Shilajit – All you need to know about this elixir
- What is Shilajit?
- Nutritional information about Shilajit
- How is Shilajit obtained?
- Types of Shilajit
- Benefits of Shilajit
- Shilajit for diabetes
- Shilajit for COVID-19
- Shilajit for immuntiy
- Shilajit for ageing
- Shilajit for sexual problems
- Shilajit for anxiety and sleep problems
- Shilajit for bone and joint problems
- Shilajit for women
- Can Shilajit be given to kids?
- Shilajit in old age
- How to consume Shilajit?
- Shilajit dosage
- Ayurvedic diet while taking Shilajit
- Shilajit Side effects
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a natural mineral-rich substance that is obtained from the rock exudate of the Himalayan ranges. Known as an "elixir", Shilajit is touted for its anti-ageing, rejuvenating and antioxidant properties. Shilajit is known as a panacea in ancient texts and folklore medicine due to its property to cure various health conditions.
Nutritional information about Shilajit
The nutritional qualities of Shilajit vary from the mountain it is sourced from. The composition also varies with the change in geography.
Shilajit contains both humic and non humic components as described below:
- Fulvic acid
- Humic acid
- Humidity – 14-20%
- Minerals – 18-20%
- Proteins – 13-17%
- Lipids – 4 -4.5%
- Natural steroids – 18-20%
- Nitrogen free compounds – 18-20%
- Carbohydrates – 1.5-2%
- Alkaloids – 0.05-0.08%
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
Synonyms of shilajit
Shilajit, in Sanskrit, means rock exudate. Other synonyms like Ardrija and Girija also implies that shilajit is obtained from the rocks or mountains.
- Sanskrit – Dhaturasa / Dhatusara (which means a substance that nourishes all the tissues in the body)
- Latin - Asphaltum punjabinum
- English – Mineral pitch/asphalt
Also known as Mumijo, mummio or mumyo (which means that one that saves or a substance obtained from the mountain)
In India, organic Shilajit is found in the Himalayan ranges, from Arunachal Pradesh to Kashmir. Shilajit is also commonly found in Tibetan ranges, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. Most of the Shilajit found in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia are imported from Yemen or India.
The quality of Shilajit also varies based upon the area it is sourced. The quality is also predisposed by other factors like water, plants growing in the adjacent areas, rock, soil, temperature, humidity etc. It is said that the shilajit found in the Kumaon hills in Uttarakhand is superior, containing 24% fulvic acid than the ones found in Nepal, Pakistan and Russia, which is 14-19%.
How is Shilajit obtained?
Shilajit is basically the molten rock extracts that flow from the heat due to summer heat.
It is said that during the months of Ashada(summer), the mountain ranges of the Himalayas get heated and emits a gummy resin-like substance that possesses a lot of medicinal qualities. This gum is purified and used in treatment.
Purification of Shilajit
The Shilajit that is collected from the rocks becomes solidified. This solid Shilajit is powdered and soaked in about 2-4 times the quantity of hot water. The next day it is filtered to separate solid waste particles. Then more water is added and heated up to its boiling point. The solution, when cools down, leaves a foamy layer on top of the vessel. This foamy layer is collected. The process of boiling and collecting the foamy shilajit is repeated until the foam stops forming.
The obtained foam solidifies itself and becomes a bolus. This method of procuring the Shilajit is called "Agnitapi Shilajit" as Agni, or the fire, is used in the purification process of Shilajit. Hence, 100% pure Shilajit is obtained.
Types of Shilajit
Shilajit is basically of two types :
Karpoora Shilajit is asphalt mixed with potassium nitrate, having a mild smell of camphor. This type is shilajit is not easily available.
Gomutra Shilajit is mineral pitch and has the smell of cow urine. This is a superior variety and is abundantly found.
Based on the type of ore found in the mountains, Shilajit is classified into 4 types :
- Swarnagarbha shilajit: Sourced from the mountains where gold ore is found.
- Rajatabarbha shilajit: Sourced from the mountains where silver ore is found.
- Tamragarbha shilajit - Sourced from mountains where copper ore is found
- Lohagarbha shilajit - Sourced from mountains where iron ore is found.
The Ayurvedic texts also mention some more types, where Shilajit is sourced from mountains containing lead and tin ores.
Benefits of Shilajit
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, shilajit is administered directly or included in various Ayurvedic formulations.
1. Shilajit for Diabetes
Various studies of Shilajit have proved to reduce hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes. 250 –500 mg of Shilajit is taken with a decoction of Triphala to regulate blood sugar levels. Regular intake of Shilajit is known to improve the symptoms of diabetes like excessive thirst (polydipsia) and excessive urination (polyurea).
2. Shilajit for Covid-19
We have seen how during and after recovering from the Corona Virus infection leaves a lasting impression on our respiratory system. Intake of Shilajit for post covid cough or breathlessness helps rejuvenate the lung and other organs of respiration. It also enables you to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome.
3. Shilajit for Immunity
Shilajit rejuvenates all the seven tissue of the body (plasma, blood, muscles, fat tissue, bones, bone marrow and sperm). When all the seven tissues are well-nourished in the body, the essence of these issues, called the Ojas, also gets nourished, giving immunity. Hence Shilajit is known to be best immunity booster supplements. In Ayurvedic practice, 250 mg of Shilajit is taken with honey or juice of jujube fruit or warm milk to cure allergic cough resulting from compromised immunity.
4. Shilajit for ageing
Shilajit is an excellent rejuvenator that reduces the effect of free radicals in the body. As a result, Shilajit reduces the signs of ageing such as wrinkles, greying of hair and flabby skin. According to Ayurveda, as we age, Vata dosha increases, causing dryness in the skin, bones and joints. Shilajit nourishes all the tissues and reduces the effect of Vata dosha.
5. Shilajit for sexual problems
The fulvic acid in Shilajit improves strength and stamina in men. It is also observed that Shilajit benefits for men include enhancing blood circulation to the reproductive organs and increasing testosterone levels in men, thus improving stamina, vigour and fertility.
6. Shilajit for Anxiety, Sleep problems
Shilajit has a soothing effect on the brain cells. Being an adaptogenic drug, Shilajit can alleviate anxiety, mood swings and even Alzheimer's disease. Shilajit is known to promote memory and give a sound and relaxing sleep in stressed individuals.
7. Shilajit for Bone and joint problems
Shilajit is known to cure bone fractures and joint disorders. In folklore medicine, Shilajit is made into a paste with egg yolk and applied a plaster around the affected area in case of fracture. Shilajit is mixed with rose water or sesame oil to strengthen the bones and joints.
130 gm of shilajit is fried in ghee and given daily till the fracture heals.
8. Shilajit for women
It is a myth saying that Shilajit should be taken only by men. Shilajit has a positive effect on women health as well. Females who are in their menopause stage can take Shilajit to improve their Bone Mass Density.
Shilajit is given in the treatment of infertility in women.
Can shilajit be given to kids?
Though it is not contraindicated in the Ayurvedic texts, Shilajit is generally not given to kids. There are other herbal formulations like Chyavanaprash or Suvarnaprash that can improve growth and immunity in kids. Hence, that can be followed.
Shilajit in old age
For gastric disorders, 130 mg of Shilajit is mixed with a decoction of Ajwain or cumin seeds and given until the symptoms subside in elders.
Shilajit taken with milk promotes good sleep, keeps bones and joints healthy and reduces the effects of ageing.
How to consume Shilajit?
A pea-sized amount of this semi-solid gooey resin is taken with warm water or milk, or buttermilk. It is advised to be taken on an empty stomach in the morning or night before going to bed.
250 mg – 500 mg of Shilajit is advised to be taken once or twice a day. It can be taken with warm water, buttermilk or warm milk. Some people also take Shilajit with a decoction of Triphala to control diabetes or weight loss.
For how long can I take Shilajit?
Shilajit will start showing its effect on your body within a week. Taking Shilajit for 2-8 weeks itself has a remarkable impact on your body.
Shilajit can be taken up to 3 months regularly. It is advised to give 1 month before continuing it further.
Ayurvedic diet while taking Shilajit
Shilajit is considered a mineral with hot potency. It is known to increase overall body metabolism. However, the heating effects of shilajit will be nullified with a nutritious and wholesome diet. Follow this diet when you take Shilajit:
- Include colourful seasonal fruits and vegetables that are rich in water content in your diet
- Drink 3-4 L of water daily
- Drink buttermilk with lunch
- Take milk once a day.
- Include meat soup and vegetable soup in your diet.
Shilajit side effects are observed due to
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Exposure to excessive heat (like in community kitchens/ some chemical industries)
- Intake of excessively spicy and sour food like pickles,chillies etc.
- Intake of heavy to digest grams like urad dal and horse gram while taking Shilajit.
Caution while taking Shilajit
- Shilajit can increase testosterone levels in the body. So, women with hormonal imbalances should avoid taking this drug.
- Shilajit can increase uric acid levels in the blood. Hence, it is to be avoided for a person suffering from gout.
- Shilajit can increase iron levels in the blood, so people with hematochromosis or elevated iron levels should avoid taking it.
- Pregnant and lactating women are to refrain from taking Shilajit.
- Intake of Shilajit before the purification process can cause infections in the body.
Intake of 100% pure shilajit has innumerable health benefits to the body.