Modern medical sciences have progressed a lot in its fight against aliments concerning heart. Day by day, the numbers of heart patients are increasing. A number of medications starting from Aspirin to sophisticated open heart surgeries are now a days common in developed countries. In spite of the ultramodern technologies and the awareness programs, heart diseases like Angina pectoris and Myocardial Infraction are till today creating alarming situations in the society.
If we consider the traditional herbal system of medicine in India- Ayurveda , we will come to know that Ancient medical scientists have mentioned the remarkable cardio-protective, heart muscle strengthening properties of Arjuna herb.
Botanical Name : Terminalia Arjuna
English Name: White Marudah
Hindi: Arjun, Arjuna, Koha, Kahu, Arjan
Marathi: Arjuna, Arjun Sadada, Sadura
Sanskrit: Arjuna, Dhanvi, Indradruma, Kakubha, Karvirak.
Family : Combretaceae
Botany: Tree up to 25 meter hight; bark grey, smooth; leaves sub-opposite, 5–14 × 2–4.5 cm., oblong or elliptic oblong, glabrous, often inequilateral, margin often crenulate, apex obtuse or sub-acute, base rounded or sometimes cordate; petioles 0.5–1.2cm; glands usually two. Flowers small, white. Fruit 2.3–3.5 cm long, fibrous woody, glabrous with 5 hard wings, striated with numerous curved veins. Flowering time April–July in Indian conditions. Seeds hard germination 50–76 days (50–60%)
Habitat: Terminalia Arjuna is a deciduous tree (about 60-70 feet height), is abundantly found in India and Ceylon, also in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Arjuna Health Benefits:
- Hypolipidemic: enhances the elimination of cholesterol by accelerating the turnover of LDL-cholesterol in the liver. Lowers beta-lipoprotein lipids and the recovery of HDL components in hyperlipidemia
- Cardiac stimulant: Strengthens the heart muscles and maintains the heart functioning properly.
- Hypotensive: Due to its hypolipidemic activity and also the diuretic property it acts against hypertension.
- Astringent & Haemostatic.
- Has prostaglandin enhancing and coronary risk modulating properties.
Arjuna Uses/ Indications:Cardiomyopathy like Myocardial infraction, angina, coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension. In case of heart attack though it can not act against, like streptokinase or eurokinase, but regular use of it after just recovering from heart attack, reduces the chance of further attack to a great level. Besides no such Toxicity or side effects has so far be found it can be advocated to use in regular basis for a strong and well functioning heart.
Arjuna can help lower Cholesterol as much as 64% - people taking Arjuna preparation saw their LDL levels plummet by an average of 25.6%. In animal studies with extremely high blood fats, LDL levels dropped from 493 to 162 ,after 60 days. That's a whopping 64 percent drop. Plus, HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) actually increased.
Arjuna reduces angina episodes much better than nitroglycerin - In one study, angina episodes were cut in half by the Arjuna, with none of the nasty side effects. Plus, it can be used as long as you like, without fear it'll stop working.
Arjuna has been shown to help reverse hardening of the arteries.
Today while learning and practicing Ayurveda and alternative medicine ; the knowledge of the Healing Herbs described in Ayurveda is very important.
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Arjuna Ayurvedic Energetics:
Rasa (taste) - Astringent, bitter
Virya (action)- Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect)- Pungent
Guna (quality) - Light, dry
Dosha effect - Tridoshic, KP-
Dhatu (tissue)- Plasma, blood, bone, reproductive
Srota (channel) - Circulatory, reproductive
Arjuna Forms used: Stem Bark, Powder, Extract
Arjuna Photochemistry: Tannins, Triterpenoid saponins (arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, arjungenin, arjunglycosides), Flavonoids (arjunone, arjunolone, luteolin), Gallic acid, ellagic acid, Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), Phytosterols (b-sitosterol), calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Ayurvedic Formulations of Arjuna: Arujanarishta, Arjunghruta, Arjunakhsirpak etc
Special easy formulation of Arjuna: - A special but easy formulation that is in wide practice owing to its efficacy is the Arjunakshirapaka. The process is easy, affordable but found to be greatly effective. It simply includes the bark of Arjuna (may be of powder form), four times the milk, and 16 times the water. The process involves the usual decoction process to boil the mixture till the amount of milk only remains. A person can make a daily use of it twice a day as a home made medicine for a better, risk free heart.
Powder : 3-6 gm two or three times a day with milk or water.
Extracted juice : 10-20 ml two or three times a day with sugar or honey or milk.
Decoction : 20-40 ml two times a day in the concentration of 1:2
Kshirpaka : 5-20 gm two times a day.
Terminalia Arjuna Research Update:
- Casuarinin from the Bark of Terminalia arjuna Induces Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Arrest in Human Breast Adenocarcinoma MCF-7 Cells.
Planta Med. 2005 Mar;71(3):237-43.
- Terminalia arjuna protects rabbit heart against ischemic-reperfusion injury: role of antioxidant enzymes and heat shock protein.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):403-9.
- Terminalia arjuna reverses impaired endothelial function in chronic smokers.
Indian Heart J. 2004 Mar-Apr;56(2):123-8.
- Cardioprotective effect of the alcoholic extract of Terminalia arjuna bark in an in vivo model of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury.
Life Sci. 2003 Oct 10;73(21):2727-39.
- Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate.
Indian Heart J. 2002 Mar-Apr;54(2):170-5.