Shilajit is a dark goo that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. While evidence-based scientific studies of this tar-like goo are lacking, some modern research has suggested that some of its purported benefits may have an element of truth.

What is shilajit made of?

The herbomineral substance comes from high mountain rocks, typically in the Himalayas and mountains of Tibet, although it can also come from a number of high altitude locations in Asia and South America.

It is created by the gradual breakdown of plants and organic matter by microbes over long periods of time.

It is extremely rich in dozens of minerals, especially fulvic acid, which is said to be its main active ingredient. Fulvic acid is created by the extremely slow breakdown of organic matter and can be found in clay, sand, peat, mountain rocks and mud.

Translations differ, but shilajit is said to mean the destroyer of weakness or conqueror of rocks in the ancient Sanskrit language. He also has different names depending on where you are in the world, most notably Mumijo.

Shilajit is very dark brown to black and is highly viscous like tar or resin. However, it is water soluble and is often consumed after mixing in water.

It is commonly related to Ayurveda, an ancient system of healing that originated in India, although there are also accounts of its use by ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese and Central Asian physicians. According to legend, Alexander the Great used mountain tears believed by some to be shilajit to heal war wounds during his expedition to India.

What is shilajit used for?

There are anecdotal claims that shilajit can be used for a myriad of purposes, most notably increasing “energy life” and improving longevity. As far as scientific studies go, there are few that suggest it holds promise for certain health issues. However, many of these studies are small or have only been done in laboratory animals, meaning their results should be treated with caution.

It is sometimes promoted as a powerful aphrodisiac. While there are no direct studies on this, other research has indicated that it could be used to treat low testosterone levels. In a study of 96 healthy men between the ages of 45 and 55, half were given a placebo while the other half were given 250 milligrams of purified shilajit twice a day. After 90 days, the participants who consumed the purified shilajit had significantly higher testosterone levels than the placebo group.

In another study, 60 men with fertility issues took shilajit twice a day for 90 days after meals. After 90 days of treatment, more than 60% of the participants showed an increase in total sperm count, while sperm motility was increased by 12%.

A team of scientists has examined whether shilajit could be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, citing its potential procognitive properties. They presented evidence that shilajit helped rats’ brain cells grow in a petri dish. Furthermore, they argued that the substance could possess certain properties that block the accumulation of tau proteins, believed to be the direct cause of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. However, this is a bold claim that needs more proof.

Shilajit is sometimes touted as a remedy for tiredness and lethargy, so a study of 63 active men investigated whether it could help fatigue-induced decreases in muscle strength. Their results concluded that those who took the supplement were less tired and had better retention of maximal muscle strength.

The good news is that shilajit is widely considered safe and has minimal side effects. It is important, however, that the shilajit is not raw and has not been processed as it can be contaminated with unwanted by-products, such as pathogens and heavy metals. Likewise, it is possible to be allergic to the substance, so you should only take it after speaking to a doctor.

All explanatory articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at the time of publication. Text, images and links can be edited, removed or added later to keep the information up to date.

The content of this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare professionals with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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