Botanical name – Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.)
Family – Combretaceae
Common names –
English – Arjuna
Hindi – Arjun
Sanskrit – Arjun
Parts used – Bark
The Arjuna is seen across the Indian Subcontinent and usually found growing on river banks or near dry river beds in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Central India, along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It has also been planted in Malaysia, Indonesia and Kenya.
- Arjun contain about 15 percentage of Tannins (hydrolysable). It also contains Triterpenoid Saponin, Arjunolic acid, Arjunic acid, Arjungenin. In addition it contain Bita Sitosterol, Ellagic acid and Arjunic acid
- The crystallisable compound reported are Arjunine and Arjunetine.
- Arjunetin, Arjunolone and Arjunone are the flavonoids reported in Arjuna bark.
- Calcium, Aluminium and Magnesium salts, are the other constituents of Arjuna
Uses of Arjun
The alcoholic extract of Arjuna induces myocardial heat shock protein and augments myocardial endogenous antioxidants which offer cardioprotection against oxidative stress associated with myocardial ischemic–reperfusion injury.The cardioprotective effect of the active phytoconstituents of Arjuna bark against carbon tetrachloride and sodium fluoride induced oxidative stress, probably via its antioxidant properties. The methanol extract yielded the highest phenolic and flavonoid content and was found to possess the highest total antioxidant capacity.
In Isoprenaline-induced myocardial ischemia (MI), Arjuna has been found to possess prostaglandin E2-like activity with coronary vasodilatation and hypotension.The bark extract has shown to significantly prevent isoprenaline-induced increase in oxidative stress and decline in endogenous antioxidant level.
Arjunolic acid has been found to prevent the decrease in the levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, GPO, ceruloplasmin, α-tocopherol, reduced glutathione, ascorbic acid, lipid peroxide, and myeloperoxidase.
The bark extract has also shown protective effects against doxorubicin-induced DNA damage and cardiotoxicity. Arjuna protects the heart against myocardial changes induced by chronic β-adrenoceptor stimulation. Arjuna bark extract has a significant prophylactic and therapeutic beneficial effect in protecting heart against catecholamine-induced CHF, possibly through maintaining endogenous antioxidant enzyme activities and inhibiting LPO and cytokine levels.
Arjuna bark powder/extract reduces the total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) levels. The Ethanolic fraction exerted significant lipid-lowering effect. Solvent ether and ethanolic fractions caused a decrease in the plasma levels of lipids in triton as well as in high fat diet (HFD) fed models of hyperlipidemia. The ethanolic fraction possesses potent antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties.
The hypolipidemic action is thought to be mediated through increased hepatic clearance of cholesterol, down-regulation of lipogenic enzymes, and inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase.
Effects on Coronary flow & blood pressure
Bark stem of Arjuna possesses diuretic, inotropic, and chronotropic properties. The aqueous extract of Arjuna increased the force of contraction of cardiac muscle. It increased the coronary flow and produced bradycardia. The inotropic effect is considered to be mediated through the high concentration of Ca++ present in the plant.
Aqueous and alcoholic bark extract, resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in blood pressure. An aqueous solution of 70% alcoholic bark extract produced dose-dependent decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. The hypotensive effect of Arjuna was observed with a fraction containing tannin-related compounds separated from the aqueous extract. The 70% alcoholic extract produced dose-dependent hypotension of peripheral origin which might be due to adrenergic β2-receptor agonistic and/or direct action on the heart muscle.
Arjuna benefits the delicate gut system by helping to strengthen and maintain the integrity of gastric mucosa (the lining of the stomach). It defends against acid attacks which can lead to heartburn, Arjuna bark as an antacid and digestive tonic.
This versatile herb also has strong antibacterial qualities, making it particularly effective against helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori), a well known bacteria that can live in the digestive tract and cause ulcers, gastritis and other stomach infections.
The aqueous extract of T.arjuna bark could protect the Liver and Kidney tissue against oxidative stress by increasing anti-oxidative defense activity. It was found that aqueous and ethanol extract of T.arjuna bark showed the Hepatoprotective potential against Paracetamol-induced liver damage.
The powerful antioxidants found in Arjuna also work to improve liver and kidney function, helping these organs to flush toxins out of the body whilst encouraging bile production (in the liver). It protects the liver and kidneys by increasing antioxidative activities and is especially indicated in the treatment of liver cirrhosis.