The History of Shungite Water
Although Shungite Water is not very well known in Western Europe, the extraordinary properties of this water have been recognised in Karelia for centuries.
The first official written mention of the healing powers of Shungite date back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible 1530-1584 and his son Feodor 1. In those days Shungite was not known by its current name, but as local ‘slate’. It was particularly famous for the very pure water that sprang from the ground where the shungite was found.
When Feodor 1 died, leaving no male heirs, Russia fell into a succession crisis. Boris Godunov (the brother-in-law of Feodor 1) was elected Tsar but fearing a challenge to the throne from the Romanov family (Ivor the Terribles’ wife was Anastasia Romanova) he sent the remaining Romanovs, Feodor, Xenia and their young son Michael into exile. The parents were separated and forced to take monastic vows.
Xenia now known as Martha was sent to a hermitage on Lake Onega, where she nearly died due to the cold and harsh conditions. When Boris Gudonov died his oppressive regime lessened, the local peasants took pity on Martha, and nursed her back to health with water from a spring that had miraculous properties (the shungite spring). In 1613 Michael was elected Tsar and became the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty. To commemorate Martha’s recovery the spring was named the Spring of the Princess. As time went on the spring was forgotten by all, except the local inhabitants.
Peter the Great
In 1714 Peter the Great had established a copper factory near Lake Onega. Some of the factory workers who were processing the ore fell seriously ill and were poisoned. Legend has it, that the workers could be healed in three days with the ‘living water’ from a nearby spring. Peter 1 ordered an investigation of the spring which flowed from the Shungite deposit. These investigations clearly showed the extraordinary properties of the water in healing illnesses such as scurvy and liver problems.
Having spent time at a Belgian thermal spa, Peter the Great ordered the construction of the first Russian spa near Lake Onega. The spa was called Martial Waters.
Soldiers carried Shungite
Having experienced the unique antiseptic properties of the Shungite Water. Peter the Great ordered by decree that each one of his soldiers was to carry a piece of Shungite (slate rock) in their packs. This Shungite was put in their water flasks. As a result the soldiers had pure disinfected water, thus avoiding the dysentery that so often plagued armies of those times.
After Peter the Great died, the thermal spa closed down and was forgotten by all except the local people. It was only in the 1930s that new medical studies of the water were carried out but World War 2 halted all plans to once again build a spa.
The 1960s saw a resurgence of interest in shungite with the construction of a new spa and new clinical research, this study remained at a local level until the discovery of fullerenes in Shungite.