Terminalia Arjuna (Arjun Tree)

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Arjuna (also called Arjun Tree and Botanically, Terminalia Arjuna) is medicinal plant mainly used for heart diseases due to its cardioprotective and cardio-strengthening properties. It strengthens cardiac muscle (heart muscle) and normalizes (mainly reduces) heartbeat. In addition, it is a good source of minerals, which helps to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis) and improve bone mineral density. It has ulcer protection action, so it is used for ulcer treatment, especially indicated for peptic ulcers. It stops bleeding, so it is beneficial in bleeding disorders. It reduces the frequency of urination, so it is beneficial in polyuria and frequent urination. It has astringent action, so it is helpful in the management of leucorrhea.

Botanical Description

Terminalia Arjuna is a member of Combretaceae family. It is native to India but also found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and some other Asian Countries. It is a deciduous riparian tree and it can grow up to a height of about 20 to 27 meters.

Synonyms & Vernacular Names

Botanical NameTERMINALIA ARJUNA
English NameARJUNA, ARJUN TREE
Hindi NameARJUNA, ARJUN
Sanskrit NameARJUNA, ARJUN
Ayurvedic NameARJUNA
Telugu NameTHELLA MADDI
Sinhala NameKUMBUK
Tamil NameMARUDHA MARAM
Malayalam NameNEER MARUTHU

Botanical Classification (Plant Taxonomy)

KingdomPlantae
Sub-KingdomViridiplantae
Infra KingdomStreptophyta (Land Plants)
Super DivisionEmbryophyta
DivisionTracheophyta (Tracheophytes or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSpermatophytina (Spermatophytes or Seed Plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida
Super OrderRosanae
OrderMyrtales
FamilyCombretaceae (Combretums)
GenusTerminalia L. (tropical almond)
SpeciesTerminalia Arjuna (Arjun Tree)

Plant Description

Type of PlantDeciduous riparian tree
Native RangeIndia
Height20 to 27 meters
HabitatIt prefers humid, fertile and red lateritic soils, but it can grow in any type of soils. It can also grow in shade.
LeavesConical and oblong leaves. Leaves have a green color on the top and brown color below.
BarkGrey and smooth bark
FlowersPale yellow flowers
Bloom TimeMarch and June
FruitsIt has fibrous woody fruits with five wings division having size around 2 to 5 cm (between September and November)
Fruition TimeBetween September to November

Medicinal Parts

The bark of Terminalia Arjuna is the main medicinal part used for therapeutic purposes. It is well-known for cardioprotective action.

Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)

Terminalia Arjuna Bark contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. The following phytochemicals are found in the Arjuna bark.

  1. Phenolic Compounds – terminic acid and arjunolic acid
  2. Glycosides: arjunetin and arjunosides I–IV
  3. Flavones
  4. Tannins
  5. Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins
  6. B-Sitosterol
  7. Casuarinin
  8. Phenolic acids: ellagic acid and gallic acid
  9. Lactones

Pharmacological Actions

Terminalia Arjuna Bark has a cardioprotective role by restoring the depleted endogenous myocardial antioxidants and improving myocardial function. (1)

According to Ayurveda, Arjuna Bark strengthens the heart and myocardium (cardiac muscles), improves blood circulation to the heart tissue, and improves its strength to pump the blood. These facts are also now verified by some research studies.

Medicinal Properties

  • Cardioprotective
  • Antiarrhythmic
  • Cardiac Stimulant
  • Antianginal
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Anti-atherogenic
  • Inotropic (modifies the speed or force of muscle contractions)
  • Antihyperlipidemic
  • Anti-thrombotic
  • Antihypertensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Antihemorrhagic
  • Anti-osteoporotic
  • Anti-herpes virus (it is found in Casuarinin, hydrolysable tannin compound in Arjuna bark)
  • Wound healing
  • Anti-arthritic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antacid
  • Antiulcerogenic
  • Mucolytic
  • Urinary Astringent
  • Anti-obesity
  • Antitoxin
  • Antitumor
  • Antihyperglycemic
  • Anti-ischemic

Ayurvedic Properties

RASA (Taste)KASAYA (Astringent)
GUNA (Main Quality)LAGHU (Light), RUKSHA (Dry)
VIRYA (Potency)SHEETA (Cold)
VIPAKA (Resultant)KATU (Pungent)
PRABHAVA (Action)Cardiac Tonic
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humors)Pacifies KAPHA DOSHA & PITTA DOSHA
Dhatu (Tissue) EffectRASA, RAKTA, MAMSA, MEDA, ASTHI
Organs EffectHeart, Blood Vessels, Bones
Main IndicationHeart Diseases

Therapeutic Indications

  • Dyslipidemia
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Angina pectoris
  • Arrhythmia (especially used for Tachycardia)
  • Hemorrhages
  • Edema due to heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Cough associated with weakness and fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Dysentery
  • Bleeding piles
  • Burning sensation in urine
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pyuria
  • Metrorrhagia (excessive uterine bleeding)
  • Leucorrhea
  • Obesity
  • Bone fractures
  • Low bone mineral density
  • Osteoporosis
  • Chronic low-grade fever associated with fatigue and weakness
  • General weakness & Fatigue

Benefits & Medicinal Uses

In Ayurveda, Arjuna Bark is mainly used for heart diseases and as a heart tonic. In addition, it is also indicated in other diseases as listed above. Now, Arjuna is also studied for an ulcer, diabetes, and cancer treatments.

Cardiovascular Health

Terminalia Arjuna improves the functions of left ventricle of the heart. It provides strength to the heart muscles and improves the heart’s capacity to pump the blood. It has cardioprotective actions, which helps to preserve the optimum functions of the heart and speeds up the recovery process for cardiac injury. It is most commonly used for prevention from Myocardial Infarction (Heart attack) because it has anti-atherogenic property, which helps to reduce plaque buildup in the coronary arteries and improves the blood flow to the heart tissue.

Terminalia Arjuna is also beneficial for people suffering from Myocardial ischemia in which blood flow is reduced to heart. It improves blood flow to the heart and reduces blockage of coronary arteries. In addition, the cardiac tonic action of it improves tone and strength of the heart muscle and thus improves the ability of the heart to pump the blood efficiently and increase left ventricular ejection fraction in people suffering from heart diseases. In addition, it has antioxidant property, which also helps to maintain the cardiovascular health.

In Ayurveda, Arjuna is commonly recommended for heart disease’s prevention in people suffering from diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

Atherosclerosis

Terminalia Arjuna has anti-atherogenic and hypolipidemic properties. It also reduces low-grade inflammation of the blood vessels and antihyperlipidemic action lowers serum concentration of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL total cholesterol, and triglycerides. It also reduces atherogenic index. A rabbit study suggested a reduction in the atherosclerotic lesion in rabbit’s aorta. These effects are likely to be due to its antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. (2, 3)

Therefore, Arjuna bark can be used for its anti-atherogenic action, reducing atherosclerotic lesion and stopping the progress of atherosclerosis.

Heart Failure

Terminalia Arjuna reduces manifestations of heart failure. It increases left ventricular stroke volume index and left ventricular ejection fractions. The study suggested it helps to improve exercise performance and effort tolerance. (4)

Terminalia Arjuna bark extract improves cardiac output and cardiac contractility index. It prevents and reduces cardiac dysfunction and helps to recover from myocardial injury in congestive heart failure, a rat study suggested. Furthermore, the study suggested Arjuna bark inhibits lipid peroxidation and acts as an antioxidant. Its action was comparable to FLUVASTATIN, a standard modern drug. (5, 6)

In Ayurveda, Arjuna bark is used as Arjuna Ksheera Pak or Ashwagandha Arjuna Ksheera Pak for the treatment of congestive heart failure. It helps to reduce the edema and generally recommended along with Punarnava (Boerhavia Diffusa) formulations such as Punarnavarishta, Punarnavasava, Punarnavadi Kashayam or Punarnava Mandur for the best results. Arjuna bark powder, extract, juice or decoction can be used for therapeutic purposes in people with chronic heart failure.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease is a common cause of heart failure in addition to uncontrolled hypertension. Terminalia Arjuna helps to stop its progress and further plaque deposition by reducing low-grade inflammation in the blood vessels and coronary arteries. In addition, it also checks cholesterol deposits and plaque formation. It significantly reduces serum cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein and atherogenic index. (7, 8)

However, it may not help alone to treat the coronary artery disease, but along with following herbs, it works efficiently to clear the blockage caused by Cholesterol-containing deposits.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart attack) Prevention

Pre-treatment with Terminalia Arjuna and α-tocopherol had protected the rats from myocardial injury on induction of ISOPROTERENOL. The study suggested the prophylactic value of Terminalia Arjuna in the treatment of Myocardial Infarction and Myocardial Ischemia because it increases endogenous antioxidants in the heart tissue, which protects the heart from myocardial trauma or injury. (9)

Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation (IMR)

A study suggested that Terminalia Arjuna significantly reduces the Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation (IMR) and frequency of angina pain. It also improves E/A ratio, which indicates improvement in the function of the left ventricle of the heart after using T. Arjuna Bark for 3 months. (10)

Shortness of Breath

In heart patients, narrow coronary arteries decrease oxygen supply to the heart, which may result in shortness of breath. As discussed above, Terminalia Arjuna reduces narrowness of the blood vessels by treating low-grade inflammation and reducing deposited plaque in the blood vessels, so it also helps to treat breathing troubles in heart patients. For good results, it should be used in combination with other herbs as described under coronary artery disease heading.

Angina Pectoris

Terminalia Arjuna Bark Powder has Antianginal and Cardioprotective actions. A study suggested it is significantly effective in cases of stable angina pectoris. However, its results in unstable angina pectoris are limited and it does not reduce the anginal frequency in such cases. Arjuna reduces systolic blood pressure and increases good cholesterol level significantly. There are no side effects observed on the kidney and liver functions. Therefore, T. Arjuna can be used in cases of stable angina pectoris successfully. (11, 12, 13)

Tachycardia & Palpitation

Terminalia Arjuna Bark Powder is used in form of Arjuna Ksheera Pak in Ayurveda for Tachycardia and Palpitation. It provides good results. A 3 months therapy with Arjuna Ksheera Pak significantly reduces palpitation and abnormally high heartbeat.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

However, Terminalia Arjuna Bark contracts blood vessels due to its astringent action first, but then affects heartbeat and lowers the blood pressure.

Its effects are more observable on systolic blood pressure, according to study. (14, 15)

Furthermore, it prevents narrowing of blood vessels by reducing atherosclerotic lesions and plaque deposits in blood vessels, and lowering cholesterol and elevated lipids in the blood, and treating dyslipidemia. Therefore, its long-term use is beneficial in the management of high blood pressure resulting due to atherosclerosis or narrowing of blood vessels or when hypertension is associated with high cholesterol levels or dyslipidemia.

In Ayurveda, Terminalia Arjuna is always recommended as a cardiac tonic to improve cardio-vascular endurance and functions in cases of high blood pressure. However, it may not produce significant control over high blood pressure when used alone. Therefore, a combination therapy is recommendable and useful according to underlying causes of hypertension. Generally, the following combination is effective.

Terminalia Arjuna Bark Powder20 Parts
Sarpagandha Churna2 Parts
Jahar Mohra Pishti2 Parts
Praval Pishti2 Parts
Mukta Pishti1 Part
Dosage: 3 grams Twice Daily with Milk

Dyslipidemia & Hypercholesterolemia

Terminalia Arjuna Bark has antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant actions, which helps to lower serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL lipoprotein, VLDL Lipoprotein and atherogenic index. These effects may be due to phytochemicals like tannins, saponins, and flavonoids present in Arjuna Bark. (16, 17)

For best results in dyslipidemia and Hypercholesterolemia, it can be used along with other herbs as follows:

HerbsQuantity
Terminalia Arjuna Bark8 Parts
Triphala (three myrobalans)8 Parts
Kutki (Picrorhiza Kurroa)2 Parts
Shuddha Guggulu (Purified Guggul)2 Parts
Trikatu Churna1 Part
Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa)1 Part
Dosage: ½ teaspoon (around 3 grams) twice daily with warm water, or pure natural honey (if not diabetic)

Hemorrhages & Bleeding Disorders

Astringents substances in Arjuna Bark have anti-hemorrhagic property, which may be because it may causes vasoconstriction that helps to reduce bleeding and treat hemorrhages. It is commonly used in Ayurveda for bleeding disorders along with other herbs.

Bone Fractures

In Ayurveda, a paste of Arjuna Bark is prepared with water and applied on the part of bone fracture after alignment. The application of bark powder is repeated twice a day until recovery.

In addition, 3 to 4 grams Arjuna Bark Powder is advised to take twice daily with Cow’s Ghee and Desi Khand (naturally prepared sugar). It is believed this helps to speed up the proliferative physiological process, which enhances the fracture healing.

Chronic Low-Grade Fever

Arjuna Bark Ksheera Pak is useful for the treatment of chronic low-grade fever associated with extreme fatigue and physical weakness. However, it is not the perfect medicine for lowering fever, but it assists other medicines to fight off infections and fever. In addition, it reduces fatigue and weakness and restores body strength.

Dysentery

Terminalia Arjuna is used as Arjuna Ksheera Pak along with Indrayava (Holarrhena Antidysenterica seeds) for the treatment of dysentery. This combination reduces bleeding in stools, frequency of defecation, and eradicates the infection.

Wounds & Skin Ulcers

The bark decoction of Terminalia Arjuna is used for washing wounds and skin ulcers. It kills microbes, especially several strains of bacteria, and promotes wound healing.

Peptic ulcers

Arjuna bark powder and its water extract are very safe in ulcer and their ulcer protection action is comparable with RANITIDINE.

Dosage & Administration

Terminalia Arjuna can be used in different forms and dosage is as follows:

Terminalia Arjuna Bark Powder (Arjuna Churna) Dosage

The general dosage of Terminalia Arjuna Bark Powder (Arjuna Churna) is as follows.
Children1 to 3 grams
Adults3 to 6 grams
Maximum Possible Dosage24 grams Per Day (in divided doses) **
* Twice a day
** The maximum dosage of Arjuna Churna is a general estimate.
Best Time to Take: 2 Hours After Food
Adjuvant: Milk, Jaggery, or Sugar

Arjuna Ksheera Pak Dosage

The general dosage of Arjuna Ksheera Pak is as follows.
Children40 to 80 ml *
Adults160 ml *
Maximum Possible Dosage320 ml Per Day (in divided doses) **
* Twice a day
** The maximum dosage of Arjuna Ksheera Pak is a general estimate.
Best Time to Take: 2 Hours After Food or Anytime, but do not eat anything 30 minutes before drinking Arjuna Ksheer and 60 minutes after drinking Arjuna Ksheer.
Read More about preparation and ingredients of Arjuna Ksheera Pak here.

Arjuna Bark Juice Dosage

The general dosage of Arjuna Bark Juice is as follows.
Children5 to 10 ml *
Adults10 to 20 ml *
Maximum Possible Dosage40 ml Per Day (in divided doses) **
* Twice a day
** The maximum dosage of Arjuna Bark Juice is a general estimate.
Best Time to Take: On Empty Stomach in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening.
Adjuvant (if required): Water

Arjuna Bark Decoction Dosage

The general dosage of Arjuna Bark Decoction is as follows.
Children25 to 50 ml *
Adults50 to 100 ml *
Maximum Possible Dosage200 ml Per Day (in divided doses) **
* Twice a day
** The maximum dosage of Arjuna Bark Decoction is a general estimate.
Best Time to Take: On Empty Stomach in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening, or 30 minutes before a meal, or 2 hours after a meal.

Arjuna Bark Water Extract Dosage

The general dosage of Arjuna Bark Water Extract is as follows.
Children125 to 250 mg *
Adults250 to 500 mg *
Maximum Possible Dosage1500 mg Per Day (in divided doses) **
* Twice a day
** The maximum dosage of Arjuna Bark Water Extract is a general estimate.
Best Time to Take: On Empty Stomach in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening, or 2 hours after a meal.
Adjuvant: Water

Arjuna Formulations

  1. Arjuna Ksheera Pak (Arjuna Siddha Kshir)
  2. Arjunarishta
  3. Arjuna Ghrita
  4. Kukumbhadi Churna

Safety Profile

Terminalia Arjuna Bark is used in different forms like bark juice, powder, decoction etc. All formulations of Arjuna are considerably safe and well-tolerated in most individuals when taken in recommended dosage under the supervision of an ayurvedic physician.

According to the rat study, there is no oral toxicity found with 2 grams/Kg of Arjuna ethanolic extract. (18)

According to clinical studies, Terminalia Arjuna Bark is likely safe in recommended dosage. It does not cause any deleterious effect on kidney and liver functions. (19)

The long-term administration of Arjuna Bark Powder has no side effects and likely to safe for kidney and liver. There are no significant changes are observed in hematological parameters. (20, 21)

Arjuna bark extract is likely to be safer than Arjuna leaf extract, so Arjuna bark use is suggestible.

Side Effects of Terminalia Arjuna

There are no side effects reported with Terminalia Arjuna.

Pregnancy & Lactation

The safety profile of Terminalia Arjuna is not well established for pregnant women. However, Arjuna may be possibly safe in its natural form, but the use of its derivatives and extracts in pregnancy should be discouraged. You should also consult an ayurvedic physician before taking Arjuna formulations during pregnancy.

Terminalia Arjuna is likely to be safe to consume by lactating mothers. There are no adverse effects reported with the use of Arjuna in lactating mothers and breastfeeding babies.

Contraindications

There are no absolute contraindications for Terminalia Arjuna.

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