The tree Terminalia consists of three species that are used in medicine. They are Terminalia chebula (one of the herbs in Triphala, the ayurvedic preparation), Terminalia bellerica, and Terminalia arjuna. Terminalia arjuna commonly called Arjuna is said to balance the three doshas. The Indian physician Vagbhata was the first to use it for heart conditions. The arjuna is an important medicine in both the ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. The bark of the tree is a cardiac tonic.
Botanical name – Terminalia arjuna
Sanskrit – Arjuna
Common name – Arjuna
Tamil – Neermaruthu
Hindi – Arjun
Health Benefits of Terminalia arjuna
The bark of the arjuna tree contains flavonoids, tannins, saponin, and glycosides. It also contains calcium and magnesium salts. Flavonoids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, while glycosides are cardiotonic. The bark of the tree is also high in Co-enzyme Q-10, which improves heart function and is said to lower blood pressure. The herb also has mild diuretic, blood thinning, prostaglandin E(2) enhancing, and blood lipid-lowering properties.
Arjuna’s health benefits for Cardiovascular Health
The herb is said to provide cardiac health. It nourishes the heart muscles. It helps in vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) and vasodilation (opening or widening of the blood vessels), which helps in the proper functioning of the circulatory systems. The bark of the tree is used for conditions like heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and coronary artery disease. It strengthens the heart and is considered to be more effective than nitroglycerine. It also helps reverse the hardening of the arteries. Arjuna successfully decreases angina attacks. Angina is a pain or tightness in the chest caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.1
Its efficacy as an anti-ischemic agent (Ischemic heart disease is a condition of recurring chest pain or discomfort that occurs when a part of the heart does not receive enough blood), a potent antioxidant, and an antiatherogenic agent (accumulation of lipid-containing plaques on the innermost layers of the arteries) has been amply demonstrated in various experimental and clinical studies. The disadvantage of these studies is the lack of bioavailability studies, and well-designed studies to evaluate its long-term toxicity effects.2
In studies carried out on Terminalia arjuna therapy for patients with refractory chronic congestive heart failure, it was found that there was a long-lasting improvement in symptoms and signs of heart failure along with improvement in left ventricular ejection phase indices with a definite improvement in quality of life.3
Arjuna’s health benefits for Hypertension
Arjuna is used for symptomatic relief in hypertension, like giddiness, insomnia, headache, and inability to concentrate. The bark of the tree is high in Co-enzyme Q-10, which helps reduce blood pressure. In early studies, 10 patients received arjuna bark powder twice a day for one month. The researchers observed improvement in the functional class, breathlessness, and overall well-being with significant diuresis, and a fall in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. A study done with abana (herbal formulation containing arjuna) in hypertensive individuals revealed an improvement in cardiac function. Arjuna as a remedy for blood pressure
Arjuna benefits for the skin
In vitro and in vivo studies show that the application of T arjuna extracts improved skin moisturization, reduced skin scaliness, and improved skin elasticity. improved skin thickness was noted on menopausal skin and there was a visible reduction in sagging skin on jowls. It encourages sebum production thus reducing the appearance of dry skin, thus also playing an important role in controlling the symptoms of eczema. It definitely has anti-aging properties, as the bark has powerful antioxidant properties.4
A simple DIY remedy for acne
1. Take a tsp of the arjuna bark powder or paste.
2. Add honey to it and mix well.
3. Apply it evenly to the skin and let it sit for 5 minutes. You can also apply this directly to the acne
4. Wash after 5 minutes in normal water. You can do this twice or thrice a week to get rid of acne. This also helps get rid of dark spots.
Remedy to rid of pigmentation
Take a tsp of arjuna bark powder, and add milk to it. Mix well and apply it to your face evenly. Let it stay for five to six minutes. Then wash thoroughly with normal water. You can do this twice to three times a week to get rid of hyperpigmentation.
Arjuna and wound healing
It is an effective wound healer. It can be applied locally on burns. When applied to wounds, it helps prevent blood loss and helps blood clotting. The ethanolic extracts in arjuna have properties that help heal wounds.
Arjuna is a home remedy to lower Cholesterol
Arjuna is said to have the ability to contain the blood’s absorption of lipids and thus regulate cholesterol. It possesses hypolipidemic properties. Studies show a dose-dependent increase in the HDL to total cholesterol ratio. The bark of the Terminalis arjuna inhibits the oxidation of LDL and accelerates the turnover of LDL – cholesterol in the liver. This enhances the elimination of cholesterol from the body.
Arjuna health benefits for cough
Arjuna may be a very effective herb to manage cough due to its expectorant activity. It promotes the secretion of sputum by the lungs and thus provides relief from cough. Arjuna releases mucus and clears air passages, thus allowing us to breathe freely.
Helps protect the liver
Studies suggest that the presence of active compounds like phenolics, flavonoids, and tannins in the Arjuna bark helps protect the liver and improve its functioning due to its hepatoprotective activity. The Hepatoprotective effects are due to its strong antioxidant activity.
Other health benefits of Terminalia arjuna
It is a diuretic and a general tonic for liver cirrhosis. Animal studies have shown that severe cellular damage caused by HP-LPS (Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide), which is a potent virulence factor in the causation of gastric ulcer and gastritis, is mitigated by the arjuna herb. This indicates the anti-ulcer effect of the herb, and its ability to combat factors that damage the gastric mucosa. It has compounds that protect DNA damage from toxins. It is also used for dysentery, STD, and urinary tract diseases.
Home Remedies with Arjuna
Terminalia arjuna is available in the form of capsules, tea, extracts, and tinctures.
- Heart tonic: Take 5 grams of arjuna bark powder and add 100 ml of milk to it. Boil it till it reduces to 50 ml. Drinking this at bedtime is very useful for heart diseases.
- The decoction of the bark is a helpful natural remedy in treating bronchitis and asthma.
- The bark powder mixed with honey is a good topical application for acne.
- A decoction made from the bark of the arjuna is also a good home remedy to treat tuberculosis cough.
- Osteoporosis: Boil 10 grams of arjuna bark powder in 200 ml of water. Boil it till it reduces to 1/4th of its original amount. This decoction can be consumed along with half a tsp of jaggery or honey. It helps to treat osteoporosis and fatigue due to old age.
- For hair: Soak the mature green leaves of arjuna in water for 2 – 3 hours. Macerating it with hands will yield a mucilaginous mix. Apply this on the scalp and wash after 30 minutes. This improves the quality of hair.
- It is also said to help in the treatment of peripheral neuritis or numbness.
The arjuna tea is an effective home remedy for high cholesterol, strengthening the heart, and hypertension.
The arjuna tea preparation is based on an ayurvedic method called “ksheer pak”. To make the arjuna tea, mix the coarse powder of the bark of arjuna with milk. Add double the amount of water as milk. Boil it till it reduces to the level of milk. Cool and drink twice a day. This method is used to get both, the water-soluble and fat-soluble phytochemicals from the herb. How to make Arjuna tea?
Side effects of taking Arjuna
Arjuna may interact with blood thinners. Consult your physician if you are taking Arjuna with anticoagulant drugs.
Arjuna may decrease the blood sugar level. Monitor your blood sugar regularly if you are taking Arjuna with anti-diabetic drugs.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a doctor before taking arjuna.