Shilajit is a nutritional supplement from rocky area of northern India and Nepal. It is either a dark brown powder or a thick liquid. It is also found in Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan, and northern Chile (Andean Shilajit). Its action as medicine depends on the origin. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine for rejuvenation.
Shilajit is believed to be produced mainly from Euphorbia royleana (a spurge), Trifolium repens (white clover), and various other species in nature. It mainly contains humic acid chemicals, such as fulvic acid, produced by the degradation of organic matter by microorganisms. It must be purified to protect from mold and heavy metals. Shilajit contains selenium but, unpurified shilajit may contain lead, mercury, and arsenic.
Andean shilajit has an ORAX index* between 50-500 Trolox units/gm. Andean shilajit is a stimulator of mental activity. It prevents the accumulation of tau protein in nerve cells, which may prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sherpas from Nepal use shilajit as part of their diets. Traditional uses of shilajit include genitourinary diseases such as kidney stones, nervous disorders, chronic bronchitis, and anemia. It can enhance the action of other drugs. Nonclinical studies show shilajit to be helpful in ulcers, diabetes, anxiety, allergy, inflammation and as an antioxidant, a memory enhancer, immune modulator, analgesic, antifungal, protective at high altitudes, and neuroprotective.
CONCLUSION: Shilajit is a natural product from different parts of the Earth with fulvic acid as the active principle. It has many useful actions, especially on the nervous system. More clinical studies are needed.
NOTE: *ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) index is a measure of the antioxidant content of foods, beverages, and supplements.
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