A 1997 study in the Indian Heart Journal suggests that arjuna is effective for weakened heart muscles. In it, 24 patients who had suffered heart attacks took either conventional drugs only or conventional drugs along with 500 mg of arjuna every eight hours for three months. Those who received arjuna with the drugs experienced an 18 percent greater improvement in heart pumping activity than those who received only the conventional drugs.
In a 1995 double-blind trial in the International Journal of Cardiology, 12 patients with chronic congestive heart failure were given either 500 mg of arjuna every eight hours or a placebo; both groups also continued their regular drug therapy. Patients who had taken arjuna for two weeks experienced a 19 percent slower heart rate (a desirable effect) than those who took a placebo. Symptoms like fatigue, high blood pressure, and frequent heart contractions also improved. All 12 patients went on taking arjuna for about two years.
Ten continued to improve for two to three more months and maintained those improvements during the entire study. The other two participants died from heart disease.
Recent studies have shown a dose-dependent regulation of blood pressure and heart rate. There was also a slight increase in the HDL-to-total cholesterol ratio and an overall improvement in the cardiovascular profile. The bark of Arjuna inhibits the oxidation of LDL and accelerates the turnover of LDL-cholesterol in liver. This enhances the elimination of cholesterol from the body. The suppression of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis by Terminalia arjuna is the mechanism responsible for a significant lowering of beta-lipoprotein lipids and the recovery of HDL components in hyperlipidemia. In a study on the efficacy of the bark powder in treating congestive cardiac failure (CCF), over 40% of the cases showed marked improvement. CCF due to congenital anomaly of heart and valve disease was also brought under control. 4 out of 9 cases of CCF due to chronic bronchitis were also relieved by the treatment. Arjuna is also known to relieve symptomatic complaints of essential hypertension viz. giddiness, insomnia, lassitude, headache and the inability to concentrate. Oral administration of an aqueous suspension of the bark powder reduces coagulation, bleeding and prothrombin time.
Various studies have demonstrated the heart protective action of Arjun. The effect of Terminalia arjun on angina pectoris (chest pain) and congestive heart failure (where the heart cannot pump enough blood to various organs) was studied in 10 patients with ischaemic heart disease and/or myocardial infarction. Administration of Terminalia arjun improved the left ventricular ejection fraction (which determines the heart's efficiency) in 4 patients.
In another randomised, double-blind study, 58 males with chronic stable angina (NYHA class II-III) received either Terminalia arjun or isosorbide mononitrate or a matching placebo. There was improvement in clinical and treadmill exercise parameters in both groups compared to placebo therapy. These benefits were similar to those observed with isosorbide mononitrate therapy and the extract of Arjun was well tolerated5.
The heart protective actions of Terminalia arjuna are due to its potent antioxidant and cholesterol- reducing activity.
In a study on 105 patients, it was found that patients on Arjun had a significant reduction in the total and low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol, along with enzymes responsible for initiating oxidative stress6.
Altern Med Rev. 1998 Dec;3(6):422-31.
Botanical influences on cardiovascular disease.
Alternative Medicine Review. P.O. Box 25, Dover, ID 83825, USA.
Several botanicals, including Crataegus oxycantha, Terminalia arjuna, Inula racemosa, and Astragalus membranaceus, have been found to have therapeutic benefit for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Crataegus oxycantha has been used traditionally as a cardiac tonic and current uses include treatment for angina, hypertension, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure. Animal studies have also indicated that Crataegus extracts may also have potential use as anti-ischemic and lipid-lowering agents. The bark of the Terminalia arjuna tree has a long history of use as a cardiac tonic as well, and has been indicated in the treatment of coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia and for relief of anginal pain. Additionally, it has been found to have antibacterial and antimutagenic properties. Inula racemosa, also known as Pushkarmoola, is another traditional Ayurvedic botanical that has potential cardioprotective benefit. In human trials, a combination of Inula racemosa and Commiphora mukul was shown to be superior to nitroglycerin in reducing the chest pain and dyspnea associated with angina. Astragalus membranaceus, a Chinese herb, is often used as a "Qi tonifier" and has been studied for its therapeutic benefit in treatment of ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and relief of anginal pain. Clinical studies have indicated that its in vitro antioxidant activity is the mechanism by which it affords its cardioprotective benefit.
PMID: 9855567 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Assoc Physicians India. 2001 Feb;49:231-5.
Antioxidant and hypocholesterolaemic effects of Terminalia arjuna tree-bark powder: a randomised placebo-controlled trial.
Gupta R, Singhal S, Goyle A, Sharma VN.
Department of Medicine, Monilek Hospital and Research Centre, Jaipur.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the antioxidant and hypocholesterolaemic effects of Terminalia arjuna tree bark (a popular cardiotonic substance in Indian pharmacopoeia) and to compare it with a known antioxidant, vitamin E, we performed a randomized controlled trial. METHODS: One hundred and five successive patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) presenting to our centre were recruited and using a Latin-square design divided into 3 groups of 35 each. The groups were matched for age, lifestyle and dietary variables, clinical diagnosis and drug treatment status. None of the patients was on lipid-lowering drugs. Supplemental vitamins were stopped for one month before study began and American Heart Association Step II dietary advice was given to all. At baseline, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and LDL cholesterol and lipid peroxide estimated as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were determined. Group I received placebo capsules; Group II vitamin E capsules 400 units/day; and Group III received finely pulverized T. arjuna tree bark-powder (500 mg) in capsules daily. Lipids and lipid peroxide levels were determined at 30 days follow-up. RESULTS: Response rate in various groups varied from 86% to 91%. No significant changes in total, HDL, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels were seen in Groups I and II (paired t-test p > 0.05). In Group III there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol (-9.7 +/- 12.7%), and LDL cholesterol (-15.8 +/- 25.6%) (paired t-test p < 0.01). Lipid peroxide levels decreased significantly in both the treatment groups (p < 0.01). This decrease was more in vitamin E group (-36.4 +/- 17.7%) as compared to the T. arjuna group (-29.3 +/- 18.9%). CONCLUSIONS: Terminalia arjuna tree bark powder has significant antioxidant action that is comparable to vitamin E. In addition, it also has a significant hypocholesterolaemic effect.
PMID: 11225136 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
You may also be interested in the following articles
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure management
Prevent and reverse heart disease with natural remedies
Blood Circulation Problems and Herbal Remedies
Build heart muscle - strengthen and tone your heart
Hypertension may show no symptoms. Lifestyle changes can control it
The Himalaya Herbals Company
Heart Healthy Herbs