How to Test Shilajit
It is important to know how to test shilajit because only 1% of the US-marketed products labeled “shilajit” are indeed the real deal. Most are imitations or are either:
- Real, but contain non-beneficial or even harmful fillers
- Very low grade quality
- Similar looking substances like mummyo or ozokerite
- Contain no shilajit at all.
Most fake shilajit is offered in easily counterfeited tincture (liquid) or powder (sometimes in capsules) forms. But in recent years, the resin form has also been commonly imitated. A variety of creative solutions are used to manufacture fake products including use of coal, charcoal, and fertilizers to produce fulvic acid, a key active compound in shilajit. Other disreputable brands simply put inactive ingredients and sometimes other herbs together.
Why So Many Fake Products?
Shilajit counterfeiters exist because:
- It is one of the rarest substances in the world.
- It is difficult and costly to obtain.
- It is historically one of the most important and powerful compounds in Ayurveda and folk medicine.
- It is the top selling supplement of all time for male virility in the world with huge demand in Asia.
If it were easy and inexpensive to source the real thing, few imitations would exist because it would cost more to invent the concoctions than to offer the real thing. Sadly that is not the case and to bring this amazing adaptogenic mineral pitch to the US is a difficult, costly and sometimes dangerous endeavor.
The graph below shows data from independent sources that reveal shilajit is at the top of the list of the rarest things on Earth. Rarer and more expensive than saffron, 100-year balsamic vinegar, and the world’s most expensive wine, Château Petrus ’82. Search online for articles about fakes of these substances and you will find many for the same reasons that shilajit is imitated.
In addition to this herba-mineral substance being rare, there are various grades and the top grade (Gold Grade) is the rarest of all. Hence many US companies offering it will claim they offer the highest grade, but the claims are false. Because Johann, our founder, personally treks through India to the high altitude Himalayas in an area revered by Ayurveda practitioners and its indigenous people, he is able to witness first-hand the rocks from which Authentic Shilajit is extracted. This is extremely important because while all purified resin is blackish, the rocks they come from vary in color and that determines its grade.
Grades of Shilajit
Shilajit comes from millions of years of geothermal pressure acting on biomasses of plant materials and minerals. This natural process produces a tar-like pitch that glistens in the rocks in the Himalayan region during hot weather. The rocks in various locations are different colors and determine the grade. When the exudate is purified to remove it from the rock, the resulting resin is black or blackish making it impossible to distinguish the grade. So not only are there fake products, there are also many claims of lower quality shilajit being top grade.
The grades have varying levels of value and are referred to by the colors of the rocks from which it emerges:
- Red and gold rock, (highest grade) – Gold Grade primarily used in Rasayana (rejuvenation) therapy.
- Black rock (mainly found in Nepal and Bhutan) – Iron Grade primarily used for imbalances of the Meda Dhatu (fat or adipose tissue system)
- Grey rock – Silver Grade primarily used for imbalances of the Maja Dhatu (Bone marrow/nervous system)
- Brown rock – Copper Grade primarily used for imbalances of the liver
- 5th grade, a useless substance made from animal feces (this is the most prevalent form of resin being sold)
The gold grade offers the most therapeutic value and is used when Rasayana (rejuvenation) is called for. It is the only version that holds the legendary properties sought by Ayurveda practitioners when helping their patients attain general health and well-being. No one knows why the gold grade is the most potent, but the fact has been proven through trial and experience over thousands of years.
The most effective shilajit comes from the highest reaches of the Himalayas, 16,000 – 18,000 feet above sea level. It is in these remote and treacherous regions where local people have partnered with Lotus Blooming Herbs to source and purify Authentic Shilajit. They use the traditional Tibetan method of purification, which produces 100% ultra-pure resin, using only natural spring water and the sun. The indigenous people who collect and purify Authentic Shilajit have been doing so for centuries (no exaggeration). They fully understand the different grades and live in the region where the highest quality with the most powerful rayasana (“rejuvenation”) properties is produced. Our resin is the only available source in the US for top grade Gold shilajit. In fact, residents of India who live outside of the areas where it is collected, regularly contact us because, being well-versed in Ayurveda, they understand and value this rare top quality substance. Check out our blog for pictures and stories of our journey and some of the Himalayan people who make it possible to bring the most powerful shilajit to the US.
How to Test Shilajit for Purity and Authenticity
The original shilajit test methods below will give you confidence yours is the real thing. Note that even low grade shilajit that is pure and will pass these tests so it is important that you trust your supplier has verified the color of the rocks from which it was extracted. These tests distinguish if a compound is or is not 100% shilajit:
- Pliability – Melts in your hands becoming gooey and sticky. Alternately, if you place it in the refrigerator to cool, it will become very hard and shatter like glass when struck with a hammer. If you try this, be sure to encase it in a plastic bag so you don’t make a mess or lose bits of your valuable supplement! Pure shilajit will always hold its form and not separate into clumps.
- Solubility – Dissolves in warm water or warm milk creating a golden or reddish liquid.
- Flame – Will not light on fire or burn like a candle. Heat shilajit with a mini blow torch. It will bubble and produce an ash that emanates outwards. But it WILL NOT BURN.
- Form – Do not trust powder forms. Most powders on the market that have any shilajit at all contain between 2 and 30 percent. All powders have additives and fillers in them. Standardized extracts add fulvic acid, often the same used in fertilizer to create a standard percentage. No natural substance will have a standard percentage of anything!
Ozokerite is a substance that looks like shilajit, but has no medicinal properties. Since it is easy and inexpensive to acquire, some supplement companies use it as a counterfeit product or buy from wholesalers who claim it to be shilajit.
Unfortunately, the supplement “industry” is rife with deception. Often times the brands selling are unaware that they have been duped by foriegn wholesalers. We at Lotus Blooming Herbs want so badly to help people achieve better health and wellness. But how can you trust us over any of the other abundant claims? We offer this information about identifying and testing for real shilajit in hopes that you will use it to discover that our product is real and top grade. It possesses the properties written about thousands of years ago in the ancient Sanskrit Ayurveda texts.