Shilajit – Scam or Panacea? Part 1

shilajit and ashwagandha

Shilajit is a substance that seems to be a mystery. It is hard for a normal person to truly look beyond marketing promises of a healthy and bright future and life-changing experiences by Shilajit. More people consumed fake shilajit than any other supplement. The reasons are simple: in many holistic systems shilajit is a known supreme healing substance, There isn’t enough high-quality genuine shilajit to satisfy demand, high quality is hard to manufacture. Imitation products are easy to make as well. India and Pakistan once the richest sources of high-quality shilajit became hotbeds of counterfeit manufacturing. The situation is similar in Bhutan and Russia. There are very few companies in the world capable of sourcing quality raw material and producing high-end resins.


It does not matter if this material bears the name shilajit in Ayurvedic medicine, Mumie in Eastern European holistic one or Mumie in German naturopathy. One describes the same substance which most people call by the most popular name Shilajit. The proper English name is mineral pitch. One can be even more precise and say mineral pitch for human consumption. In the majority of cases, one describes an identical substance.


Internet is full of claims promising magical and natural cures from many ailments. According to marketers, shilajit is almost a cure-all. Any critical mind will get suspicious when seeing claims starting from life extension by hundred years to curing impotence. It is actually fun to look deeply into all the myths and speculations, and understand if shilajit is an empty scam or if there is any substance to it. A good place to start is actually history. Technology changes, but human nature does not change. The claims made throughout history tend to repeat themselves.


Going back to basics.
Charaka Samhita is a foundational text in Ayurvedic medicine. According to Charaka, no curable disease can be cured without the use of shilajit. The statement is a very strong claim, but it is hard for us to verify how effective were ayurvedic treatments 2000 ago. Ayurveda is one of the most respected holistic systems in the world along with TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). So it is possible, that at the time of Charaka, shilajit was a very effective medication. Respecting many highly skilled, and effective Ayurvedic practitioners we refrain from making any assessments on this claim.


The second one seems not true. So the treatise states that a weight around 7 pounds (tula) adds hundred years to human life, ten times the weight adds a millennium to a life duration. Nobody lives forever, unfortunately. Everybody wants to be immortal; therefore, immortality sells exceptionally well. Great life extension is, of course, a myth easily busted. There are not even ten humans in the world, who lived beyond the age of 175.


Charaka put shilajit on the pedestal, for many generations of ayurvedic practitioners Charaka Samhita always was and still is the primary source of education. With all our respect for Ayurveda, it is practiced somewhat differently than a conventional or even western naturopathic medicine. Tradition of Ayurveda is very giving and generous. Many people who have no ayurvedic background try to practice ayurveda. This phenomenon means that any myth in Ayurveda will be blown out of proportion, misconstrued or actively used for marketing purposes on the internet.


When money becomes a common denominator – profit is the king. Online marketers make outrageous panacea claims. Try to type in shilajit in google and read all that comes up under sales offers. Everybody offers the “highest-quality”, lower pricing and miracle cures. Marketers take claims even further and suggest cures for things where there isn’t any link to studies on shilajit or any forms of mineral pitch resin.


A great example would be an aphrodisiac and male enhancement property of shilajit. There are absolutely no legitimate studies to support this claim. Nevertheless many companies claim this benefit. The situation is very similar with many health claims.


So we clearly showed you how an idea planted two thousand years ago becomes a well-oiled scam machinery and gave a bad reputation to a really incredible substance. The funniest part it is not even clear if what Charaka meant wasn’t simply translated incorrectly by interpreters of the compendium.


Is it really shilajit?

Modern science supports many findings of the ancients. Indeed genuine mineral pitch is a substance that promotes health. Nevertheless what most companies place on the market as shilajit are imitation products in different forms. It is either powdered imitation products or resin counterfeits. We wrote extensively on powdered shilajit fakes. You can look up an article by clicking this link. We also had a posted on imitation resins you can look up the article clicking here.


What happens is sly marketers put out marketing materials, which are a mix of mystery, myths, overstretched promises and ignorance. The description “shilajit” is attached to any counterfeit substance that resembles the true shilajit. This is how the scam works.


Nevertheless genuine shilajit is a great substance, read our next article to understand if there is any validity behind shilajit resins.