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Shilajit, also known as silajit, salajeet or mumijo, momia and moomiyo,[1]"shargai", 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]

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

It is used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. Today, in the United States, supplement companies are selling Shilajit as an ingredient in testosterone boosting supplements. The composition of shilajit has been investigated numerous times in both India and the former USSR, and depends on the location where it is found. It has been reported to contain at least 85 minerals in ionic form, as well as triterpenes, humic acid and fulvic acid.[3][4][5] A similar substance from the Caucasus Mountains, and the Altai Mountains is called mumijo (Russian).[6]

Name[edit]

Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning "rock-invincible." It is also spelled "shilajeet," and "salajeet(سلاجیت)" in Urdu and is known by various other names, such as shilajita mumiyo, mineral pitch or mineral wax in English, black asphaltum, Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin, barahshin, dorobi, baraga shun or brag-shun, chao-tong, and wu ling zhi (which generally refers to the excrement of flying squirrels). Shilajit is commonly called shilajitu in Ayurveda.The wakhis call it "baad-a-ghee"(evils feces).

Mumijo is a word of Greek origin. The substance is mentioned in the works of Aristotle and Avicenna as a remedy with antiseptic and general stimulant properties used in Caucasus mountains. Most scientists agree that people observed wounded animals frequenting caves with mumijo and so discovered the substance. Similar substances are used for medicinal purposes throughout Tibet.[1]

History[edit]

Shilajit is a substance mainly found in the Altai, Himalaya, and Caucasus mountains of Central Asia. The color range varies from a yellowish brown to pitch-black, depending on composition. An ancient Ayurvedic text, called the Charaka Samhita, states that there is no curable disease in the universe, which is not effectively cured by shilajit when it is administered at the appropriate time, in combination with suitable drugs and by adopting the prescribed method.[7] 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. Some marketers of dietary supplements pretend to sell mumio, while in fact they are offering cheap raw ozokerite, a substance used, for example, in cosmetics.[8] Genuine mumio/shilajit should melt in the hand and has a distinct smell of bitumen, whereas ozokerite melts at 164-169 °F/73.3-76.1 °C.

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. Purified shilajit has an unlimited shelf life.

It is still unclear whether shilajit has a geological or biological origin as it has numerous traces of vitamins and amino acids. A mumio-like substance from Antarctica was found to contain glycerol derivatives and was also believed to have medicinal properties.[9]

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.[10]

Research[edit]

Mumijo/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:

  • Anti-aging (both mental and physical)[15][16]

In the former USSR, medical preparations based on mumijo/shilajit are still being sold,[17][18] further developed and investigated.[19] In India, dietary supplements based on shilajit are also very popular, mainly due to its purported effects on male impotence and premature ejaculation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  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. ^ "Safe Use of Salajeet During The Pregnancy Of Female Mice". Bab.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  4. ^ Shibnath Ghosal -Chemistry of Shilajit, an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic rasayan [1]
  5. ^ Chopra, R N, Chopra I C, Handa K L & Kapur L D. - Chopra’’s Indigenous Drugs of India. [2]
  6. ^ David Winston & Steven Maimes. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Healing Arts Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59477-158-3
  7. ^ Helf, Johann (2012-10-28). "Shilajit in Ancient Texts". Lotus Blooming Herbs. authenticshilajit.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  8. ^ "Ozokerite Wax Material Safety Datasheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  9. ^ PMID 18996940 Mumijo Traditional Medicine: Fossil Deposits from Antarctica (PubMed)
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ The antioxidant - genoprotective mechanism of the preparation Mumijo-Vitas [3]
  19. ^ Yarovaya, Sofiya Alekseevna (2003-02-01). "Medical preparations based on Mumijo". Oriveda Research Repository. Oriveda.com. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Talbert - SHILAJIT - a materia medica monograph - California College of Ayurveda[4], 2004
  • 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. 
  • The antioxidant - genoprotective mechanism of the preparation Mumijo-Vitas [5]
  • 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. 
  • Robert Talbert - SHILAJIT - a materia medica monograph - California College of Ayurveda[6], 2004

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