If you read “Choose your Mineral Pitch, Shilajit, Mumie, Salajeet-Wisely“, you already know how to screen your suppliers of this supreme regenerative and healing substance. In the Shilajit world, there are no substitutes for scrupulous lab work. There are though very basic tests that allow you to identify the Resin and impress your health food compadres in the kitchen. The tests we describe a very simple and only allow you to identify the resin without judging its quality or authenticity. Only a qualified lab and someone who is highly experienced in Mineral Pitch (Shilajit, Mumie and Salajeet, etc.) can do that.
At home, you can assess by:
- Appearance and odor,
- Temperature reaction
- Acidity or alkalinity.
You may need some basic kitchen utensils, supplies, water, and a precision scale.
Appearance and Odor
Sight and smell are the basis of the first two (and simplest) tests of a sample of the resin. Genuine mineral pitch (in its resin form) is black or dark brown in color. It is most often quite dark, though, in extremely rare cases, it may be almost white. The resin should be quite thick and sticky, with a slightly glossy sheen.
Pure shilajit has an intense and distinctive smell: pungent and almost tar-like, but with more “herbal” odor. The odor has also been described as similar to herbal pharmacy, dirt, smoky like a barbecue pit, cacao nibs.
A good way to smell the resin is to not inhale intensely, but from 3-5 inches away trying to recognize herbal tones in this complex smell.
Reaction to Warmth and Cold
True Shilajit or Mumie Resin will always react to change of temperature. When it is warm, the resin will soften. When it is cold, the resin will always harden and become brittle.
A very simple test is to leave a ball of resin on a warm surface or in a warm space for several hours. After several hours, the resin will become the temperature of the surrounding and will soften it will be like soft play-dough.
One can speed up this process by keeping the resin between soft hands until it matches the temperature of the hands and becomes soft. The same piece of resin can be hardened if you put it in a freezer. The resin will become hard and if, In the cold for longer periods of time, it will become brittle.
The very same resin will soften again if taken out of the fridge and kept in a warm environment. All high-quality resins from reputable manufacturers will always slightly differ in their consistency when you get them. This has to do with the temperature and processing of the resin.
Nevertheless, all premium resins will always respond to the warmth and cold test. One should beware of resins, that are too hard almost like a brittle rock upon receipt. Or do not respond well when subjected to warmth. This is a major red flag and is a sign that the resin was processed very poorly or is an imitation product with added fillers.
Genuine, pure shilajit is 98-100% water-soluble. The simplest (but least accurate) way to test this factor is to dissolve some of the shilajit in water, then drink it very slowly, while rubbing the tongue against the roof of the mouth. A gritty or sandy texture indicates a significant percentage of non-soluble particles, a sign of low-quality or imitation shilajit, or that fillers have been added to the product.
If the solution tastes abnormally acidic it is an indicator that acidifiers were used to improve low-quality Shilajit in order to make it past the requirements of the minimal test.
Weight of Filtered and Unfiltered Particles
A more elaborate and sophisticated test for non-soluble contents requires a bit of equipment and some fundamental laboratory analysis skills.
First, a sample of the shilajit to be tested is weighed precisely and the weight recorded. The sample is then thoroughly dissolved in water, such as by stirring vigorously for 10-15 minutes. The resulting solution is itself weighed very precisely. The solution is then filtered and weighed again.
The difference in weight between the unfiltered and filtered solution indicates the number of insoluble solids in the sample. Comparing the weight of the insoluble material to that of the original shilajit sample, one can calculate the percentage of the total weight of the sample that was composed of insoluble material.
The figure obtained can be cross-checked for accuracy by drying and then weighing the particles filtered from the dissolved sample. As a variation of this test (slower, but requires considerably less stirring), the shilajit sample can be left in water for 24-48 hours and then stirred until it is well dissolved.
The filtering and weighing steps described above are then performed. Whichever weight-comparison test is used, the dissolved solids should not amount to more than 2% of the total sample weight. A higher percentage is likely to indicate a low-quality product, one containing fillers or other additives, or an imitation.
Acidity/Alkalinity The pH (level of acidity or alkalinity) of a sample of shilajit can be another indicator of its authenticity. The pH of a 1% solution of Mineral Pitch Resin should be between 6.0 and 9.0. Shilajit with a pH below 6.0 is extremely rare. Higher-quality shilajit tends to be more alkaline (greater than 7.0 pH).
Tests for Alkalinity and Acidity
Two separate tests are performed using a 2% solution of shilajit and water. That is, two parts resin dissolved in 100 parts pure water (by weight), stirred vigorously for 10-15 minutes.
At room temperature, shilajit should dissolve completely in water, with no remaining clumps or sandy residue. Two such batches of the solution are prepared, and each is placed in a clean, transparent glass container. Baking soda is added liberally to the first batch, and the solution stirred. The sample’s color should not change.
Vinegar is added to the second batch, and the solution is stirred. Within 30 min or so, the color of the solution should begin to lighten perceptibly. Lightening usually occurs first near the top of the sample. One will be able to observe fog-like precipitation closer to the bottom of the glass.
Failure of either of these tests may indicate that the sample being tested is low in quality, adulterated or an imitation. Though further and conclusive assessments of authenticity and purity require a well-equipped laboratory and skilled staff, the simple and basic tests described here still have value.