Cistanche vs. Shilajit: Similarities & Differences Explained

However, there are some important differences to consider before choosing between either of these herbs. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences of cistanche vs. shilajit in …

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Written by: Daniel Powers, MS
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However, there are some important differences to consider before choosing between either of these herbs.

In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences of cistanche vs. shilajit in depth.

cistanche vs. shilajit: differences and similarities

Cistanche vs. Shilajit: Similarities & Differences Explained

When it comes to comparing the herbs shilajit and cistanche there are a few important similarities and differences to keep in mind.

First, both cistanche and shilajit have been shown to have a positive effect on hormone production, making them potential options for those looking to naturally improve their testosterone levels and support sexual function.

While both cistanche and shilajit help to benefit hormone levels, they do this via different mechanisms. Cistanche is thought to increase testosterone levels by increasing testosterone synthesis. Shilajit is thought to support hormone levels by providing minerals and other nutrients that are needed as building blocks.

Additionally, both shilajit and cistanche have been shown to benefit long-term brain health. This makes either herb a good option for those that are looking to preserve cognitive ability as they age.

One key difference between shilajit and cistanche is the fact that cistanche has more of a relaxing, stress-relieving adaptogenic effect. Shilajit doesn’t have this same impact, however it does provide a deep, nourishing effect that is helpful for individuals who have low mineral levels.

Cistanche Overview:Shilajit Overview:
Primary Benefit:Cistanche may work to support hormone healthShilajit is thought to increase levels of testosterone
Secondary Benefit(s):Cistanche may be able to promote brain healthShilajit may benefit individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease
Part of the Plant Used:StemShilajit is a naturally-occurring resin
Dosage Range:400-4,000mg300-500mg
Form:Extract, powder or capsuleResin, powder or capsule
Side Effects:Large doses may result in nausea, vomiting or skin irritationExcessive doses may result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Recommended Products:Lost Empire Herbs | Check PriceLost Empire Herbs | Check Price

Cistanche vs. Shilajit: Which is Right for You?

Cistanche is ideal for those who want to improve their hormone levels but can’t tolerate stimulants. Additionally, it helps the body adapt to stressors, making you more resilient to long-term stress.

On the other hand, shilajit is best for those who are looking to improve their mineral levels, as it is rich in trace minerals that help build strong bones and muscles. Additionally, shilajit provides a deep nourishing effect that helps restore vitality and energy.

Both herbs provide benefits for hormone levels and cognition. Cistanche has the edge in that it also has potential anti-aging properties, which shilajit doesn’t have. Ultimately, the right herb for you will depend on what your specific needs are.

It’s always best to speak with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. They can help you determine which herb is the most suitable for your individual needs and goals.

Can You Take Shilajit & Cistanche Together?

Yes, it is safe to take shilajit and cistanche together. There are no known negative interactions between these two herbs, and they may have complementary effects on the production of hormones and other health conditions.

You can click here for more information about recommended cistanche dosages.

Additionally, you can click here to read our full safety overview of shilajit.

However, it is always important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any herbs, whether alone or in combination, to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

The Best Cistanche & Shilajit Supplements:

Click here to read more about the best cistanche supplements and our top recommended shilajit supplement and vitamin gummy brands.

Recommended Cistanche
Recommended Shilajit
  • 8:1 Dual Extract
  • Independently Lab Tested
  • Free of GMOs, Fillers, & Preservatives
  • Contains Both Fulvic & Humic Acid
  • Sourced From the Himalayas
  • Available as a Powder or Resin
Recommended Cistanche
  • 8:1 Dual Extract
  • Independently Lab Tested
  • Free of GMOs, Fillers, & Preservatives
Recommended Shilajit
  • Contains Both Fulvic & Humic Acid
  • Sourced From the Himalayas
  • Available as a Powder or Resin

Cistanche Overview:

Cistanche is a traditional Chinese tonic herb that was used to help with erectile dysfunction, renal disease, female infertility, and senile constipation. It is also known as an herbal adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress.

Here is a brief overview of how cistanche benefits the body:

  • May help with erectile dysfunction
  • May benefit renal health
  • May improve female fertility
  • May relieve constipation in older adults
  • May work as an adaptogen to help the body cope with stress
cistanche vs. shilajit - cistanche

1. May Benefit Male Hormonal Health

Research has shown that cistanche may have positive effects on male sexual health.

Laboratory studies have revealed that the plant chemicals found in cistanche can increase testosterone levels. One of these chemicals, echinacoside, has been found to have the ability to relax arteries, which can improve blood flow and enhance sexual function.

2. May Improve Brain Function

Cistanche has been shown to have potential benefits for brain health.

Laboratory studies have indicated that it can protect brain cells and improve cognitive function.

One clinical trial found that cistanche may be helpful for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, providing similar benefits to other medications used for this condition. Overall, the research suggests that cistanche has the potential to benefit cognition and brain health.

3. May Have Potential Anti-Aging Properties

A recent study has found that cistanche may have anti-aging properties that benefit the aging process and promote longevity.

The research showed that cistanche can stimulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH), a natural hormone that promotes cellular regeneration and healing. HGH is considered an important hormone responsible for maintaining healthy aging, and the ability of cistanche to boost its production may provide anti-aging benefits and increase longevity.

You can learn more about cistanche in our in-depth article here.

Shilajit Overview:

Shilajit is a natural substance found in the Himalayan mountains. It is a thick, tar-like substance that is believed to have a range of benefits. It is commonly used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.

Shilajit’s potential health benefits include:

  • May support healthy brain function and cognitive abilities
  • May promote healthy aging and longevity
  • May enhance physical energy and endurance
  • May help to regulate blood sugar levels
  • May help to boost the immune system
  • May promote healthy digestion and metabolism
  • May support healthy hair growth

Shilajit contains a range of plant chemicals and minerals, including fulvic acid, humic acid, and various trace minerals. These compounds are thought to be responsible for many of the benefits of shilajit.

cistanche vs. shilajit - shilajit

1. May Benefit Hormone Health

Shilajit has been studied for its potential effects on male health, particularly for increasing testosterone levels.

A clinical study found that aging men who took shilajit had an increase in total testosterone, free testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) levels. The researchers also observed that gonadotropic hormone levels were effectively maintained.

Findings suggest that shilajit may have potential benefits for male hormone health, however shilajit is also thought to possess benefits for female reproductive health as well.

2. May Support Brain Health

Shilajit may have potential benefits for brain health, particularly for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Some researchers believe that the molecular makeup of shilajit may inhibit or delay the development of this condition.

Shilajit is high in fulvic acid, a powerful antioxidant that is thought to support cognition by preventing the formation of tau proteins in the brain.

This is supported by an in vitro study that showed that fulvic acid can break down tau proteins. Overall, initial research suggests that shilajit may have potential benefits for brain health.

3. May Prevent Altitude Sickness

Shilajit has a long history of use in the treatment of altitude sickness.

Acute mountain sickness is a condition that occurs when people are unable to adapt to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes.

Studies have shown that shilajit is helpful in the prevention and treatment of altitude sickness. Its high mineral content, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are believed to contribute to its effectiveness.

More information about the potential health benefits of shilajit for the human body can be found in our in-depth article.

As noted, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of shilajit. Specifically, additional human clinical trials are needed.

Potential Side Effects & Interactions:

Herbs, just like any other substance, have the potential to interact negatively with your body if not used correctly.

Cistanche has been considered a safe herb in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,000 years.

It’s considered to be a well-tolerated herb by most individuals. There are minimal reported cistanche side effects & interactions.

Click here for a complete overview of the best cistanche supplements.

High-quality, purified shilajit is generally well-tolerated and safe to take.

Buying shilajit from a reputable source is important.

Unprocessed shilajit can be contaminated with potentially toxic fungi. Shilajit contains substantial amounts of uric acid and should not be taken by people with gout, gouty arthritis, or uric acid calculi (small uric acid kidney stones).

A common question typically asked about shilajit is when the best time of day to take it is, which you can learn more about here.

Click here for a complete overview of the best shilajit supplements.

As with all supplements, it’s best to check in with your personal physician prior to taking them.


As you can see, taking either shilajit or cistanche is generally well-tolerated and safe to consume.

Consider testing each one of these herbs for a few weeks before deciding between them.

You may discover that one is superior to the other, or vice versa! Alternatively, combine them to see whether you get a synergistic effect.

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About Daniel Powers, MS

Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He has a passion for herbal medicine and how it can be used to support everyday health & wellness.