The first time I came across Shilajit and saw it in its full glory was when my Kashmiri friend had moved to Mumbai and introduced it to me! His mum had packed a big rock of shiny Shilajit for her son's overall wellness - they had an old way of preparing it and consuming it. In 2013, I first found out about this naturally occurring herbomineral drug found in the pristine Himalayas.
I came back home and asked my mom, may I take Shilajit for my well-being? She laughed and said shilajit benefits for men include enhancing fertility and testosterone. I left it because that is not what I was looking for and wondered if that is why my Kashmiri friend carried it with him; to conquer the women of Mumbai? As Shilajit translates to "conqueror of mountains."
I never thought about Shilajit again until December 2020, when my maternal grandfather, an excellent doctor (the first batch of physicians from Banaras Hindu University) for the last 60 years, mentioned it. I was intrigued yet again and asked him if the uses are only for men's health. To my surprise, he said, that's what people feel because shilajit increase sperm count and sexual stamina, hence termed as an ayurvedic sex drug. But there are various Shilajit health benefits in ayurvedic medicine. Suppose one wants to know what a beautiful gift Shilajit is; in that case, they must read books such as Charak Samhita and Susruta Samhita (which my grandfather has). I do not have the patience for translation, as these books are ancient and written in Sanskrit. Being a true blue millennial, Sanskrit is the last thing I want to indulge in. I feel incompetent for not knowing our sacred language. So I dug deeper in my way to find the correct information. I was appalled at the Shilajit health benefits.
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a pale brown to a blackish-brown shiny rock consisting of pure gum/resin and organic plant materials compressed under rock layers over centuries. It contains the following minerals, metals, and metabolites in their natural forms:
- Copper, Silver, Zinc, Iron
- Humic Acid, fulvic acid, amino acids
There are 84 nutrients found in Shilajit, out of which Fulvic acid is considered the main ingredient. It is found in the lower Himalayan altitudes between May to July at 1000 - 5000 meters in Uttrakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh. It is also found in some parts of Bhutan, Nepal, China, Tibet, and Afghanistan.
Shilajit Health Benefits and Uses
One of the most exciting shilajit health benefits I found is treating high altitude problems for the commoner or soldiers ascending from lower altitude to higher altitudes in India's Himalayan region. A range of issues arises from low atmospheric pressure such as acute mountain sickness, insomnia, tiredness, pulmonary oedema, lack of appetite, lethargy, chronic fatigue and body pain. Shilajit health benefits include overcoming such issues in these areas. Maybe, mother nature made it available in the region because she knew her earthlings would need this herb to overcome her harsh environment.
On further research, I found tremendous scientific information on shilajit health benefits and shilajit medicinal uses, some in proper controlled studies and some in passing down ancient traditional knowledge. People living in the Himalayan region relying on conventional medicine will affirm that no actual research is required because the most significant proof is generations of north Indian families, sherpas consuming it and living a good, happy and healthy life with minimal medical intervention. The following are a list of diseases/conditions that Shilajit helps manage, cure or even prevent in some cases:
Alzheimer's Disease & Brain Function
The various compounds found in shilajit may help brain function and even support Alzheimer's therapy. A recent study in the International Journal of Alzheimer's disease mentioned that shilajit is traditionally used for longevity and slow down ageing. The compounds in it may help cognitive control disorders, such as Alzheimer's. Researchers anticipate shilajit health benefits to have an impact in preventing mental illnesses. Still, more detailed result-oriented research is needed to explore these possibilities.
Weakness & Muscular Degradation
One of the secrets to boosting men's energy is that shilajit benefits for men include helping in energy production by travelling in deep tissues of your body, healing fractures and reducing recovery time for injured muscles. Whenever you are faced with weakness or muscular degradation, Shilajit benefits for men can help you a great deal.
Does shilajit increase sperm count? Yes! It helps both infertile men and women increase their vitality and sexual vigour. There are proven studies that shilajit increase sperm count of men who consumed it daily post-diagnosis of low sperm count and motility. Therefore, Shilajit benefits for men are significant and must be employed.
The fulvic acid found in Shilajit acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that reduces cellular damage and free radicals in the body. These two factors are the main contributors to ageing.
Anaemia develops in your body when the blood does not have haemoglobin or enough healthy cells, red blood cells. One of the many causes of anaemia is iron deficiency. Iron deficiency anaemia symptoms are irregular heartbeat, weakness and fatigue, cold hands and feet, and headaches. Shilajit has high levels of humic acid and iron, which might help treat anaemia. However, it would be best to explore this option with your ayurvedic practitioner or your general physician before taking the supplement.
Shilajit health benefits may also protect your heart and improve your heart health and is one of the proofs how ayurveda can guard your heart from illness. Recent studies in rats showed the protective effects shilajit has on the heart. Animals treated with shilajit before cardiac injury had lesser damage to the heart than those who did not consume shilajit. It is crucial to know that shilajit may lower blood pressure in some cases and should not be consumed by anyone who has an active heart condition.
Being overweight strains your body and tires your muscles quickly. A published study in a medicinal food journal observed that obese people who took an oral supplement of pure shilajit responded better to exercise than those who did not. Researchers noted that shilajit activated genes in your body help the skeletal muscles quickly adapt to a new workout regime. This may mean less fatigue and increased strength over time.
Other Shilajit Uses
In addition to the ones mentioned above, shilajit health benefits and uses of shilajit for the human body include:
- Maintains cardiac health and is anti-inflammatory, which prevents a lot of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and cancers.
- It helps maintain a healthy urinary tract and prevent UTIs.
- Shilajit health benefits and shilajit uses include managing diabetes, even reverse at times, if followed with a proper lifestyle.
How to Consume Shilajit?
Shilajit needs to be purified before reaping the shilajit health benefits. The formulation cannot be consumed as it may have impurities such as dirt, soil, and fungus. Because it is one of the essential minerals in Ayurveda, proper care and steps need to be taken to purify this life gift. Sodhana, aka purification, is carried out using ghee or Triphala decoction to eliminate impurities and increase efficacy.
The easiest way to go about how to consume shilajit is via a certified Ayurvedic practitioner who will know in what quantities, for how long, and method of consumption will suit you depending on your body's doshas.
There are various brands out there selling shilajit capsules or purified shilajit that can be had with lukewarm water or milk and consumed daily before meals or after meals as suggested by your ayurvedic physician as a dietary supplement. It is a very potent mineral and primarily safe to consume to maintain energy levels unless done in large quantities based on self-diagnosis and lack of proper guidance, thus providing an abundance of shilajit benefits for men.
Side Effects of Shilajit
Research studies prove that shilajit is safe for long-term use. However, there are some side effects of using shilajit, such as :
- It may lower blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people on daily high blood pressure medications. Those with an active heart condition or a history of hypotension (low blood pressure) should avoid taking shilajit to prevent a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
- Low-quality shilajit might contain heavy metals, free radicals, and even arsenic.
While shilajit benefits for men are numerous, one must be aware as to why they are consuming Shilajit and watch the magic unfold! Do not consume without purifying. In large quantities, it may lead to unpleasant side effects like all things found in nature, such as allergic reaction, dizziness, or increased heart rate. Consume it if you need to maintain a bodily balance, not for your greed.
Ayurvedic beverages, like Auric Men's Energy, contains the goodness of numerous herbs and more that provide an abundance of energy to get you going through the day. 10 amazing benefits of consuming ayurvedic energy drink makes it imperative for you to get them delivered at your door and cherish a bottle a day for maximum benefits, be it general or sexual.
Authored by: Padmaja Rai
About the Author: Padmaja is a healthcare consultant and avid fitness enthusiast. She holds a masters' in bio-innovation and rare diseases from University of Pennsylvania. She is a firm believer in ancient Indian holistic healing.