The Benefits of Shilajit
Shilajit, pronounced “sheel-a-jeet,” is a dark, sticky mineral substance that exudes from the rocks in the Himalayas during the heat of summer.
It may be surprising to learn that a sticky black excretion from rocks would have any health benefits, but shilajit has been used as a medicinal ally around the world for over 3,000 years1 and is even considered a panacea by some. It is especially known for its powerful rejuvenative effects in the body, which help to bolster the immune system and support healthy aging, among many other incredible benefits.
In Ayurveda, shilajit is said to have a balancing effect on all doshas. It can be used to gently detoxify the tissues, but it also has a strengthening, nourishing, and building quality. This combination makes shilajit a highly prized supplement for almost everyone.
If you do not know your dosha, we recommend that you take our free Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz.
What Is Shilajit?
Translated from Sanskrit, shilajit means “the destroyer of weakness,”2 which speaks to its incredible ability to bring strength and rejuvenation to the body. Unlike most of our herbal products, this tar-like material is not actually harvested directly from a plant, but rather created from the slow decomposition of plant material over many centuries deep in the rocks of the Himalayas.
As it develops, it becomes a sticky, mineral-infused substance. Eventually, stimulated by the intense heat of summer, it seeps out through the rocks, finally available to harvest. This process of creation explains some of its other names, such as “blood of the mountains,” “mineral pitch,” and “juice of rock.”3
One of the reasons that shilajit is such a powerful healing substance is that it is packed with beneficial minerals, including silica, iron, calcium, copper, lithium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc.4 Not only is shilajit rich in organic trace minerals (in this case, “organic” means plant-derived), but it also contains fulvic acid, humic acid, amino acids, and plant-based antioxidants.5
Shilajit Use and Benefits
Shilajit is an incredible ally for the entire body that offers a number of benefits:6
- Rejuvenates and strengthens the immune system
- Cleanses and strengthens the lungs
- Purifies the blood
- Helps to remove natural toxins from the body
- Helps maintain strong kidney function and a healthy urinary tract
- Maintains balanced blood sugar levels already in normal range
- Helps to maintain healthy body weight
- Strengthens the reproductive system, toning both the male and female reproductive organs
- Revitalizes the libido
- Supports strong and healthy bones
- Supports vitality and stamina
- Supports healthy aging
- Enhances the potency of other herbs
- Supports healthy absorption of nutrients
- Removes excess kapha (earth and water elements)
Shilajit and Ayurveda: Traditional Uses
Shilajit includes four of the six Ayurvedic tastes—pungent, bitter, salty, and astringent—and carries a pungent, heating energy virya. While it is considered balancing for all doshas, its gentle heating nature can become aggravating for pitta if used in excess.7
Shilajit has an affinity for the mutra vaha srota (urinary system), where it helps to clear the stagnation of kapha, tone vata, and stimulate the flow of apana vayu through the pelvic region. It also strengthens the kidneys, a vital part of the greater urinary system.
Shilajit also has a powerful effect on the medas dhatu (fat tissue) and the ambuvaha srotas (the channels of water) throughout the body, helping to regulate healthy weight and maintain well-balanced blood sugar levels in the normal range.
In the reproductive system (shukra dhatu), shilajit is renowned for supporting the health and function of the sex organs in both men and women. As a rasayana, it has a nourishing and strengthening quality that benefits the tissues of the entire reproductive system, protecting them from excess vata, premature degeneration, and general weakness.
On a broader scale, shilajit supports natural cleansing of any accumulated stagnation or toxicity, while also building and rejuvenating healthy tissues throughout the body. Through these actions, it is a powerful ally for balancing all three doshas.
Considering shilajit’s high mineral content and its ability to support so many systems and tissue layers in the body, it is no surprise that shilajit is an adaptogen, making it a wonderful ally for supporting the adrenals and healthy energy levels while it helps your body cope with stress.
Traditionally, shilajit is known as yoga vahi—which means “joining carrier”—because of its ability to carry and drive nutrients deep into the body so they can work most effectively. As a yoga vahi, shilajit can be taken with other herbs and supplements to enhance their effectiveness.
How to Take Shilajit
Because taste plays such an important role in the digestive process and signals the body to initiate its own supportive mechanisms, Ayurveda traditionally recommends tasting herbs, and ingesting them in a powdered form when possible.
Because shilajit is not like a regular herb, and comes in the form of a dense sticky substance, Banyan Botanicals does not offer it in a powdered form. Instead, we make our shilajit supplements available in tablet-form for an easy and convenient way to take the substance internally.
Banyan provides tablets rather than capsules so that you can get a good taste of the herb, in traditional Ayurvedic style, if you so desire. But you will receive all the same benefits simply by swallowing the tablets. Many find this method preferable, as shilajit has a distinctly potent taste and smell.
Shilajit tablets are an easy supplement to use in your daily routine. The general recommendation is to take 1–2 tablets, once or twice daily—anywhere from 300–1200mg per day. We encourage you to consult with a healthcare practitioner to determine the dose that is ideal for you.
Taking Shilajit with Other Herbs
Shilajit works wonders on its own, and as a yoga vahi, it can be taken in combination with other herbs to enhance their effects.
Taking shilajit with shatavari and licorice is specifically beneficial for the female reproductive organs, soothing, nourishing and toning the entire system. It also strengthens and supports a calm, stable nervous system.9
Modern Research on Shilajit
There have been quite a few studies performed by modern scientists in order to research and report the health promoting benefits of shilajit. Among others, these studies have included investigations into shilajit’s positive impact on the health of the central nervous system, testosterone levels, maintaining strong immune function, and overcoming fatigue.10, 11, 12
Is Shilajit Safe?
To ensure safety, it is important to make sure that you choose a supplement that comes from a reliable source. Your shilajit should be purified and ready for use, rather than raw or unprocessed. Raw shilajit runs the risk of containing heavy metals, fungus, bacteria, or other unwanted contaminants.15
As with any herb or supplement, consult your health care practitioner before combining shilajit with prescription drugs. And if you notice any abnormal side effects, discontinue use immediately.
Although shilajit is considered natural and safe, always consult with your health care practitioner before use, and use with caution when pregnant or breastfeeding. Shilajit should not be used if any of the following conditions are present: