Shilajit is a naturally occurring material that is mostly found in the Himalayas and was created over ages by the slow breakdown of certain plants under the influence of microbes. It is a rejuvenator and antiaging substance that has been utilized for ages in Ayurvedic therapy.
Sanskrit for “Shilajit” is “Shilaras,” and alternative translations include “conqueror of the rocks” and “destroyer of the weaknesses.” Shilajit is also known as silajatu in Bengali, Uerangyum or Perangyum in Tamil, Mummio or Mumie in Russian, Hajar-ul-musa in Arabic, Asphalt, Mineral Pitch, and Jew’s pitch in English, Asphaltum in Latin, and Bitumen mineral in botanical terminology.
Shilajit in Early Ayurveda
According to ancient ayurvedic text Sushruta Samhita, during the summer months of Jeshta and Ashada, the mountains get heated as a result of the sun’s direct rays melting their layers, which produces Shilajatu, a resin-like semisolid liquid. It is naturally found in the Himalaya, the mountains of Tibet, the Altai, and the Caucasus. Shilajit is referred to by a variety of names by the locals in the aforementioned places. Mineral oil, stone oil, mountain blood, and rock sweat are the most prevalent. The warmth of the sun causes Shilajit to seep from the mountain’s fissures, giving it a magical and even holy aspect.
In his work “The Canon of Medical Science,” the renowned physician and philosopher Abu Ali ibn Sina provided one of the earliest descriptions of Shilajit. He referred to Shilajit as an all-healing remedy and noted in his writings that folk healers are using it to treat bone fractures, dislocations, colds, bronchial asthma, ear and hearing loss, bites from poisonous snakes, stomach ulcers, and liver diseases. This encyclopaedia of theoretical and clinical medicine summarizes the experience of Greek, Roman, Indian, and Central Asian doctors. He claims that Shilajit also strengthens the heart, rejuvenates the skin, removes excessive blood thickening, etc. Additionally, there is proof that Alexander the Great got “mountain tears” to treat his wounds during his expedition in India. Shilajit saw a surge in popularity throughout the Middle Ages and was soon recognized as one of the “rasa” of “Ayurveda.”
Shilajit’s Widespread Charaka Samhita Origin
In the Charaka Samhita, it is said, “There is no curable ailment in the universe which is not efficiently healed by silajatu when delivered at the proper time, in conjunction with adequate medications, and by adopting the recommended procedure. When given under comparable circumstances to a healthy individual, it creates a huge amount of energy.
Shilajit should be consumed in a hot infusion with other herbs that reduce vata, including those with the attributes of being heavy, wet, thick, and heated, according to Charaka Samhita. Shilajit combined with iron and consumed with milk is an elixir for long life and contentment. It fosters prosperity, intelligence, and memory while strengthening the body, warding off sickness, and delaying the ageing process.
The Yoga of Herbs describes shilajit’s rasa as being astringent, pungent, and bitter. The dry and chilly characteristics are most prominent in the astringent taste, which also has a pungent vipaka and a cool virya. While vitiating vata dosha, this flavour will calm pitta and kapha doshas. The primary characteristics of the pungent flavour are hot, dry, mobile, and light, with a warm virya and a pungent vipaka. While vitiating pitta and vata, this flavour will calm kapha. The primary characteristics of the bitter taste are lightness, dryness, coolness, and mobility. It has a cool virya and a pungent vipaka. While considerably vitiating vata, this flavour will calm down pitta and kapha. Shilajit has a warm virya and a strong vipaka. Pitta is adversely affected by the heat impact, yet it works wonders with the vata and kapha doshas. Shilajit is described as cooling, bitter, and saline in the Charaka Samhita, one of the first ancient Ayurvedic texts, and pungent in vipaka from the stone that contains iron. Shilajit, as per studies, also smells like cow’s urine.
-Dr. Malvika Chawla