Shilajit is a rejuvenating age-old natural substance that has stood the test of time amongst many Eastern cultures. Today we know it worldwide as one of nature's most potent nutritional supplements for enhanced energy and vitality.

Due to cryptic references and its complex nature, many are left feeling confused as to what Shilajit is exactly. In an effort to do away with some of the mystery and build an accurate picture of what it is, the below article endeavors to explain it's history, properties, where it originated from, how it's formed as well as how it works.



Shilajit is an important drug of the ancient Hindu material medica and was used extensively by the Hindu physicians in a variety of diseases. This section sites uses as described in the Caraka Samhita, Susruta Samhita and Astanga Hrkayam.

Panacea: The Caraka Samhita discusses shilajit in a chapter on rejuvenation therapy (rasayana). It has been proposed that the modern equivalent of a rasayana is an adaptogenic substance. (Ghosal 1998). The Caraka Samhita states that there is no curable disease in the universe, which is not effectively cured by shilajit when it is administered at the appropriate time, in combination with suitable drugs and by adopting the prescribed method. When administered to a healthy person, with similar conditions it produces immense energy. In the Sushruta Samhita, it is noted that there is no bodily distemper, which does not yield to shilajit’s highly curative virtues. When gradually taken, (in adequate doses) it tends to improve the strength and complexion of the body. (Bhishagratna 1998). The is echoed in the Astanga Hrdayam which also states that it is the best rejuvenator (Murthy 2001).

Longevity: The Caraka states that it enables the user to witness a hundred summers on earth, free from disease and decay. Each tulä weight (7.75 lbs. or 3.5 kilos) of shilajit taken successively, adds a century to the duration of the human life, while ten tulä weight (77.5 lbs. or 35 kilos) measures extend it to a thousand years (Sharma 2000). Enables the user to witness a hundred summers on earth, free from disease and decay. Additional quantities are said to extend lifetime in increments of a century up to one thousand years. (Bhishagratna 1998).

pure himalayan shilajit

Traditional Indications: Cardiovascular none Dermatological Kushtha (obstinate skin diseases including leprosy) (Bhishagratna 1998) (Murthy 2001) Endocrinology, reproductive system, obstetrics/ gynecology, prostate none Gastrointestinal Ama (disorders of poor digestive activities) (Murthy 2001) Enlargement of the abdomen (Murthy 2001). Hemorrhoids(Bhishagratna 1998). Rectal distula (Murthy 2001) Worms (Murthy 2001)

Hematology, lymphatic, cancer Jaundice (Bhishagratna 1998). Çopha (edema) (Bhishagratna 1998). Elephantiasis(Bhishagratna 1998). Poison begotten distempers(Bhishagratna 1998). Fever(Murthy 2001). Chronic fever(Bhishagratna 1998). Immunology, aids, infectious diseases Phthisis (wasting of the body) (Bhishagratna 1998). Gulma (internal tumors) (Bhishagratna 1998). Malignant tumor (Murthy 2001) Benign tumor (Murthy 2001) Liver and gallbladder none Neurology, psychiatry Loss of consciousness (Murthy 2001) Epilepsy (apasmára) (Bhishagratna 1998). Insanity (Bhishagratna 1998). Respiratory (lower and upper respiratory tract including ears, nose, throat, sinuses) Cough (Murthy 2001) Scrofula (tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis) (Murthy 2001). Rheumatological, orthopedic, muscles, contusions Obesity (Murthy 2001). Urinary tract system (kidney, ureter, bladder) Dysuria (Murthy 2001). Madhu-Meha (vata type diabetes mellitus -type I) (Bhishagratna 1998) (Murthy 2001) Gravel or stones in the bladder (Bhishagratna 1998).


Modern Indications: Cardiovascular Päìòutä (anemia) (Dash 1991). Rakta (vitiation of blood) (Dash 1991). Reduces blood sugar (Tierra 1988). Dermatological Parasitic diseases of the skin (Chopra 1958). Skin diseases (Frawley 2001). Leprosy (Chopra 1958). Endocrinology, reproductive system, obstetrics/ gynecology, prostate Sexual debility (Frawley 1989) (Frawley 2001). Sexual vitality (Puri 2003). Infertility (Tierra 1988). Menstrual disorders(Frawley 2001). Post partum health (Puri 2003). Thyroid disfunction (Lad 2002). Gastrointestinal Digestive troubles (Chopra 1958). Chardi (vomiting) (Dash 1991). Arças (piles or hemorrhoids ) (Dash 1991) (Frawley 2001). Krimi (parasitic infestation) (Dash 1991) (Frawley 2001). Hematology, lymphatic, cancer Edema (dropsy) (Chopra 1958) (Frawley 1989) (Frawley 2001). Spleen enlargement (Halpern 2003). Cancer (Frawley 1989). Immunology, aids, infectious diseases Weakness (Frawley 2001). Debility (Frawley 2001). Kñaya (comsumption) (Dash 1991) (Tierra 1988). Immunomodulater (Puri 2003). AIDS (Frawley 1989). Liver and gallbladder Jaundice (Frawley 2001). Gall stones (Frawley 2001). Udara (obstinate abdominal diseases including ascites) (Dash 1991). Neurology, psychiatry Nervous diseases (Chopra 1958). Antistress (Frawley 1989)(Puri 2003). Epilepsy (Frawley 2001). Unmade (insanity) (Dash 1991) (Frawley 2001). Respiratory (lower and upper respiratory tract including ears, nose, throat, sinuses) Çväsa (dyspnoea) (Dash 1991). Chronic bronchitis (Chopra 1958). Asthma (Chopra 1958) (Frawley 2001). Mouth diseases (Dash 1991). Rheumatological, orthopedic, muscles, contusions Obesity (Frawley 1989)(Frawley 2001). Fractures (Chopra 1958) (Tierra 1988) (Puri 2003). Arthritis (Halpern 2003-2) Osteoarthritis (Tierra 1988). Spondylosis (Tierra 1988). Bodybuilding (Muscular hypertrophy) (Bucci 2000) Urinary tract system (kidney, ureter, bladder) Pameha (obstinate urinary disorders including diabetes) (Dash 1991) (Frawley 1989). Seeta meha (renal glycosuria, a type of Kapha diabetes) (Qutab 1996) Sikata meha (Lithuria, a type of Kapha diabetes) (Qutab 1996) Shanai meha (Frequent urination caused by a stone in prostate area) (Qutab 1996) Shukara meha (spermoruia) (Qutab 1996) Diabetes (Frawley 1989)(Frawley 2001). Kidney stones (renal calculi) (Chopra 1958) (Frawley 2001). Cystitis (Frawley 2001). Dysuria (Frawley 1989)(Frawley 2001). Chronic urinary tract problems (Tierra 1988). Urinary tract infections (Frawley 1989). Urinary Tonic (Halpern 2003). Kidney Tonic (Frawley 1989)(Frawley 2001).

Other Uses OF Shilajit: Yogavähi, which means that it enhances the properties of other herbs (Dash 1991). It acts as a catalytic agent for promoting the action of the other tonic agents. (Frawley 2001). Geriatric tonic (Frawley 1989) (Puri 2003). Tonic (Vata and Kapha) (Frawley 2001). Rejuvenative (Frawley 2001).


According to the Caraka Samhita, impregnating shilajit with a decoction of drugs, which alleviate vayu, pitta and kapha, increases the shilajit potency. Impregnation can be done by these drugs individually or by all of them taken together. A shilajit rasayana is described where shilajit is immersed into a hot decoction of herbs that are prescribed for alleviating the aggravation of dosha. This process is repeated for seven days and processed shilajit is mixed with powdered iron. Administered with milk this elixir brings long life and happiness and prevents aging and disease. Administration of 48 gm for seven weeks is said to have excellent effects (Sharma 2000). According to the Astanga Hrdayam the minimum, moderate and maximum does of shilajit are karña, half-pala (17.5 grams) and pala (35 grams) respectively and the duration of use one week, three weeks and seven weeks respectively (Murthy 2001). Shilajit can be expensive but does not require large dosages (Frawley 2001). One suggested dosage is to take shilajit powder with milk, 1 oz or more a day for severe diseases; 0.25 – 1 tsp three times per day otherwise (Tirtha 1998). Shilajit is important for edema, particularly in weak types, 1-2 grams twice a day with water or milk (Frawley 1989). The dose of shilajit is usually quite low at around 125-250mg twice per day. However, in diabetes, it has been recommended in much higher doses such as 1 g twice per day. Shilajit mixes well with ashwagandha for seminal debility and with gokshura as a urinary tonic (Halpern 2003). For the treatment of both male and female infertility, it can be taken in unusually high doses of 1 tsp twice per day. For men combine with ashwagandha and for women with shatavari. Consider shilajit in all vata and kapha urinary disorders. As a tonic for vata, combine it with Goksura. Shilajit is among the best herbs for the long-term management of diabetes mellitus where it should be combined with gumar (Halpern 2003-2).



Shilajit is truly a remarkable substance with a long history of human usage for healing for the urinary system and for diabetes. Unfortunately, many of those who sell shilajit or products containing it, make many wild claims for shilajit’s ability to cure diseases. While compiling the list of modern indications for shilajit, I chose to only include what I considered “reputable” sources and excluded any sources that were selling shilajit. I purposefully also excluded Internet sources for this information as I felt their claims were exaggerated beyond reality. Even still, examining the list of modern indications for shilajit, one can hardly believe that it could have such a wide and varied effect on the human body. Herbal dietary supplements are big business in the United States. More than 40% of adult Americans use some form of alternative medicine, including herbals, massage, chiropractic, and hypnosis, and spent $5.1 billion out of pocket for herbal therapies in 1997. Herbal use increased by 380% and megavitamin use by 130% from 1990-1997. More than 60% of people do not disclose their use of complementary medicine to physicians (Eisenberg 1998). As herbal supplements have gained popularity, many botanicals most Americans had never even heard of a decade ago have become widely available. Echinacea, ginseng and St. John's wort, for example, are now sold in supermarkets, pharmacies and discount stores. More exotic botanicals, meanwhile, can be purchased at health food stores, specialty shops, through catalogs and the Internet. If shilajit were available at your local pharmacy would self-prescribed usage be the best thing for everyone? In light of this, one hopes that shilajit not be consumed by this money making machine and exploited for profit only. My fear is that shilajit might become a modern snake oil, reminiscent of 19th century preparations, only to be cast aside by modern researchers. The clinical studies on shilajit, conducted have so far; have been conducted on animals only. These studies seem very preliminary and my hope is that respected scientists, in the United States, India and throughout the world, continue their investigations into the healing substance – shilajit.