Western treatments for erectile dysfunction come with many side effects that can be serious or even fatal. Many people have turned to a treatment that is supposed to be safer. Himalayan Viagra, as it is commonly known, is derived from an extremely unique fungus that grows in the Himalayas. Is this fungus a truly safe and effective method of treating sexual health problems?

What is it?

Himalayan Viagra is a natural fungus that has been used for centuries, either on its own or mixed with other herbs, for a variety of health benefits. Although in the Himalayan region it is consumed by children and adults of all ages, it is being marketed in the Western world as a natural remedy for impotence, erectile dysfunction, and low libido in both men and women. Himalayan Viagra can be consumed in two different ways. A person can take a supplement in which Himalayan Viagra is one of the ingredients. A person can also chew on one stalk of Himalayan Viagra. In traditional medicine, it was common to chew on one stalk and wash it down with a cup of milk. The fungus is said to be an aphrodisiac that improves sexual performance in both genders. It is viewed as a natural remedy that can take the place of the drug Viagra.

Where does it come from?

Himalayan Viagra comes from a fungus called yarsagumba. The ghost moth is a moth species native to the Himalayas. During the larval phase of its life cycle, ghost moths resemble fat caterpillars that live underground. These larvae feed on dying plants and fungi that are under the surface of the soil. If a ghost moth stumbles upon yarsagumba fungi, it could very well become the larva’s last meal. When larvae come in contact with this unique fungus, the fungus becomes a parasite on the larvae’s body. Eventually, the larva becomes encapsulated in a hard biofilm formed by the fungus. During the process, the larva dies, and an offshoot of the fungus begins to grow up through the head of the larva. The larva’s carcass becomes the root of the fungus, and a short shoot of the fungus sticks up above the surface of the ground. This fungus only grows in cold precipitous climates, so, although there are ghost moths in other parts of the world, the Himalayan region is the only climate conducive to yarsagumba growth.

What are the advantages?

Yarsagumba has played a key role in herbal medicine in the Himalayan region. In fact, it is highly regarded in all of Asia. A Chinese Olympic team was even disqualified from competition for using this supplement.  It is viewed as an aphrodisiac that can increase sexual desire and ability in both men and women, but that is quite likely the least important treatment this fungus purportedly offers. It is also known to be used to treat respiratory issues, such as asthma, which are very common in the oxygen-deprived Himalayan region. The fungus has also been known to cure high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Yarsagumba is also used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory medicine. According to traditional herbal medicine, yarsagumba can make a person faster and stronger, which may explain why a Chinese Olympic team consumed it.

Many consumers of yarsagumba in the Western world see its biggest advantage of being a natural remedy to replace Viagra. Viagra is a nitrate, so people who already have heart problems are not able to take it. The most serious side effects of Viagra are heart attack, stroke, and even death. Although these side effects are most common in men who already have contraindications, Himalayan Viagra can be viewed as a less potent, less risky way of treating the same problems. Since many of the modern medicines used to treat impotence and low libido in women are relatively new, some women feel more comfortable taking Himalayan Viagra because it is a natural substance that has been consumed for hundreds of years.

What are the disadvantages?

Lack of regulation and lack of substantial scientific evidence are the biggest disadvantages to using Himalayan Viagra as a treatment for sexual dysfunction. The Chinese government has recognized that there is a lot of counterfeit Himalayan Viagra on the market, and it has started efforts to make sure that the Himalayan Viagra sold in Chinese pharmacies is better regulated. Himalayan Viagra is a brownish yellow fungus that looks like a worm. There is no credible source that knows what counterfeit Himalayan Viagra is actually made of. Some yarsagumba containing supplements have been removed from shelves for containing four times the legal limit of arsenic.

There has been one scientific study on the efficacy of yarsagumba. The study proved beyond a doubt that yarsagumba does have a variety of great health benefits. It helps the heart, blood, liver, kidneys, and endocrine system, but the study did not conclusively prove that yarsagumba provides any benefit to sexual health. It is quite likely that this fungus makes people more healthy overall, which can improve sexual performance if there are no underlying issues to blame, and this causes people to think it improves sexual health.

Before taking yarsagumba, discuss the decision with your doctor to ensure that the fungus will not have any negative interactions with any of the medicines you are already taking. Taking Himalayan Viagra and regular Viagra at the same time is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted.