Shilajit is a rejuvenator (Rasayana) of traditional hindu ayurvedic origin. Ayurvedic pharmacology classifies medicinal substances into different groups (e.g Rasayana) accordin to their actions. Rasayana medicines improve the quality of ‘Rasa’ (Plasma) and thus strengthen or promote the health of all tissues of the body. Shilajit is one such remedy, which has been in use as a folk medicine for over 3000 years as a rejuvenator and adoptogen. Describing its importance Charaka has said, “there is hardly any curable disease which cannot be alleviated or cured with the aid of Shilajeet.
Varieties of Shilajit
There are four different varieties of Shilajit which have been described in Charaka samhita, Out of which Louha shilajit from the therapeutic point of view, is considered to be active.
Type of Shilajit Colour
Suvarna Shilajit Red
Rajat Shilajit White
Tamra Shilajit Blue
Lauha Shilajit Brown
The action of the drug is the characteristic feature of that drug.
Swarna Shilajeet – Vata pitta shamaka, Rasayana karma.
Rajata Shilajeet – Kapha pitta shamaka, Panduroga nashaka.
Tamra Shilajeet – Kapha shamaka, lekhana.
Loha Shilajeet – Tridoshaghna, Rasayana, Vrishya
Specific Action of Shilajeet:
It has following specific actions :
- Chhedana karma
Specific Properties of Shilajeet:
Chedana : is one which expels the kaphadi doshas from the Srotas with the force due to Prabhava of the drug. Chedana drugs are usually belonging to amla, katu rasa and teekshna guna.
1. Amla helps in vilayana of obstructive materials.
2. Katu & Tikta expel the vitiated material form the Srotas with the above diathesis the obstructive kapha and other material have been cleared out from the Srotas. Due to above properties Shilajeet acts as chedana.
Anulomana: Gives strength to the intestinal structures and releases the vata from the intestines. Triphala shodhita Shilajeet possess ushna virya and anulomana properties.
Balya : The drug which increases vitality is called balya.
Medhya: The drug that is capable of increasing intelligence is called as medhya. There is no rigid rule that medhya drug should possess madhura rasa and sheeta virya. Even ushna virya and tikta rasa drugs can act as medhya. So it is due to Prabhava of the drug that Shilajeet though ushna in virya and tikta in rasa, still increases grahana shakti (grasping power) or smarana shakti (memory power).
Hridya : ushna virya, katu rasa gives stimulation to the heart function. Cardiaotonic are drugs which improves the action of heart by increasing the tone and nutrition of the cardiac muscle where as cardiac stimulants are used as an emergency measure to tide over a critical period. Cardiaotonic produces a more permanent effect. These may act either directly on the muscle, possibly by giving rest i.e. increasing the period of diastole and improving nutrition through better coronary circulation or indirectly by improving the general health and condition of blood.
Deepana: The drug which stimulates the gastric fire is called deepana. Shilajeet is having the properties of katu, ushna virya and laghu guna so it acts deepana. Vagus nerve is having some control over the secretion of the HCl and pepsin. Katu rasa of Shilajeet stimulate the function of the Vagus. So the normalised function of the stomach also help in digestion. Even from the modern idea also bitters aromets are good stimulants.
Pachana: The drug that disintegrates ama but does not stimulate agni, is called Pachana. Shilajeet owing to katu tikta rasa, ushna virya helps in pachana of ama.
Rasayana : Is one which increases the rasa raktadi dhatus. Also it increases the longevity, resistance, power and imparts rejuvenation to the body is called Rasayana.
General Pharmacological activities:
Anti inflammatory Analgesic
Nootropic Anti anxiety
Anti ulcer Anti viral/ fungal
Antioxidant Anti lipid activity
A number of old ayurvedic texts have mentioned tremendous and variety of uses of shilajit as a potential rejuvenator and immunomodulator. So this multipurpose drug have to be use as a rasayana chikitsa.
This article is published under guidance of Prof. Vd. Kalyani Jadhav (H.O.D) and Vd. Yogesh S. Bhatambre from Sumatibhai shah ayurved Mahavidyalaya.