Alternative names: Terminalia, Arjuna, Koha, Kahu, Arjan, White Marudah, White Murdh, Arjuna Myrobalan, Orjun, Yerra maddi, Sadada, Sadaru, Root Arjun, Arjun Herb, and many more.
Arjun is an herb used in Ayurveda since 2500 BC as a heart tonic. Although it has many uses, it is mainly used to treat cardiovascular diseases including angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure. It possesses remarkable cardioprotective, heart muscle-strengthening properties.
For over three centuries the thick bark of this tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cardiac tonic.
Terminalia Arjuna is a tall deciduous tree that grows throughout India, especially in the sub-Himalayan tracts and Eastern India. Both the leaves and the bark is used.
The bark of the tree contains calcium salts, magnesium salts, tannins and glucosides and has stimulant, tonic, antibacterial, antimutagenic, and astringent properties.
The bark is astringent, sweet, sour, cooling, aphrodisiac, cardiac tonic, urinary astringent, expectorant, alexiteric.
Arjun is thought to help relax (dilate) blood vessels.
Arjun is noted for strengthening the heart muscles and improving their function. It is used for the treatment of coronary artery disease, heart failure, edema, angina and hypercholesterolemia. It is especially useful in cases of disturbed cardiac rhythm, angina pectoris or myocardial infarction.
Arjun helps to normalize cholesterol levels; it increases the elimination of cholesterol by accelerating the turnover of LDL cholesterol in the liver. It lowers beta-lipoprotein lipids and restores HDL components in cases of hyperlipidemia.
The powdered bark is a diuretic, improves prostaglandin production, and reduces heart-associated risk factors.
In Ayurveda, the bark of Arjun is considered beneficial in the treatment of asthma: a fine powder is made from the bark and stored in a sealed container. An infusion is made from hot water and 1 teaspoon of Arjuna bark powder to drink like tea.
The bark has also been used successfully for fractures, ulcers, hyperhidrosis, and otalgia. The diuretic and a general tonic effect of Arjuna bark powder helps in cases of liver cirrhosis.
Abana – an Ayurvedic formula that contains Arjun and some 40 other herbs – is believed to help the heart work more effectively through reduced preload and afterload, improved diastolic function, and improved pump function. It has shown great promise for helping to reduce blood pressure in patients with mild hypertension, most likely by relaxing (dilating) blood vessels.
According to one study, Abana is approximately as effective for controlling blood pressure as the drug methyldopa. [Dadkar VN, Tahiliani RR, Jaguste VS, Damle VB, Dhar HL. Double blind comparative trial of Abana and methyldopa for monotherapy of hypertension in Indian patients. Jpn Heart J. 1990 Mar; 31(2): pp193-9.]
The juice of the fresh leaves is used to cure dysentery and earache.
Terminalia Arjuna is also said to be beneficial against internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, gonorrhea, dysentery, and diarrhea. A decoction of the bark taken in doses of 15 to 30 grams may relieve patients of diarrhea or dysentery.
Externally, Arjun has been shown to have positive effects in the treatment of acne, blemishes, and wounds. For acne, an ointment is made by mixing the powdered bark with honey and applying over the affected area. A decoction of the herb is used as an astringent for cleaning sores and ulcers.
The ashes of the bark are prescribed against scorpion stings.
Take 1 or 2 capsules with meals. Allow several weeks for long-lasting benefits.
Although Arjun is not associated with any severe adverse effects, comprehensive safety studies have not been performed at the time of writing.
Arjun has been shown to improve the signs, symptoms and objective measurements of cardiomyopathy. A clinical trial using 500mg of an extract tid for DCM patients with severe heart failure showed improvement in heart function within 2 weeks and improvement which continued for the following 2 years. The arjun in this trial was concentrated, but not standardized, as are some commercial preparations (1% arjunolic acid). [Int J Cardiol 1995;49: pp.191-9]
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