Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): The Heart-Protecting Medicinal Tree

Basonym of Drug: The medicinal plant known as Arjuna is scientifically referred to as Terminalia arjuna.

Main Synonyms: In Ayurveda, Arjuna is known by various synonyms, including:

  1. Kakubha
  2. Nadisarja
  3. Partha
  4. Indradruma
  5. Veeravriksha
  6. Dhavala
  7. Dhruva
  8. Kaha

Regional Name: Arjuna is also known by different names in various regional languages. Some common regional names include:

  • Hindi: Arjun
  • Bengali: Arjun
  • Kannada: Nirmatti
  • Malayalam: Neermaruthu
  • Marathi: Sadaru
  • Tamil: Vellamatta
  • Telugu: Yerra Maddi

Botanical Name: The botanical name of Arjuna is Terminalia arjuna.

Family: Arjuna belongs to the Combretaceae family.

Classification of Dravya (Gana) as described in Charak and Sushrut: In the classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak and Sushrut, Arjuna is classified as follows:

  • Charak: Arjuna is categorized under the group of “Asanadi Varga,” which means it belongs to the group of herbs used in the treatment of diseases related to bones and joints.
  • Sushrut: In Sushrut Samhita, Arjuna is classified as a “Haritakyadi Varga” drug, indicating its use in formulations with other herbs like Haritaki.

External Morphology: Arjuna is a large, evergreen tree with a height ranging from 20 to 30 meters. The bark is greyish-white, smooth, and flaking in thin irregular scales. The leaves are simple, oblong, and leathery. The flowers are yellowish-white, occurring in terminal spikes. The fruit is a hard, woody capsule containing several winged seeds.

Useful Parts: The useful part of Arjuna is primarily the bark, which is commonly used for medicinal purposes.

Important Phytoconstituents: Arjuna bark contains various phytochemicals, including tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, and triterpenoids.

Rasa Panchaka: The Rasa Panchaka (five tastes) of Arjuna bark is as follows:

  • Rasa (Taste): Astringent (Kashaya)
  • Guna (Quality): Light (Laghu), Dry (Ruksha)
  • Virya (Potency): Cooling (Shita)
  • Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): Pungent (Katu)

Action on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala: Arjuna primarily pacifies the Kapha and Pitta doshas. It acts on the Rakta (blood) and Meda (fat) dhatus and has an effect on the Mutra (urine) and Purisha (stool).

Prayogarha Vyadhi (Therapeutic Indications): Arjuna is utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for various therapeutic purposes, particularly for heart health and cardiovascular conditions. Some of its essential indications include:

  • Cardioprotective and heart-strengthening properties
  • Supporting healthy blood circulation
  • Reducing cholesterol levels
  • Managing hypertension
  • Promoting proper functioning of the heart muscle
  • Antioxidant properties

Amayikaprayoga and Matra (Therapeutic Administration and Dose): Arjuna can be used in various forms, and the dosage depends on the specific application and the individual’s condition. Commonly used forms include:

  • Decoction (for heart health and circulation): 50-100 ml, once or twice a day
  • Powder (for managing cholesterol): 3-6 grams, once or twice a day

Vishishta Yoga (Names of Important Formulations): Arjuna is an integral component of some Ayurvedic formulations. Some notable formulations include:

  • Arjunaarishta
  • Hridayarnava Rasa
  • Arjuna Ksheerapaka

Vishakta Lakshan (Adverse Effects): Arjuna is generally safe and well-tolerated when used in recommended doses. However, excessive consumption may cause gastric discomfort in some individuals.

Chikitsopachara (Remedial Measures): Arjuna is best used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Proper dosing, combining with suitable adjuvants, and considering an individual’s specific condition are essential aspects of its therapeutic application.

Shodhana (If Required): Arjuna bark does not typically require shodhana (purification) procedures.

Arjuna’s exceptional cardioprotective and heart-strengthening properties have earned it the status of a revered herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Its applications extend to various aspects of cardiovascular health, reflecting its importance in supporting heart function and overall well-being. As with any herbal remedy, it is crucial to use Arjuna judiciously and under the guidance of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner for optimal results.

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