Arjuna supplement information, benefit, research studies, dosage, and uses for health and medical conditions, including angina

February 27, 2014

Terminalia Arjuna herb is used by doctors who practice Ayurvedic healing.

You can find arjuna herb and extract in health food stores and online.

Chemicals found in the herb
Terminalia arjuna bark has triterpene glycosides, termiarjunoside I and termiarjunoside II, arjunetoside, together with oleanolic, arjunolic and arjunic acids, and a cardenolide. Arjunolic acid, a triterpene and a potent extract and protects the heart from necrosis in rats. Arjunolic acid treatment prevents the decrease in the levels of powerful antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione, alpha-tocopherol, and ascorbic acid. Other chemical evaluations have found18,19-secooleanane-type triterpene glycosyl esters, namely arjunasides A-E, along with ursane type triterpene glucosyl esters.

Purchase Arjuna pills, 550 mg dosage, 60 capsules
Arjuna herb extractSupplement Facts
Terminalia arjuna Bark 400 mg (standardized to 10:1 extract leading to 40 mg of active ingredient)

Suggested use: Take one capsule once a day or as suggested by your health care provider. Since there are few human studies, it is difficult to know the proper dosage and how it interacts with prescription medications.


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Benefits of Terminalia arjuna herb or extract

Ancient Indian physicians used the powdered tree bark of Terminalia arjuna for treating angina and other cardiovascular conditions.

Several substances in arjuna herb have very strong antioxidant benefits. Its stem bark possesses glycosides, large quantities of flavonoids, tannins and minerals. Flavonoids have been detected to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipid lowering effects while glycosides are cardiotonic, thus making Terminalia arjuna unique among currently used medicinal plants. In rodent studies these antioxidants protect heart tissue from damage.

Breast cancer
A substance in Arjuna, casuarinin, inhibits breast cancer cell growth in laboratory studies.

Compounds in Arjuna may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Is there anything in the Arjuna supplement that could cause triglyceride levels to go up? I have been taking Arjuna for about 10 weeks for blood pressure, and it has worked well (I could not take the BP medications). However I did wonder about the triglycerides going up, as well as the cholesterol, and if you had any information about it.
   Limited studies do not show a strong relation.

DNA protection
Arjuna has compounds that protect against DNA damage from toxins.

Effect of Terminalia arjuna extract on adriamycin-induced DNA damage.
Phytother Res. 2008.
The effect of a bark extract was studied on the alteration of adriamycin induced micronuclei formation in cultured human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Exposure of lymphocytes to adriamycin resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the micronuclei formation indicating DNA damage. Pretreatment of lymphocytes with bark extract of Terminalia arjuna before adriamycin treatment resulted in a significant decline in micronuclei formation. Our results demonstrate that bark extract of Terminalia arjuna protects DNA against adriamicin-induced damage.

Heart disease
Experimental studies have revealed the bark of arjuna to exert inotropic and hypotensive effect, increasing coronary artery flow and protecting cardiac tissue against ischemic damage. Arjuna herb has also been detected to have mild diuretic, blood thinning, prostaglandin E(2) enhancing and blood lipid lowering activity. This herb has been studied in patients with angina. Arjuna dilates blood vessels, even in cigarette smokers.

Catecholamine-induced myocardial fibrosis and oxidative stress is attenuated by Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.).
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009; Kumar S, Enjamoori R, Seth S, Maulik SK. Department of Pharmacology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Myocardial fibrosis and oxidative stress accompany a number of cardiac disorders such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypertensive heart disease and cardiac failure. Stem bark of Terminalia arjuna has been advocated for cardiac ailments. The present study evaluated the effects of T. arjuna bark extract on myocardial fibrosis and oxidative stress induced by chronic beta-adrenoceptor stimulation.T. arjuna protects against myocardial changes induced by chronic beta-adrenoceptor stimulation.

Effect of methanolic extract of Terminalia arjuna against Helicobacter pylori 26695 lipopolysaccharide-induced gastric ulcer in rats.
J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008. Department of Biochemistry, University of Madras, Guindy Campus, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Helicobacter pylori lipopolysaccharide (HP-LPS) is a potent virulence factor in the causation of gastric ulcer and gastritis. H. pylori-induced gastric pathology is prevalent throughout the world. The present study aimed to evaluate the anti-ulcer effect of a methanolic extract of Terminalia arjuna against HP-LPS-induced gastric damage in rats. Our results suggest that the severe cellular damage and pathological changes caused by HP-LPS are mitigated by arjuna herb; these effects are comparable with those of sucralfate. The anti-ulcer effect of terminalia arjuan may reflect its ability to combat factors that damage the gastric mucosa, and to protect the mucosal defensive factors.

Side effects, caution, risks and danger
The full side effects or adverse events of arjuna herb are not well known and it is preferable to limit dosage use to the least amount that works. There is a possibility that very high dosages could cause liver harm or reduced thyroid gland activity. It is often difficult to interpret studies done in rodents to what would happen in humans when a much smaller dosage is used as a supplement.

Interactions with medications
I am interested in taking an Arjuna supplyment. I have existing heart condition, such as Atherosclerosis, artery blockages. I am a 54 yrs old male. I am under doctor's suppervision and been taking Crestor (20 mg), Zetia (10 mg), Cozar (50 mg), and Metoprolol (25 mg). Is there any side effects by taking the plant medicine with the above combinations. Your suggestion on taking other natural supplyments specially for disolving plaque will be greatly appreciated.
   The interaction of this natural herb with these heart and cholesterol medications has not been tested so it is not easy to know how they would react together in those with heart disease.

Additional studies
Cardio-protective role of Terminalia arjuna bark extract is possibly mediated through alterations in thyroid hormones.
Pharmazie. 2006; Parmar HS. School of Life Sciences, DA University, Indore, India.
In the present study we investigated the possible involvement of thyroid hormones in the amelioration of cardiac and hepatic lipid peroxidation (LPO) by a bark extract of the plant in albino rats. While L-thyroxine (L-T4) treatment increased the level of thyroid hormones, heart/body weight ratio as well as cardiac and hepatic lipid peroxidation, simultaneous administration of 21 and 42 mg/kg of the plant extract decreased the level of thyroid hormones and also the cardiac LPO, suggesting the possible mediation of the drug action through an inhibition in thyroid function. These effects were comparable to a standard antithyroid drug, propyl thiouracil (PTU). When the drug was administered to euthyroid animals, serum concentrations of thyroid hormones were decreased, whereas the hepatic LPO increased indicating a drug induced toxicity in euthyroid subjects. Although a suboptimal dose of the drug was found to be non-toxic to the liver, it appeared to be of no use, as it could neither affect the thyroid functions nor the cardiac lipid peroxidation. Since in euthyroid animals, thyroid hormones were decreased and hepatic LPO was increased, it is suggested that high amounts of this plant extract should not be consumed, as hepatotoxicity as well as hypothyroidism may be caused.

Terminalia arjuna protects mouse hearts against sodium fluoride-induced oxidative stress.
J Med Food. 2008. Department of Chemistry, Bose Institute, Kolkata, India.
In the current study we have investigated the antioxidative properties of an ethanol extract of the bark of Terminalia arjuna against sodium fluoride (NaF)-induced oxidative stress in murine heart. The activities of various antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione S-transferase), levels of cellular metabolites, reduced glutathione, and oxidized glutathione, levels of lipid peroxidation end products, and protein carbonyl contents were determined in the cardiac tissues of all the experimental animals. NaF intoxication significantly altered all the indices related to the prooxidant-antioxidant status of the heart; treatment with the active constituents prior to NaF administration, however, prevented these alterations. In addition, the ferric reducing/antioxidant power assay revealed that Terminalia arjuna enhanced the cardiac intracellular antioxidant activity. Histological studies also demonstrated a cardioprotective action of Terminalia arjuna estract. The combined results suggest that Terminalia arjuna extract protects murine hearts from NaF-induced oxidative stress, probably via its antioxidant properties.

Botanical information
Terminalia arjuna is a tall, deciduous tree that can reach heights of 60 feet. The crown is large and spreading with drooping branches. The tree is widespread throughout India, and grows alongside rivers, streams, ravines, and dry waterways. The thick, soft bark is smooth and gray on the outside, with a reddish hue inside, and it flakes off in large, flat pieces. Thea leaves are oblong, and the small fruits, approximately an inch and a half long, are also oblong. The tiny, pale yellow flowers grow in spiky clusters.

Are there medical contraindications to use acai berry extract pills along with arjuna pills?
    Acai berry is a safe supplement and should not interact to any great degree with this herb.