The height of humanity

China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-06 09:41
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Doctors making a visit to the families of caterpillar fungus pickers to monitor their health at a camp in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Northwest China's Qinghai province. [Photo by Chen Hao/For China Daily]

At 4,700 meters above sea level, close to the Base Camp of Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest in the West, hordes of villagers in Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai province, search for and dig caterpillar fungus, or, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, a popular traditional medicine.

Foraging takes place in May and June every year and a tented mobile clinic provides pickers with medical care.

As an essential source of income for villagers, many of whom also work as herdsmen, the fungus that grows on caterpillars is highly valued in traditional medicine. Pickers have to brave a harsh environment and may face a variety of health issues during harvesting season.

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