Shilajith is perhaps one of the most important Rasayanas mentioned in Ayurveda.
It is actually a resin obtained from the rocks of the Himalayan mountains.Plant matter gets trapped in rocks under high pressure and during summers this sap oozes out due to the heating effect of the sun.
It is heavy and brown in colour with a slimy touch.It has a bitter taste and is known to have at least 85 minerals in the ionic form.It also has many potent biochemical substances.It is soluble in water .However it should be purified before use.
It is also called Asphalt um or mineral pitch or girij.There is a similar substance called Mumijo from the Caucasus mountains of Eurasia but the Himalyan counterpart is said to be more powerful.
It is used in many medicines of Ayurveda especially the Chavanprash.
It is said to have a huge rejuvenating effect on the body.It has antimicrobial properties so it can effectively fight infections.It is used in many medicines to cure arthritis,diabetes,muscular pains,depression,to enhance learning skills,increases the immunity,to fight obesity,for urinary tract problems,for the proper functioning of kidneys ,for good sexual health and for many other diseases.
In spite of all the beneficial properties of Shilajith self medication is not recommended.Many medicines from unauthorised sources which are supplemented with shilajith may contain intolerant levels of heavy metals.