Shilajit, Part I

Posted to Subscribers on 11 June 2013


Dear Subscribers,

Today, I am going to try to get through an entire post without mentioning bees. The main part of this post is devoted to shilajit, but there are a couple of superb video recommendations at the end of the post.

It is nearly impossible to describe shilajit. It's so difficult that one does not know exactly where to start. Let's start with a simple sentence: in Ayurvedic medicine, it is stated that all protocols will be more successful if supported with shilajit. The question is, "What is it?" The answer is that it is a rich source of minerals, but after this, there is no real consensus. Some believe that shilajit is a botanical substance. Run off from mountains carries leaves and other plant materials down the slopes. The plant materials become deposited in rocks and exude from the rocks when the sun hits the rocks. Most of this plant material is assumed to consist of styrax from which a resinous substance is extracted to make perfumes. This is a common but off refuted theory. Personally, I doubt that there is either a single plant or that styrax is the most important one. Other possibilities are the latex of Euphorbia royleana and Trifolium repens. The former has been observed growing near sites where shilajit is found. The latter is interesting to me because red clover will indeed form a black tarry substance when cooked. It can be assumed that white clover would do the same but those who are speculating on this do not seem to be paying attention to what grows in the vicinity where the shilajit can be found.

Rather than dwell on what we do not know, let's see what we do know. As noted, shilajit is found in mountainous areas, the Altai, Caucasus, Himalayas, Chile, and perhaps Antarctica. It is usually very dark brown to black in color, but it can be white. In the most famous of all Ayurvedic texts, the Charaka Samhita, it is said that there is no disease that cannot be cured by shilajit, if, of course, the substance is authentic and administered at the correct time. The black shilajit is preferred because of its potency, but now let's struggle with a few more issues. In English, we usually call shilajit asphaltum, but this is probably incorrect. The assumption behind it must be that shilajit is some kind of mineral oil or wax that exudes from rocks so it is regarded as a mineral pitch. It contains about 85 trace minerals but it is totally believed to be a botanical substance by Ayurvedic pundits. This might be substantiated by the presence of vitamins and amino acids.

Shilajit has been studied intensely in both Russia and India since the 1950s. In Russia, shilajit is regarded as an adaptogen; in India, it is held in high esteem as a rasayana herb. It is regarded as nootropic, a smart drug, a substance that promotes improved acuity and memory. It is antiseptic and pain relieving and is used for arthritis and rheumatism as well as ulcers. There are some who believe it enhances male potency, both virility and sperm count. Its effects on the female reproductive system have not been studied as much. However, as the following pubmed abstract suggests, the effect on cognitive function is not debated:

Most people believe that the active ingredient in shilajit is fulvic acid, but shilajit is complex so attributing the benefit to a single constituent is fraught with risk. It is water soluble and has very high antioxidant properties. It improves the lipid profile and may therefore reduce risk of cardiovascular complications.

Finally, the videos! The first is about permaculture and starts in China. Much to my glee, it moves from there to Ethiopia and then Rwanda. If you thought you were too old to believe in miracles, you simply have to watch this. It is a great encore to the Dead Sea video:

Next, though I doubt many of you watched the wedding of Sweden's Princess Madeleine, the nostaglia of many Swedes was intense over the last few days. Here is a simply gorgeous view of wildlife in Sweden:

Finally, I got hooked on beauty and my Sagittarius just went into a trance with this one:

Okay, that's it. I kept my promise.

Many blessings,


Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2013

Continued, see Part II


Ayurvedic Herbs




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