The name 'Mumijo' is actually Russian (МУМИЁ) and is derived from the Greek, originally meaning 'body-preserving'. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher was already mentioning it and even gave some tips on how to benefit from it. In Ayurveda Mumijo is called 'Shilajit' or 'Salajeet' ; 'Nectar of the Gods, The Destroyer of Weakness, The Conqueror of Mountains'. It is considered the most powerful of all remedies, a panacea, giving vitality, unsurpassed sexual power and long lasting health.
A few lumps of raw Shilajit
It is a substance mainly found in the highlands ( 1000-5000 m above sea level ) of Altai, Himalaya and the Caucasus mountains in Central-Asia. The color range varies from white to pitch-black, depending on composition. For medicinal use the black variant is the most known and covers the widest spectrum.
Russian tourists discover Mumijo in a cave, deep inside a mountain
Mumijo can and has been described as 'mineral oil', 'stone oil' or 'rock sweat', as it seeps from cracks in mountains due to the warmth of the sun, mostly. There are many legends and stories about its origin, use and properties, often wildly exaggerating. We recommend you to have a look at our research section, where we collected several publications about Mumijo • Shilajit.
Once cleaned from impurities and extracted, Mumijo is a homogeneous paste-like substance, with a glossy surface, a peculiar smell and bitter taste. Dry Mumijo density ranges from 1.1 to 1.8 g/cm3. Mumijo has a plastic-like behavior, at a temperature lower than 20ºC / 68ºF it will solidify and it will get soft when warmed up. It easily dissolves in water without leaving any residue, and it will soften when worked between the fingers. Purified Mumijo has an unlimited shelf life. In tablet or powder form it has lost a lot of its properties and is less effective as a result of the processing and the additives involved.
In Russia and India Mumijo • Shilajit has been the subject of scientific research since the early '50s. Claims attributed to Shilajit • Mumijo were investigated with scientific methods. So far several successful medications have been developed, based on Mumijo • Shilajit, and quite a few medical claims have been confirmed in animal- and laboratory tests. Still, it is often unclear why a specific result is achieved.
Mumijo as it is sold on rural markets and in the former Soviet republics.
The precise composition of Mumijo depends on where it is found. It is always a combination of fossilized and fermented organic matter combined with minerals and many many trace-elements, altogether a few dozen of chemical elements, macro- and micro-elements, and over 20 different metal oxides and several amino acids, including animal melanins, a series of vitamins, essential oils, resins and resinous-like substances. It also contains bee poison, humic bases and several other substances not yet fully understood and researched. The white version appears to contain only anorganic compounds, and looks more like a pure mineral, being brittle.
A lump of pure Shilajit, ready to be processed.
The complexity and variability make it impossible to give an exact breakdown of its composition. A loose breakdown would be as follows: the volume of the inorganic part usually exceeds the organic part by 2-4 times.
The organic part contains carbon (20-57%), oxygen (30-48%), hydrogen (4-18%) and nitrogen (3-8%) in the composition of various acids, resins and proteins. The inorganic part contains calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and aluminum minerals. In addition to these, the inorganic part comprises also about 30 micro-elements of rare earths, rubidium, cesium, barium, strontium, lead, chromium, antimony, etc.
The quantity of each of the above ranges from traces to centigrams, but it is precisely those substances that our body lacks at times. From a medical point of view the most important active ingredients are benzoic acids and related acids, like fulvic and humic acid.
Genuine Mumijo is truly rare and therefore expensive. A lot of fake Mumijo is being sold, mostly in the form of tablets, capsules and tinctures. The processing makes it almost impossible to distinguish the real from the fake. Only after unsatisfactory attempts to benefit from Mumijo's power one might realize his money has been wasted on a fake product.
A few tips:
Real Mumijo will get soft in the hand, the fake (e.g. Ozokerite) will not, most of the time.
Real Mumijo has a very distinctive, bitter smell, described as a mix of bitumen and very dark chocolate. It also has a very bitter taste. It is not a herb!!
It will dissolve in water, benzene, acetone, chloroform, methanol and alcohol.
Powdered Mumijo should be avoided - the structure and behaviour of Mumijo (it is exceptionally sticky and unstable at temperatures over 20°) make powdering impossible unless destructive processing and many additives have been used. If and how much genuine mumijo is present in the result is highly questionable. The same applies to products claiming guaranteed levels of e.g. fulvic acid - this is not possible, just like it is impossible to guarantee vitamin C levels in an orange. Mumijo is a natural product, not a pharmaceutical product.
Processing is very destructive. According to Russian research Mumijo should not be heated to more then 39 ºC/102 ºF - higher temperatures will quickly destroy several of the amino acids and therefore affect the existing synergy. The use of metal (like tools or bowls) should also be avoided - oxidation will occur, i.p. in the organic acids that are present.
Traditional Processing of Shilajit in Nepal
A thin layer of Shilajit can be seen on these rocks
Scraping the Shilajit from the rocks. It's obvious no large quantities can be collected this way.
Raw Shilajit, directly after being harvested.
Ready for processing.
The Shilajit is being washed in water and roughly cleaned. This is the traditional way. Not very hygienic!
The cleaned Shilajit is filtered using a piece of fabric. Crude, but it works.
The cleaned and filtered Shilajit is now being boiled to get rid of excess water and to make it more solid. The cooking of Shilajit is not a good practice and will kill a lot of medicinal power!
The finished product is poured into jars, ready to be sold. The Indian and Nepalese products are often contaminated with bacteria and molds, because of the unhygienic way of preparation.
Shilajit Powder Production
Shilajit is also sold in local markets as powder - here are the air-dried chips of pure Shilajit
A 4 kg metal rod is used to pound the chips to powder. Using metal is effective but not good.
Everything is done manually.
The powdered Shilajit needs to be sieved. Here it is poured into a sieve.
Sieving guarantees an even particle size in the powder.
All this work is mainly done by women. Hygiene is not taken into account.
The powder is sold in 25 grams bags on the market. This has nothing to do with the Shilajit powder offered online in large quantities - the majority of that is fake.
To briefly describe what makes it work and why it works is undoable. Nevertheless, a brief sample from the existing documentation:
-Animal tests showed an endurance increase of up to 40%, plus recovery after work-outs is much faster. A reason why Mumijo was and still is used a lot in Russia by top athletes (weightlifters, long distance runners e.g.) and the Special Forces (Spetznaz).
-Fractures were healing up to 50% faster, reason why since 1961 it's officially being used by Russian hospitals. Several medications have been developed since then, based on raw Mumijo.
-In Russia Mumijo is often used cosmetically by women. They develop their own recipes and use it e.g. for facials, to reduce stretch marks after giving birth and to fight cellulite. Reported reductions in stretch marks were up to 60 % within 6 weeks. Internet forums are discussing Mumijo often in this context. The same components that make a mud bath and a facial mask work, fulvic and humic acids, are key components of Mumijo. It has also been reported that scars resulting from burns were significantly less after using Mumijo.
-Several sources mention that using Mumijo together with other herbs will increase the effect of these herbs considerably.
However, to quote a Russian study: "Mumijo is not a panacea for all diseases. Nevertheless, modern science has clearly shown that Mumijo has a broad spectrum of biological action: anti-bacterial, bacteriostatic, anti-inflammatory, choleric, tonic and anti-stress. Due to its composition mumijo stimulates the activity of many enzyme systems of the body and supports a variety of immunological processes."
Shilajit • Mumijo - Research Repository
Click the title for a brief description of the article and a downloadlink.
SHILAJIT - a Materia Medica monograph
Shilajit (Mumijo) : Unraveling the mystery
Chemistry of Shilajit, an immunomodulatory Ayurvedic rasayan
Medical preparations based on Mumijo
The antioxidant-genoprotective mechanism of the action of the preparation Mumiyo-Vitas
Complement-fixing Activity of Fulvic Acid from Shilajit and Other Natural Sources
Mumijo Traditional Medicine - Fossil Deposits from Antarctica
Selected herbals and human exercise performance
Shilajit: An Ancient Panacea
Shilajit: A Review
Therapeutic Potentials of Shilajit
How to prepare an easy-to-use solution
Because high quality Shilajit • Mumijo is a thick sticky resinous paste with a low moisture content (< 10 %) it can be quite difficult to manipulate and to dose accurately.
We do recommend to make a 30% water solution - 30 % Mumijo with 70 % of cooled down boiled water. This solution has an unlimited shelf life, just like the raw paste. Put the required amount of water (for 25 grams ± 59 ml) in the container with Mumijo and leave it overnight. It will dissolve to a mayo-like consistency. Stir with a non-metal spoon to ensure proper dissolving.
If your product is already runny it's better not to dilute it with water unless you plan to take it right away. Low quality products are often diluted to create a higher profit margin for the seller.
You can also freeze the Mumijo; this makes it easy to remove it from its container. Put the frozen Mumijo in a glass jar, add the required water and leave overnight.
After preparation the solution should be kept in a well-closed container in a dark, cool spot, like in the refrigerator.
For accurate administration use a set of kitchen measuring spoons - 1/4 of a teaspoon = 1.25 ml of solution, the daily dose for an adult with a body weight of 80-90 kgs. You can of course dilute the daily dose in additional water just before taking it if you want. If the taste is too much for you, adding honey or some other sweetener is no problem.
Do not prepare a weaker solution unless you plan to consume it soon. Solutions weaker than the described 30/70 have a limited shelf life and might spoil rather quickly.