Shilajit is the most important drug of Ayurvedic and folk- medicine systems. In the raw form it is a bituminous substance, which is a compact mass of vegetable organic matter composed of dark red gummy matrix. It is bitter in taste, and its smell resembles cow's stale urine. The botanical name of Shilajit is Asphaltum (mineral pitch).
Ancient Sanskrit holy texts, over 3,000 years old, make reference to a mysterious substance called shilajit, which they describe as the "destroyer of weakness." In the Ayurvedic texts it is called as silajatu or shilajatu, but is commonly known as Shilajit. Its Sanskrit meaning is "conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness." Several other terms like dhaturas, dhatusara, shiladhatu, etc. also have been used for it in ancient medical texts like Sushruta Samhita, Charak Samhita, Rasarangini, etc.
The texts list its powerful health and spiritual benefits and the positive changes that shilajit brought in the lives of those who used it. The sacred substance was prescribed for thousands of years for many different health problems and became a powerful tool in Ayurvedic medicine. There is some indication that shilajit may have been the priceless soma of the Eastern alchemists.
The rediscovery of the power of shilajit is said to have been made by Himalayan villagers observing large white monkeys migrate to the mountains in the warm summer months. The monkeys were seen to be chewing a semi-soft substance that flowed from between layers of rock. The villagers attributed the monkey's great strength, longevity and wisdom to the strange substance. They began to consume it themselves and reported a broad spectrum of improvements in health. It seemed to give them more energy, relieve digestive problems, Increase sex drive, improve memory and cognition, improve diabetes, reduce allergies, improve the quality and quantity of life and it seemed to cure all diseases.
Collection of Shilajit - An Interesting story:
During peek summer due to excessive sun heat shiljit exudate through rocks of mountains and become solid lumps. These lumps attracts a special race of mountain monkeys.They like the smell of these lumps and enjoys licking them, then the local collection people throw small stones on to these monkeys in return monkeys throw shliajit lumps on the collection people. This is the simple way of collecting shilajit iSsikkim and Bhutan mountains..It's so funny and simple.......
"There is hardly any curable disease which cannot be controlled or cured with the aid of Shilajit." - Famous Indian Vaidya Charak (1st Century A.D.) The drug is collected in raw from and then purified according to methods written in classical Ayurvedic texts.
This ancient wisdom was passed from generation to generation among the Indian and Nepali alchemists and holy men, but it escaped the notice of the Western medical establishment until the last days of the twentieth century, when explorer John Anderson heard of the amazing benefits of this substance and refused to give up the search until he found its source. He journeyed throughout India and Nepal until he learned of the perilous harvesting the raw shilajit from the cliffs. He also documented the reams of Sanskrit studies showing the rare plant's benefits. He spoke firsthand with more than fifty Indian and Nepalese researchers that have been studying the wonderful effects of shilajit and perfecting the processes for delivering the purest, most concentrated shilajit ever know to man.
The composition of Shilajit is still a subject of discussion. It contains number of organic acids like fulvic acid, humic acid and hippuric acid. Traces of benzoic acid are also present. Besides these, a special group of compounds known as benzopyrones are also present. Humic acid is fraction in Shilajit, which is insoluble in water .It, is dark brown to black in color. The fraction of humic acid is light brown to yellow brown in color. The standardisation of Shilajit is based on fulvic acid. The chemical formula, structure and characteristics of fulvic acid have been determined by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMR).
Modern clinical research has thrown light on anti-diabetic effects of Shilajit.In addition anti oxidant and aphrodisiac activity has been reported. Dr. Salil K. Bhattacharya and scientists from the Neuropharmacology Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medial Sciences, at Banaras Hindu University in India, undertook extensive clinical studies on the subject. What they proved was that it was the fulvic acid fraction in Shilajit, and other closely associated humic compounds, that were responsible for the anti-diabetic activity and long reputed historical success of that preparation. Dr. Bhattacharya recognized that the fulvic acids showed significant success in preventing and combating free radical damage to pancreatic islet B cells, which is the widely accepted cause for diabetes mellitus. What he discovered was that the fulvic acid significantly increases superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. Dr. Bhattacharya's clinical studies showed that fulvic acids diminished the development and progression of diabetes, and assisted in the treatment.
Extensive human clinical studies carried out in various medical schools and hospitals in China have shown significant success in treatment of diabetes patients. Studies show that patients become more energetic. The tingling, painful feeling and numbness experienced in the nerve endings disappear or are reduced. In China, the pharmaceutical uses of fulvic acids have now been approved for both internal and external use, because they have shown that they are both safe and effective. Recently it has been found that systemic administration of defined extract of Shilajit differentially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and gabaergic markers in rat brain.
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