, 2022 16:35

Business

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41

Sports

More Bhutanese youths are engaged in football

Sitting at the 186th position in the FIFA rankings, Bhutan looks to improve its rankings in the years to come.

Aug 03, 2022 20:19

BOB Bhutan Premier League is coming back soon with a bang

There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation growing in the valleys of Bhutan as football fans in the country await what appears to...

Jul 24, 2022 14:47

Travel

What you need to know about birdwatching in Bhutan

The best seasons and locations for birdwatching in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Sep 25, 2022 16:57

Bhutan revises its tourism policy to redefine High Value Low Volume tourism

Visitors to Bhutan will now have to pay more than triple the previous Sustainable Development Fees (SDF).

Jul 20, 2022 21:44

Lifestyle

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!