ARJUNA BARK (Terminalia arjuna)


Latin: Terminalia arjuna
Sanskrit: Arjuna

WHAT IT DOES: Arjuna bark is astringent in taste, cooling in action, and light and dry in property.  It is an anti-poison agent that tonifies, strengthens and protects the heart and musculo-skeletal system.

RATING: Gold

SAFETY ISSUES: None known

STARTING DOSAGE:
• Dried powder: two grams two to three times per day
• 4:1 concentrated powder extract: one gram two times per day
• 1:2 tincture: 20-40 drops two to three times per day

Arjuna bark is one of the most important heart tonics in Ayurvedic medicine, used to treat all forms of heart disease.  It reduces the heart-damaging culprits of inflammation (Pitta) and mucus (Kapha), and is strong enough to protect against scorpion stings.  Arjuna bark contains a fair amount of triterpenoid saponins, and cooking tends to activate these chemicals (which is why saponin-rich Chinese ginseng root is always cooked).  Looking at the traditional literature, we see that for more than 1,500 years TAM doctors have boiled arjuna bark in milk or ghee to make medicine, having patients ingest it daily for up to a year.
Research highlights

• The Indian Central Council for Research on Ayurveda and Siddha, citing 20 studies, reported that arjuna bark is valuable in treating angina pectoris, hypercholesterolemia, cardiac artery disease (CAD), and hypertension (Pandley et al., eds, 1996; Dwivedi and Jauhari, 1997).
• Animal studies have also demonstrated its ability to improve liver mitochondrial function (Pandley et al., eds, 1996).

• According to long-term outpatient evaluation, 500 mg.  of arjuna bark, taken three times per day in addition to standard medicines (diuretics, vasodilators and digitalis) for 20-28 months (mean 24 months), contributed to improvement in symptoms, signs, effort, tolerance and New York Heart Association Class, with improvement in quality of life (Bharani, 1995).