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Terminalia arjuna

Terminalia arjuna


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Arjuna, vellamatta, koha, kahu, arjan, white marudah, white murdh, arjuna myrobalan, orjun, yerra maddi, sadada, sadaru.


Terminalia arjuna is a large evergreen tree of the family Combretaceae. Often growing as high as 30m, T. arjuna is supported by buttressed roots. The smooth bark of the tree is light grey on the exterior, peach or tan on the interior, and is susceptible to flaking off in large pieces. The leaves of T. arjuna are elliptical or lanceolate in shape, roughly 12 cm to 30cm in length and up to 10cm in width. The leaves sprout oppositely from short, often deep red stems, often no more than 6mm in length. In the summer months, T. arjuna produces numerous yellow or white flower clusters. The apical panicles are small and, when young are a light green, and mature into their color. In the coming months, T. arjuna yields numerous drupe fruits. The fruits are roughly 2.5cm to 3.5cm in length. Ovular in shape, the fruits are a deep shade of brown, and have five deep grooves long the length of the fruit.

Origin / Habitat

Arjuna is large deciduous tree growing to heights of around 60 to 80 feet and found commonly in almost every part of India. This plant requires a good amount of moisture and grows well in areas close to streams and rivers.

Chemical Constituents

Tannins, calcium salts, triterpenoid genins. Flavonoids include biacalein and arjunolone. Also contains the following glycocides: arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, terminic acid, arjungenin, arjunolitin, arjunetin, arjunglycocides I, II and III, and friedelin. Contains ellagic acid, leucocyanidin, leucodelphinidin and other leucoanthocyanidins, as well as phytosterols. [1]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, bark and fruit. [1][2]

Traditional Use

This ancient tree has come to be considered a sacred plant and both the leaves and flowers are given as offerings to Vishnu and Ganpati on some of the primary religious occasions in India.

T. arjuna, known simply as Arjuna in Ayurvedic medicine, was first mentioned in the Caraka and Sushrata Samhitas as having benefits to the skin, urinary tract as well as being used in treatment for ulcer. Though the Samhitas are the most ancient of the Ayurvedic texts, it wasn’t long until the cardioprotective effects of Arjuna were noticed, first being mentioned in the Astanga Hrdayam. The cardiac muscle strengthening effects of Arjuna were well known long before modern medical studies had proved their efficacy. In Ayurveda, the bark of the tree is crushed into powder or used as an extract. Arjuna is also used in a milk decoction. Arjuna is tridoshic, meaning it balances all three doshas, but is most effective with the Kapha and Pitta doshas. The rasa, or taste, is classified as bitter and astringent.


1-1.5 g bark powder [1]

500 mg bark extract three times per day [2] 



T. arjuna possesses strong antioxidant properties which have been reported in both pre-clinical and clinical studies. [3][4][5] Of particular interest to researchers are the various benefits found in regard to cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids of Arjuna have been determined to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipid lowering effects with glycosides which are determined to be cardiotonic. [6] T. arjuna exhibits anti-failure and anti-ischemic properties in men with chronic stable angina. [7] 

One study compared the antioxidant properties of T. arjuna to those of vitamin E. In this study, Arjuna was found to decrease lipid peroxidation, though not as significantly as vitamin E. [8] In another comparison study, the antioxidant properties of T. arjuna were compared to those of ascorbic acid. Arjunic acid demonstrated stronger and more potent antioxidant properties in several areas including hydrogen peroxide induced RBCs hemolysis and microsome lipid peroxidation. [9] A review study investigated published literature on the use of T. arjuna in hyperlipidemia. The study looked at positive outcomes of garlic and guggul as well as Arjuna. Garlic was found to exhibit positive results 50% of the time, guggul 80% and Arjuna 100% of the time. Researchers stated that these positive results measurements indicated a need for further investigation by the medical community into the use of Arjuna as adjunct therapy for hyperlipidemia. [10] 


A powder of the bark of T. arjuna was studied in 40 patients to investigate the effect on ischemic mitral regurgitation after acute myocardial infarction. Twenty of the patients were given Arjuna in addition to anti-ischemic treatment. Following up at one and three months, researchers reported a significant decrease in ischemic mitral regurgitation and reduction in angina frequency in patients taking the Arjuna compared to those receiving only the conventional therapy.[11] 

In a small human study of ten subjects already taking various cardiovascular medications, the addition of T. arjuna to their drug therapy resulted in significant improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction which was not noted in subjects not taking the T. arjuna. These results were noted without injury to kidney and/or liver. [2] 

T. arjuna has been investigated in regard to its potential role in cancer therapy. [12] The results of one study found that Arjuna demonstrated antiproliferative activity in human breast adenocarcinoma, an action attributed to one of the active principles, casuarinin. In this study, casuarinin inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 cells and induced apoptosis. [13] Casuarinin exhibits strong antioxidant properties. [14] 

Additional research has indicated that Arjuna demonstrates protective effects on DNA from andriamycin damage during chemotherapy. [15] Studies have also shown the potential of T. arjuna to treat gastric ulcer. [16]

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, caution should be used when using cardiovascular drug therapies. [2]

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

T. arjuna is contraindicated in obesity as it tends to decrease the amount of fat eliminated from the body. For this reason, in an obese person, the risk/benefit ratio of the cardiovascular benefits must be evaluated. [10]


Not to be used by pregnant and nursing women.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

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  1)  Western Herbs


  1. Kapoor, LD. CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1990.319-320
  2. Dwivedi S, Jauhari R. Beneficial effects of Terminalia arjuna in coronary artery disease. Indian Heart J.1997;49:507-510.
  3. Sinha M, Manna P, Sil PC.Terminalia arjuna protects mouse hearts against sodium fluoride-induced oxidative stress.Sinha M, Manna P, Sil PC. J Med Food. Dec2008;11(4):733-740.
  4. Tejesvi MV, Kini KR, Prakash HS, Subbiah V, Shetty HS.Antioxidant, antihypertensive, and antibacterial properties of endophytic Pestalotiopsis species from medicinal plants. Can J Microbiol. Sep2008;54(9):769-780.
  5. Manna P, Sinha M, Sil PC.Phytomedicinal activity of Terminalia arjuna against carbon tetrachloride induced cardiac oxidative stress. Pathophysiology. Oct2007;14(2):71-78.
  6. Dwivedi S., Terminalia arjuna Wight & Arn.—a useful drug for cardiovascular disorders. J Enthnopharmacol. 1Nov2007;114(2):114-129.
  7. Bharani A, Ganguli A, Mathur LK, Jamra Y, Raman PG.Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate. Indian Heart J. Mar-Apr2002;54(2):170-175.
  8. Gupta R, Singhal S. Goyle A, Sharma VN. Antioxidant and hypocholesteorlaemic effects of Terminalia arjuna tree bark powder: A randomized placebo controlled trial. J Assoc Physicians India. 2001; 49:231-235.
  9. Sun FY, Chen XP, Wang JH, Qin HL, Yang SR, Du GH.Arjunic acid, a strong free radical scavenger from Terminalia arjuna. Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(1):197-207.
  10. Singh BB, Vinjamury SP, Der-Martirosian C, Kubik E, Mishra LC, Shepard NP, Singh VJ, Meier M, Madhu SG.Ayurvedic and collateral herbal treatments for hyperlipidemia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs. Altern Ther Health Med. Jul-Aug2007;13(4):22-28.
  11. Dwivedi S, Aggarwal A, Agarwal MP, Rajpal S.Role of Terminalia arjuna in ischaemic mitral regurgitation. Int J Cardiol. 28Apr2005;100(3):507-508.
  12. Verma N, Vinayak M. Effect of Terminalia arjuna on antioxidant denfense system in can. Mol Biol Rep. Jan2009;36(1):159-164.
  13. Kuo PL, Hsu YL, Lin TC, Lin LT, Chang JK, Lin CC.Casuarinin from the bark of Terminalia arjuna induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells. Planta Med. Mar2005;71(3):237-243.
  14. Chen CH, Liu TZ, Kuo TC, Lu FJ, Chen YC, Chang-Chien YW, Lin CC.Casuarinin protects cultured MDCK cells from hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and DNA oxidative damage. Planta Med. Nov2004;70(11):1022-1026.
  15. Reddy TK, Seshadri P, Reddy KK, Jagetia GC, Reddy CD. Effect of Terminalia arjuna extraxt on andriamycin-induced DNA damage. Phytother Res. Sep2008; 22(9): 1188-1194.
  16. Devi RS, Kist M, Vani G, Devi CS. Effect of methanolic extract of Terminalia arjuna against Helicobacter pylori 26695 lipopolysaccharide-induced gastric ulcer in rats.J Pharm Pharmacol. Apr2008;60(4):505-514.

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