This is a beautifully shot film made in Dolpa Province, Nepal about the Nepalese Cordyceps industry, and the people’s reliance on this important medicinal herb in fighting poverty and gaining a livelihood. Here is a film with some of the most stunning natural scenery ever shot, and the story about how reliant the people are on outside buyers who purchase the Cordyceps from the collectors directly in the field to move it into the major markets of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, there to be re-exported around the world.
The Nepal Cordyceps industry revolves almost entirely around Dolpa Province on the southern face of the Himalayas, which is far different country from the more usual collecting fields of Tibet. The hardships that are endured in collecting this rare and precious herbal medicine take many lives each year, but this is the only resource providing the people of Dolpa the majority of their income today. Cordyceps pays for all the houses, the schools and the other infrastructure allowing the people of Dolpa access into the 21st century and all the promise such modernization holds. Yarshagumba is the Nepalese name for Cordyceps sinensis, and indeed life in Dolpa Province does revolve around the collection of Cordyceps – hence the name of this film, Life in Yarshagumba.