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Shilajit or Mumijo, Mohave Lava Tube, 2018

Shilajit (Sanskrit: शिलाजीत "conqueror of mountain, conqueror of the rocks, destroyer of weakness") or salajeet (Urdu: سلاجیت) or mumijo or mumie[1] is natural organic-mineral product of predominantly natural biological origin, formed in the mountains (in mountain crevices and caves).[2]

A blackish-brown powder or an exudate from high mountain rocks, often found in the Himalayas, the Pamir Mountains (primarily in Gorno-Badakhshan, Tajikistan), Karakoram, Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, the Caucasus Mountains within Russia, Altai, Central Asia, Iran, Mongolia and in southern Peru, where it is called Andean shilajit.[3] The peoples of the East used shilajit in folk and non-traditional (alternative) medicine (Ayurveda, Chinese, Tibetan). shilajit is sold both in dry extract form and as part of dietary supplements adaptogens,[4] cosmetics and food products.


Shilajit in a glass of water.
Shilajit, as commonly consumed

Since ancient times, shilajit has been a folk medicine in Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Central Asia and Tibet. Shilajit has been used as a folk medicine and in alternative medicine for more than 4,000 years.[5] The healing effects of shilajit for different diseases is mentioned in the works of Aristotle, Razi, Biruni, Ibn Sina and others.[2][6][7]

D’Herbelot, in his 1821 publication, stated that the Persians used the substance called mumiay, or mummy, as a potent cure-all to address broken bones and diseased.[8]


Deposits of shilajit are found in many regions of the world: in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, the South Siberian region of the Sayan-Altai Mountains, India, Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan, Arabia, Indonesia, Australia, Burma, South America, China, Nepal, Afghanistan and the countries of north-eastern Africa.[citation needed]

The powder is known by different names worldwide, such as μούμια (in Greek), mumiyo or mumie (Russian: Мумиё), brag-shun or barakhshin ("oil of the mountains" in Mongolia and southern Russian Siberian regions near the Sayan Mountains such as Khakassia and Buryatia), rock sap or rock juice (in Tibet, Central Asia, Himalaya, Pamir and Altai), asphalt, mineral pitch, Jew’s pitch, slag or mineral wax (in English), silajita or silajatu (in Bengali), hajarul-Musa or araq-al-jibal (in Arabic), myemu, moomiaii or mumnaei (in Persian), Mumie (in German), kao-tun ("blood of the mountain" in Myanmar) and "blessing of nature" (Nepal).[9]

Research by the Central State Geographical Exploration Center “Tsentrquartz Gems” has shown that deposits of shilajit, despite the wide geography of their location, are very rare, and the reserves of raw materials in them are limited. It is found in calcareous, metamorphic rock, and sedimentary rocks (from Proterozoic to Quaternary) in Central Asia, Tuva, at the Lake Baikal, in the Caucasus and other regions. [10] It is more often found in the Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau, mountains of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Mongolia, Myanmar.[citation needed]


In early (pre-scientific) ideas, it was postulated that shilajit was of inorganic origin. In the second half of the 20th century, it was assumed that shilajit was a waste product of animal excrement (bats, etc.), and deposits of rodent feces on the rocks.[citation needed]

It has also been believed that it is formed as a result of the decomposition of oil rocks by microorganisms. Chemical composition of organic part of the extract (about 50% carbon and 10% hydrogen) supports the oil origin hypothesis.[10] According to other analysis, shilajit is of plant origin and, most likely, is the product of very slow decomposition of plant matter.[11] Some researchers hypothesize that shilajit is produced by the decomposition or humification of latex and resin-bearing plant material from species such as Euphorbia royleana and Trifolium repens over a period of centuries.[12][13]


Although shilajit is sometimes referred to as a mineral tar or resin, it is actually both of those. It is a highly viscous substance like a tar or resin, that is very dark brown or black in color, but unlike these is readily soluble in water but insoluble in ethanol. It contains more than 20 elements, including Ca, Mg, Na, Fe, Cr, Pb. It also contains solid paraffin hydrocarbons, proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, and alcohols.[10] The mineral content is 15–20%, along with trace elements including selenium.[14]

Shilajit is rich in nutrients such as mineral salts, amino acids, and other organic components including benzoic acid, hippuric acid, fatty acids (myristic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, petroselinic acid, linoleic acid, lauric acid, saturated fatty acids), ichthyridine, salicylic acid, resins, triterpenes, sterols, aromatic carboxylic acids, 3,4-benzocoumarins, amino groups acids, phenolic lipids, latex, albumin, sterols, tea polyphenols, phenolic lipids, dibenzo-alpha-pyrones (DBP), and dibenzo-α-pyrone chromoproteins (DCPs).[15][16]

Shilajit is composed of 60–80% humic substances such as humic and fulvic acids.[17][15][18][19]

Studied by analytical methods, shilajit samples from the Himalayas (5.1 kDa), Altai (8 kDa), Tian Shan (7.5 kDa), Dzungarian (9.0 kDa), demonstrated that it consists of two principal components: the high-molecular part is fulvic nature of sample as typical peat fulvic acids (sample from Sakhtysh Lake, Russia), and the low-molecular part represents a range of vegetative and animal metabolites such as methyldiaminocyclohexane, shikimic acid, hippuric acid, quinic acid, hydroxyhippuric acid, and methyldiaminocyclohexane dimmer.[20]


The composition of shilajit varies by location[21] and appearance:[22]

  • Coprolitic (mumiyo-saladji, Pamir and Altai mumiyo, mumiyo-asil, etc.) are fossilized phyto- and zooorganic remains mixed with fragments and gruss of rocks and soil formations. The content of extractive substances in coprolite shilajit ranges from 10 to 30% or more.
  • Shilajit-bearing breccias are large-clastic rocks (more often, fissured limestones) cemented by shilajit-bearing clay mass. The content of extractive substances is 0.5–5.0%.
  • Evaporite shilajit occurs in formations of streaks, icicles and shiny black or gray dull, thin films that stain the roofs and walls of caves, niches, grottoes and other large cavities. Its extraction is difficult.

Shilajit occurs in different colors and grades according to the type of metal contained: red (sauvarna shilajit) with gold, white (rajat shilajit) with silver, blue (tamra, with copper shilajit) and iron-containing black (lauha shilajit shilajit). Of these, black shilajit containing gold is the rarest and is considered to have the best curative effect. In nature, shilajit containing iron is used most in traditional medicine.[15]

Mumioids are a group of natural formations resembling shilajit in appearance. The group includes ozokerite, saltpeter, fossilized vegetable resins and gums, mountain wax, white, stone and mountain oils, Antarctic shilajit, lofor, or aqua bitum.[22]


Studies conducted by 2011 did not find substantial evidence of the biological activity of shilajit, declared by adherents of non-traditional (alternative) medicine (Ayurveda, Chinese, Tibetan) medicine.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Eugene; Rajamanickam, G. Victor; Dubey, G. Prasad; Klose, Petra; Musial, Frauke; Saha, F. Joyonto; Rampp, Thomas; Michalsen, Andreas; Dobos, Gustav J. (2011-06-14). "Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 136 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.04.033. ISSN 1872-7573. PMID 21530631.
  2. ^ a b "MUMIYO • Great Russian encyclopedia - electronic version". Retrieved 2022-08-01.
  3. ^ Hill, Carol A.; Forti, Paolo (1997). Cave Minerals of the World. National Speleological Society. ISBN 978-1-879961-07-4.[page needed]
  4. ^ Winston, David; Maimes, Steven (2007-03-22). "Part two: Materia medica. 7. Monographs on Adaptogens. Shilajit". Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-59477-158-3.
  5. ^ Kloskowski, T.; Szeliski, K.; Krzeszowiak, K.; Fekner, Z.; Kazimierski, Ł; Jundziłł, A.; Drewa, T.; Pokrywczyńska, M. (2021-11-19). "Mumio (Shilajit) as a potential chemotherapeutic for the urinary bladder cancer treatment". Scientific Reports. 11 (1): 22614. Bibcode:2021NatSR..1122614K. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-01996-8. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 8604984. PMID 34799663.
  6. ^ Korchubekov, B. K., Altymyshev, A. A. (1987). Mumië "arkhar-tash" i ego fiziologicheskai︠a︡ aktivnostʹ. Soviet Union: Ilim.
  7. ^ Source study and textual criticism of monuments of medieval sciences in the countries of Central Asia: a collection of scientific works. (1989). Russia: "Science," Siberian Branch.
  8. ^ Ouseley, William (1821). Travels in various countries of the East : more particularly Persia. Rodwell and Martin, London.
  9. ^ Rahmani Barouji, Solmaz; Saber, Amir; Torbati, Mohammadali; Fazljou, Seyyed Mohammad Bagher; Yari Khosroushahi, Ahmad (2020). "Health Beneficial Effects of Moomiaii in Traditional Medicine". Galen Medical Journal. 9: e1743. doi:10.31661/gmj.v9i0.1743. ISSN 2322-2379. PMC 8343599. PMID 34466583.
  10. ^ a b c "Геологический словарь. Том 1 (А-М) | Геологический портал GeoKniga" [Geological dictionary. Volume 1 (А-М) | Geological portal]. p. 485. Retrieved 2023-10-01.
  11. ^ Carrasco-Gallardo, Carlos; Guzmán, Leonardo; Maccioni, Ricardo B. (2012). "Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity". International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 2012: 674142. doi:10.1155/2012/674142. ISSN 2090-8024. PMC 3296184. PMID 22482077.
  12. ^ Agarwal, Suraj P.; Khanna, Rajesh; Karmarkar, Ritesh; Anwer, Md. Khalid; Khar, Roop K. (May 2007). "Shilajit: a review". Phytotherapy Research. 21 (5): 401–405. doi:10.1002/ptr.2100. PMID 17295385. S2CID 40620070.
  13. ^ Ghosal, S.; Reddy, J.P.; Lal, V.K. (May 1976). "Shilajit I: Chemical Constituents". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 65 (5): 772–773. doi:10.1002/jps.2600650545. PMID 932958.
  14. ^ Khanna, Rajesh; Witt, Matthias; Khalid Anwer, Md.; Agarwal, Suraj P.; Koch, Boris P. (December 2008). "Spectroscopic characterization of fulvic acids extracted from the rock exudate Shilajit". Organic Geochemistry. 39 (12): 1719–1724. Bibcode:2008OrGeo..39.1719K. doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2008.08.009.
  15. ^ a b c Schepetkin, Igor A.; Khlebnikov, Andrei I.; Ah, Shin Young; Woo, Sang B.; Jeong, Choon-Soo; Klubachuk, Olesya N.; Kwon, Byoung S. (2003-08-27). "Characterization and biological activities of humic substances from mumie". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 51 (18): 5245–5254. doi:10.1021/jf021101e. ISSN 0021-8561. PMID 12926866.
  16. ^ Ding, Rong; Zhao, Mingming; Fan, Jiuyu; Hu, Xiuquan; Wang, Meng; Zhong, Shihong; Gu, Rui (2020-06-29). "Mechanisms of generation and exudation of Tibetan medicine Shilajit (Zhaxun)". Chinese Medicine. 15 (1): 65. doi:10.1186/s13020-020-00343-9. ISSN 1749-8546. PMC 7322889. PMID 32612671.
  17. ^ Ghosal, Shibnath (1990-01-01). "Chemistry of shilajit, an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic rasayan". Pure and Applied Chemistry. 62 (7): 1285–1288. doi:10.1351/pac199062071285. ISSN 1365-3075. S2CID 20837659.
  18. ^ Stohs, Sidney J. (2014-04-03). "Safety and Efficacy of Shilajit (Mumie, Moomiyo): SHILAJIT (MUMIE, MOOMIYO) SAFETY AND EFFICACY". Phytotherapy Research. 28 (4): 475–479. doi:10.1002/ptr.5018. PMID 23733436. S2CID 22593008.
  19. ^ Schepetkin, Igor A.; Xie, Gang; Jutila, Mark A.; Quinn, Mark T. (2009-03-01). "Complement-fixing activity of fulvic acid from Shilajit and other natural sources". Phytotherapy Research. 23 (3): 373–384. doi:10.1002/ptr.2635. ISSN 1099-1573. PMC 2650748. PMID 19107845.
  20. ^ Konstantinov, A. I.; Vladimirov, G. N.; Grigoryev, A. S.; Kudryavtsev, A. V.; Perminova, I. V.; Nikolaev, E. N. (2013). "Molecular Composition Study of Mumijo from Different Geographic Areas Using Size-Exclusion Chromatography, NMR Spectroscopy, and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry". In Xu, Jianming; Wu, Jianjun; He, Yan (eds.). Functions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. pp. 283–287. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-5634-2_52. ISBN 978-94-007-5634-2.
  21. ^ Пещеры: Выпуск 14-15 (in Russian). Пермский государственный университет. pp. 174–267.
  22. ^ a b Savinykh, Mikhail (2022-05-15). Encyclopedia of mumiyo (in Russian). Litres. ISBN 978-5-04-090878-3.