Part Used: Stem bark
The tree grows throughout the greater part of the Indian subcontinent, Burma and Sri Lanka. It is particularly found in the sub-Himalayan tracts.
In the Rigveda, the word Arjuna is used (R.V.1/122/5) for the first time. Both Carakacharya and Sushrutacharya have mentioned this plant in their Samhitas, but have not indicated its use for heart diseases. It was Vagbhattacharya who for the first time mentioned the use of Arjuna in the treatment of heart diseases and the same was endorsed by Cakradattam and Bhavamisram. Ayurveda recommends different formulation of the bark powder of arjuna.
Mechanism of Action
The saponin glycosides might be responsible for the inotropic effects of Terminalia, while the flavonoids and OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) provide free radical antioxidant activity and vascular strengthening or strengthening the circulatory system
Various preclinical and clinical studies have been done on arjuna to prove its medicinal benefits. It is useful in angina pectoris, mild hypertension, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, blood thinning, as a diuretic and protecting cardiovascular disease or other diseases of heart.
Lipid Lowering Effect – Studies suggest that arjuna reduces blood lipids. The inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, increased fecal bile acid excretion, and stimulation of receptor-mediated catabolism of LDL cholesterol are responsible for arjuna’s lipid lowering effects.
Cardioprotective Effect - The antioxidant effect of the bark of T. arjuna augments endogenous cardiac antioxidants, like superoxide dismutase (SOD), reduced glutathione (GSH) and catalase (CAT). This offers significant protection against oxidative stress from tissue dysfunction or death in the heart (ischemic-repurfusion injury) caused when the blood supply to an area of tissue is cut off. The antioxidant effect also provides protection against endothelium dysfunction which is the pathological condition (cause) for atherosclerosis.
Few clinical studies related to Coronary Artery Disease are mentioned below :
Coronary Artery Disease –
- According to a clinical study published in the journal of Physicians association of India, 2001, Terminalia arjuna tree bark powder has significant antioxidant action that is comparable to vitamin E. In addition, it also has a significant hypocholesterolemic effect.
- A clinical study published in the Indian Journal of Heart, 2004, the Terminalia arjuna therapy for two weeks leads to significant regression of endothelial dysfunction amongst smokers.
T. arjuna has been extensively studied by the scientists for its medicinal benefits especially related to the heart. According to the ancient and scientific literatures, arjuna can be used to lower the cholesterol levels and prevent coronary heart disease.