The traditional East Indian medicine known as Ayurveda considers a substance known as Shilajit to be a curative for any number of maladies. Shilajit is a tarry substance harvested from rock crevices in the Himalayan mountains as well as those of India and Afghanistan. A concentrate of more than 85 minerals, humic acid and fulvic acid, the precise origin of Shilajit is nebulous, but practitioners consider it an organic compound containing resin from the Styrax officinalis Linn. plant. Devotees of Shilajit say that it increases metabolism, invigorates sexual and spiritual energy, regulates blood sugar level, strengthens the digestion, stimulates the immune system and revives physical energy. Yet the fact is that Shilajit has not been approved by this country's Food and Drug Administration, and there are certain dangers associated with its use.
Most remedies containing Shilajit are imported from India, where they are packaged under conditions not regulated by FDA safety precautions. While this does not mean they are intrinsically unsafe, it does mean that some of the products may contain impurities. There may be allergens such as pollen that have not been eliminated during the preparation process, which could be harmful to those with sensitivities to certain ingredients. Due to less stringent labelling regulations, there may also be ingredients not listed on the label that pose a health threat to some consumers.
Because Shilajit is a compound containing many minerals, there is the potential danger of toxic overload on minerals such as iron, especially if you are taking a daily supplement containing some of the same minerals in Shilajit. Iron overdose can pose serious health dangers such as liver failure.
Toxic Levels of Heavy Minerals
According to the Canadian Board of Health, "twelve products sold in Canada...contain high levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic." These 12 products are Ayurvedic medicines from India, one of which is the Shilajit brand. Lead, mercury and arsenic are considered poisonous to humans.
Lack of Scientific Verification
While scientific testing to gather verifiable data does not guarantee the efficacy of a drug, it can often identify side effects and potential risks as well as determine whether the drug works as promised. Like many herbal remedies and folk preparations, Ayurvedic medicines are sanctioned primarily by anecdotal evidence. The dangers associated with these types of remedies are not only health-related but also economical. There is a possibility that despite your friends' endorsements, after spending your money on Shilajit, it will not work for you.