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Shilajit is used in the Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. Shilajit is a rasayana herb and is an adaptogen. [1] Shilajit contains at least 85 minerals in Ionic form as well as humic acid and fulvic acid[2]. Clinical researches have been in progress and the ancient claims of the drug’s several properties, including anti-aging properties.[citation needed] A similar exudate from the Caucasus Mountains is called Mumiyo but is not considered as strong as the Himalayan Shilajit.[3]


The name

Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning "conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness." It is also spelt as Shilajeet, and is known by various other names like Shilajita Mumiyo; Mineral pitch, Mineral wax or Ozokerite in English; Black Asphaltum; and Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin.


Ancient Indian yogis, and practitioners of Aurvedic medicine, on understanding several potent qualities of Shilajit, had attributed divine powers to Shilajit. In essence Shilajit is a natural concentrate of plants of the regions of the Himalayas, and is found in the Himalayan ranges in India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and part of Central Asia and Scandinavia.[citation needed] The flora of the Himalayas is rich and varied, and for thousand of years the plants have come to life, absorbed nutrients from the soil, and then died out. This is a process which has been repeated again and again countless times, and continued for millennia. It is believed that Shilajit found in the Himalayas are the fossilized form of those plants, and the particular biosphere of the Himalayas created them and bestowed medicinal qualities to them.[citation needed] Shilajit, found in the higher altitudes of the Himalayas, are collected during summer months when the ice melts, and Shilajeet lumps are sometimes spotted and collected from the crannies of rocks, and similar places. Shilajit so collected are processed by several drug manufactures and presented in capsule form for human consumption.

Puri (2006) in his book has devoted one chapter to Shilajit. He has given in detail about the study of Shilajit in the last two centuries and the various speculated sources of Shilajit. The Indian workers considered dendroid Euphorbia'' as the source but in Ladakh faeces of mountain mouse were considered the source. In Russian literature, it is said to have formed by compaction of Junipers. Scientific studies reveal that it is a humus like compound. Dr Peter Zahler (1998 and 2002) has commented on the relationship of the occurrence of salajit and the Woolly Flying Squirrel and Dr Carman (unpublished) has reported his observations of mammal pellets (Woolly Flying Squirrel and Afghani Pika) in association with salajit deposits in northern Pakistan. These pellets are the so called "pallets' in photomicrographs described by Faruqi (1997.

Modern discovery

In the modern time, Sir Martin Edward Stanley, a British explorer during his expeditions to the Himalayas, in 1870, observed that monkeys on the gangetic plains became old by the time they were 10 years old, whereas the monkeys on the higher altitudes continued to be highly active and agile even during old age. He noticed that the monkeys at the higher altitudes were eating a rock like melted material oozing out from rock crevices when the ice cover melted during the summer months. The local people called the substance Shilajit, and its healing properties were well-known to them for long.[citation needed]

Further reading

  • Winston, David & Maimes, Steven. “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief,” Healing Arts Press, 2007. Contains a monograph on shilajit and health benefits.


  1. ^ David Winston & Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press, 2007.
  2. ^
  3. ^ David Winston & Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press, 2007.

Puri, H. S. (2006) Ayurvedic Minerals, Gems and Animal Products for Longevity and Rejuvenation. India Book House, Delhi (India)

Carman, G.J., (unpublished, )Salajit: Animal Vegetable or Mineral, Illustrated talk presented to the Asian Study Group, Islamabad, March 2004

Faruqi, S.H. 1997, Nature and Origin of Salajit, Hamdard Medicus, Vol XL, April-June, pages 21-30

Zahler, P and KArin, A, 1998, Origin of the floristic compnents of Salajit, Hamdard Medicus, Vol XLI, No 2, pages 6-8

Zahler, P and Woods C. A., 2002, The status of the Woolly Flying Squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) in Northern Pakistan, in Mufti ,S.A. et al (eds) Biodiversity of Pakistan, pp 495-514

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shilajit". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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