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Arjuna – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Terminalia Arjuna commonly called Arjuna is a plant known in Ayurvedic medicine mainly for its activity to promote cardiovascular health. Its bark is majorly used for medicinal purposes. But its other parts as leaves are also known to possess beneficial effects. It is native to India is used in Ayurveda from older times.

Common Names:

The Other common names are Arjun, Indradru, Partha, and Veeravriksha.

Constituents of Arjuna:

Arjuna is rich in bioactive components known as phytochemicals which are natural plant chemicals that exert their beneficial effects on human health (Amalraj & Gopi, 2016);

  • Polyphenols, Flavonoids, tannins, triterpenoids, Saponins, sterols

  • Minerals

  • Amino acids

  • Vitamins as Vitamin C and E

Health Benefits of Arjuna:

Arjuna is one of the most widely used and beneficial herbs used in ayurvedic medicine with different uses that improve general health.

  • Antioxidant

Arjuna is a strong Antioxidant (Amalraj & Gopi, 2016). Antioxidants are the compounds that inhibit oxidation which is a process where free radicals are generated that build up the oxidative stress and damage human cells.

Antioxidants act by neutralizing these harmful molecules (free radicals) which are produced in response to negative factors like smoking, environmental, emotional and physical stress, disease conditions, alcohol abuse, etc. thus exhibiting the positive impact on health and has shown to reduce the risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity and aging (Yashin A et al, 2017).

  • Cardiovascular Health

Arjuna is found to be effective in improving and maintaining cardiovascular health. It has multiple activities to support cardiovascular functioning (Amalraj & Gopi, 2016)

  • Lowers total cholesterol

  • Lowers low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol)

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Lowers triglycerides level

  • Increase high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol)

  • Prevents Atherosclerosis (cholesterol accumulation in arteries)

A study (2019) was carried out to observe the effects of Arjun on overall health and clinical parameters of patients with heart disease. After one month of therapy with Arjuna, a major improvement in lipid profile and overall health was observed.

There was a significant reduction in levels of total platelet count, total cholesterol, triglycerides, Low-density lipoprotein LDL (bad cholesterol) and an increase in high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol). Blood pressure was reduced and in some cases, weight reduction was also observed.

Arjuna is cardiotonic and is being used in ancient medicines for its effectiveness in cardiovascular diseases with a good safety profile. It is effective in cases of heart failure, ischemic heart disease (inadequate blood supply to the heart), angina, atherosclerosis (Cholesterol accumulation in arteries) and other heart conditions (Amalraj & Gopi, 2016)

  • Smoker’s Health

Arjuna is found to be beneficial for improving the smoker’s health by reversing the endothelium function. The endothelium is the lining of the heart and blood vessels. Smokers have impaired functioning of endothelium vasodilation (widening). The study showed that 2 weeks therapy with Arjuna causes the regression of impaired function (Bharani et al, 2004)

  • Anti-inflammatory

Arjuna is an anti-inflammatory agent. These are the agents that reduce inflammation and swelling. Antiinflammatory activity may be attributed to its strong antioxidant nature. it was found to reduce edema (Swelling and inflammation) (Morshed et al, 2011)

  • Analgesic Effect

Analgesics are the agents that are used to relieve pain. Arjuna is found to be a potent analgesic due to its bioactive components. They inhibit pain perception by blocking the pain and injury stimulus. They are also used in stomachache (Morshed et al, 2011)

  • Antipyretic Effect

These are the agents that reduce fever. Arjuna is also found to be effective in reducing fever due to its anti-inflammatory activity (Morshed et al, 2011).

  • Anticancer

Arjuna has potential anticancer activity. It was evaluated for its effects on cancer cells of the liver and colon. Results showed that Arjuna inhibited the progression of cancer by killing cancer cells and inducing apoptosis. Apoptosis is the programmed cell death affecting only cancer cells (Singh et al, 2017).

  • Antimutagenic

These are the agents that prevent the alteration of genetic material which may occur naturally or due to exposure to a foreign element. Arjuna was tested for its antimutagenic effect and was found to possess significant antimutagenic activity (Vishwanatha et al, 2010).

  • Antibacterial

Arjuna possesses strong antibacterial activity by interfering and preventing bacterial growth. Bioactive components present in Arjuna are found to have a broad spectrum of activity against bacteria (Mandal et al, 2013).

  • Anti-leishmanial activity

Leishmaniosis is a disease caused by a parasite and lacks effective treatment options. Bioactive components as tannins present in Arjuna have activity against this parasite (Kolodziej & Kiderlen, 2005). More studies are required to support the fact

  • Ear Health

Due to its antibacterial property, it is commonly used in ear infections for this property and inhibits the pathogens causing ear infections. Extract of Arjuna was found to be effective as compared to available local ear drops (Aneja et al, 2012).

  • Anthelmintic

Arjuna is an effective anthelmintic. Anthelmintic are the agents that kill parasites and worms by killing or expelling them from the body. Arjuna is found to effective in egg hatching and larval stage(Bachaya et al, 2009)

  • Gastrointestinal Health

Arjuna is found to exert a protective effect on the gastrointestinal system due to its antioxidant properties. It was observed when animals were treated for gastric ulcers with Arjuna. Arjuna was found to reduce the lesions, acidity and maintains the ph. These results showed the gastroprotective and cytoprotective (Protect cells against harmful effects) nature of Arjuna (Devi et al, 2007)

  • Immunostimulant

Arjuna provides strength and promotes immunity (Kolodziej & Kiderlen, 2005).

  • Wound Healing

It is widely used for wound healing due to its astringent effect. Astringents constrict body tissues causing them to bind fast (Chaudhari & Mengi, 2006).

Side Effects of Arjuna:

  • Arjuna has a good safety profile and can be used safely with other medications. No serious side effects and toxicity is observed. Even ethanol extract in an oral dose of 2000 mg/kg in animals didn’t prove fatal or toxic (Dwivedi & Chopra, 2014).

  • Very high doses of plant extract may cause a reduction in thyroid concentration (hypothyroidism) and hepatotoxicity (Dwivedi & Chopra, 2014)

  • Mild side effects are observed like; (Dwivedi & Chopra, 2014)

  • Nausea

  • Gastritis

  • Headache

  • Body ache

  • Constipation

  • Insomnia (loss of sleep)

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