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Shilajit (Sanskrit: शिलाजतु, śilājatu)[1] is a thick, sticky tar-like substance with a colour ranging from white to dark brown (the latter is more common), sometimes found in Caucasus mountains, Altai Mountains, and Tibet mountains and mountains of Gilgit Baltistan Pakistan.[2][3]

Shilajit is a blackish-brown exudation, of variable consistency, obtained from steep rocks of different formations found in the Altai Mountains

It is used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. It has been reported to contain at least 85 minerals in ionic form, as well as triterpenes, humic acid and fulvic acid.[4][5][6]


Shilajit comes from the Sanskrit compound word shilajatu meaning "rock-invincible", which is the regular Ayurveda term. It is also spelled shilajeet (Hindi: शिलाजीत) and salajeet (Urdu: سلاجیت‎).

Shilajit is known universally by various other names,[7] such as mineral pitch or mineral wax in English, black asphaltum, Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin, also locally as shargai, dorobi, barahshin, baragshun (Mongolian: Барагшун), mumlai (Farsi مملایی), brag zhun (Tibetan: བྲག་ཞུན་), chao-tong, wu ling zhi (Chinese: 五灵脂, which generally refers to the excrement of flying squirrels), baad-a-ghee (Wakhi for "devil's feces"), and arkhar-tash (Kyrgyz: архар-таш).[7] The most widely used name in the former Soviet Union is mumiyo (Russian: мумиё, variably transliterated as mumijo, mumio, momia, and moomiyo), which is ultimately from Persian mūmiyā (مومیا).

Active ingredients[edit]

The primary active ingredients in Shilajit are fulvic acids, dibenzo alpha pyrones, humins, humic acids, trace minerals, vitamins A, B, C and P (citrines), phospholipids and polyphenol complexes, terpenoids. Also present are microelements (cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, manganese, chrome, iron, magnesium and others).[citation needed]


Shilajit is a substance mainly found in the Altai, Himalaya, and Caucasus mountains. The color range varies from a yellowish brown to pitch-black, depending on composition. For use in Ayurvedic medicine the black variant is considered the most potent. Shilajit has been described as 'mineral oil', 'stone oil' or 'rock sweat', as it seeps from cracks in mountains due mostly to the warmth of the sun. There are many local legends and stories about its origin, use and properties, often wildly exaggerated. It should not be confused with ozokerite, also a humic substance, similar in appearance, but apparently without medicinal qualities. In fact, neither of the substances, ozokerite nor shilajit possess any scientifically proven medicinal qualities.

Once cleaned of impurities and extracted, shilajit is a homogeneous brown-black paste-like substance, with a glossy surface, a peculiar smell and bitter taste. Dry shilajit density ranges from 1.1 to 1.8 g/cm3. It has a plastic-like behavior, at a temperature lower than 20°C/68°F it will solidify and will soften when warmed. It easily dissolves in water without leaving any residue, and it will soften when worked between the fingers.

It is still unclear whether shilajit has a geological or biological origin as it has numerous traces of vitamins and amino acids. A mumiyo-like substance from Antarctica was found to contain glycerol derivatives and was also believed to have medicinal properties.[8]

Based on currently available studies, the bioactivity of shilajit lacks substantial evidence. The immuno-modulatory activity does not stand the test of critical assessment and is considered as unproven.[9]


Mumiyo/shilajit has been the subject of scientific research in Russia and India since the early 1950s. Though there is no clinical study to support any benefits to human health, some observed effects in animal models include:

In the former USSR, medical preparations based on mumiyo/shilajit are still being sold,[16] further developed and investigated.


  1. ^ Rigpa Wiki
  2. ^ A. Hill, Carol; Forti, Paolo (1997). Cave minerals of the world, Volume 2. National Speleological Society. pp. 217–23. ISBN 978-1-879961-07-4. 
  3. ^ David Winston & Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59477-158-3
  4. ^ "Safe Use of Salajeet During the Pregnancy of Female Mice". Journal of Biological Sciences. Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  5. ^ Shibnath Ghosal -Chemistry of Shilajit, an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic rasayan [1]
  6. ^ Chopra, R N, Chopra I C, Handa K L & Kapur L D. – Chopra's Indigenous Drugs of India. [2]
  7. ^ a b Winston, David; Maimes, Steven (2007). "Shilajit". Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company. pp. 201–204. ISBN 978-1-59477-969-5. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ Anna Aiello, Ernesto Fattorusso, Marialuisa Menna, Rocco Vitalone, Heinz C. Schröder, Werner E. G. Müller (September 2010). "Mumijo Traditional Medicine: Fossil Deposits from Antarctica (Chemical Composition and Beneficial Bioactivity)". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. doi:10.1093/ecam/nen072. PMID 18996940. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Eugene; Rajamanickam, G. Victor; Dubey, G. Prasad; Klose, Petra; Musial, Frauke; Saha, F. Joyonto; Rampp, Thomas; Michalsen, Andreas; Dobos, Gustav J. (June 2011). "Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 136 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.04.033. PMID 21530631. 
  10. ^ a b Acharya, SB; Frotan, MH; Goel, RK; Tripathi, SK; Das, PK (1988). "Pharmacological actions of Shilajit". Indian journal of experimental biology 26 (10): 775–7. PMID 3248832. 
  11. ^ Goel, R.K.; Banerjee, R.S.; Acharya, S.B. (1990). "Antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory studies with shilajit". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 29 (1): 95–103. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(90)90102-Y. PMID 2345464. 
  12. ^ a b Ghosal, Shibnath; Singh, Sushil K.; Kumar, Yatendra; Srivastava, Radheyshyam; Goel, Raj K.; Dey, Radharaman; Bhattacharya, Salil K. (1988). "Anti-ulcerogenic activity of fulvic acids and 4′-methoxy-6-carbomethoxybiphenyl isolated from shilajit". Phytotherapy Research 2 (4): 187. doi:10.1002/ptr.2650020408. 
  13. ^ a b Jaiswal, AK; Bhattacharya, SK (1992). "Effects of Shilajit on memory, anxiety and brain monoamines in rats". Indian Journal of Pharmacology 24 (1): 12–7. 
  14. ^ a b Mukherjee, Biswapati (1992). Traditional Medicine, Proceedings of an International Seminar. Nov. 7–9 1992. Hotel Taj Bengal, Calcutta India: Oxford & IBH Publishing, New Delhi. pp. 308–19. ISBN 81-204-0817-9. 
  15. ^ Schliebs, R; Liebmann, A; Bhattacharya, S; Kumar, A; Ghosal, S; Bigl, V (1997). "Systemic administration of defined extracts from Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) and Shilajit differentially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and GABAergic markers in rat brain". Neurochemistry International 30 (2): 181–90. doi:10.1016/S0197-0186(96)00025-3. PMID 9017665. 
  16. ^ Schepetkin, Igor; Khlebnikov, Andrei; Kwon, Byoung Se (2002). "Medical drugs from humus matter: Focus on mumie". Drug Development Research 57 (3): 140. doi:10.1002/ddr.10058. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bucci, Luke R (2000). "Selected herbals and human exercise performance". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72 (2 Suppl): 624S–36S. PMID 10919969. 
  • Hill, Carol A.; Forti, Paolo (1997). Cave minerals of the world 2 (2nd ed.). National Speleological Society. p. 223. ISBN 978-1-879961-07-4. 
  • Schepetkin, Igor; Khlebnikov, Andrei; Kwon, Byoung Se (2002). "Medical drugs from humus matter: Focus on mumie". Drug Development Research 57 (3): 140. doi:10.1002/ddr.10058. 
  • Frolova, L. N.; Kiseleva, T. L. (1996). "Chemical composition of mumijo and methods for determining its authenticity and quality (a review)". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 30 (8): 543. doi:10.1007/BF02334644. 
  • Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Yus'Kovich, A. K. (1996). "HPLC study of fatty-acid components of dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 30 (6): 421. doi:10.1007/BF02219332. 
  • Frolova, L. N.; Kiseleva, T. L.; Kolkhir, V. K.; Baginskaya, A. I.; Trumpe, T. E. (1998). "Antitoxic properties of standard dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 32 (4): 197. doi:10.1007/BF02464208. 
  • Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Baibakova, G. V.; Ksenofontov, A. L. (1998). "Study of the amino acid fraction of dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 32 (2): 103. doi:10.1007/BF02464176. 
  • Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Ivanova, O. Yu.; Domnina, L. V.; Fetisova, E. K.; Pletyushkina, O. Yu. (1996). "Effect of mumijo on the morphology and directional migration of fibroblastoid and epithelial cellsin vitro". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal 30 (5): 337. doi:10.1007/BF02333977. 
  • Joshi, G. C., K. C. Tiwari, N. K. Pande and G. Pande. 1994. Bryophytes, the source of the origin of Shilajit – a new hypothesis. B.M.E.B.R. 15(1–4): 106–111.
  • Ghosal, S., B. Mukherjee and S. K. Bhattacharya. 1995. Ind. Journal of Indg. Med. 17(1): 1–11.
  • Ghosal, S.; Reddy, J. P.; Lal, V. K. (1976). "Shilajit I: Chemical constituents". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 65 (5): 772–3. doi:10.1002/jps.2600650545. PMID 932958. 
  • Phillips, Paul. On Shilajit on the Internet.
  • Faruqi, S.H. 1997, Nature and Origin of Salajit, Hamdard Medicus, Vol XL, April–June, pages 21–30
  • Zahler, P; Karin, A (1998). "Origin of the floristic components of Salajit". Hamdard Medicus 41 (2): 6–8. 
  • Shafiq, Muhammad Imtiaz; Nagra, Saeed Ahmad; Batool, Nayab (2006). "Biochemical and Trace Mineral Analysis of Silajit Samples From Pakistan". Nutritional Sciences 9 (3): 190–4.