Nepal court to rule on ‘Himalayan Viagra’ murders

A court in Nepal was Wednesday due to give its verdict in the case of 36 villagers charged with a series of gruesome murders in a battle over a highly prized plant dubbed the “Himalayan Viagra“.

The defendants make up nearly all the male population of the tiny village of Nar, 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) high in the Himalayas, where the bodies of seven men who disappeared after going to hunt for the plant were found in 2009.

The 36 all deny murder and say the victims, who were from outside the village, died accidentally when a fight broke out over the right to hunt for the rare parasitic plant, Yarchagumba.

The yellowy-brown fungus, which grows on the larva of a species of moth, is found in only a few parts of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau above 3,500 metres.

Known for its aphrodisiac qualities, Yarchagumba attracts a high price on the international market and is in particular demand in China, where a kilogram can fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

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