Updated: June 13, 2019
Imagine climbing in the Himalayan mountain ranges 4 – 16,000 feet high in search of a single adaptogenic herb that could increase your mental capabilities. For thousands of years, traditional Ayurvedic societies sought shilajit to improve general cognition and vitality .
Today, shilajit is still consumed in high quantities in India, but the scientific literature has not caught up to the traditional claims. Furthermore, there are risks associated with purchasing shilajit due to the heavy metal content and poor manufacturing processes for the herb .
Shilajit is useful as an antioxidant that can reduce specific molecules in the body . Models on animals suggest the herbal compound can help with learning and memory  and there is some evidence to suggest it can be a potent pain reliever . For men, it seems there are effects for sexual health. One study suggests infertile men can increase testosterone up to 23.5% while another showed an improved sperm quality .
Also Known As
Mineral Pitch, Jew's Pitch, Mineral Wax, Salajeet, Brag-shun, Shilajita, Moomio, Mumie, Mumijo, Mumiyo
Editors’ Thoughts on Shilajit
I have never had shilajit without other ingredients as well, but it seems to be worth trying if you can get a safe and heavy metal free product. That’s a big and important caveat.
In my research going through the nootropic supplement industry and seeing the facilities etc., it is harder to get high quality and safe materials than you might suspect. I wouldn’t tell anyone it is too dangerous to buy shilajit online, but it is definitely worth researching carefully.
I trusted the friend who made the drink with shilajit that I mentioned above, but make sure to do your due diligence online beforehand.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Shilajit
According to the native Ayurvedic practitioners, shilajit benefits are many and powerful. The word literally means “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness” , which suggests these traditional Indian societies were fond of the herb. However, this name could either apply to the effects of the drug or the process of acquiring it (see the imaginative summary climbing up mountains just to get the herb).
More recently, scientific evidence has analyzed the benefits of shilajit to validate a few of the claims. The main bioactive ingredient, fulvic acid , is responsible for a few brain related benefits. For one, shilajit can be a potent pain reliever. One study showed a direct reduction in pain in mice  and another with animals addicted to morphine . Neither of these show a direct and strong correlation with human pain relief, but you can infer how it might help you.
Aside from pain, there are benefits of shilajit that relate to learning abilities. One (albeit confounded) study suggested a correlation between shilajit and memory and learning improvements .
Finally, shilajit can be a male sexual health enhancer. One comprehensive study looked at both the testosterone increases and sperm quality in infertile men. The test lasted 1 – 6 month, was double-blind and showed that 3 months of shilajit use could increase testosterone up to 23.5%. The test also showed significant improvement in sperm quality , which is said to relate directly to fertility.
Although shilajit has a great reputation in the Ayurvedic community, the research is still not out on the drug just yet. You can try it through an affordable and reliable vendor, but ensure that it is free from heavy metals.
Side Effects of Shilajit
Shilajit has few (if any) side effects or complications if you are sure to get a heavy metal free product. One shilajit side effect was a decrease in creatinine by around 8% , which is a marker for creatine (and energy metabolism) in the body. However, even a higher dose of 2 grams per day did not show any significant toxicological concerns .
While the shilajit herb seems to have few side effects, the products manufactured poorly will assuredly have issues. Just because shilajit is a natural nootropic does not mean all the products are safe. Many manufacturers use chemical compounds unsafe for human consumption in order to extract the bioactive ingredients.
The standard shilajit dosage is 200 mg per day expecting a 50% standardized fulvic acid content. The 200 mg are divided into two doses of 100 mg each usually taken with food. This is the dosage that many of the studies use, though some have used 2000 grams without any significant toxicity issues.
For fertility, the shilajit dosage is also 200 mg, which makes this one of the few compounds that has the same dosage depending on the brain or body benefits one is looking for.
How and Where to Buy Shilajit
The most important tip to keep in mind if you buy shilajit is to research the provenance of certain drugs. Find out whether they are made in the United States or not. A lot of products made in the United States or Canada will have a much higher safety profile.
The reason to purchase shilajit online is to research the manufacturing methods. We recommend the AyurSante brand at the moment as it is one of the few that is made in America (Fremont, California) and also has 50% Fulvic acid (though it is in higher doses than recommended).
Selected Community Experiences
“Recently purchased Shilajit. Wasn't expecting any sort of noticeable boost to energy, maybe at the most a subtle one. Wouldn't have necessarily classified it as a Nootropic, yet based off my experience and the experience of others I could see how it could be labeled as such, hence why this post is on this subreddit. However, I've been taking what I think to be the recommended dose and on every day that I've taken it, I've felt uncomfortably wired / anxious. True I'm awake and I'm probably more productive, yet I want the day to end so I don't feel the jitters.”  – zonograph
“I just received some resin in the mail, and I've been dissolving a pea-sized portion under my tongue. It tastes deathly but seems to positively influence my energy levels in the morning (perpetually sluggish before, now feeling wide-awake), and I've been feeling a shift in head-space that could be placebo but nothing too overt. People report feeling downright euphoric from this stuff, and I could see this being secondary to fatigue relief.”  – crabcakebenny
- References (Click to Expand)