The arjuna plant in Ayurveda has many helath benefits. Practitioners revere this heart-healthy bark for a number of reasons. In addition to supporting the heart and circulation, arjuna has a special connection to the heart chakra—the subtle heart energy. Furthermore, it increases love and devotion (1). But that’s not all! Now let’s get into essential facts and health benefits of the arjuna plant.
Health Benefits of Arjuna Bark
Ayurvedic practitioners have traditionally used arjuna bark to support the heart and to improve circulation. To that end, arjuna supports cardiovascular health in a number of ways.
Arjuna is known to be effective at helping to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Some people have experienced as much as a 64% reduction in their total cholesterol levels, with LDL (bad) cholesterol levels dropping by more than 25% on average.
Arjuna Bark Blood Pressure Benefits
High cholesterol levels can elevate an individual’s blood pressure. This is one of the reasons why arjuna can help to reduce blood pressure in the body.
Arjuna Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Given the ways in which arjuna enhances cardiovascular health, it has may be used to manage conditions such as angina, coronary artery disease, and various forms of heart failure.
It’s important to note that arjuna works best as a preventive measure, and would likely not actually be useful for helping to reverse the damage done by a heart attack or something similar—though it can be useful for repairing the damage done by atherosclerosis. If you have heart disease and are curious about using arjuna, it is always wise to consult with your doctor, as well as a trained herbalist or Ayurvedic practitioner.
Essential Facts About Arjuna Bark
- Botanical name: Terminalia arjuna
- Sanskrit: Arjuna, Dhanvi
- Hindi: Arjun, Arjuna, or Koha
- English: White marudah
- Other: Sadada, Sadura, Kakubha, “Guardian of the heart”
- Rasa (taste): Astringent and bitter
- Guna (qualities): Light, dry
- Virya (actions): Cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Pungent
- Effect on doshas: Tridoshic, but not indicated for Kapha-Pitta
The arjuna tree grows in various regions throughout India and Ceylon, as well as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
The arjuna tree can grow up to 25 meters, or 60-70 feet in height, and may grow small, white flowers as well as fruit. The fruit may range in size from 2.3 and 3.5 centimeters, and the bark is generally grey and smooth. Arjuna flowers between April and July.
The arjuna plant in Ayurveda can be found in powder or extract form. The stem bark is the most commonly used plant part.
Arjuna bark contains a wide variety of nutritional compounds. Among those compounds are tannins, as well as acidic nutritive compounds—gallic acid and ellagic acid are the two most primary.
Furthermor, arjuna also contains a number of triterpenoid saponins, namely arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, arjungenin, and arjunglycosides. The plant is also rich in various flavonoids, particularly arjunone, arjunolone, and luteolin, and a variety of dietary nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Application and Dosage of Arjuna Bark
Depending on the type of arjuna you are using, you will want to use a different dosage and a different form of the herb.
One simple application is known as Arjunakshirapaka. This is the easiest way to take arjuna on your own. Mix arjuna bark (generally powdered) with an amount of milk equal to four times the amount of powder, and sixteen times more water than powder. Boil the concoction until the water evaporates and you only have milk left over.
Arjuna is also included in certain formulations, like PIOR Living’s Chyawanprash. Take a teaspoon of Chyawanprash in a mug of hot water every morning and enjoy this “guardian of the heart” in an easy and pleasant way.
Healthy Heart, Happy Heart
In Ayurveda, the emotional body and the physical body are intimately connected. Ayurveda is a holistic system, so what impacts one body system will impact another. Furthermore, the dhatus, or various tissue layers of the body, relate to one another. So, when you protect your heart on an physical level, you support your heart on an emotional level, and vice versa. Arjuna plant in Ayurveda is one great way to nourish and support your heart on many levels.
(1) Dass, V. (2013). Ayurvedic Herbology: East & West. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)