Uttarakhand Stories

Keeda Jadi: Boon or Bane?

by Hansa Rawat
Sep 29, 2015

In the global market, Keeda Jadi worth Rs 18 lakh per kilogram. It is illegal in India to trade it. Unnatural practices to produce it are affecting the Himalayan region.

What is Keeda Jadi?

Himalaya is the place of medical plants which cannot be found anywhere else. Their rarity and remarkable healing power makes them expensive in the global market. One such rich biological resource is Cordyceps Sinensis  which is locally known as Keeda Jadi. It can cure a variety of ailments from such as fatigue and cancer and to cure impotency. It is also known as Caterpillar fungus (English) and Yartsa Gungu (Tibetan).

Photo Scource : Sunita Dhyani

Photo Scource : Sunita Dhyani

Keeda Jadi is basically a fungus which grows as a parasite on the larvae of a particular kind of caterpillar. The fungus evolves in the living larva, which kills and mummifies the larva and then develops as a stalk-like fruiting figure. Caterpillars take 5 years to grow underground in Alpine grass and shrub lands before finally pupating (from larva) and are attacked by the fungus while feeding on roots. It finally takes the shape of 5-15 centimeter columnar mushroom out of the forehead of the caterpillar. It is mostly found in Darchula in Mahakali zone in the Nepal and India. As per Indian government rules, locals are allowed to gather Keeda Jadi, but not to trade it outside India.

Market Value of Keeda Jadi:

Ophiocordyceps sinensis market price

Photo source: wikipedia

In the global market, Keeda Jadi is worth Rs 18 lakh for a kilogram which is around 3500 and 4500 pieces of fungus. But in reality, the locals get only Rs 1 or 2 lakh for collecting and selling them. In India, every year families in some regions of rural Kumaon along with their children plod up in hills of Himalayas at the altitude of 3500 to 5000 meters to collect the Keeda Jadi. In India, it is found in Chamoli, Uttarakhand and hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh.

Impact on Himalayas:

Photo source: rufford.org

Locals trekking to the Himalayas for collecting Keeda Jadi. Photo source: rufford.org

Their high value also leads to the conflict among villages and illegal trade as in India it is not legalized. This rare fungus is only found when summer sets in and snow (glacier) melts at higher altitudes of Kumaon region and exposes mummified caterpillars. People have started using uneven means to collect Keeda Jadi. Sometimes, forests are put on fire to melt the snow. Such unnatural practices are causing damage to the environment and precious species also. The government should take necessary steps to preserve these endangered caterpillar fungi. There are some incidents where police of Uttarakhand arrested the people carrying Herbal Viagra for trade purposes.

An endangered species:

Ophiocordyceps+sinensis

Photo source: aliexpress

It has great demand in China where it is used for medical purposes since the 14th century. It is only found in the Himalayas and the areas of Tibetan Plateau. Bhutan government legalized its sale in 2001 and collects its revenue share from it. Because of overharvesting and over exploitation, it is one of the endangered species in China. It is in demand for its energy booster and aphrodisiac qualities. In the 1990s, some Chinese athletes gave credit of their success to Keeda Jadi which increased its demand in the Chinese market.

We all agree that we share the treasure nature has given us for medical purposes, but that does not justify the use of uneven means for any selfish motives. Situations like this also highlight the rural life of people of Uttarakhand who take up uneven means for their sustenance.

Hansa Rawat

Hansa Rawat

Journalism graduate, Student of Indian Modern History, Avid Reader, Inquisitive, Willingness to learn

Leave a Reply

18 Responses


Aman kumar Says

What is price of kida jadi in dehradun

Ashok Kumar Yadav Says

grow of keeda jadi in lab is Legally by govt and any type of licence required

Srikanth Says

Nice article need to add more points how it affecting the social life of people and over extraction which gonna turn this extinct in India too.even u can add plight faced by people during the collection of yasar gambu at high altitudes

Devarajulu Reddy Says

Now it is available in any place in India for buying ,I want to this

PARNEET SINGH Says

WENT TO DHARMSALA FOR A HOLIDAY, there i came to know about this thing and its benefits in almost everything. the owner of my hotel was holding it in his hand and told me about it. when he told me its cost it shocked me, yesterday while i was checking out from the hotel, he gifted me some pieces of it am still a little confused should i use it or not but will surely let you know that everything we heard about it is true or not.
he told me to take it with leukworm milk and chew it properly.

Shakti Singh Says

Please provide cultivation of Keeda Jadi mushroom

Mayank Says

How it can be grown in laboratory’s, can u explain me.

Yogesh Kumar Rawat Says

Hansh good day.As per Indian government rules, locals are allowed to gather Keeda Jadi, but not to trade it outside India.I think it is not good.Indian givt. found petrol or minral and sell it any where but people is not.We are goes to other freedom fights in this century becous contry n his welth is for all people not for only leders or bussiness man.
Yogesh Rawat.Raisen

suraj Says

Where can we perchase the keeda jadi medician from.

Kailash Pandey Says

Informative Article.. good work.

Alok Maurya Says

Nice and informative article, is it harvested in J&K also?

Hemant Says

If this is So much costly then obviously it must have some thing special. and i think govt should strictly put ban on trade of keeda jadi and put the forces in all those places where this is available and do research on it and if there will be no problem then only export to other countries only through govt. same local people should help govt to get it but on regular salary with other securities.

Hansa Rawat Says

A good investment can encourage locals to use more of uneven means to collect Keeda Jadi. In such scenario, government should interfere and take actions to preserve nature, and rights of locals at the same time. If government will not set a standard of minimum income or gain for locals in such business deals, otherwise there are extreme chances of locals being exploited by businessmen.

Nitish Negi Says

Not the government will, but the businessmen will.
18 lakh/Kg. If the price per kilogram mentioned is for real, it is going to attract a lot of attention.
Vanilla costs 25000/Kg and still is present as Vanilla Essence (Synthetic vanilla) in the market.

And business minded people prefer investing where there is minimum risk and max profit. Looking at the price per Kg of Keeda Jadi, this is going to be a good investment.
We will just wait for Keeda Jadi to go viral and we will see artificial Keeda Jadi pretty soon.

Hansa Rawat Says

My bad. :p How is it possible in this world that India government would try to do something innovative (synthetic keeda jadi) and that too so soon?

Nitish Negi Says

Was a sarcasm though. LOL :P

Hansa Rawat Says

That is great. It can be used for various medical purposes. Do you have any links for where I can get to know more about it?

Nitish Negi Says

And soon a synthetic Keeda Jadi will be in the market :|