Shilajit is a Sanskrit word meaning "rock-invincible." It is also spelled "shilajeet," and "salajeet(سلاجیت)" in Urdu and is known by various other names, such as shilajita mumiyo, mineral pitch or mineral wax in English, black asphaltum, Asphaltum punjabianum in Latin, barahshin, dorobi, baraga shun or brag-shun, chao-tong, and wu ling zhi (which generally refers to the excrement of flying squirrels). Shilajit is commonly called shilajitu in Ayurveda.The wakhis call it "baad-a-ghee"(evils feces).
Mumijo is a word of Greek origin. The substance is mentioned in the works of Aristotle and Avicenna as a remedy with antiseptic and general stimulant properties used in Caucasus mountains. Most scientists agree that people observed wounded animals frequenting caves with mumijo and so discovered the substance. Similar substances are used for medicinal purposes throughout Tibet.
Shilajit is a substance mainly found in the Altai, Himalaya, and Caucasus mountains of Central Asia. The color range varies from a yellowish brown to pitch-black, depending on composition. An ancient Ayurvedic text, called the Charaka Samhita, states that there is no curable disease in the universe, which is not effectively cured by shilajit when it is administered at the appropriate time, in combination with suitable drugs and by adopting the prescribed method. For use in Ayurvedic medicine the black variant is considered the most potent. Shilajit has been described as 'mineral oil', 'stone oil' or 'rock sweat', as it seeps from cracks in mountains due mostly to the warmth of the sun. There are many local legends and stories about its origin, use and properties, often wildly exaggerated. It should not be confused with ozokerite, also a humic substance, similar in appearance, but apparently without medicinal qualities. Some marketers of dietary supplements pretend to sell mumio, while in fact they are offering cheap raw ozokerite, a substance used, for example, in cosmetics. Genuine mumio/shilajit should melt in the hand and has a distinct smell of bitumen, whereas ozokerite melts at 164-169 °F/73.3-76.1 °C.
Once cleaned of impurities and extracted, shilajit is a homogeneous brown-black paste-like substance, with a glossy surface, a peculiar smell and bitter taste. Dry shilajit density ranges from 1.1 to 1.8 g/cm3. It has a plastic-like behavior, at a temperature lower than 20°C/68°F it will solidify and will soften when warmed. It easily dissolves in water without leaving any residue, and it will soften when worked between the fingers. Purified shilajit has an unlimited shelf life.
It is still unclear whether shilajit has a geological or biological origin as it has numerous traces of vitamins and amino acids. A mumio-like substance from Antarctica was found to contain glycerol derivatives and was also believed to have medicinal properties.
Mumio has a wide spectrum of pharmacological activity. But, despite decades of impressive research results, official medicine is familiar with it only as food additive. Mumio is a unique plant extract with dozens of minerals; six amino-acids; vitamins A, B, C and P (citrins), natural steroids, terpiniods, phospholipids and polyphenol complexes. Mumio contains trace and macro-elements (cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, manganese, chromium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and others).
The substance occurs in several varieties with different physical appearance: "golden Mumio" is red, "silver Mumio" is white, "copper Mumio" is blue, and "dark Mumio" brown to black.
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Mumijo/shilajit has been the subject of scientific research in Russia and India since the early 1950s. Though there is no clinical study to support any benefits to human health, some observed effects in animal models include:
^ abMukherjee, Biswapati (1992). Traditional Medicine, Proceedings of an International Seminar. Nov. 7-9 1992. Hotel Taj Bengal, Calcutta India: Oxford & IBH Publishing, New Delhi. pp. 308–19. ISBN81-204-0817-9.
^Schliebs, R; Liebmann, A; Bhattacharya, S; Kumar, A; Ghosal, S; Bigl, V (1997). "Systemic administration of defined extracts from Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) and Shilajit differentially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and GABAergic markers in rat brain". Neurochemistry International30 (2): 181–90. doi:10.1016/S0197-0186(96)00025-3. PMID9017665.
^Schepetkin, Igor; Khlebnikov, Andrei; Kwon, Byoung Se (2002). "Medical drugs from humus matter: Focus on mumie". Drug Development Research57 (3): 140. doi:10.1002/ddr.10058.
^The antioxidant - genoprotective mechanism of the preparation Mumijo-Vitas 
Hill, Carol A.; Forti, Paolo (1997). Cave minerals of the world2 (2nd ed.). National Speleological Society. p. 223. ISBN978-1-879961-07-4.
Schepetkin, Igor; Khlebnikov, Andrei; Kwon, Byoung Se (2002). "Medical drugs from humus matter: Focus on mumie". Drug Development Research57 (3): 140. doi:10.1002/ddr.10058.
The antioxidant - genoprotective mechanism of the preparation Mumijo-Vitas 
Frolova, L. N.; Kiseleva, T. L. (1996). "Chemical composition of mumijo and methods for determining its authenticity and quality (a review)". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal30 (8): 543. doi:10.1007/BF02334644.
Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Yus'Kovich, A. K. (1996). "HPLC study of fatty-acid components of dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal30 (6): 421. doi:10.1007/BF02219332.
Frolova, L. N.; Kiseleva, T. L.; Kolkhir, V. K.; Baginskaya, A. I.; Trumpe, T. E. (1998). "Antitoxic properties of standard dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal32 (4): 197. doi:10.1007/BF02464208.
Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Baibakova, G. V.; Ksenofontov, A. L. (1998). "Study of the amino acid fraction of dry mumijo extract". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal32 (2): 103. doi:10.1007/BF02464176.
Kiseleva, T. L.; Frolova, L. N.; Baratova, L. A.; Ivanova, O. Yu.; Domnina, L. V.; Fetisova, E. K.; Pletyushkina, O. Yu. (1996). "Effect of mumijo on the morphology and directional migration of fibroblastoid and epithelial cellsin vitro". Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal30 (5): 337. doi:10.1007/BF02333977.
Joshi, G. C., K. C. Tiwari, N. K. Pande and G. Pande. 1994. Bryophytes, the source of the origin of Shilajit – a new hypothesis. B.M.E.B.R. 15(1-4): 106-111.
Ghosal, S., B. Mukherjee and S. K. Bhattacharya. 1995. Ind. Journal of Indg. Med. 17(1): 1-11.