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HealthJammu Kashmir Mountains' Shilajit: A Unique Substance with Numerous Health Benefits

Jammu Kashmir Mountains’ Shilajit: A Unique Substance with Numerous Health Benefits

This incident dates back to 1985. I thought, ‘What is this Shilajit that people use in small quantities? Let me try drinking a cup and see.’ Well, I drank a cup, but suddenly I started feeling faint. I immediately poured a bucket of water over myself and ran to the doctor.

I told them that I had drunk a cup of Shilajit. Saying this, I collapsed. Four hours later, when I regained consciousness, the doctor gave me a hard slap and told me not to do it again.

This is the story of Karimuddin, a resident of Karimabad in the Hunza Valley, who has been involved in the business of making Shilajit with his father since 1980. I met him on the terrace of his house, where Shilajit is taught.

What is Shilajit and how is it Formed

Shilajit is found in the mountains of Central Asia, and in Jammu Kashmir, it is mostly extracted from the mountains of Kashmir Valley and Gilgit-Baltistan. Karimuddin a Kashmiri Shilajit business men explains that Shilajit is formed from a mixture of minerals and plants found in caves of different mountains over many years. After which it is taken out at the right time.

But the process of finding it is not as easy as it is supposed to be. Through the dangerous and difficult paths of the lofty mountains, Karimuddin’s artisans head out into the mountains before sunrise to find Shilajit. It often takes several days to find a solution.

Shilajit has to go through two main stages to reach its final and finished form:

  1. Searching for it in the lofty mountain tops.
  2. The act of cleaning or filtering the Shilajit.

The Search for Shilajit

If you could witness firsthand the extraction of Shilajit from the mountain peaks, I would applaud your courage. I had a similar experience when, after a six-hour journey, we reached the summit of the mountain. From there, one could behold the majestic Raka Poshi, adorned with snow, along with the breathtaking view of the Hunza Valley nestled in between.

In the Hunza Valley, there are specialized individuals who possess the secrets of locating and extracting Shilajit from the mountains. Ghazi Karim, who has been engaged in this endeavor for the past 15 years, remarks, “We journey for hours, sometimes even days, to accomplish our task.”

Subsequently, the raw materials they gather from the mountains are brought back to the city and sold to specific vendors, who, after a certain cleaning process, further distribute it.

Also Raed: Exploring the Health Benefits and Considerations of Kashmiri Chai (Pink Tea)

These individuals often travel in groups of four to five, with one designated for preparing tea and meals, while the others secure the ropes tightly at the summit. Then, a member descends into the cave in search of Shilajit.

Ghazi explains, “We use binoculars to peer into the caves, giving us a glimpse of the Shilajit. When we approach closely, its distinctive smell confirms its presence.”

Meanwhile, Ghazi adeptly descends from the mountain’s summit at a 90-degree angle using a rope. After spending some time within the cave, Ghazi calls out to his companions, announcing the discovery of Shilajit.

Describing the entire process, Ghazi mentions, “When the servant descends into the cave, there’s a designated spot for them to sit. After extracting the Shilajit, we place it in sacks. First, we hoist the sacks up, and then we ascend using the same rope.”

The entire process takes about half an hour. Reflecting on this timeframe, Ghazi remarks, “During this half-hour, if someone fails to tie the rope securely or neglects to fasten the safety belt properly, the risk of the rope coming loose is high.

However, Ghazi adds thankfully, “To date, we haven’t encountered any such incidents.

The Shilajit Filtering Process

Shilajit remains in a unique mixture form within the stones until these artisans bring it to the city and sell it to shopkeepers who clean and filter it. Karimuddin has been engaged in this practice since 1980.

He explains that his father initially filtered Shilajit under sunlight, which he named Aftab Shilajit.

In this process, large stones brought from the mountains are first broken into smaller pieces and placed into a large bucket. A specific amount of water is added, and the mixture is stirred with a large spoon to ensure thorough dissolution of the Shilajit into the water. After a few hours, the surface dirt is removed from the water.

“We let this water sit for a week,” says Karimuddin. “During this time, the water turns completely black, indicating that the Shilajit has been fully absorbed by the stones.”

He explains that this step is crucial for separating any remaining harmful particles from the Shilajit-infused water.

“Usually, driven by greed and the desire for quick profits, people simply strain this water through cloth and boil it for three to four hours, hastening the thickening process and preparing the Shilajit. However, this method has more disadvantages than advantages,” Karimuddin remarks.

He highlights two major drawbacks of this rushed approach. Firstly, filtering through cloth and mesh leaves behind harmful ingredients in the Shilajit. Secondly, boiling the Shilajit in water and thickening it removes all its minerals, rendering it useless.

Karimuddin takes thirty to forty days to complete this entire process, during which he employs a special machine for filtration. He keeps this machine hidden from competitors, as it has been imported from abroad.

The final step in making Shilajit

After filtration, the Shilajit-infused water is transferred to a glass container and left to dry for approximately a month. During this time, additional Shilajit-infused water is added to the vessel to top it up. This process yields solar Shilajit, which is then packaged and supplied to vendors.

Karimuddin emphasizes that he submits every batch of Shilajit for medical testing, and the certificate obtained serves as proof of its purity. These certificates indicate the presence of 86 types of minerals in the Shilajit.

Karimuddin mentions that he sells 10 grams of Shilajit for prices ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 600, depending on the demand and supply of Shilajit. However, shopkeepers may sell it at their own price.

Not work like Viagra, but what are Shilajit’s benefits:

Karimuddin mentions that people often have misconceptions about Shilajit. In reality, the minerals present in it help fulfill the body’s deficiencies, leading to improved blood circulation due to increased body temperature.

Dr. Waheed Meraj from Mirpur, Azad Kashmir explains that Shilajit contains more than 85 minerals, including iron, zinc, and magnesium. These minerals not only enhance blood circulation but also boost immunity.

He further states that Shilajit usage enhances the human nervous system, making it beneficial for conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, and overall brain health.

Dr. Meraj highlights that studies conducted on rats have demonstrated positive effects on their sugar levels, suggesting Shilajit’s potential in treating diabetes.

Additionally, Shilajit is believed to be beneficial for bones and joints.

Regarding the disadvantages of Shilajit, Dr. Meraj mentions that inadequate filtration can contribute to its drawbacks. Furthermore, excessive use of Shilajit can be harmful to health.

The correct usage of Shilajit, according to Karimuddin:

“It should be consumed in an amount equal to dry gram seeds and mixed with warm milk. Individuals above the age of fifty can take it daily for two to three months. However, young people should limit their usage to no more than two days a week.”

He emphasizes that individuals with high blood pressure should avoid using Shilajit altogether. “When the body absorbs the 86 minerals found in Shilajit, it can slightly elevate blood pressure. Therefore, those with existing high blood pressure should refrain from using it.”

Additionally, Karimuddin advises against using Shilajit for individuals suffering from heart diseases.

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