Nov 22, 2017 | Interesting facts

In some English versions of Ayurvedic texts, shilajit was consid¬ered synonymous with Asphaltum panjabinum, and was said to belong to two primary origins, – mountains of the Himalayas and kshar bhumi (alkaline earth, probably meaning peat-humus). According to these texts, the planes and mountains, where petroleum products (formed from lower form of vegetation and woody plants) are found, a blackish-yellow liq¬uid or resinous exudate comes out of the interior of the earth (kshar-bhumi, meaning alkaline earth) or from interior of rock sediments, due to heat in summer months. The exudate when comes into contact with the rhizospheric metal ions or clay minerals is transformed into so¬lidified complexes. This product is depicted as the prakrtik shilajit (`natural’ shilajit). Prakrtik shilajit comprises four major varieties. These are:

  • svarna (gold)-shilajit (red,golden yellow);
  • rajat (silver- white);
  • tamra (copper, blue);
  • and lauha (iron) -shilajit (blackish-brown).

According to the Ayurvedic Rasasastra (which describes principles of preparation and therapeutic application of metal ion and mineral containing drugs), the swarm and rajat – shilajit are not commonly found; the variety most readily avail¬able in shilajit-bearing locations is the lauha variety. Fortunately, the lauha- shilajit is considered to be the most active as a rasayan (vitalizer) among all the varieties of shilajit.

Another shilajit-like substance, known as the Tolpa Torf Preparation (TTP) (Tolpa, 1982), bears resemblance to the kshar-bhumi shilajit. TTP is used in Eastern European coun¬tries for a variety of therapeutic purposes, primarily as an immuno-modulator. According to Encyclopedia Powszechna PWN (1974), the torf is a peat humus, a combination of soil organic matter and minerals, produced from dead marshy vegetation, under re¬ducing atmosphere, by biochemical reactions involving soil arthropods, annelids and microorganisms, followed by geothermal transformations. The present research (by Ghosal and co-workers) has shown that there is a basic difference between the shilajit — humus (de¬rived from sedimentary rock materials) and the peat — humus (TTP, kshar-bhumi) in respect of their mode of formation, the nature of the ingredients involved, and the finished products formed thereof.

In Chinese medicines, fossilized or partly fossilized resins, such as amber and hutonglei, are believed to bear close resemblance to shilajit. The resins of amber, derived from conifers and that of hutonglei, derived from members of Salicaceae, after staying in soil for a long period of time are transformed into humus — like substances. According to Laufer (1919), Balsam popular, which produces hutonglei, was found in the Middle East and extended up to Western Nepal. Later studies (Kong et al., 1987) also projected, albeit tenu¬ously, hutonglei to be a close equivalent of shilajit since they are used in Nepal for similar purposes. The present research has dispelled these beliefs and speculations and established that shilajit is a unique substance, produced only in sedimentary rocks by the interactions of marine invertebrate fossils/plants, land plants and microorganisms.
Source: S. Ghosal: Shilajit in Perspective, Alpha Science International Ltd., 2006

Shilajit is called by different names in different languages. Asphalt and bitumen in English; shilajatu, shilaras, adrija, girija (all meaning derived from rock) in Sanskrit; shilajit in Hindi and Bengali; hajar — ul — musa in Arabian; momio, in Persian; myemu in Russian; and mumie in German (Chopra et al., 1958; Ghosal, 1993; Ghosal et al., 2000). Among them, the name shilajit is well known and popular worldwide.
Source: S. Ghosal: Shilajit in Perspective, Alpha Science International Ltd., 2006

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