Is there evidence that shilajit, a substance originating from high mountain rocks, can cure any form of cancer in two days? No, that's not true: While some rodent studies testing the effects of shilajit along with proven cancer treatments seem promising, and while cell culture studies using shilajit also seem promising, there has not been any consensus among medical professionals that shilajit -- or any natural substance -- can cure cancer in humans.
The claim appeared in a video (archived here) posted to TikTok which was published on March 11, 2023. The video includes a screenshot of what looks to be an advertisement or article proliferating the claim. The screenshot and the text in the video read:
They lost billions so it must disappear
THIS OIL KILLS ANY CANCER IN 2 DAYS
This raw plant oil known as shilajit is getting banned because it has just proven to kill cancer cells in just 2 days. Shilajit is packed with 96+ Minerals and also loaded with vitamins that the body needs. You can find it in the pro-fyle lync before it's gone
It's a raw plant oil that forms only in Nepal
This is how the video looked on TikTok at the time of writing:
(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Mar 20 14:39:22 2023 UTC)
The TikTok video was also reposted on Facebook.
Shilajit has been used as a supplement within Ayurvedic medicine practice for centuries. There have been a few studies that have found potential benefits of adding shilajit to proven cancer treatments. A peer-reviewed study published in 2022 found that in rats, the combination of shilajit and chemotherapeutic drugs seemed to lessen the harmful effects of the spread of osteosarcoma, a form of cancer starting in the bones, on the kidney and liver tissue. A study published in 2012 used rats to test the safety of repeated exposure to shilajit. The researchers concluded that black shilajit may be safe to use as a supplement for some disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, but the study makes no mention of cancer.
Alternatively, a study published in 2016 that used Huh-7 cells treated with shilajit (referred to as "mineral pitch" in the study) concluded that the substance "may be a factor in diet that may lower the risk of cancer and may inhibit the tumour growth." Other cell line studies involving shilajit can be found here and here.
Still, such studies have not directly examined shilajit's impacts on humans nor have they concluded that it is a cancer cure.
According to the American Cancer Society, the term "cure" when applied to cancer means "the cancer has gone away with treatment, no more treatment is needed, and the cancer is not expected to come back". Most doctors do not make assertions that a "cure" has occurred: rather, they say that cancer has gone into "remission", meaning that the cancer is under control for a period of time. Complete remission refers to the disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer while partial remission refers to a shrinking of cancer but not a total disappearance. However, both of these statuses can change.
The National Cancer Institute lists several cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, all which take much longer than two days to be effective. However, shilajit and other supplements are not included, and none of the listed treatments explicitly call for the use of shilajit. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that there have not been any complementary health approaches proven to prevent or cure cancer. The center advises that cancer patients interested in trying complementary health approaches only do so after speaking with a healthcare professional.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns U.S. consumers that despite the appearance of many products that claim to cure cancer, only treatment products approved or cleared by the FDA are legitimate.
Lead Stories could not locate the source of the screenshot used to make the claim in the video posted to TikTok.
Although Canada warned consumers about using certain shilajit products, there is no evidence that the substance is "banned" in the United States.
Lead Stories has previously debunked several claims related to supposed cancer cures. Those fact checks can be found here.