This may be the first time you’ve heard about this intriguing substance, but in the region from where it originates, Shilajit is a well-known and revered remedy for various ailments.
Used mainly in Aruvyedic medicine, Shilajit (also called mumijo) is the product of microorganisms slowly breaking down individual plants. What remains is a dark, tar-like substance that has been hailed as a wonderful, natural additive for anyone who is turning toward plant-based remedies.
Shilajit is a fantastic mineral substance that is called the blood of the mountains by indigenous peoples. It has been used for more than two centuries to accomplish two main tasks of Aruvyedic medicine: To make one stronger and promote general health.
Here are some more reasons you should consider adopting Shilajit, also called mineral pitch, and details about what it may help your body achieve.
A Brief History of Shilajit
Shilajit’s first mention is in the sixth century BCE in an ancient Sanskrit text on surgery and medicine. This text, the Sushruta Samhita, notes this gelatinous substance would exude from the mountains’ rocky side when the weather was the warmest.
Although unrecorded, the story of how Shilajit came to our attention is fascinating. The indigenous people of the mountainous regions of Tibet and India saw chimps eating the Shilajit and believed they were the longest-lived and most intelligent apes.
The inception of Shilajit began millions of years ago when these regions were blanketed with lush forests. As the climate changed, the woods died out, and, as the tectonic plates collided and shifted, the mountains compressed the decomposing plant material.
Over 6,500 species of plants and trees have spent millions of years being crushed into this black pitch, known as rock sweat.
This dark gelatinous matter is one of the most nutrient-dense substances on the planet. With amino acids, fulvic acids, humic acids, and much more, Shilajit has been an integral component of wellness routines for thousands of years.
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit isn’t an herb, per se; it’s more like an amalgam of many herbs crushed into a compact substance, sometimes called an herbomineral. It is then processed and purified so it can be useful to humans.
In traditional Ayurvedic or Siddha systems of medicine, Shilajit is believed to be an adaptogen, an anti-stress remedy, and a general tonic. The name Shilajit translates from Sanskrit with shila meaning rock and jit meaning win.
Although there aren’t many Western scientific studies on Shilajit, it is used in 20 Sastric formulas, which are rules and precepts of Ayurvedic teachings.
With microbial action and the tremendous pressure of the shifting Himalayan mountains, this humus becomes a dense mineral-like substance, which is what Aruvyedic practitioners use when they are trying to balance out the doshas or energies.
It takes years to create Shilajit in its most useful form. As organic material like plants decomposes, it becomes humus, which is a nutrient-dense soil-like material. During the summertime, the rocks in the Indian mountains warm, and the dark, resinous substance oozes from the high-mountain, Himalayan crevasses.
The exact percentage of Shilajit’s makeup varies according to where it comes from and what type of plants were growing in the area. In a general sense, Shilajit is mostly made up of 60% to 80% organic matter, 20% to 40% minerals, and usually 5% trace elements.
The organic matter is composed of humus, humin, humic acid, and fulvic acid. It also has other ingredients such as resin, sodium, zinc, selenium, amino acids, and aromatic carboxylic acid. Fulvic acid is the ingredient that makes Shilajit such a compelling substance.
In Ayurvedic medicine, practitioners call Shilajit the “destroyer of weaknesses,” and for good reason. For hundreds of years, it is believed to be a balancer of all the Aruvyedic doshas and is a warming, nourishing, and strengthening component to any wellness routine.
Types of Shilajit
There are four main types of Shilajit, according to color. A blue Shilajit is referred to as copper or tamra; silver Shilajit is also known as rajat; sauvarna or gold Shilajit is reddish; finally, iron or lauha is blackish-brown and often used in healing rituals.
How was Shilajit Used in Ancient Medicine?
Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced in India for thousands of years, concentrating on maintaining a balance between your mind, body, and spirit. Shilajit is believed to maintain a healthy blood composition, help solidify and strengthen bones, and boost fertility issues.
Practitioners often put the Shilajit through a series of purification rituals that involve specific tinctures, boiling, and soaking the Shilajit before it becomes useful for human consumption. Once purified, it can be mixed into water or consumed. Modern Shilajit users often procure a powder and mix that into the water.
The Ayurvedic medicine system has been around for thousands of years, and its central tenets have to do with balancing your body’s dosha or energies. There are three main types of dosha –kapha, pitta, and vata. Knowing which doshas you’re dealing with may help you maintain balance.
- Kapha –Influenced mostly by water and earth, kaphas are strong, methodical people who enjoy life consistently and tend to have a medium body frame.
- Pitta – Strongly muscled and a tendency to irritability, pitta types are ruled by fire and are intense and competent.
- Vata – Lanky and thin, these body types have cold and dry physiques and prefer warm, humid weather. They have fluctuating moods and enjoy routine.
Along with balancing out your doshas, women may find many benefits to adopting Shilajit into their daily wellness routine. In conjunction with supplements, Shilajit may provide benefits for women as they age.
1. Shilajit May Improve Bone Density
When women approach menopause, their bones begin to lose density. This occurs mainly due to a decrease in estrogen that reduces calcium absorption and promotes bone resorption. The bones’ calcium is broken down and released into the bloodstream, weakening the bones.
Shilajit has a fair amount of calcium in it on its own, but it also helps your body get calcium from other sources as well. Its makeup includes fulvic and humic acid, as well as 84 different minerals. Fulvic acid, in particular, helps your body more fully absorb the vitamins or minerals it needs.
In this way, Shilajit is a boon to anyone who is looking to maintain strong bones, because along with the calcium that occurs in this herbomineral, it may help you retain elements like potassium and Vitamins D and K. Used in conjunction with a steady exercise regimen and plenty of vegetables, Shilajit may be a great addition to post-menopausal women’s health routines.
2. Shilajit is a Good Source of Iron
Many people suffer from a severe yet treatable condition called anemia. Anemia is when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells flowing in your bloodstream, and the most common cause is iron deficiency. This is dangerous because, without the requisite blood cells, it is difficult to transport oxygen around the body.
Women are especially susceptible to becoming anemic during menstruation and pregnancy.
Symptoms of anemia include shortness of breath, cold extremities, headaches, and fatigue. Since before the common era, Ayurveda medicine practitioners have used Shilajit to counteract some of these symptoms. The ample amounts of fulvic acid in Shilajit help your body retain what it needs, including elements that counteract anemia, like iron.
Shilajit is an excellent iron source, which may complement efforts to take in and retain more iron in your regular diet. Another great benefit of Shilajit over the ages is its use in helping folks with high-altitude sicknesses like hypoxia, edema, migraines, and intense fatigue.
3. Shilajit May Boost Endocrine Function
Shilajit has been synonymous with men’s fertility for a long while, mainly due to how it works with the endocrine system. Since the endocrine system maintains stasis through tons of different hormones, it is an integral system to maintain stasis in your body, or, as the Ayurvedic thought, balance the doshas.
Although Shilajit’s interaction with the endocrine system made it popular for those interested in increasing men’s fertility, it may work similarly for women.
As women age, their menstrual cycles become more irregular, and fertility decreases dramatically. Shilajit may help balance out this abatement with its blood-enriching capabilities and with fulvic acid, which helps your body’s cells absorb nutrients and minerals more readily. By helping oxygen get to the requisite organs, Shilajit may ease some of the more drastic changes that come with age.
The Final Word
Shilajit is a fascinating substance that is a part mineral and herbal. Made from thousands of years of pressure and decomposition, this dark goo oozes out of the ancient rock as the sun’s rays warm it up.
A key to finding high-quality Shilajit is to ensure that the vendor you choose uses outside tests to ensure you’re getting exactly what you were expecting.
If you’re a woman who’s looking for a natural, time-tested way to augment your wellness routine with a plant- (and mineral-) based supplement, you should look to the Breaker of Weakness, otherwise known as Shilajit.