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Six men get life terms for murders to acquire 'Himalayan viagra'

A court in Nepal has found six men guilty of murdering seven rivals in a fight over a rare caterpillar fungus highly prized as an aphrodisiac

The men from the northern district of Manang were all given life sentences, the BBC reports.

Thirteen other villagers got two years in jail for their part in the murders. Another 21 defendants were acquitted.

Foraging for the fungus is a major source of income for poor Himalayan communities. A kilo can fetch tens of thousands of dollars in China.

The so-called "Himalayan viagra" case had made headlines in Nepal.

Men from the village of Nar high up in mountains close to the Tibetan border were charged with brutally taking the law into their own hands.

The court heard how in June 2009 the Nar villagers formed a posse and murdered seven outsiders from low-lying Gorkha district who had come to harvest "yarsagumba".

Yarsagumba is the term used in Nepal to describe the mummified body of the Himalayan bat moth caterpillar that has been invaded by the fungus Cordyceps sinensis.

It is considered a medicinal mushroom in Oriental medicines and is famous throughout the Himalayas. Many poor villagers see it as a vital source of income.

Only two of the Gorkha farmers'' bodies were found, thrown down a deep ravine.

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