By Dr. Malvika Chawla
Origin and Traditional Uses of Shilajit
The formation of Shilajit is a fascinating natural process. As the summer months warm up the Himalayan rocks, this mineral pitch slowly oozes out, gathering medicinal properties from the surrounding environment. It is believed to carry the healing power and essence of the mountains, making it a potent substance in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, Shilajit is considered a Rasayana, which means it promotes longevity, vitality, and overall well-being. It is traditionally used to restore the energetic balance in the body, strengthen the immune system, and prevent diseases. Shilajit has been employed for a wide range of conditions, including cognitive disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, ulcer prevention, antioxidant support, diabetes management, anxiety reduction, allergy relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and pain management. Its versatility and extensive use have earned Shilajit a reputation as a wonder medicine.
Remarkable Properties of Shilajit
The effectiveness of Shilajit can be attributed to its diverse range of bio-active components. It typically comprises 60-80% organic matter, 20-40% mineral matter, and trace elements. Shilajit contains fatty acids, benzoic acid, hippuric acid, resin and waxy materials, albuminoids, gums, and vegetable matter. However, the curative and therapeutic properties of Shilajit primarily stem from the presence of fulvic acid—a key component that contributes to its wide range of benefits.
Fulvic acid, found abundantly in Shilajit, plays a crucial role in treating various conditions. It helps improve cognitive function and memory, acts as an antioxidant, supports the immune system, exhibits anti-ulcerogenic and anti-inflammatory properties, provides analgesic effects, and shows potential as a neuroprotective agent against cognitive disorders. Shilajit’s elemental composition also includes minerals such as silica, iron, calcium, copper, zinc, and selenium, which further contribute to its therapeutic value.
Forms and Formulations of Shilajit
Shilajit is available in various forms and formulations to suit different preferences and treatment needs. Some common forms include:
- Capsules: These contain purified extracts of Shilajit, typically in 500 mg doses, providing a convenient and standardized way of consumption.
- Tablets: Shilajit is combined with other Ayurvedic ingredients, such as guggulu, chitrak, musta, and nishoth, to create formulations like Chandraprabha tablets, which offer a comprehensive approach to health.
- Pills: Equal quantities of Shilajit and guggul are combined to create pills that can be taken as a daily supplement to support overall well-being.
- Special Preparations: Rativallabh pak, a highly nutritious preparation, includes Shilajit along with ingredients like Kikar (Acacia nilotica) and gum arabica. It is known for its rejuvenating properties.
- Aphrodisiac and Tonic Formulations: Shilajit plays a significant role in formulations designed to enhance sexual vitality and act as a general tonic for overall health.
- Chyavanprash: Shilajit is a key ingredient in this Ayurvedic jelly-like formulation known for its immune-boosting and rejuvenating properties.
Contraindications and Safety Considerations
While Shilajit offers numerous benefits, it is essential to exercise caution and consider certain contraindications. Shilajit should not be consumed with a heavy diet, except when taken with milk, as recommended by Caraka. Kulattha or horse gram is considered a heavy dietary item and may need to be avoided during Shilajit consumption. Some physicians also advise against consuming kulattha for the duration of Shilajit’s presence in the body or even for the rest of one’s life.
Additionally, individuals using Shilajit should avoid the meat of kapota (pigeon) and käkamäci (Solanum nigrum, black nightshade), as mentioned in ancient texts. People with high uric acid count, febrile diseases, gouty arthritis, or uric acid-based kidney stones should use Shilajit with caution or avoid it altogether. As always, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating Shilajit into your routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.
In conclusion, Shilajit stands as a testament to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and the extraordinary healing potential found in nature. With its origins in the Himalayas, Shilajit has been utilized for centuries to restore balance, prevent diseases, and promote overall well-being. Whether consumed in capsule form, as part of traditional formulations, or in Ayurvedic preparations, Shilajit continues to unlock its power as a remarkable natural remedy. Embrace the wonders of Shilajit and embark on a journey to enhance your vitality and health.
Jambi, E. J., & Alshubaily, F. A. (2022). Shilajit potentiates the effect of chemotherapeutic drugs and mitigates metastasis induced liver and kidney damages in osteosarcoma rats. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 29(9), 103393.