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Pahadi Shilajit: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Origins, Benefits, and Uses

The Black Bitumen

Pahadi Shilajit is a mineral product of predominantly biological origin that is rarely found in the high altitudes of the Himalayas (mostly in India, Pakistan, Nepal & Bhutan). According to some research, it has also been traced in the Caucasus Mountains within Russia and some parts of Central Asia.  

Research by the Central State Geographical Exploration Center has stated that the deposits of Pahadi Shilajit are very rare, and the reserves of raw materials in them are limited. 

Its unique properties and historical usage make Pahadi Shilajit a significant substance in the field of naturopathy.

For over 4,000 years, it has been used in folk and alternative medicine in holistic Ayurveda, Chinese, and Tibetan cultures. The best form of Pahadi Shilajit is in resin form, but it is also sold in dry extract form and as dietary supplements.

According to the Indian Ancient textbook Rasasastra, Pahadi Shilajit is known by the names Silajatu, Silajita, and Adrija, it is the fifth mineral drug in the ‘Maharasa group’.

It comprises two words Sila which means rock or mountain and Jatu which is a kind of resin that trickles down from the high altitudes of the Himalayan mountains during summer.

The term shilajit is also interpreted as the one who conquers the mountains, the conqueror of the rocks & destroyer of weakness.

In English terms, it is called Black Bitumen and Asphaltum Punjabianum. It is a sticky, black, and highly viscous substance which melts at high temperatures and solidifies at low temperatures.

Part 1: Understanding Pahadi Shilajit

Origin of Pahadi Shilajit

Shilajit, a complex substance rich in fulvic acid and other rare minerals, is believed to form from the long-term decomposition of certain plants like Euphorbia Royleana and Trifolium Repens. The natural process, unfolding over centuries, positions shilajit as an ancient natural treasure.

Research has expanded the list of potential sources to include various plant organisms, including types of molds such as Barbula, Fissidens, Minium, and Thuidium, as well as other plant species like Asterella, Dumortiera, Marchantia, Pellia, Plagiochasma, and Stephenrencella-Anthoceros.

Pahadi Shilajit Formation

During the hot summer seasons (April and May) the temperature in the mountains of the Himalayan range rises. As a result, the thick essence from the surface of these rocks oozes out.

It dries up and collects in between these rocks. This blackish rock essence is called Shilajit. Or, the essence of Himalayan mountain rocks is secreted out because of the fierce sun, dries up, and collects in between the rock cleavages like that of black coal.

Main Components 

The primary and active component of Pahadi Shilajit is fulvic acid which is considered the strongest natural electrolyte. Fulvic acid is an unusual collection of hormones, nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, superoxide dismutases, free radical scavengers, bactericidal substances, antiviral, antifungal, biochemical, and phytochemicals.

Additionally, the rare Pahadi Shilajit variant is notable for its content of humic acid, with a concentration of 80 g/100g, and traces of gold, measured at 0.5 mg/kg.

It also comprises Minerals 38.65% organic substances 36.2 %, water 9.5 %, nitrogenous substances 1.3%, lime 7.8 %, and mica 1.35 %. It has a pungent odor like cow’s urine.

It slowly dissolves in water but is insoluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform. Pahadi Pahadi Shilajit melts and burns without fumes and smoke. It has been used for ages and has special mentions in the treatment of Premeha rog. Its use for therapeutic purposes can be traced back to all classical Indian texts.

SOURCE

Types of Pahadi Shilajit Based on Process

There are two types of Pahadi Shilajit according to Rasasastra.

  • Gomutragandhi Shilajit (Black Bitumen): This type is characterized by its dark color and tar-like consistency. It is traditionally believed to be the most potent form, rich in fulvic acid and other beneficial compounds.
  • Karpuragandhi Shilajit (Potassium Nitrate): This variety is known for containing potassium nitrate and has a distinct appearance and chemical composition compared to the black bitumen type.

Types Based on Minerals

Based on minerals, there are three types of Pahadi Shilajit according to Rasasastra.

  • Swarnādrija: The silajatu, which originates from the mountains rich in 'gold mineral', which is reddish like 'japa puspa' and which is heavy, is identified as 'swarnādrija'.
  • Rajatadrija: The silajatu, which originates from the mountains rich 'silver mineral', which is madhura, pale white (pāndu varna) in color and which is heavy is identified as 'rajatadrija'. becomes a necessity.
  • Tamradrija: The silajatu, which originates from the mountains rich in 'copper mineral', which is bluish and which is hard and heavy, is identified as 'tamrādrija'.

Part 2: The Significance of Pahadi Shilajit

Pahadi Shilajit Confirmatory test

The confirmatory test of a genuine Pahadi Shilajit sample

  1. When a small piece of Pahadi Shilajit is placed over glowing charcoal it should not produce any smoke
  2. Instead, it should melt and swell to attain the shape or linga
  3. When put on the surface of stable water taken in a bowl, it should go down in a fashion of sinking threads.
  4. However, it should not dissolve in water
  5. It should possesses katu and tikta rasa

The sample of Pahadi Shilajit is considered a genuine variety that can be used for therapeutic purposes.

NOTE: Administration of impure or improperly purified Pahadi Shilajit causes a burning sensation, loss of consciousness, and giddiness. So the purification of Pahadi Shilajit is a must.

Pahadi Shilajit Purification Method - 1

Washing Pahadi Shilajit in any of the alkaline liquids, sour liquids, or fresh cow’s urine will purify the drug. Here the Pahadi Shilajit is added with enough quantity of specified liquids, stirred well, filtered into larger trays, and dried under the sun to obtain pure Pahadi Shilajit.

Pahadi Shilajit Purification Method - 2

Thorough washing of impure Pahadi Shilajit in cows' milk will purify the drug. Here the Pahadi Shilajit is added with enough quantity of above specified liquids in a stainless steel vessel stirred well filtered into larger trays and dried under the sun to obtain pure Pahadi Shilajit.

Pahadi Shilajit Purification Method - 3

Impure Pahadi Shilajit is triturated along with an equal quantity of yavaksara and pure guggulu. The mixture is placed over the cloth tied at the neck of the swedani yantra which contains amla drava as liquid media. The vessel is placed over a fire and cooked for 3 hours to obtain pure Pahadi Shilajit.

Detailed Purification Method

In the summer season with no clouds and no strong winds, the Pahadi Shilajit extraction process should be taken up. To carry the process more than one bigger-sized wide-mouthed vessel is taken.

  1. In one vessel, one part of impure Pahadi Shilajit is taken. It is added with two parts of hot water and half part of triphala kwatha. The mixture is stirred to dissolve the Pahadi Shilajit and later placed under the sun for 3 hours.  Later the mixture is macerated well under the sun and filtered through a strong cloth into the second selected vessel.
  2. This second vessel containing the blackish solution of Pahadi Shilajit is placed undisturbed under the hot sun. When the blackish creamy layer surfaces over the liquid it is carefully skimmed off into the third vessel containing the required quantity of hot water. When the blackish creamy layer resurfaces in the third vessel, it is again skimmed off to the fourth vessel containing the required quantity of hot water. Like this, the process of placing the vessel containing Pahadi Shilajit and hot water under a hot sun and skimming off the surfaced creamy layer into another vessel is contained until the water in the vessel remains colorless. Moreover, all the physical impurities like sand and gravel in the Pahadi Shilajit remain back in the previous vessel.
  3. Finally, the blackish creamy layer resurfaces of Pahadi Shilajit is skimmed off into a clean stainless steel tray. It is placed under sun-dried and later used as a pure Pahadi Shilajit for all pharmaceutical purposes.

Note: When the vessel containing Pahadi Shilajit and water is placed under the sun during the process, one should ensure the dust does not fall into it. To avoid the fall of dust into it, a transparent wide glass may be placed over the mouth of the vessel. It is also better to keep the vessel undisturbed before and during skimming off its creamy layer.

During Pahadi Shilajit purification, the required triphala kwatha is prepared as follows: the coarse powder of triphala is taken in a decoction vessel in equal quantity to that of impure Pahadi Shilajit. It is added eight times of water and cooked over a mild fire. When the liquid is reduced to a quarter the liquid is filtered and used as trilhala kwatha.

The triphala kwatha may be replaced with fresh gomutra or Bhringraj Swaras and the same purification method may be followed to obtain pure Pahadi Shilajit. The final filtrate during Pahadi Shilajit purification is taken in wide stainless steel trays. The trays are placed daily under hot sun and dried. Later the dry shilajit is used as Pahadi Shilajit.

Part 3: Pahadi Shilajit Benefits and Uses

Shilajit, a natural substance rich in fulvic acid, offers a variety of uses, including potential benefits. Here are the top benefits of Pahadi Shilajit:

  • Potential Alzheimer’s Disease Management: Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurological condition characterized by memory loss, behavioral changes, and cognitive decline. While there are medications available to mitigate Alzheimer’s symptoms, shilajit's unique molecular structure suggests it might also offer benefits. Its main ingredient, fulvic acid, is a potent antioxidant that may support cognitive functions by preventing the excessive accumulation of tau protein. Tau proteins are crucial for the nervous system, but their overaccumulation can lead to brain cell damage. The theory is that fulvic acid from Pahadi Shilajit could help inhibit this buildup and lessen inflammation, offering a potential avenue for Alzheimer’s symptom management. Nonetheless, further studies and clinical trials are essential to fully understand its efficacy.
    • Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Pahadi Shilajit, known for its energizing properties, may offer a promising approach to managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a condition characterized by severe, persistent tiredness that isn't alleviated by rest. CFS can significantly impact daily activities, making tasks that were once simple, exceedingly difficult. The condition is thought to be linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, where cells fail to produce adequate energy. A 2012 study explored the effects of Pahadi Shilajit on lab rats over 21 days. Following the administration of Pahadi Shilajit, the rats were subjected to a regimen designed to induce CFS by making them swim for 15 minutes daily over 21 consecutive days. The findings indicated that Pahadi Shilajit mitigated the symptoms of CFS, presumably by enhancing mitochondrial function, thus preventing the decline in energy production at the cellular level.
    • Treating Infertility: Pahadi Shilajit is considered a safe supplement for male infertility. In a clinical study involving 60 infertile men, participants took Pahadi Shilajit twice daily for 90 days after meals. By the end of the study period, over 60% of the participants experienced an increase in total sperm count. Additionally, more than 12% saw improvements in sperm motility, which is crucial for fertility as it refers to the sperm's ability to move effectively.
    • Beneficial for Women with PCOS/PCOD and Menopause: Pahadi Shilajit can be an excellent natural remedy for women dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), as well as those undergoing menopause. Its hormonal balancing properties may help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate symptoms associated with PCOS/PCOD, such as insulin resistance, acne, and hair growth. Additionally, for women experiencing menopause, Shilajit's rich mineral content and bioactive compounds may support hormonal balance, reduce hot flashes, and improve energy levels. This makes Pahadi Shilajit a versatile supplement that addresses various aspects of women's health, particularly during these challenging phases. However, as with any supplement, individuals must consult healthcare professionals before integrating Shilajit into their wellness routine to ensure it aligns with their specific health needs and conditions.
    • Supporting Heart Health: Pahadi Shilajit may also offer benefits for heart health. In research conducted on lab rats, Pahadi Shilajit was found to potentially improve cardiac performance. Rats that received Pahadi Shilajit before being injected with isoproterenol (to induce heart injury) exhibited fewer cardiac lesions compared to those that did not receive Pahadi Shilajit. However, it's important to note that individuals with active heart disease should avoid taking Pahadi Shilajit.
    • Raise Testosterone: Testosterone, the key male sex hormone, varies in levels among men. Low testosterone can manifest through several signs, including diminished libido, hair loss, muscle mass reduction, fatigue, and an increase in body fat. In a notable clinical trial involving male volunteers aged 45-55, the study divided participants into two groups: one received a placebo, and the other was administered a 250 milligram (mg) dose of purified Pahadi Shilajit twice daily. The research, conducted over 90 days, revealed that the group treated with purified Pahadi Shilajit experienced a significant rise in testosterone levels compared to those who took the placebo. This finding suggests that Pahadi Shilajit may play a beneficial role in boosting testosterone levels in men experiencing lower levels of this crucial hormone.
    • Improving Bone Density in Females: For females assigned at birth (FAAB) experiencing menopause, bone mass loss is a common issue, leading to weakened bones. A 2022 study suggests that daily supplementation with Pahadi Shilajit may aid postmenopausal women in improving their bone mineral density. This improvement could potentially reduce the risk of developing conditions like osteoporosis and decrease the likelihood of fractures and other injuries. These findings highlight shilajit's potential as a supplement for addressing specific health concerns, though it's always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.
    • Slow aging: The fulvic acid is Pahadi Shilajit, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, may play a role in combating free radicals and cellular damage, potentially slowing the aging process and promoting longevity and improved health through its regular use.
    • Reduce Altitude Sickness: High altitudes can cause symptoms such as pulmonary edema, insomnia, lethargy, body pain, dementia, and hypoxia, often due to low atmospheric pressure, cold temperatures, or high wind velocity. Pahadi Shilajit, containing fulvic acid and over 84 minerals, may offer health benefits like boosting immunity and memory, reducing inflammation, enhancing energy, and acting as a diuretic to remove excess body fluid. These properties suggest Pahadi Shilajit could help mitigate various high-altitude symptoms.
    • Addressing Iron Deficiency Anemia: Iron deficiency anemia, which may arise from a low-iron diet, blood loss, or an inability to absorb iron, manifests through fatigue, weakness, cold extremities, headaches, and irregular heartbeats. Pahadi Shilajit supplements could be beneficial in gradually increasing iron levels. In one study, anemic rats treated with Pahadi Shilajit showed significant improvements in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell levels, essential for blood health, compared to untreated anemic rats.

    How to Storage Pahadi Shilajit?

    Pahadi Shilajit resin can be stored at room temperature as well as can be refrigerated. You can store it as per your ease of use, as it will become hard to low temperatures (in winter) and will meet at high temperatures (in summer).

    What Are The Directions To Intake Pahadi Shilajit?

    Add 100 mg to 1 gm (depending upon your body requirement) of Pahadi Shilajit in 1 cup of boiling milk/water and boil for 1-2 minutes. Add honey/sweetener if required.

    How Long Can You Take Pahadi Shilajit?

    It can be taken for 6-8 weeks at a stretch, then give a gap of 4 weeks and continue again. You can also consult your doctor for the right guidance.

    What Are The Do’s and Don’t Related To Pahadi Shilajit?

    • You should drink cow’s milk, and lots of water and eat food like green gram, cow’s ghee, shali rice, to get the highest efficacy of Pahadi Shilajit.
    • You should avoid eating cucumber, watermelon, plum, bitter gourd, safflower, pointed gourd, banana, black nightshade, and especially horse-gram.
    • If you are a Hypertensive patient then you have to monitor your blood pressure for a few days when you start consuming Pahadi Shilajit, if it does not suit your system, please stop the consumption.
    • If you are diabetic, you have to monitor your blood sugar levels for a few days when you start consuming Pahadi Shilajit. If it doesn’t suit your system, please stop the consumption.
    • It is advisable to do a minimum of 1-hour workout every day while consuming Pahadi Shilajit to get the best results.

    Nutrient Value of Pahadi Shilajit

    • Energy, Kcal/100g: 356.40
    • Protein, g/100g: ND, [DL-0.1]
    • Carbohydrates, g/100g: 89.10 
    • Total Sugar, g/100g: ND, [DL-0.5]
    • Fat, g/100g: ND, [DL-0.1]
    • Gold, mg/kg: 0.5

    ND - Not detected, DL - Detection Limit 

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    DISCLAIMER: All material provided is meant for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for a medical consultation. All readers are strongly encouraged to consult and work with an experienced healthcare practitioner. Individual results may vary.

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