Shilajit: A review

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DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2100 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
Shilajit is a pale-brown to blackish-brown exudation, of variable consistency, exuding from layers of rocks in many mountain ranges of the world, especially the Himalayas and Hindukush ranges of the Indian subcontinent. It has been found to consist of a complex mixture of organic humic substances and plant and microbial metabolites occurring in the rock rhizospheres of its natural habitat. Shilajit has been used as a rejuvenator and an adaptogen for thousands of years, in one form or another, as part of traditional systems of medicine in a number of countries. Many therapeutic properties have been ascribed to it, a number of which have been verified by modern scientific evaluation. Shilajit has been attributed with many miraculous healing properties.
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SHILAJIT 401
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Phytother. Res. 21, 401–405 (2007)
DOI: 10.1002/ptr
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
PHYTOTHERAPY RESEARCH
Phytother. Res. 21, 401–405 (2007)
Published online 13 February 2007 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2100
REVIEW ARTICLE
Shilajit: A Review
Suraj P. Agarwal, Rajesh Khanna
1
*, Ritesh Karmarkar, Md. Khalid Anwer and
Roop K. Khar
Department of Pharmaceutics, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi 110062, India
1
Present address: Dabur Research Foundation, 22, Site IV, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh– 201010, India
Shilajit is a pale-brown to blackish-brown exudation, of variable consistency, exuding from layers of rocks in
many mountain ranges of the world, especially the Himalayas and Hindukush ranges of the Indian subconti-
nent. It has been found to consist of a complex mixture of organic humic substances and plant and microbial
metabolites occurring in the rock rhizospheres of its natural habitat. Shilajit has been used as a rejuvenator
and an adaptogen for thousands of years, in one form or another, as part of traditional systems of medicine
in a number of countries. Many therapeutic properties have been ascribed to it, a number of which have been
verified by modern scientific evaluation. Shilajit has been attributed with many miraculous healing properties.
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Keywords: Shilajit; humic substances; Ayurvedic rasayan; adaptogen.
Received 12 October 2006
Revised 24 November 2006
Accepted 11 December 2006
* Correspondence to: Rajesh Khanna, Dabur Research Foundation, 22,
Site IV, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh – 201010, India.
E-mail: khannar@dabur.com
Contract/grant sponsor: UGC, New Delhi.
Contract/grant sponsor: CSIR, New Delhi.
mainstream medicine if their claims are evaluated
scientifically and documented systematically.
Shilajit is one such remedy, which has been in use as
a folk medicine for over 3000 years as a rejuvenator
and adaptogen (Sharma, 1978). It has been used by
Vaidyas and Hakims for ages and has a unique place
in the ancient texts. It has been said that there is hardly
any curable disease that cannot be controlled or cured
with the aid of shilajit. Although this is a tall order,
scientific studies over the past 20–25 years have shown
that it is indeed a panacea in traditional medicine,
effective in a number of ailments. This is a brief review
of the ancient claims for this panacea and the modern
scientific findings that have validated these claims.
Shilajit mainly consists of paleohumus (around 80
85%) and organic compounds derived from vegetation
fossils that have been compressed under layers of rocks
for hundreds of years and have undergone a high
amount of metamorphosis due to the high temperature
and pressure conditions prevalent there (Ghosal et al.,
1991a; Ghosal et al., 1997; Ghosal et al., 1993b).
During warm summer months, shilajit become less
viscous and flows out between the layers of rocks.
INTRODUCTION
Shilajit, also known as salajit, shilajatu, mumie or
mummiyo is a pale-brown to blackish-brown exuda-
tion, of variable consistency, from layers of rocks
in many mountain ranges of the world, especially the
Himalayan ranges of the Indian subcontinent (Kong
et al., 1987; Srivastava et al., 1988) (Fig. 1). It is also
found in Russia, Tibet, Norway and other countries,
where it is collected in small quantities from steep
rock faces at altitudes between 1000 and 5000 m. Shilajit
samples from different region of the world, however,
vary in their physiological properties.
Shilajit, an ancient traditional medicine has been
ascribed a number of pharmacological activities and
has been used for ages as a rejuvenator and for treating
a number of disease conditions (Acharya et al., 1988).
Modern scientific research has systematically validated
a number of properties of shilajit and has proven that
shilajit is truly a panacea in Oriental medicine (Chopra
et al., 1958; Ghosal, 1993). Since there are a number
of such remedies described in our ancient texts, it is
imperative that research is carried out in order to
validate their claims and uses.
Traditional medicine is an integral part of the health
care system in a number of developing countries in-
cluding India. There are a number of natural remedies,
which have been in use for ages in Asian countries but
unfortunately lack systematic scientific evaluation and
documentation. The world today is looking at these
remedies for a number of ailments. However, these
remedies can only find a place for themselves in the
Figure 1. Rock shilajit in its raw form.
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Phytother. Res. 21, 401–405 (2007)
DOI: 10.1002/ptr
402 S. P. AGARWAL ET AL.
SHILAJIT IN ANCIENT TEXTS
Shilajit has been used for thousands of years, in one
form or another, under the indigenous systems of medi-
cine such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. It is bitter in
taste and its smell resembles pungent cow’s stale urine
(Ghosal, 1994; Ghosal et al., 1995e). It has various
synonyms. In Sanskrit, it is called Silajit or Silaras, adrija,
girija (all meaning derived from rock). In English, it is
called asphalt, mineral pitch or Jews pitch. In Hindi,
Gujarati and Marathi, it is called Silajita, Shilajit. In
Bengali, it is called Silajatu. In Arabic, it is called Hajar-
ul-musa. It is also called, Momio in Persian, myemu in
Russian and mumie in German (Chopra et al., 1958;
Ghosal, 1993; Ghosal et al., 2000). The Sanskrit mean-
ing of shilajit is ‘Conqueror of mountain and destroyer
of weakness’. There are several other terms for shilajit
such as dathuras, dathusara, shiladhatu, etc have been
used in ancient medical texts. The word dhatu was used
as a synonym of shilajit simply to emphasize its capa-
bility as rasayana, which increases the activity of the
sapthadhatus of the body (Tewari et al., 1973).
VARIETIES OF SHILAJIT
There are four different varieties of shilajit which have
been described in charka samhita, namely savrana, rajat,
tamra and lauha shilajit. Savrana shilajit is gold shilajit
and is red in colour. Tamra is a copper shilajit and is
blue in colour. Rajat is a silver shilajit and is white in
colour while the lauha shilajit is an iron-containing
shilajit and is brownish-black in colour. Tamra and
savrana shilajit are not found commonly but the
last variety, i.e. lauha shilajit is commonly found in
Himalayan ranges and is supposed to be most effective
according to the therapeutic point of view (Ghosal
et al., 1995b, 1995c; Sharma, 1978; Chopra et al., 1958).
ORIGIN OF SHILAJIT
There are many scientists who claim that shilajit exud-
ing from a layer of rocks of mountains is basically of
vegetative origin (Chopra et al., 1958; Shakir et al., 1965).
Ancient texts of Sushruta samhita and rasarangini also
focus on these points. It has been mentioned in Sushruta
samhita that in the month of May–June the sap or latex
juice of plant emerges as a gummy exudation from the
rocks of mountains due to the strong heat of the sun,
and Rasarangini and Dwarishtarang also claim that
shilajit is an exudation of latex gum resin, etc. of plants
which comes from rocks of mountains under the pres-
ence of harsh scorching heat. But exact scientific proof
on the origin of shilajit remains incomplete.
There are a number of hypotheses about the origin
of shilajit (Joshi et al., 1994). Early scientific work car-
ried out on shilajit showed that it is mainly composed
of humus – the characteristic constituents of soil –
together with other organic constituents. Latex bearing
plants, namely Euphorbia royleana Boiss and Trifoleum
repens which occur in the vicinity of the shilajit bearing
rocks are thought to be the most likely source of shilajit
(Ghosal et al., 1976; Ghosal et al., 1988b). Other recent
research claims that the mosses of species such as
Barbula, Fissidenc, Minium, Thuidium and species of
Liverworts like Asterella, Dumortiera, Marchantia,
Pellia, Plagiochasma and Stephenrencella-Anthoceros
were present in the vicinity of shilajit-exuding rocks
and these bryophytes are responsible for the formation
of shilajit (Joshi et al., 1994). The bryophytes reveal the
occurrence of minerals and metals in their tissues such
as copper, silver, zinc, iron, lead etc, which are similar
to the elements present in shilajit.
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS
Extensive research has been carried out to determine
the exact chemical nature of shilajit. Earlier work
on shilajit showed that its major organic constituents
included benzoic acid, hippuric acid, fatty acids, resin
and waxy materials, gums, albuminoids and vegetable
matter with benzoic acid being the active ingredient
(Kong et al., 1987; Ghosal et al., 1976). Extensive re-
search in the 1980s showed that the major organic mass
of shilajit comprised humus (6080%) along with other
components such as benzoic acid, hippuric acid, fatty
acid, ichthyol, ellagic acid, resin, triterpenes, sterol,
aromatic carboxylic acid, 3,4-benzocoumarins, amino
acids and phenolic lipids (Ghosal et al., 1988b). The
major physiological action of shilajit was found to
be due to the presence of the bioactive dibenzo-
alpha-pyrones along with humic and fulvic acids which
acted as carrier molecules for the active ingredients
(Ghosal, 1990; Ghosal, 1980).
The composition of shilajit is influenced by factors
such as the plant-species involved, the geological nature
of the rock, local temperature profiles, humidity and
altitude, etc. For example, it was found that shilajit
obtained from India in the region of Kumoan contains
a higher percentage of fulvic acids (21.4%) compared
with shilajit obtained from Nepal (15.4%), Pakistan
(15.5%) and Russia (19.0%). On the other hand, the
bioactive low molecular compound is found in high
quantities in shilajit obtained from Nepal. Similarly
the pH of 1% aqueous solutions varied in the shilajit
obtained from different countries, namely, 6.2 for India
(Kumoan), 7.5 for Nepal (Dolpa), 6.8 for Pakistan
(Peshawar) and 8.2 for Russia (Tien-Shan). Similarly,
humic constituents in shilajit samples obtained from
these countries also varied (Ghosal et al., 1991b).
PURIFICATION AND FORMULATION OF
SHILAJIT
Modern research has shown that shilajit in its natural
form is often contaminated by varying amounts of
impurities such as mycotoxins, heavy metal ions, poly-
meric quinones, reactive free radicals, etc. Mycotoxins
are produced by mold or fungi and can cause illness or
death in man. Free radicals can be harmful to cells and
are believed to be a causative factor in aging. Poly-
meric quinones are an oxidation product of quinic acid
which is found in some plants. Hence, it is necessary to
purify the shilajit before it is consumed. The findings
SHILAJIT 403
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Phytother. Res. 21, 401–405 (2007)
DOI: 10.1002/ptr
are consistent with the ancient texts which recommend
the purification of shilajit before consumption (Ghosal
et al., 1996).
USES OF SHILAJIT IN TRADITIONAL
MEDICINE
Shilajit has an important and unique place in tradi-
tional texts such as Ayurveda Siddha and Unani medi-
cine. Shilajit is prescribed to treat genitourinary disorder,
jaundice, gallstone, digestive disorders, enlarged spleen,
epilepsy, nervous disorder, chronic bronchitis, anemia.
Shilajit is given along with milk to treat diabetes. Shilajit
has also been ascribed a potent aphrodisiac property.
According to Ayurveda, shilajit arrests the process of
aging and produces rejuvenation which are two impor-
tant aspects of an Ayurvedic rasayana (Ghosal, 1990).
Shilajit is useful for treating kidney stones, oedema,
piles, internal antiseptic, adiposity, to reduce fat and
anorexia. Shilajit is prescribed along with guggul to treat
fractures. It is believed that it goes to the joints and
forms a callus quickly. The same combination is also
used to treat osteoarthritis and spondylitis.
Shilajit is also used as yogavaha (Ghosal et al., 1991b;
Ghosal et al., 1995c) (yogavaha is an agent which
enhances the property of other drugs). Shilajit is soaked
in the decoction of one or more of the following plants as
this is said to increase their efficacy: Shoria robusta (sala),
Bachanania lactifolia (piala), Acacia fernesiana (acacia),
Terminalia tomentosa (asana), Catechu nigrum (catechu),
Terminalia chebula (myrobelan) and Sida cordifolia
(bala). Work has recently been initiated to further in-
vestigate this property of shilajit (Khanna, 2005).
PRECLINICAL RESEARCH ON THE ACTIVITY
OF SHILAJIT
Antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory activity
Studies were carried out on shilajit samples collected
from different locations to evaluate their possible role
as antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory agents. It was
found that shilajit increased the carbohydrate/protein
ratio and decreased the gastric ulcer index, indicating
an increased mucus barrier (Ghosal et al., 1988a). Shilajit
was also found to have potent antiinflammatory activ-
ity in all three models of acute, subacute and chronic
inflammation. Shilajit, at a dose of 50 mg/kg was also
found to significantly reduce carrageenan-induced hind
paw oedema in rats, having an effect comparable to
phenylbutazone (100 mg/kg, i.p.) and betamethasone
(0.25 mg/kg, i.p.) (Goel et al., 1990).
Shilajit is perhaps the first agent to possess both
antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory activities and
this unique property of shilajit can be safely utilized in
clinical practice.
Antioxidant activity
The antioxidant property of processed shilajit was
compared with unprocessed shilajit and vitamin C
(ascorbic acid). Processed shilajit exhibited significant
antioxidant activity of itself and also had the ability to
regenerate (recycle) ascorbic acid after it had neutral-
ized free radicals. The dihydroxybenzo-alpha-pyrones
in shilajit caused recycling (regeneration) of ascorbic
acid. Unprocessed shilajit did not consistently exhibit
the antioxidant activity.
In another experiment, processed shilajit was tested
for its ability to neutralize sulphite anion, hydroxy and
nitric oxide free radicals. Chemical polymerization by
free radicals was measured with and without processed
shilajit. Processed shilajit provided almost complete pro-
tection of methyl methacrylate against hydroxyl radical-
induced polymerization and significantly inhibited the
polymerization of methylmethacrylate by the sulphite
free radical. Processed shilajit efficiently trapped nitric
oxide free radicals. The antioxidant effects were con-
centration dependent. Higher concentrations of pro-
cessed shilajit provided greater free radical protection
(Ghosal et al., 1995b; Bhattacharya et al., 1995).
In a separate experiment, the effect of shilajit on
lipid peroxidation and gluthathione content in rat liver
homogenates was also investigated. It was found that
shilajit inhibited lipid peroxidation induced by cumene
hydroperoxide and ADP/Fe
++
complex in a dose de-
pendent manner (Ghosal, 2000). Shilajit also decreased
the rate of oxidation of reduced glutathione content
and inhibited the ongoing lipid peroxidation which was
induced by these agents immediately after its addition
to the incubation system (Tripathi et al., 1996).
Learning augmentation
The study was carried out to test the validity of use of
shilajit as an Ayurvedic medha rasayana (enhancer of
memory and learning) in albino rats. Processed shilajit,
native shilajit and a preparation consisting of a mixture
of ethyl acetate extractive and fulvic acids obtained
from processed shilajit were evaluated in an active
avoidance, elevated plus-maze and open field behavior
paradigms. It was found that processed shilajit and
its active constituents (total ethyl acetate fraction and
fulvic acids) significantly increased the learning acqui-
sition and memory retention in old albino rats (Ghosal
et al., 1993a). However, shilajit native produced an
erratic response (both augmentive and retardative) in
the above parameters.
Antidiabetic activity
Diabetes mellitus was produced in male albino rats by
the administration of streptozotocin (STZ) 45 mg/kg
s.c. on two consecutive days. Hyperglycemia along
with superoxide dismutase activity of pancreatic islet
cells was assessed on days 7, 14, 21 and 28 following
STZ administration. In two separate other groups,
shilajit at a dose of 50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o. was admin-
istered concurrently from 28 days. It was found that
STZ induced significant hyperglycemia by day 14, which
was further increased progressively on days 21 and 28.
Similarly STZ also induced a decrease in pancreatic
islet cell superoxide dismutase activity which was appar-
ent on day 7 and increased progressively, thereafter
on days 14, 21 and 28. Shilajit at a dose of 50 and
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Phytother. Res. 21, 401–405 (2007)
DOI: 10.1002/ptr
404 S. P. AGARWAL ET AL.
100 mg/kg, p.o. had no dispersible per se effect on the
blood glucose level in normal rats but attenuated the
hyperglycemic response of STZ from day 14 onwards,
though only the effect of the higher dose was statisti-
cally significantly. Similarly, both doses, i.e. 50 and
100 mg/kg p.o., of shilajit reduced the STZ-induced
decrease in superoxide dismutase activity from day
14 onwards, the effect of lower dose being statistically
insignificant. An earlier observation that STZ-induced
hyperglycemia may be due to a decrease in pancreatic
islet superoxide dismutase activity, leading to an accu-
mulation of free radicals and damage of beta cells has
been confirmed by these experiments. Shilajit prevents
both effects of STZ possibly by its action as a free
radical scavenger. This experiment supports the earlier
writing of Ayurveda that shilajit can prevent maturity
onset diabetes mellitus (Bhattacharya, 1995).
Memory enhancement and anxiolytic activity
The effect of shilajit was investigated for putative nano-
tropic and anxiolytic activity in Charles Foster strain
albino rats. The nanotropic activity was assessed by
passive avoidance learning acquisition and retention
while the anxiolytic activity was studied and evaluated
by the elevated plus-maze technique. The results of
these studies indicated that shilajit had significant
nanotropic and anxiolytic activities. The biochemical
studies carried out for the level of monoamines indi-
cated that acute treatment with shilajit had an insignifi-
cant effect on rat brain monoamines and monoamine
metabolite levels. However, it was observed that sub-
acute (5 days) dose treatment caused a decrease in 5-
hydroxy indole acetic acid concentration and an increase
in the level of dopamine, homovallanic acid and 3,4-
dihydroxyphenyl acetic acid concentration with an
insignificant effect on noradrenaline and 3-methoxy-4-
hydrophenylethylene glycol levels. The observed neuro-
chemical studies on shilajit indicate a decrease in rat
brain 5-hydroxytryptamine turnover, associated with an
increase in dopaminergic activity leading to an increase
in memory and anxiolytic activity in albino rats (Jaiswal
and Bhattacharya, 1992).
Antistress activity
Shilajit collected from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Russia
and organic constituents isolated from them were stud-
ied for their antistress effect in albino mice. It was found
that shilajit from Kumoan (India), Dolpa (Nepal) and
a combination of the total ethyl acetate extract and
fulvic acids extracted from Kumoan shilajit produced a
statistically significant improvement in forced swimming
induced immobility in albino mice (Ghosal et al., 1991b).
Antiallergic activity
The effect of shilajit and its main active constituents
fulvic acids, 4-methoxy-6-carbomethoxybiphenyl and
3,8-dihydroxy-dibenzo-alpha-pyrone were studied in
relation to the degranulation and disruption of mast
cell against noxious stimuli. Shilajit and its active con-
stituents provided satisfactory significant protection to
antigen-induced degranulation of sensitized mast cells,
markedly inhibited the antigen induced spasm of sensi-
tized guinea-pig ileum and prevented mast cell disrup-
tion (Ghosal et al., 1989). These findings are consistent
with the therapeutic use of shilajit in the treatment of
allergic disorders.
Immunomodulatory activity
Shilajit as an immunomodulator agent was studied in
mice that were given either shilajit extract or a placebo.
The white blood cell activity was studied and moni-
tored prior to and at intervals after receiving the shilajit
extract or a placebo. It was found that the white blood
cell activity was increased by shilajit extract. The ob-
served activity increased as the dose of shilajit extract
and time of exposure was increased (Bhaumik et al.,
1993). Shilajit and its combined constituents elicited and
activated, to different degrees, murine peritoneal macro-
phages and activated splenocytes of tumor-bearing
animals at early and later stages of tumor growth.
In another experiment, the effect of shilajit was deter-
mined on the levels of brain monoamines in rats. It was
found that shilajit at a dose of 25 and 50 mg/kg i.p. for
5 days significantly reduced the level of 5-hydoxy
tryptamine and 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid and in-
creased the level of dopamine, noradrenaline and their
metabolites in rat brain. These changes in neurotrans-
mitter levels are similar to those seen in cases of in-
creased humoral (immune) activity and hence validate
its use as an ayurvedic rasayana (Ghosal, 1990).
Anti AIDS activity
Shilajit is endowed with both immunopotentiating
(Ghosal, 1990, 1992a, 1992b, Ghosal, 1998; Ghosal et al.,
1995a, 1995d; Bhaumik et al., 1993) and viral load
reducing properties (Ghosal, 2000; 2002a). Clinical stud-
ies in AIDS patients with a multi-component natural
product-formulation, comprising three essential and
three supportive ingredients, in which shilajit was one
of the essential constituents was conducted. Of the 36
patients enrolled, 22 who received the treatment with
the formulation for 6 months showed positive signs of
improvement. Their CD4 and CD8 cell counts were
increased from 259 ± 119 (CD4) and 733 ± 483 (CD8) to
356 ± 203 and 984 ± 356, respectively. Ten patients who
received the treatment for 1 year, showed a distinct
improvement in the symptoms and augmentation in the
CD4, 516 ± 272; CD8 1157 ± 428 cell counts (Ghosal,
2006).
PATENTS ON SHILAJIT
Extensive research has been carried out on shilajit to
justify its claims. A research study on shilajit bioactive
constituents proved that they have healing, antiaging
and restorative properties. The following is a list of
patents so far filed on shilajit: US Patent No. 5,405,613
– vitamin/mineral composition (Rowland, 1995); US
Patent application No. 20030198695 – Herbo-mineral
composition (Ghosal, 2002a); US Patent No. 6,440,436
SHILAJIT 405
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DOI: 10.1002/ptr
– Process for preparing purified shilajit composition
from native Shilajit (Ghosal, 2002b); US Patent No.
6,558,712 – Delivery system for pharmaceutical, nutri-
tional and cosmetic ingredients (Ghosal, 2003).
CONCLUSION
Shilajit is a humus rich blackish-brown substance, which
is very useful in many diseases and serves as a potent
tonic. It is perhaps the best rasayana Ayurveda has
prescribed. Although these and many other claims of
shilajit had been mentioned in ancient texts, they lacked
scientific validation. Modern research has validated
these claims and has proven shilajit to be a panacea in
oriental medicine. Since there are a number of tradi-
tional medicines available with varied claims regarding
their therapeutic activity, it is necessary that research be
undertaken based on modern scientific methods possi-
bly leading to more panaceas in traditional medicine.
Acknowledgement
We thank UGC, New Delhi and CSIR, New Delhi for the fellowship
and financial aid given for the project.
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    • In spite of the fact that shilajit (moomiyo, mummiyo, and mumie) has been used in folk medicine in India and Northern Asia for thousands of years (Schepetkin et al., 2002; Agarwal et al., 2007; Wilson et al., 2011), and in performance enhancement in the former USSR for many years, few published, peer-reviewed scholarly publications exist in the scientific literature involving human subjects. Much of the early literature involves anecdotal reports, poorly controlled studies with products of unknown composition, and publication in obscure journals (Schepetkin et al., 2002; Goshal, 2006; Agarwal et al., 2007; Wilson et al., 2011). Furthermore, in the former USSR, most research regarding moomiyo (mumie, shilajit) has been classified and has not been published.
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Shilajit (mumie; moomiyo, mummiyo) has been used for a wide variety of illnesses and conditions for many years. However, relatively few well-controlled human studies have been conducted on the effects of shiliajit, although a growing number of studies have been published in recent years involving animal and in vitro systems. The safety of shilajit is well documented based on animal and human studies. Various research studies indicate that shilajit exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, and anti-dyslipidemic properties. Animal and human studies indicate that shilajit enhances spermatogenesis. Furthermore, animal and human data support its use as a 'revitalizer', enhancing physical performance and relieving fatigue with enhanced production of ATP. Key constituents in shilajit responsible for these effects appear to be dibenzo-α-pyrones and fulvic acid and their derivatives. Various mechanistic studies provide support for the above observed effects. Additional well-controlled human and animal studies involving the use of standardized products are needed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014
    • The composition of biologically active component, disclosed in the US Patent (No. 6,440,436), indicates 0.3% by the weight of oxygenated dibenzo-a-pyrone, and 60% by the weight of fulvic acid. Fulvic acid has been used externally to treat hematoma, phlebitis, desmorrhexis, myogelosis, arthrosis, polyarthritis, osteoarthritis and osteochondrosis (Schepetkin et al., 2009), and is taken orally as a therapy for gastritis, diarrhea, stomach ulcer, dysentery, colitis and diabetes mellitus (Agarwal et al., 2007; Ghosal et al., 1988; Schepetkin et al., 2002). The humic substance/fulvic acid isolated from soil and water reservoirs has been reported to stimulate neutrophils and lymphocyte immune function (Joone & Schepetkin, 2003).
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Context: Mineral pitch (MP), a traditional medicine, is proposed to boost immunity in conditions that suppress Th1 cytokines such as AIDS/HIV, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and cancer. Objective: This study investigates the immunoregulatory mechanisms of MP in innate, humoral and cell-mediated immunity. Materials and methods: Mice given MP (100, 200, 300 or 400 mg/kg, orally) for 10 consecutive days were immunized intravenously with goat RBC or ovalbumin, and investigated for plaque-forming cells (PFC), hemagglutination titer, hypersensitivity response, lymphocyte proliferation and macrophage function. Results: MP increased PFC (330.2 versus 182.2/10(6) splenocytes) in mice immunized with goat RBC and elicited ovalbumin-specific IgG titer at 400 mg/kg. Increase in Th1 immunity was correlated with the increased level of IFN-γ (724 versus 470 pg/ml) and decreased IL-4 (96 versus 178 pg/ml). CD4(+)/CD3(+) ratio and delayed-type hypersensitivity response also increased to, respectively, 20.62 ± 0.59 (versus 16.47 ± 0.72) and 1.59 ± 0.12 (versus 0.87 ± 0.10 mm) in MP-treated mice. MP increased lymphocyte proliferation (11.14 ± 0.60 versus 5.81 ± 0.40 SI) and macrophage phagocyte response (0.24 ± 0.02 versus 0.15 ± 0.009), expressed as absorbance at 570 nm, but decreased nitrite production (17.4 ± 1.10 versus 24.3 ± 1.30 µM/10(6) cells). We also observed an increased bone marrow cellularity (24.5 ± 1.10 versus 17.10 ± 0.70 cells/femur) and WBC count (12 667 ± 377 versus 9178 ± 213 cells/mm(3)) following MP treatment. There was no sign of toxicity at 400 mg/kg, 1/12th of reported LD50. Conclusion: MP elicits a dose-dependent Th1 immune response.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013
    • Hingwastika has been reported to only contain herbs, one sample of which was found to have 37 μg/g Hg [19]. Shilajit has been reported to be an exudate from rocks in the Himalaya mountains and it contains mostly paleohumus and organic compounds from fossilized plants [20].
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mercury has been determined in Ayurvedic dietary supplements (Trifala, Trifala Guggulu, Turmeric, Mahasudarshan, Yograj, Shatawari, Hingwastika, Shatavari, and Shilajit) by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and direct mercury analysis using the Hydra-C direct mercury analyzer (Teledyne Leeman Labs Hudson, NH, USA). Similar results were obtained from the two methods, but the direct mercury analysis method was much faster and safer and required no microwave digestion (unlike ICP-MS). Levels of mercury ranged from 0.002 to 56 μ g/g in samples of dietary supplements. Standard reference materials Ephedra 3240 and tomato leaves that were from the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) and dogfish liver (DOLT3) that was from the Canadian Research Council were analyzed using Hydra-C method. Average mercury recoveries were 102% (RSD% 0.0018), 100% (RSD% 0.0009), and 101% (RSD% 0.0729), respectively. Hydra-C method Limit Of Quantitation was 0.5 ng.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013
    • Shilajit (asphaltum) is widely used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines and is regarded as one of the most important ingredients in Ayurvedic system of medicine. It is used as an adaptogen [1] . Shilajit, also known as shilajit, mumijo, and momia, is used in the Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine [2] .
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the safety of shilajit by 91 days repeated administration in different dose levels in rats. In this study the albino rats were divided into four groups. Group I received vehicle and group II, III and IV received 500, 2 500 and 5 000 mg/kg of shilajit, respectively. Finally animals were sacrificed and subjected to histopathology and iron was estimated by flame atomic absorption spectroscopy and graphite furnace. The result showed that there were no significant changes in iron level of treated groups when compared with control except liver (5 000 mg/kg) and histological slides of all organs revealed normal except negligible changes in liver and intestine with the highest dose of shilajit. The weight of all organs was normal when compared with control. The result suggests that black shilajit, an Ayurvedic formulation, is safe for long term use as a dietary supplement for a number of disorders like iron deficiency anaemia.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012
    • There are two important characteristics of a rasayana compound in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine: that is, to increase physical strength and to promote human health [2]. The health benefits of shilajit have been shown to differ from region to region, depending on the place from which it was extracted [3, 4].
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Shilajit is a natural substance found mainly in the Himalayas, formed for centuries by the gradual decomposition of certain plants by the action of microorganisms. It is a potent and very safe dietary supplement, restoring the energetic balance and potentially able to prevent several diseases. Recent investigations point to an interesting medical application toward the control of cognitive disorders associated with aging, and cognitive stimulation. Thus, fulvic acid, the main active principle, blocks tau self-aggregation, opening an avenue toward the study of Alzheimer's therapy. In essence, this is a nutraceutical product of demonstrated benefits for human health. Considering the expected impact of shilajit usage in the medical field, especially in the neurological sciences, more investigations at the basic biological level as well as clinical trials are necessary, in order to understand how organic molecules of shilajit and particularly fulvic acid, one of the active principles, and oligoelements act at both the molecular and cellular levels and in the whole organism.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012
    • The herbs which increase the ability to adapt and avoid damage by environmental factors are called adaptogens. Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, Asperagus recemosus, Andrographis paniculata, Asphaltum panjabinum (Shilajith), Gymnema sylvestre, Spirulina platensis, and Panex ginseng1617 are potent antioxidants which reduce LPO[18–21] by their potential radical scavenging activity.[21–24] Antioxidants like Spirulina platensis have protective action against organ damage caused by lead.[25]
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of various herbal adaptogens such as shade-dried powders of Withania somnifera, Ocimum sanctum, Asperagus recemosus, Andrographis paniculata, Asphaltum panjabinum (Shilajith), Gymnema sylvestre, Spirulina platensis, and Panex ginseng on cadmium (Cd)-induced oxidative stress and its accumulation in broiler chicken. A total of 80 male broiler chicks of day old age were randomly assigned to 10 equal groups. Group 1 birds were fed with basal diet throughout the experiment (1-42 days). Group 2-10 chicks were fed with basal diet containing cadmium at 100 ppm from day 1 to day 28 (4 weeks). From 29(th) to 42(nd) day (2 weeks), basal diet alone was fed to group 2 chicks which acted as toxic control and group 3-10 birds were fed with feed containing 0.1% powder of W. somnifera, O. sanctum, Aspe. recemosus, An. paniculata, Asph. panjabinum (Shilajith), G. sylvestre, S. platensis, and P. ginseng, respectively. Body weight gain, levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants such as reduced glutathione (GSH), lipid peroxidation markers such as thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS), liver functional markers such as serum alanine transaminase (ALT), kidney functional markers such as blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine and concentration of cadmium in liver and kidney were investigated. Body weight gains were significantly decreased in birds of groups 2-10 compared to group 1 at the end of 4(th) week. Supplementation of various medicinal herbs in feed after 4(th) week significantly improved the body weight gain compared to that in group 2 chicks. The increase in TBARS and decrease in GSH concentrations of liver and kidney tissues in cadmium intoxicated birds were significantly reversed by the above-said herbs. The liver and kidney functional markers were also restored to normal levels. Highest concentration of cadmium was found accumulated in kidney, followed by liver in birds of group 2. Herbal supplementation in groups 3-10 prevented Cd bioaccumulation which was most evident in liver, followed by kidney. Administration of herbal adaptogens at the rate of 0.1% in feed significantly prevented the bioaccumulation of Cd and reversed the Cd-induced oxidative tissue damage.
    Article · Feb 2011
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