Shilajit, also spelled shilajeet or salajeet, and also known as rock juice, mountain sweat, mountain blood, mountain oil, asphaltum, vegetable asphalt, mumiyo, mumijo, mineral pitch, mineral wax, and fulvic acid minerals, is a dark brown or black resin, paste, or tar-like sticky humic substance .
It’s found at altitudes between 1,000 and 5,000 meters, in the mountain regions of the former USSR (Ural, Baykal, Sayan, Caucasus, Altai mountain regions, Kirgysia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan), as well as in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tibet [2,3].
Shilajit is thought to form as a result of a long-term humification process unique to the environment and conditions of mountainous regions. Plant matter is fermented between layers of rocks, and transformed by microorganisms, resulting in the organic residues losing their original structure
Microbial metabolism produces reduced sugars and amino acids, which undergo non-enzymatic polymerization, to form brown nitrogenous polymers .
Unlike a living cell, where the synthesis of biopolymers is governed by the genetic code, there is no established program of any kind in the humification process, so any substances can appear, either simpler or more complex than the original biomolecules. The resulting products again undergo transformation and synthesis reactions, and the process continues indefinitely .
The wild and frequent climatic changes in mountainous regions, such as freezing and thawing, and wetting and drying, combined with the intermixing of the reactants with catalytic mineral materials, facilitates the condensation and formation of shilajit
Tests completed on various samples have determined shilajit to be between 500 and 15,000 years old, suggesting that the formation process may take several hundred years .
Shilajit is a complex natural mixture of organic and inorganic compounds in a rough 70:30 ratio, with an abundance of trace elements
[9,11], and is primarily composed of humus substances, including fulvic acids, humic acids, humin, and hymatomelanic acid[8,9].
Shilajit also contains albuminoids, amino acids, oxygenated biphenyls, coumarin derivatives (benzocoumarin, DBPs; dibenzo-alpha-pyrones), fluorene, mycotoxins (trichothecenes, naptho-l-pyrones and alternariol), organic acids (benzoic acid and its derivatives, hippuric acid, and naphthenic acids), phenolic lipids, polymeric quinines, sterols, tannins, terpenes, and triterpenes [3,6,7].
Classified as an organomineral matter, shilajit also contains copper, zinc, lithium, chromium, silver, cobalt, phosphorus, vanadium, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, sulfur and silicon [8,9].
Multiple mechanism of action have been observed in humans and animals, where potential benefits of Shilajit may be attributed to increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, activation of mitochondrial respiration, activation of Calcium ion (Ca2+) transport, dibenzo-alpha-pyrone (DBP) content, the ability of fulvic acid to chelate minerals and facilitate cellular penetration, and facilitating the regeneration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is found in all forms of life, and is an energy carrying molecule known as the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer
ATP is a precursor to DNA and RNA, is used as a coenzyme, and captures chemical energy obtained from the breakdown of food molecules to provide energy to drive processes such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis .
A study on mice found that swimming severely depleted ATP levels in the muscle of mice, and that supplementation with shilajit reduced the depletion, almost doubling the levels of ATP in the muscle. ATP levels in the brain and blood were also increased
An unpublished study on six humans found that supplementation with shilajit increased blood levels of ATP, ATP/ADP ratio, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), total adenine nucleotides, adenylate energy charge, and uric acid, significantly increasing energy production and physical exercise .
Shilajit contains dibenzo-alpha-pyrones (DBPs), that are capable of permeating through the blood-brain barrier, and may protect brain and nerve tissue from free-radical damage.
DBPs also increase acetylcholine levels in rats, low levels of which have been associated with poor memory, concentration and Alzheimer’s disease .
Shilajit has been found to activate mitochondrial respiration but suppresses activity of succinate-oxidase and NADH-oxidase in mitochondrion
The stimulating action of shilajit may be caused by the activation of Calcium ion (Ca2+) transport.
In rats, Shilajit increases superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase activities in the frontal cortex and striatum [18,19,20].
Shilajit has also been found to regenerate ascorbic acid, and trap hydroxyl radicals, and NO and SO radicals .
Shilajit is used as a rejuvenator in traditional Russian and Ayurveda medicine [22,23], and has been used in the folk and herbal medicine of several countries for around 3,000 years. Administered both topically on the skin, and internally by swallowing or drinking with water, it has been used as an anti-inflammatory, as an antidote to poisons, and to treat neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, radiculitis, skin diseases, dislocations, bone fractures, arthritis, migraine, angina, ear disease, vertigo, gastrointestinal diseases, haemorrhages, genitourinary diseases, diabetes, jaundice, adiposity, enlarged spleen, digestive disorders/acid reflux, epilepsy, nervous diseases, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, anemia, ameamenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, eczema, leprosy, anorexia, osteoporosis and bites.
Shilajit also forms part of several medical drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies , and has been shown in studies to possess antimicrobial activity with respect to staphylococci, streptococci, coliform bacteria, enterococci, and Proteus[25,26]. Studies have found that Shilajit reduced the complex treatment period of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis by three to four times, and may act as an antidiabetic agent in addition to enhancing growth hormone levels in diabetic patients.
Shilajit has also been shown to cause a decrease in pain, disappearance of inflammation, and quicker healing following burn injuries , and cause a more rapid healing in the ear disease suppurative otitis and wounds in general, as well as accelerating bone regeneration after bone fractures in animals, children and adults[29,30,31,32,33,34,35].
Shilajit has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties in humans in the treatment of gum disease
, osteoarthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and cervical spondylosis, in the prevention of ulcers, and in arthritis and swelling in rats.
It is possible that Shilajit’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to it containing benzoic acid, fulvic acids, 40-methoxy-6-carbomethoxybiphenyl, and tirucallane-type triterpenoids, as these compounds are known to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties [40,41,42,43].
Shilajit has also been shown to improve the transport of antibacterial drugs to the targeted area of inflammation .
In mice, Shilajit stimulates lymphopoietic erythropoiesis in acute radiation disease, resulting in a more rapid restoration of the number of lymphocytes in peripheral blood, bone marrow, and spleen .
Positive results have been seen during the treatment of eczema and psoriasis , which is thought to be due to the fact that Shilajit contains biphenyl and benzocoumarin compounds, which have significant antiallergic activity, with mast cells stabilized by Shilajit resulting in significantly less degranulation[40,48].
Shilajit contains DBPs, that are capable of permeating through the blood-brain barrier, and may protect brain and nerve tissue from free-radical damage. DBPs in shilajit increased acetylcholine levels in rats, low levels of which have been associated with poor memory, concentration and Alzheimer’s disease
, and has been shown to improve learning and memory in rats[49,50,51], which has led to it being classified as a “medha rasayana” or nootropic agent.
Shilajit has also been found to be an inhibitor of the development of tolerance to morphine in mice, and to be effective as a painkiller in rats .
It is notable that fulvic and humic acids found in shilajit appear to increase the number and functional activity of macrophages, neutrophils and killer T-cells [53,54]. Humic acids were first discovered to have anabolic properties when given to chickens in 1951, with average body mass increased by 5-7%[55,56,57]. This was confirmed in rats in 1966, which concluded that the body is able to utilize food better when supplementing with shilajit. Fulvic acids may also act as carrier molecules or chelating agents for smaller, more bioactive compounds.
Shilajit was secretly used by the former USSR to enhance the physical and mental performance of Olympic athletes and special military forces for nearly 40 years. Applications included reducing stress-related injuries, benefitting recovery, as well as increasing strength and muscle mass. Much of the research conducted by the former USSR into shilajit is classified and has not been released
Studies have given positive indications for these types of potential benefits [61,62], including some that suggest shilajit may relieve fatigue and increase energy and endurance[14,15].
In men, Shilajit has been found to increase sperm count, sperm motility, testosterone levels and FSH levels [63,66].
PlantPills Gold Standard Shilajit is collected from the Russian Altai/Altay Mountain Range in Central Asia, an area where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan converge . The only processing applied is a simple purification process, to remove anything that is not shilajit. This is performed at low temperatures to preserve the active components that are sensitive to heat.
Care is taken to ensure that nothing is added or taken away, so the shilajit retains its whole, authentic and natural composition.
Shilajit has been used for 3,000 years in its natural form as a sticky tar-like substance, and the majority of research has used shilajit in this form. Applying processing to shilajit to attempt to powder it, or otherwise isolate, extract, refine or standardise it, results in a product that is derived from shilajit, but is no longer natural, whole shilajit. Processing shilajit in this manner means that some original components are missing, and of the remaining ones, some are denatured due to processing methods such as heat.
As a result, processed shilajit and products derived from shilajit do not exhibit the same actions and benefits as natural whole shilajit.
Natural variations in composition and its relative rarity have given rise to adulterated and counterfeit shilajit products, and testing methods used to determine humic acid and fulvic acid levels in shilajit have proven unreliable
Due to these issues the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, AOAC International, developed a consensus-driven testing standard for verifying and establishing the contents of humic ores such as shilajit .
Any supplier of shilajit should be able to provide the AOAC test performed by a third party laboratory for the current batch. This proves that the shilajit is authentic and genuine, and gives a reliable indication of the humic and fulvic acid levels. If a supplier can’t provide the AOAC test results, the authenticity of the product is unknown.
The AOAC test performed by a third party laboratory for the current batch of PlantPills Shilajit is displayed below. This details humic acid, fulvic acid, moisture, organic matter and sulphur levels.
Also below is the third party laboratory test showing levels of Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc in the current batch.
Additional third party laboratory tests for the current batch viewable below include the microbiological certificate of analysis, heavy metal content and aluminium content.
Aluminium content of some shilajit has been a contentious issue, and should be tested by a third party laboratory for every batch. One serving (0.25g) of PlantPills Shilajit contains the same amount of aluminium as two slices of bread, or two chicken breasts, or 50 grams of pasta, or 5 grams of chocolate [70,71,72].
These tests verify that PlantPills Shilajit is authentic, high quality, and safe for human consumption.
Pack sizes are 100 grams, 200 grams, 500 grams, 1 kilogram, 2 kilograms and 10 kilograms.
Different pack sizes are selectable in the basket.
Due to the nature of shilajit, long term storage in plastic containers could result in shilajit reacting with the plastic and possibly absorbing elements from it.
PlantPills Shilajit comes packaged in a glass jar, eliminating any possibility of shilajit reacting with the container during long term storage, and providing an effective barrier against oxygen.
A 0.1ml measuring spoon is included and when filled level, provides a 0.25g serving. However, the consistency of shilajit makes filling the spoon, and then emptying it quite difficult. The dosage and guidelines section goes into more detail, but we recommend using the volume of the spoon as a guide, and placing shilajit on the opposite end of the spoon at roughly the same size.
This can then be taken straight into the mouth, or stirred into body-temperature spring water or re-mineralised distilled water.
Genuine, natural, whole shilajit is a thick, sticky, tar-like resin substance. Shilajit in this form has been used for 3,000 years, and the majority of research has been conducted on shilajit in this form.
Processing shilajit into a different form, such as tablets, capsules, powder or liquid removes some of the components of shilajit, and denatures many others due to the processing involved, such as heat.
Shilajit tablets, capsules, powder or liquid may be derived from shilajit, but it’s no longer in the form that has been so well studied and used for thousands of years, and as such doesn’t exhibit the actions and benefits of the natural whole form.
Any shilajit made available for sale should have a third party laboratory AOAC test for the batch to confirm that the substance is in fact shilajit, and that it is not adulterated or counterfeit. This test also gives reliable measurements of fulvic and humic acid content.
It should also have third party tests for minerals, microbiological analysis, heavy metal content, and aluminium content. We have these tests completed for every batch of PlantPills Shilajit, and publish them on our site, confirming that our shilajit is genuine, and that it contains no dangerous levels of heavy metals or micro-organisms.
Without these tests, it is unknown whether the substance is actually shilajit or not, and may not be safe for human consumption.
It is sensible for anyone who is new to taking shilajit, to initially take just half of one 0.1ml spoon (about 125mg) and monitor themselves for any adverse reactions for 24 hours. If there is no reaction, proceed with supplementation the following day.
Directions: Place into the mouth and allow to dissolve before swallowing. Can alternatively be mixed into 200ml of water and drunk.
Note: Genuine, natural, whole shilajit has a thick, sticky, tar-like consistency that can be challenging to accurately measure into an exact dose.
When filled level, the included 0.1ml measuring spoon provides a 0.25g serving, but emptying it from the spoon can be challenging.
Using the spoon volume as a guide, the straight end of the spoon can be used to pick up roughly the same size of shilajit. This can then be taken straight into the mouth and allowed to dissolve before swallowing, or stirred into re-mineralised distilled water or spring water.
Note: Tap water is not recommended with shilajit, because humic and fulvic acids contained in shilajit can react with chemicals used in the chlorination process to form disinfection byproducts, which are toxic to humans[73,74].
If water is used, ensure that the water is not chlorinated, such as re-mineralised distilled water, spring water or properly filtered water.
Recommended dosage: 0.25 grams (1x level 0.1ml spoon), 1-2 times per day.
Upper dosage: 0.5 grams (2x level 0.1ml spoons) per day.
Note: It may be beneficial to take one or two days off per week from supplementing with shilajit. There is no evidence to suggest that this is beneficial, but the body can respond positively when given periodic breaks from routine.
Shilajit is cycled when taken in amounts higher than the upper dosage, or when the shilajit is an extract or isolate.
Note: It’s advisable to avoid any citrus food or drink at the same time as taking shilajit, as citrus may increase the bioavailability of aluminium.
It’s also advisable to avoid any milk products at the same time as taking shilajit, as milk may inhibit the action of shilajit by binding with polyphenols .
Shilajit has traditionally been applied topically to skin in the region of injuries, and can be done so before applying a plaster, bandage or cling film over the top.
If you are taking prescription medication, consult your doctor before use.
Re-seal jar after use and store in a cool dry place.
Keep contents in the jar until finished.
Please see the label from our 100 gram jar of Gold Standard Shilajit Paste below.
Scientists have not found natural whole shilajit to be toxic in any amount when given to humans or animals[5,60].
Try to keep the lip of the jar clean and free from shilajit. The lid may stick closed if shilajit is spilled on the area where the lid meets the lip or thread of the glass.
Avoid using metal utensils when handling shilajit, plastic or wooden utensils are advisable.
If you are taking prescription medication, consult your doctor before use.
People with urinary stones (urolithiasis) should avoid shilajit.
People who have the genetic disorder PKU (phenylketonuria) should avoid shilajit.
People with gouty arthritis should avoid shilajit.
People with a high uric acid count should avoid shilajit.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet.
The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent illness or disease, and are not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should consult with a doctor, physician, or other healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking or discontinuing any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. PlantPills is a division of Faxbase Ltd. and prices include VAT where applicable. The statements on this website have not been evaluated or authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration, or The American Medical Association, or any other medical or healthcare body.