The Power Of Shilajit: What Is It? Why Does Ayurveda Recommend It?

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS Vd. Naveen Sharma Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS facebook_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Swathi Handoo MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Experience: 4 years
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Will you believe me if I told you mountains sweat? And that the mountain sweat can improve your stamina and sex life?

Well, you have to! Shilajit a.k.a mountain sweat is one of the oldest natural remedies for impotence. It boosts fertility as well as endurance, metabolism, immunity, memory, vigor, and vitality. Wondering how shilajit works? What is it made of? Read on to discover the magical powers and mind-boggling facts about shilajit!

What Is Shilajit? What Is Its USP?

Shilajit is a herbomineral drug. It is also known by the names salajit, mumiyo, mineral pitch, asphalt, Jew’s pitch, mineral wax, and ozokerite. Shilajit is a gummy, pale-brown to blackish-brown fluid exudated by high mountain rocks, especially in the Himalayas mountains between India and Nepal (1). It is also found in Afghanistan, Russia, Tibet, and north of Chile, where it is known as Andean Shilajit (2).

This ‘mountain sweat’ is a phytocomplex that has high concentrations of minerals, humus, organic plant materials, and fulvic acid compressed by layers of rocks. The humus consists of 60-80% organic matter and tastes bitter and smells like cow’s urine (1), (2). Doesn’t give a good vibe, does it?

But, shilajit has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as an anti-aging, healing, and performance-enhancing drug. It is said to ‘cure all distempers of the body.’ Hence, it is processed and sold commercially in the form of tablets and capsules (1).

What is this complex herbomineral drug made of? Scroll down!

What Is Shilajit Made Of?

The major constituent of shilajit is fulvic acid – a type of humic acid. Humic acid is a major organic component of soil (1). Humic acid is not a single acid but a complex mixture of different acids containing carboxyl and phenolate groups.

Apart from fulvic acid, shilajit contains dibenzo-⍺-pyrones and related compounds, peptides, amino acids, and lipids. It also contains more than 84 minerals, including copper, silver, zinc, iron, and lead in their ionic forms (1).

The presence of polyphenols like 4-methoxy-6-carbomethoxy-biphenyl, tirucallane-type triterpenoids, and benzoic acid is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of shilajit (2).

How and what exactly does shilajit do to our body? Above all, what makes it so popular?

Check out the next section to find excerpts of our research on shilajit’s legacy.

Trivia Time!

  • Shilajit is produced by the decomposition of plant material from species like Euphorbia royleana and Trifolium repens. This decomposition has to occur over centuries, making shilajit an antique!
  • Since they are poly-electrolytic, humic acids (including fulvic acid) have a unique property of being able to diffuse easily through membranes.

How Is Shilajit Beneficial To Your Health?

1. May Treat Dementia, Alzheimer’s, And Neurodegenerative Disorders

Since it is a diuretic, shilajit can maintain the extracellular fluid in your body. It drains the toxins and free radicals dissolved in excess fluid around vital organs like the brain. By doing so, shilajit prevents neurodegeneration and cell death in your brain. In other words, shilajit slows down memory loss and dementia (1).

Another noteworthy property of this herbomineral drug is that it acts against edema. Edema occurs when the blood-brain barrier gets inflamed. There could be a heavy influx of sodium and calcium ions disturbing the ionic atmosphere for signal transduction (1), (3).

Shilajit demonstrates anti-edema properties by reducing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. It protects your brain from chemical shock, infiltrating pathogens, and high intracranial pressure. You can, hence, use shilajit to manage dementia, brain trauma, edema, and chronic ailments like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (3).

2. Manages Infertility And Boosts Testosterone

Ayurveda claims shilajit to be a safe aphrodisiac. It is said to treat erectile dysfunction, impotence, premature ejaculation, and infertility in men (4). Numerous mice studies demonstrate shilajit’s ability to restore fertility. When it was orally administered to male and female rats for six weeks, there was a positive change in their libido (5).

[ Read: Patanjali Divya Yauvanamrit Vati Review ]

Ovulation was induced in seven out of nine shilajit-treated female rats. The male counterparts showed an increase in the seminiferous tubular cells in their testes. Thus, shilajit might stimulate oogenesis and spermatogenesis in impotent individuals (5).

Another rat study conducted in 2018 investigated the effect of this Ayurvedic medicine on infertility. It reports the stimulating androgenic property of shilajit. The treated male rats showed an elevated level of testosterone in serum, increased weight of reproductive organs, testicular daily sperm production, and testicular enzymes activity (6).

3. Can Regulate Diabetes And Cholesterol Levels

Another benefit of shilajit is that it can help in maintaining your blood glucose levels. It reduces the serum lipid levels (total cholesterol and triglycerides) in your body. Also, because of its antioxidant activity, this herbomineral can prevent lipid peroxidation and accumulation by eliminating free radicals.

Ayurveda practitioners use ingredients like shilajit, turmeric, neem, amalaki, triphala, bitter gourd, rose apple, bilva leaves, cinnamon, gymnema, and fenugreek along with panchakarma to regulate diabetes. These ingredients ‘cleanse’ or detox your system when used with a restricted diet, yoga, and breathing exercises (7).

Interestingly, taking an aqueous extract of 250 mg Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and 250 mg pure shilajit extract for one month decreased the blood sugar level in diabetes patients. Not only that, the levels of low-density lipids and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) also dropped with this treatment (8).

4. Has Cardioprotective Effects

Has Cardioprotective Effects
Image: Shutterstock

Nitric oxide is critical for vasodilation. It is used as a chemical messenger by the inner lining cells of blood vessels to signal the surrounding smooth muscle cells. Nitric oxide triggers vasodilation, i.e., widening of blood vessels. As a result, blood flows freely and takes lesser pressure for the heart to pump blood (9).

What does this mechanism have to do with shilajit?

When 40 diabetic patients aged between 18-75 years were given 250 mg of shilajit or equivalent placebo, about 30% increase in nitric oxide was seen in those treated with shilajit. There was a significant rise in cardiac output too (9).

Shilajit stimulated the release of antioxidant enzymes and downregulated the markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein). It also showed a significant reduction in cholesterol, LDL, and VLDL levels along with a boost in HDL levels. As there were no side effects reported, these signs prove shilajit’s cardioprotective properties in humans (9).

But how is shilajit able to do this to our body? It is just decomposed gooey matter stuck on big boulders for years! Here is its mode of action.

How Does Shilajit Work?

The active organic molecules – fulvic acid and minerals (in their ionic forms) – are the ringmasters of the show. Due to its high permeability, fulvic acid transports minerals across cells. This way, their electrical potency and vitality are preserved (1).

Shilajit boosts metabolism and energy production in the body while maintaining a balance between catabolism and anabolism. It stimulates the immune system and enhances the absorptive and detoxifying capacity of the body (1).

No wonder it was used as a rejuvenator and anti-aging supplement since 3000 years!

Well, come to think of it, shilajit is nothing but rotting mud! As kids, were we not strictly advised against eating mud because it is dangerous? By that logic, shouldn’t shilajit have serious repercussion on your health?

Absolutely valid. Jump to the next section to learn about the dark side of shilajit.

Could There Be Any Side Effects Or Risks Of Using Shilajit?

There are no major side effects documented against shilajit. It is said to be safe for everyone. But consuming it in its crude and unprocessed form is not recommended (1).

Crude shilajit might contain fungal colonies, heavy metals, polymeric quinones (oxidant agents), and free radicals. Ingesting them might cause heavy metal poisoning or undesirable complications (1).

Also, ingesting large amounts of raw shilajit might lead to intoxication. You need to have it in the right form and dose to get the right kind of benefits.

Where can you find the right way to have shilajit? In the next section below!

What Is The Recommended Way Of Taking Shilajit?

The recommended dose of shilajit for optimal health is 300-500 mg/day (1). It is being sold in several forms at the markets today (1). You can try the shilajit resin(Buy here!) or paste, capsules (Buy here!), or powder (Buy here!) – whichever you think suits you the best.

Remember, such commercial preparations available online might contain impurities, heavy metals, and adulterants (2). We suggest you speak with a doctor or a healthcare professional about its safety. Above all, do your research.

Directions To Use

  • If you are using shilajit powder, take it twice a day with milk. Do not exceed 500 mg in a day (1).
  • If you wish to use capsules or tablets, follow the instructions on the pack or as instructed by your physician.

Shilajit reaches a maximum level in the blood after 12-14 hours of consumption. So, space your doses well.

In Short…

Shilajit is a trusted nutraceutical and a superfood since time immemorial. This unique Ayurvedic formula can enhance metabolism, improve sexual performance, boost memory power, stimulate the immune system, regulate metabolic disorders, and soothe inflammation.

It is gaining popularity for its diverse biochemical composition. As far as safety is concerned, shilajit is one of the safest supplements you can find – if sourced from a genuine vendor. However, we strongly recommend medical guidance in framing shilajit’s dosage to avoid complications.

Do you have any queries or suggestions? You can also share your feedback and comments about this read below.

Go natural, go shilajit!


  1. Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems” International Journal of Ayurveda Research, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential…” International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  3. The Effects of Shilajit on Brain Edema, Intracranial…” Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. The spermatogenic and ovogenic effects of chronically…” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Profertility effects of Shilajit on cadmium-induced” Andrologia, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Ayurvedic treatments for diabetes mellitus” Author manuscript, HHS Public Access, US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Shilajit: A Humic Matter Panacea for Cancer” International Journal of Toxicological and Pharmacological Research, Academia.
  9. Shilajit: An ayurvedic supplement for testosterone…” SupplementScience, Vitamin Retailer.

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Vd. Naveen Sharma
Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS, Ayurveda Specialist
Dr. Naveen Sharma is a renowned Ayurveda specialist with an experience of 10 years. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery(B. A. M. S) from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, in 2007.

Read full bio of Vd. Naveen Sharma
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