SHILAJIT IN AYURVEDA
Welcome back to our blog. This time, we’re going to discover a different side of Shilajit. We already discussed its origin in part1 and part2, its role in health of man and women, Shilajit and skin care and its connection to our heart. And so it occurred to us, that we never talked about its use in alternative or traditional medicine. We always make sure to cover everything from a scientific view point since we’re a firm believer that modern technology can help us truly understand Shilajit. But, denying its roots would be kind of foolish. After all, Shilajit was used in medicine thousands of years before most of the modern world knew about it. And Ayurveda is a big part of it.
WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ayurveda, a natural system of medicine, originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. Based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one’s life.
In Ayurveda, body, mind and consciousness work together in maintaining balance. They are simply viewed as different facets of one’s being. To learn how to balance the body, mind and consciousness requires an understanding of how vata, pitta and kapha work together. According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements—Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations and permutations of these five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation.
Vata is the subtle energy associated with movement — composed of Space and Air. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. In balance, vata promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.
Pitta expresses as the body’s metabolic system — made up of Fire and Water. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy.
Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure — bones, muscles, tendons — and provides the “glue” that holds the cells together, formed from Earth and Water. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed and envy.
SHILAJITS ROLE IN AJUVERDA
Shilajit can be good for all dosha types and constitutions but can be heating so in excess may increase Pitta. Ayurveda practitioners recognize its ability to maintain the body’s metabolism at an optimum rate which naturally slows down with age. Shilajit also balance hormone levels that change and cause stress as we age.
Shilajit has been used in Ayurveda to stimulate the growth process of skin cells at a molecular level and give people a healthy appearance and youthful glow.
Traditionally, Shilajit is known as yoga vahi—which means “joining carrier”—because of its ability to carry and drive nutrients deep into the body so they can work more effectively. Thus, therefore it can be taken with other herbs and supplements to enhance their effectiveness.
In Sanskrit, Shilajit means “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness. Overall Shilajit has the unique ability to enhance the essence on any of the tissue systems (dhatus). For example, the essence of muscle (mamsa) is to give shape, the essence of blood (rakta) is to bring life, and the essence of the marrow/nervous system (maja) is to bestow knowledge.
As we can see, Shilajit is deeply embedded in many cultures across a vast timeline. There are many benefits attributed to Shilajit based upon: tradition, classical text books of Ayurveda, natural instinct from animals, personal accounts, and most recently scientific studies. Many of the biochemical processes have been defined; however, the full effects of Shilajit on the human organism requires further investigation. There is hope for a very promising future in the mental and physical longevity of this organic mineral resin. The future of Shilajit is really bright and we’re looking forward to exploring it together with all of you.
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