Shilajit: The New Superfood You Didn’t Realize You Need
You’ve heard the message over and over: you need your vitamins and minerals. They’re important for optimal health, and they used to be easier to come by…
It used to be that you would get the minerals you needed from the soil. Back in the day when everyone grew their own foods, the natural processes of farm life was a continuous cycle of nutrient give and take. Plants would absorb them, and the food you ate was full of vibrant nutrition.
Not so anymore. Commercial farming and modern manufacturing have drastically depleted the soil (1) of many of the minerals you need. And because it’s not very cost-effective to take the time to improve the soil, many companies charge ahead without doing so.
And unfortunately, you’re the one who suffers for it.
So because your body still needs the minerals, where can you go to get them? One place would be high in the Himalayas.
Let’s explore how a dark, sticky substance called Shilajit can give your body an incredible amount of much-needed minerals and nutrition.
What is Shilajit?
Pronounced “Sheel-a-jeet”, this dark brown-black herb is made from years of decomposed plant material. It’s usually found high in the mountains of places like the Himalayas, Nepal, Russia, Iran, and even Peru.
This amazing superfood has been used in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Technically it’s not an herb, even though it is classified as an adaptogen, much like ashwagandha and shatavari. This is due to its anti-stress and immune-boosting properties (1)
It’s believed that it was first discovered after watching some monkeys gather around certain parts of the mountains. They would eat a dark mineral substance, and after investigation, villagers partook as well.
It’s since been named Shilajit, which comes from Sanskrit words meaning, “conqueror of mountains” and “destroyer of weakness” because of it’s astounding antioxidant and longevity properties.
How Is It Processed?
So how do you take this super substance and turn it into something people can take easily and affordably?
First, you have to go where the action is. High in the mountains, you’ll want to keep an eye out for rocks that have a combination of limestone, gravel, humus, and sand (3). Small patches on the rocks will be shiny and sticky. This is the Shilajit.
The rocks are collected and placed in a pot to soak in water. The water breaks the rocks down, and eventually you have a thick, muddy concoction.
The mixture is then heated. After it has been heated for a while, it is strained three times (twice with a standard metal strainer, then a third time with a cheesecloth) to remove any chunks or debris.
After it has been strained and cooled, milk is added and it is reheated. This is said to sweeten the taste and increase its Rasayana (increase longevity) properties.
Finally, Triphala (an herbal remedy (4) made from dried fruit) is added to the mixture. This is said to remove any remaining impurities and increase the long-term effectiveness of the Shilajit.
The mixture is heated a third time, this time to begin the evaporation process.
Once all the water is removed, the Shilajit is poured into trays to cool.
The result is purified Shilajit resin. Manufacturers can go one step further and turn it into powder.
Taking Shilajit as a supplement can help you in lots of ways. Check out some of the most common benefits (2) below:
- Alzheimer’s: This disorder is a long a progressive one that involves memory, thinking, and behavior. Shilajit contains fulvic acid which is high in antioxidants. These can fight off a build-up of proteins that can disrupt normal brain function.
- High altitude sickness: Sometimes during travel, high altitudes can make you feel sick. Because Shilajit has over 84 minerals in it, it can help your body adapt to the change.
- Aging: Because of the high amounts of fulvic acid and antioxidants present, Shilajit may help reduce free radical damage of your cells. This can help slow down the aging process.
- Fatigue: Being tired all the time can make even the most simple task challenging. Chronic fatigue is thought to stem from broken mitochondria in the cells. Taking Shilajit can help boost mitochondrial function and give you more energy.
- Heart health: While it’s not recommended to take Shilajit if you have active heart disease, it may help prevent heart disease from forming.
- Anemia: If you suffer from cold hands, headaches, weakness and fatigue, taking Shilajit may help increase iron levels over time.
- Infertility: For men that struggle with low sperm count or decreased sperm mobility, Shilajit could help. A study of 60 men took Shilajit every day, twice a day, for 90 days. At the end of the study, both sperm motility and count increased.
Ways to Take Shilajit
Shilajit can come as a liquid, powder, or resin. Because it has an earthy, bitter taste, it’s not usually a “eat it straight” kind of herb. It’s best when mixed with something else, such as:
- Anything that can be blended.
Recommended Doses are between 300-500mg (2) per day, although it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new regimens.
Are there any risks when taking Shilajit? While it is a natural compound, you don’t want to eat raw or unprocessed findings. In its raw state, there is the potential presence of heavy metals, fungus, or other contaminants.
You may not want to take Shilajit if you have sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, or hemochromatosis. If you develop rashes, dizziness, or an elevated heart rate, stop taking it.
According to Ayurvedic texts, you also should not take Shilajit if you are pregnant.
Make sure you purchase Shilajit supplements from a reputable source that includes third-party testing.
Shilajit is a dark mineral substance that provides an incredible amount of nutrition for your body. Discovered by monkeys and harvested by humans, it has been used for thousands of years for its many health benefits.
It contains a high amount of fulvic acid, as well as other anti-inflammatory compounds. This is crucial to living the best you can in today’s world.
You can buy Shilajit as a liquid, powder, or resin. It’s typically consumed daily with little known side effects. You can mix it with just about anything if the taste is unpalatable.
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References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author