Used for well over 3,000 years, shilajit has an unusual nutritional profile which makes it one of the most powerful superfood supplements around. Plant nutrition guru, David Wolfe, says that there is “microbially digested plant and mineral matter that has been incubated and pressurized for tens of thousands to millions of years through seismic and geological shifts.” It’s this intense compression that produces a dark, sticky resin which is purified and sold as shilajit or mineral pitch.
A Brief History of Shilajit
Shilajit’s rejuvenating qualities are noted in one of the most famous ayurvedic handbooks: the Charaka Samhita. Written in Sanskrit, this text refers to shilajit a rasayana, which is a substance that is able to promote longevity and vitality.
From India to Ancient Greece, the world-famous philosopher, Aristotle, prescribed a mix of shilajit (then called moomiyo) grape juice, milk and honey to people suffering from inflammation and stomach-related issues. Locals in the Tajikistan region of Russia had a much higher than average lifespan which was believed to be down to the fact that they ingested shilajit daily. Even Alexander the Great took shilajit to enhance his strength, stamina, and mental focus.
Shilajit’s Nutritional Compounds
Because of the unusual way that it is formed, shilajit’s exact nutritional makeup varies depending on where it is sourced from. High-quality shilajit is believed to contain around 85 different minerals, compounds, plant sterols and other nutritional goodies.
What makes shilajit so special is that it contains a very high amount of fulvic acid. Fulvic acid is a natural humic substance which helps us to absorb more nutrients from other foods, fight free radical damage, improve digestive health, and enhance brain functioning. The fulvic acid present in shilajit has an extremely low molecular weight, which means that is can be easily digested and absorbed by the body.
Shilajit Health Benefits Overview
Anti-Aging: Can improve the condition of the skin, hair, and nails
High in Antioxidants: Contains more antioxidants than blueberries
Anti-Inflammatory: Reduces inflammation in the body
Antibacterial: Fights streptococci and other bacterial infections
Rejuvenating: Known as a rasayana in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Nutrient Maximiser: Enables the body to absorb more nutrients from other substances
Memory Enhancer: Can help improve memory and concentration
Energizing: Provides a quick dose of energy
Hangover Cure: Reduces the side effects associated with alcohol consumption
Anxiety Buster: Helps the body to better deal with stress
Restorative: Helps to speed up recovery times after illnesses and injuries
Shilajit for Bodybuilders and Athletes
Many fitness enthusiasts take shilajit for its strengthening and performance enhancing qualities. Some Olympic athletes call it their secret weapon, and the National Association of Astronauts recommended shilajit as a supplement to take after journeys to space. Not only does it deliver the body some of the most essential nutrients that it needs to work out and heal, it can also naturally and gently increase testosterone levels, and help to provide a boost in energy levels.
Shilajit for Beauty
Shilajit is also taken as a natural beauty food. Several compounds in the shilajit help to increase the body's production of collagen. Known as being some of the most connective fibers in the body, collagen is used to maintain muscle mass as well as a healthy, youthful complexion. Shilajit also increases elastin production, which in turn helps to keep the skin supple and wrinkle-free. In the East, it’s believed that shilajit is able to help hair to grow stronger, thicker, and shinier. It can be taken orally, as even made into a hair rinse to provide dark hair with a glossy finish.
The antioxidants present in the shilajit slow down the aging process by acting as free radical scavengers. Antioxidants prevent and slow down oxidation, protect the skin from sun damage, encourage cell and tissue growth, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to Choose the Best Shilajit
While purified genuine shilajit is safe to use, there are, however, several low quality and even fake shilajit products on the market. These products contain added fillers, gums or additives which can degrade the nutritional content of the product and may even cause other side effects. This is why it’s so essential to buy shilajit which is sourced by reputable retailers, and that is properly purified and packaged. When stored correctly, shilajit has an estimated shelf-life of around five years.
Genuine shilajit will be dark in color, solid when at room temperature, and should have a smoky smell and flavor. Before you buy shilajit, check for shilajit reviews, testimonials, and feedback from past customers, or make sure that you are purchasing from an established and reputable company that specializes in selling tonic herbs and superfoods.
The way that the shilajit is packaged also plays an important role in how its nutritional compounds are preserved. When shilajit is stored in amber or violet glass jars it will help to better preserve its freshness and bio-availability.
The exact dosage that you should take will depend on a range of personal factors including your body size and weight, general levels of health, and other lifestyle choices. Therefore, it’s best to work out your ideal shilajit dosage in a trial and error way until you find the amount that is right for you.
Begin with a small amount that is roughly the size of a grain of rice (less than 100 mg), and take it between one and three times per day. Then, you can gradually begin to increase your dosage up to 300 mg which is equivalent to the size of a large pea. Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners may prescribe higher doses for particular ailments.
Shilajit Warnings and Side Effects
Shilajit is classified as a non-toxic supplement which has no reported side effects. However, you should always contact your doctor before taking shilajit if you are on medication or are pregnant. Some people report that shilajit gives them a natural buzz of energy that is similar to drinking a strong cup of coffee but without the jitters. For this reason, it’s advisable to not take shilajit just before going to bed.
For maximum absorption of nutrients, take shilajit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The most common way to ingest shilajit is to make it into tonic tea. Pinch off the desired amount of shilajit using your fingers. Avoid using a spoon or any type of utensil as this will make it hard to get the required amount. Then, fill a mug with very warm water and place the shilajit in the mug and allow it to naturally dissolve. Once the shilajit is thoroughly dissolved, it is ready to be sipped and enjoyed.
The shilajit tonic base can be used to create elixirs, or blended into smoothies, juices, dips and soups. Its unusual deep flavor works well in foods and drinks that complement a smoky taste.
Shilajit Tonics, Elixirs, and Recipes
Shilajit Mocha Recipe
Perfect for chocolate lovers, this winter warmer has a nutritional kick. First, dissolve the shilajit into a mug of water, and then add some coconut milk, coconut cream for a little thickness, and a pinch of vanilla powder or essence. Blend the mixture in a blender and pour it back into the mug, then top with a spoonful of coconut cream and a sprinkle of raw cacao powder.
Creamy Shilajit Latte
For a quick elixir with an added twist, mix in your choice of warmed nut milk (almond, coconut, or pumpkin seed work well) into the dissolved shilajit. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick, and a dash of your choice of sweetener and you are good to go.
Chia Banana Smoothie
This unusual smoothie provides natural fuel for workouts. The chia seeds will help to make you feel full and provide you with a rich source of fiber. Dissolve the shilajit into water, add in one banana, a teaspoon of coconut oil, a dash of cinnamon, two tablespoons of chia seeds, and your choice of natural sweetener if required. Blend the ingredients together in a Vitamix or Nutribullet, and then place in the fridge to cool before enjoying.
Shilajit loosely translates as the destroyer of weakness, and with its potent rejuvenating properties, it’s not hard to see why. No matter if you want to increase your energy or your lifespan, shilajit could be the superfood supplement for you.
Shilajit Supplement Facts
Name: Shilajit (shilajeet)
Other Names: mineral pitch, moomiyo, mineral wax, black asphaltum, mumie
Shilajit dosage recommendations: A grain-sized to pea-sized amount up to three times a day
Atreya: Charaka Samhita
S. Ghosal: Shilajit in Perspective
Willer, Tina, Shilajit: The Fountain of Youth Healing Mineral Book
Dean Thomas, Rehmannia Shilajit: The Resin of Life