Looking at the above image of Shilajit probably has you wondering, “Why would anyone want to eat that?” The thought certainly crossed my mind when I first laid eyes on the lump of pitch black resin which resembles nothing so much as a glob of tar. However, after many long hours spent digging for the answer, my question changed to, “Why wouldn’t everyone want to eat that?”
Allow me to explain.
The Origin Of Shilajit
The consumption of Shilajit for energy and improved health is thought to have originated in Himalayan villages where people observed bands of monkeys migrating into the upper elevations during warmer months in order to ingest the dark resin oozing from crevices in the cliffs. These particular monkeys were noticeably larger and stronger than those who did not eat the resin, leading the villagers to begin harvesting Shilajit for their own use.
That’s one story, anyway. There are others out there, but regardless of which one is the true tale of its origin, Shilajit quickly caught on as a prime source of energy which would allow people to work harder, for longer and with less pain and exhaustion at the end of the day, leading to improved quality of life, longevity and prosperity for these high mountain villagers.
So, What Exactly Is Shilajit?
This is a good question and one with an even more intriguing answer than our story about Himalayan Super-Monkeys.
Our planet is alive, not only on the surface where plants and animals thrive, but also in the stone far beneath our feet. The continents of land on which we stand are actually the topmost layer of a collection of massive mineral slabs called tectonic plates. These plates make up Earth’s outermost crust (aka the lithosphere) and float freely over an underlying fluid-like mineral layer known as the asthenosphere. Tectonic plates are in constant motion – bumping into, bouncing off of and rubbing against one another. When two of them collide head on, mountains form and any organic material present in the ground at the junction of those two plates (referred to as a convergent boundary) is subjected to massive amounts of pressure as a result of that collision.
This is how Shilajit is created. Decomposing organic matter (called humus) buried deep in the soil at the convergent boundary between the Indian and Asian tectonic plates undergoes thousands of years of unimaginable pressure as the Himalayan mountains press ever skyward. Over time, this compressed humus becomes incorporated with minerals from the mountains in which is has been encapsulated. Then one day the weathered stone cracks and that humus – long since transformed into a thick mineral-rich resin – has a way out. The summer sun heats the side of the mountain, warming and liquefying the resin within, allowing it to finally escape its ancient stone prison…
Only to be eaten shortly thereafter by a hungry primate. (Life is so funny.)
10 Remarkable Benefits of Shilajit
If Himalayan Super-Monkeys and the mystique of a thousand years of incubation inside one of the tallest mountains in the world still aren’t enough to make you want to eat something that looks like tar and smells (unfortunately) like a hot rubber tire, here are the top 10 health benefits of using Shilajit: Mother Earth’s greatest gift to human- (and monkey-) kind.
1. Increases Energy At A Cellular Level
Shilajit is extremely mineral-rich (though the number of different elements fluctuates between 40 – 85, depending on which supplier you ask). It is also packed with amino acids. This nutrient density combined with Shilajit’s high concentration of fulvic acid which increases nutrient absorption translates into more energy for every cell throughout your body, regardless of any other factors in your life.
Of course, part of the magic of Shilajit is that it works better the more you work with it – meaning that the healthier your diet and lifestyle are, the better your results will be from using Shilajit every day.
2. Promotes Hormone Balance and Emotional Health
Daily use of Shilajit has been shown to stabilize moods and correct hormonal imbalances – another health benefit which can be attributed to the sheer amount of nutrition packed into each pea-sized serving. This is because the human endocrine system is a delicate network which relies heavily on proper diet to maintain optimal health. It is also responsible for the majority of your body’s most important processes (e.g., growth & development, energy usage and storage, sleep regulation, reproductive functions, etc.)
Any time your diet or digestion becomes unbalanced, your endocrine system will be negatively impacted in some way. That said, daily consumption of a rich source of easily obtainable minerals and amino acids like Shilajit will have a positive impact on hormone balance. Immediate results of this effect may manifest as an increase in your ability to deal with stress, better overall mood and resistance against manic or depressive cycles, to name a few.
3. Increases Absorption of Other Nutrients
Shilajit is rich in fulvic acid, a natural chemical produced during the decomposition of organic matter by microorganisms living in the ground (e.g., compost). Fulvic acid which is naturally abundant in healthy top soil, is largely absent from the burnt out plots of land on which most large-scale commercial farms grow their crops year after year.
Unfortunately, fulvic acid is necessary for both plants and animals to efficiently absorb nutrients from food, as well as to transport them throughout the body. Needless to say, without an adequate supply of fulvic acid, a person’s body simply will not perform at peak capacity due to the resulting lack of nutrients. Taking Shilajit every day supplies enough fulvic acid to make up for that which is missing from the foods we eat.
4. Optimizes Oxygen Transport Throughout the Blood Stream
Iron is one of the most important minerals in the human body, owning the crucial responsibility of hemoglobin production which is necessary for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to every cell throughout the human body. Humans don’t need much iron to stay healthy, however this mineral is among the most difficult nutrients to digest making iron deficiency the most wide-spread nutritional disorder in the world.
Because Shilajit improves the body’s ability to absorb and transport all nutrients, taking it every day can also help you to meet your iron intake requirement (between 8 – 18 mg depending on gender and age) which will in turn greatly improve your body’s ability to transport oxygen throughout the bloodstream.
5. Balances Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
Shilajit’s primary ability to increase absorption of nutrients and increase a person’s energy also have the side effect of improving blood quality. As your body’s nutrient levels normalize due to having an adequate supply of fulvic acid, your liver and pancreas won’t have to work as hard to perform basic functions like blood sugar and cholesterol regulation.
There’s also a better than average chance that you won’t feel as hungry after taking Shilajit for a week or so, also due to increased nutrient absorption. This will result in fewer cravings for sugary, salty and high-fat foods which are known to throw off blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the first place.
6. Cleanses The Blood and Organs Of Toxins
Just as Shilajit facilitates the transport of nutrients into cells, it also helps your body to remove waste toxins from the blood and organs. The results of this cleansing process may present themselves in any number of ways. Better skin complexion, reduction in body odor and less-frequent sweating from physical exertion are just a few of the external indicators that will let you know your body is cleaner on the inside, too.
7. Reduces Damage From Free Radicals
Many of the primary constituents of Shilajit are also powerful antioxidants. These include selenium, triterpenes, phospholipids and fulvic acid, plus many of the vitamins and trace minerals naturally present (albeit in varying concentrations) within pure Shilajit.
Fulvic acid, in particular is one of the most effective natural antioxidants for defending against oxidative damage throughout the body.
8. Accelerates Wound Healing and Cellular Rejuvenation
Due to the increased nutrient absorption and cellular energy it provides, it should come as little surprise that daily use of Shilajit bolsters the body’s ability to heal itself and generate new tissue.
After a week or two of taking Shilajit, the results of this accelerated cellular regeneration may present themselves in any number of different ways throughout the body. Those who experience frequent muscle soreness, arthritis or other chronic aches and pains should notice a decrease in these symptoms fairly quickly as the body begins to repair damaged tissue in problem areas. With regular use of Shilajit, wounds heal significantly faster, overall skin health will begin to improve, wrinkles and fine lines should become less apparent as skin regains its elasticity, and scar tissue may even begin to fade over time.
9. Enhances Potency Of Other Herbs and Medications
If you are taking any medications – natural or pharmaceutical – Shilajit will have an effect on these other substances. While most people will experience an increase in efficacy and a decrease in side-effects after supplementing their daily medicinal routine with mineral pitch, there is also some chance of negative side effects due to the increase potency of certain herbs and drugs. (Blood thinners are a prime example.)
As always, be sure to discuss supplementation with a health care professional before beginning use of Shilajit or any other herbal product.
10. Improves Cognitive Function and Memory Retention
With regular use of Shilajit and the resulting increase in nutrients and oxygen available in your blood stream, you will experience a gradual improvement in your ability to concentrate, solve problems and remember even the most mundane details of your day-to-day activities. For many people, this boost in ‘brain power’ is by far the most exciting aspect of the entire Shilajit experience.
In the long term, the increase in nutrients and oxygen to your brain, as well as Shilajit’s antioxidant activities, hormone balancing capabilities and positive effects on circulatory health will also contribute to the prevention of age-related cognitive decline – meaning you’ll not only live longer and be healthier from daily use of Shilajit, you’ll be happier and better able to experience life to the fullest, as well!
Choosing The Right Shilajit
There are two products which we have found that seem to be the best and offer the highest quality: this all-natural Shilajit which is minimally-processed and shipped directly from the Himalayan Mountains of Baltistan and Pürblack which is carefully processed at very low temperatures to remove any contaminants without damaging the delicate biochemical constituents of the resin.
At first glance, Pürblack is expensive, however it is far more potent than other brands. It comes in resin form unlike most Shilajit which is sold as a powder. The company’s website offers transparent information regarding their production methods, laboratory testing, packaging, etc. The product is manufactured, however it is still “real” Shilajit.
If you want to try Shilajit from a trusted source, then start with this Purblack Shilajit resin.
How To Take Shilajit
Making Shilajit Palatable
As previously mentioned, mineral resins like Shilajit look and smell pretty terrible. Sadly, pure unadulterated Shilajit doesn’t taste much better than it looks. As such, there are several recommended methods of dilution, any of which should (in theory) make that tiny black glob of ancient mineral-y goodness taste less like the thousand-year-old decomposed plant matter that it is and more like something you actually want touching your tongue.
The traditional way to take Shilajit is to mix it with milk. Some also recommend mixing it with warm water or tea doctored with a natural sweetener such as honey or Stevia leaf. When diluting Shilajit in water, there is one very important warning for those people using municipally treated tap water:
Do not mix Shilajit with chlorinated water. Some of the chemicals used during the chlorination process are known to react with both the humic and fulvic acids in Shilajit and result in the formation of poisonous compounds.
That said, if you wish to know more about the fine science of water filtration, here is an excellent resource with which to quench your thirst for natural health know-how.