Shilajit, an Ayurvedic miracle from the Himalayas
SHILAJIT, AN AYURVEDIC REMEDY THAT TOOK CENTURIES TO GET READY
Since the first snows reached the ground until the moment one of the most famous mineral waters is bottled, 15 years elapsed. During this time the melted snow went through the heart of the mountains acquiring its most valued content, minerals and other pure elements from the mountains that give mineral water its characteristic properties and health benefits.
The same way, centuries ago, the firsts flowers of Styrax officinalis, an shrub that grows in the Himalayas, but also in some other parts of Asia and South America, died and dried with the first signs of fall, becoming over hundreds of years a sticky dark substance known as Shilajit, a Sanskrit word meaing "rock invincible" . Image left: Styrax officinalis ''Styrax officinalis'' Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California, USA, Styrax Officinalis.
Common name: Styrax
SHILAJIT A COMMON AYURVEDIC MEDICINE
Shilajit, a commonly used Ayurvedic medicine , and a natural substance that looks like a gummy exudate, is found mainly in the Himalayas, Caucasus, Altai and Tibet mountains , people has been seen collecting Shilajit also on the hills of Kangra and Dharamshala after the winter season (In June ) when snow starts melting .
Shilajit is formed over hundreds of years by the slow and gradual decomposition of certain herbs and plants, mainly Styrax officinalis (Family: Styraceae), but not only, as other constituents and microorganisms , including humus and organic plant materials that have been compressed by layers of rocks are also found in the composition of this Ayurvedic herbal medicine .
Shilajit has been the subject of several investigations due to the medical interest that the properties exerted by this substance raised among the scientific community due to its claimed properties, among which we can mention its ability to overcome:
- lethargy and
- chronic fatigue , as well as
- treating hypertension and
- improving the cardiac function ,
Something that may be due to the fact that Shilajit provides most of the essential minerals to the body [6,8,11], a property which possible exerted by fulvic acid, and active constituent that plays a very important role, helping to transport these nutrients to all parts of our body and providing our cells with a source of nutrients that help them maintain and restore their basic functions, preventing their decay and death .
QUOTE: "I was just enjoying Hills of Kangra and Dharamshala in the year 2005, there I watched few people roaming at the top of hill. I inquired from local people about it, as I had Botanical interest. They told me that every year when snow starts melting people go to the hill top to collect Shilajit, a mineral concentrate exuded by specific plants, neither me nor the locals know the name of the plant species [ML Gupta]".
SHILAJIT ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS
Shilajit contains humus, organic plant materials and fulvic acid among many other active constituents [6,7,8].
Fulvic acid, the main active constituent found in Shilajit, is believed to block tau self-aggregation , a kind of proteins that are involved in the stabilization of microtubules and which failure can result in dementia cases such as Alzheimer's disease . Fulvic acid is also known to stimulate blood formation, energy production, and prevent cold exposure and hypoxia [6,9,10].
But fulvic acid is not the only active constituent found in Shilajit, Shilajit has been reported to contain at least 85 minerals, including:
- iron, and
- lead ,
some of them sedating ingredients for the central nervous system, something that suggests that Shilajit may be a potential target for modulating orofacial pain processing .
TRADITIONAL HERBAL REMEDIES USING SHILAJIT
SHILAJIT FOR THE TREATMENT OF COGNITIVE DISORDERS
Shilajit is said to be effective in the treatment of cognitive disorders related to ageing as well as serving as a cognitive stimulator .
SHILAJIT AS MUSCULAR PAIN RELIEVER
Shilajit uses for the treatment of injury and as muscular pain reliever  have also been reported among several traditional herbal remedies.
SHILAJIT FOR GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS AND DEHYDRATION
Shilajit properties also extend to the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and lack of apetite, as Shilajit helps digestion and absorption of food in the gastrointestinal tract [6,12,13].
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS
Shilajit should not be used with:
- horse gram,
- meat of pigeon,
- Solanum nigrum (black nightshade).
Raw and unprocessed Shilajit should not be used as it contains a significant amount of free radicals and has been found to be contaminated with different fungal organisms such as:
- Aspergillus niger,
- A. ochraceous, and
- Trichothecium roseum [6,14,15,16].
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