In the world of alternative medicine, there is a branch called medical geology. Curious to sneak in and learn about shungite, the magical black rock?
The first time I got to see the rock was about three years ago, in a local rock shop.
What is shungite?
Shungite is a plain-looking black rock. To be more correct, it is more a mineral than a rock but still not quite. Mineraloid is what it really is. Let’s call it a rock for the sake of simplicity. Rich in carbon, shungite can contain up to 98% of carbon. Carbon always means organic matter, so shungite is basically a fossilized organic matter. Just like coal. Both, shungite and coal, consist of remains of pre-historic simple organisms. By pre-historic I mean the organisms that are older than 500 million years. In fact, shungite is intermediate between a type of coal called anthracite and graphite. Anthracite is often called hard coal. It is superior to the regular coal in many aspects: cleaner, safer, burns for longer time. Graphite, you know how it looks like, pencil leads is made from it. To go from anthracite to shungite – temperature, pressure and lots of time is needed. Now that you have an approximate picture of what shungite is, let’s move on and grab bits of its history.
Shungite was discovered by science about three centuries ago. Having said that, the indigenous people began to play with it a long time ago.
I will make the story short. In the early 1700s, Peter the Great with his soldiers was wandering in the area of Kola peninsula and had to take break. He was well north of Petersburg, homesick and extremely tired. The local people offered him to take a bath and drink a cup of water. Seems like nothing special, however the water used for his revivement was naturally infused with large shungite rocks. The tsar did what he was told and felt an immediate relief. Amazed at the magic of the rock, he set up a spa resort there. Although in that time Russians didn’t understand what these rocks did to water, it was noticed that for some reason water taken right out of a stream didn’t have to be heated to kill pathogens – rocks did all the work. For this reason, the tsar ordered to use the rocks in the military campaigns so that every soldier could drink clean water at anytime… which according to some sources helped win one of the battles against the Swedish. The rock got its name, however, 200 years later. It is named after a Karelian village Shunga beside which the enormous shungite deposit is located. Zazhoginsky deposit. One of the largest shungite deposits in the world, if not the largest.
Online there is a lot of information about shungite and its healing effects, however hardly anything cited. I guess, the reason is that shungite rock is mainly found in Russia which explains the limited literature in English. Here, I mostly use evidence gathered by two scientists, Oleg Mosin from Russia and Ignat Ignatov from Bulgaria. In 2013, they tried to study the rock inside out.
First of all, how shungite interacts with water is only partly understood. I don’t want to annoy you with boring terms, so skipping right next to what shungite does. Before that, however, need to point out one important thing. Shungite is famous for containing fullerenes. A fullerene is a rare form of carbon with significant health applications. However, in shungite fullerenes are found in extremely tiny amounts, only about in 0.01–0.0001%. On top of that, not all samples of shungite contain them.
All right, now what shungite does. First, a shungite property, then what that property does in terms of cleansing water and a corresponding evidence from the study.
Shungite properties and their cleansing capabilities
Shungite possesses excellent adhesive properties. It can easily mix with and attract nearly all organic and inorganic substances. Specifically, shungite filters can absorb up to 95% of contaminants including heavy metals, petroleum products, pesticides, ammonia and dioxins (look at the below table for more compounds). To get a feel of its adhesion power consider the following. The industrial water containing copper, cadmium, mercury and lead and exceeding the upper safe limit by 10-50 times when run through shungite filter is purified to the level that is well below the required. If it cleans heavily-contaminated industrial water to a such extent you can imagine what it does to a tap water.
Shungite is effective absorbent. It absorbs into its structure various nasty microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungus and larger protozoa. For instance, the water containing 2300 cells of E.coli bacteria per liter when run through shungite filter is reduced to 3 cells per liter. That is 99.9 % removal rate. Another example, water with a mix of protozoa organisms is cleansed with 99.7% efficiency. One application of this is that with the help of shungite you can take water right out of a river without being afraid of basically any kind of bugs.
It is surprising to see a rock acting as an antioxidant. This property is more associated with plants. However, it has been shown that shungite gets rid of free radicals in water 30 times more effective than an activated carbon. Keep in mind that today the majority of household water filters are carbon-based as carbon is pretty good at removing harmful compounds. Well, it turns out that shungite is better. At least at removing dangerous free radicals…
Shield against ionizing radiation and other types of EM radiation
According to the study, shungite liquidates as much as 90% of radioactivity from water. The radiation you are thinking about is actually a part electromagnetic radiation spectrum. The same spectrum to which sunlight belongs to. In addition, shungite gets rid of less severe but still bad electromagnetic radiation – radiowaves and microwaves. These two are emitted by computers, cellular phones, TVs. Yes, water can absorb all types of electromagnetic radiation.
Organoleptic improver: turbidity, smell and colour
Turbidity is that cloudiness of water through which you can barely see. Shungite eliminates up to 95% of it. Surprisingly, unpleasant smell is removed at a decent rate as well. Plus, colour. As a result water acquires pleasant taste and odour. And looks much better too!
Shungite water revitalizes a human body on the numerous levels. In a matter of days, it decreases skin irritations, itchiness, allergies and hair loss. It promotes healing of wounds and burns. As well as helps to supply oxygen to tissues and organs, hence improving circulatory conditions. For example, vegetative vascular dystonia. The rock has also been shown to help with periodontitis, kidney stones, diseases of digestive tract and heart, weakened immune system.
To get a feel of what else shungite can do, here is a case study from the Russian children’s sanatorium. Located in Saint Petersburg and called “Chaika”, it is a specialized place where children with all kinds of allergies are brought to.
In 1993, the sanatorium started to use water purified with shungite for virtually everything: cooking, baths, inhalation therapy sessions. Striking results were obtained soon after. After a couple weeks, children with food allergies, asthma and gastritis experienced a visible improvement. In those cases, when highly concentrated shungite water was used, the cure rate of asthma was 100%. Since shungite was implemented in the sanatorium there was not a single case of infectious diseases, including hepatitis. Interestingly, all shungite water has been boiled before giving it to kids internally. That indicates that shungite doesn’t loose its beneficial properties upon heating. At least not completely. This case study showed that shungite can be successfully used for treating allergy-related diseases plus confirms its effectiveness against pathogens.
While working hard at removing bad bugs and chemicals, shungite goes an extra mile and enriches water with micro and macroelements. Just like French green clay I talked about.
To wrap up
Okay, from what I have just discussed above it is clear that shungite deserves to be called a medical rock. That’s confirmed not only by Russian scientists but little boys and girls 🙂 . Now, the big question is what happens with all this bad stuff gathered by shungite? No answer, unfortunately. It is a mystery how shungite is able to purify water and still remain clean! Obviously, an assumption exists. It is assumed that shungite interacts with oxygen gas from the air we breathe (O2) and converts it to atomic oxygen (O). Atomic oxygen being a strong free radical oxidizes (a type of reaction) found on shungite surfaces yucky stuff and instead gives us these – harmless CO2 and water. Thus freeing shungite for the next rounds of purification. Neat, isn’t it?
The next post is going to be about the practical side of shungite: how to use it, where to get it and similar.
Hope the above wasn’t too bland and you learned something new!
Oleg Mosin and Ignat Ignatov. 2013. The structure and composition of natural carbonaceous fullerene containing mineral shungite. International Journal of Advanced Scientific and Technical Research, 3(6):9-21
G. Parthasarathy and M. Vairamani.2003. Testing for fullerenes in geologic materials: Oklo carbonaceous substances, Karelian shungites, Sudbury Black Tuff: Comment and Reply. Geology, 31(1): e32-e33