Shilajit, a Sanskrit name for mineral pitch resin, is known in different languages and different areas of the world. The most popular name is Shilajit, which has to do with the popularity of Ayurveda in the West. But the common English name is less glamorous-it is simply mineral pitch. The substance has been known as asphalt and bitumen, but it is definitely not the same as the materials used in road paving!
Its names in other languages include shilajatu, shilaras, adrija and girija in Sanskrit, hajar-ul-musa in Arabic, momio in Persian, mumie in Russian and mumijo in German. Sometimes, the variations of these terms are used, as well. It is best known and most widely recognized, however, by the name ‘shilajit.’ The word shilajit has been given various translations from the original Sanskrit, such as “winner of rock” or “sweat of the rock.” The second most popular term Moomiyo (variations mumie, moomiye, mumijo, moomie) actually comes from Russian and German and means “preserving the body” or “saving the body”.
For thousands of years, Shilajit has been prized in many cultures for its medicinal properties and plays a particularly significant role in India’s traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine, where it is considered to be a supreme healing substance. In Russian holistic medicine is valued for in the ability to regenerate tissue, promote well-being and longevity and increase mental and physical endurance. It has always been valued as a rejuvenator and in treating such conditions as diabetes, sexual dysfunction, stomach ulcers, inflammation, mental difficulties associated with aging, allergies and other immune-system troubles, healing tissues damaged by disease or injury, and the harmful effects of stress.
It is quite exciting to give a historic insight into the medical scholars of antiquity who were all aware and used mineral pitch resins in their practice. Among them are: Galen of Pergamon, a prominent Roman physician, medical researcher and surgeon of antiquity. He is arguably one of the most prominent physicians of antiquity who laid the foundation to the modern medical science. Avicenna, a Persian polymath famous for contributing approximately 450 scientific works, 40 of which were on medicine. Avicenna is most famous for “the book of healing” and the “the Canon of medicine”. Paracelsus, the Renaissance physician, who is regarded as a founder of toxicology. All of these founders of the signs which we know today as the modern medicine used mineral pitch resin, which we know today under the names of Shilajit, Moomiyo, etc.
It is noteworthy to mention that genuine resin was always in high demand. It always originated in the East and was brought by traders into the West. In Europe,high quality resin was regularly traded for its weight in the gold equivalent, and it was available only to very wealthy or people in the East who with the side close to the source. Forgeries were a problem even 500 years ago. Chasing gold, traders would attempt to sell substances, which very much look like genuine mineral pitch. So already centuries back the scholars, scientists and merchants were developing methods to distinguish real Shilajit from fakes.
Fascinating, but it was religion which influenced how the decisions on quality were made. For example to the south (India, Tibet) where Hinduism and Buddhism were prominent religions the methods were less “clinical” and relied mostly on grading the substance by color and texture of the substance. The North (Siberia and Central Asia) where paganism and Christianity and Islam were more prevalent the methods resembled the modern day en vivo testing. Usually, an injured or sick animal would be sought out and given or applied the resin to. If the animal would recover faster and stronger than usual,then mineral pitch would be deemed acceptable for humans. When the resin arrived in Europe to be traded the one which on the spots could show, “clinical efficacy” on injured soldiers or animals would be traded for precious metals.
Strange, but in the age of globalization the situation is strikingly similar. It is more about marketing than authenticity or effectiveness of the resin. Companies argue about terminology, locations and form. When in reality maybe it’s a good idea to look about 500 years back and understand how was Shilajit-Mumie tested for quality and project that onto modern day science. In the United States, there is less than a handful of companies, which sell genuine and effective mineral pitch resin. www.purblack.com is an absolute leader in the quality and the science of the resin. Read our next article to find out about the clinical efficacy, chemical composition and simply define facts about this fascinating substance.
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