Arjun is a tree common in Central and South India. Its bark has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine (the traditional medicine of India) for the treatment of heart problems. Other uses of various parts of the Arjun tree include hemorrhage, diarrhea, irregular menstruation, skin ulcers, acne, wounds, and fractures.
Evidence suggests that Terminalia arjuna may have blood vessel–relaxing properties.1 The herb has shown promise in the treatment of angina, a condition in which blood vessels in the heart cannot carry adequate oxygen to the heart muscle.2,3
In addition, exceedingly weak evidence suggests that terminalia may have antimicrobial effects, providing benefits against amoebas and other microorganisms.4,5
One study has been used to indicate that terminalia can improve cholesterol levels, but in fact it proves little because the study was not double-blind.6
A 1-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 58 individuals evaluated the effectiveness of terminalia for angina by comparing it against placebo and also against the standard drug isosorbide mononitrate.7 The results indicated that the herb reduced anginal episodes and increased exercise capacity. It was more effective than placebo and approximately as effective as the medication.
A subsequent 3-month study compared the effectiveness of Terminal arjuna against placebo in 40 people with a recent heart attack.8 All participants in this study suffered from a particular complication of a heart attack called ischaemic mitral regurgitation. The results showed that use of the herb improved heart function and reduced angina symptoms.
A typical dosage of Terminalia arjuna is 500 mg two or three times daily.
Use of terminalia has not been associated with any severe adverse effects. However, comprehensive safety studies have not been performed. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Bharani A, Ahirwar LK, Jain N, et al. Terminalia arjuna reverses impaired endothelial function in chronic smokers. Indian Heart J. 2004;56:123–8.
2. Dwivedi S, Aggarwal A, Agarwal MP, et al. Role of Terminalia arjuna in ischaemic mitral regurgitation. Int JCardiol. 2005;100:507–8.
3. Bharani A, Ganguli A, Mathur LK, et al. Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate. Indian Heart J. 2002;54:170–175.
4. Sohni YR, Kaimal P, Bhatt RM. The antiamoebic effect of a crude drug formulation of herbal extracts against Entamoeba histolytica in vitro and in vivo. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995;45:43–52.
5. Silva O, Duarte A, Pimentel M, et al. Antimicrobial activity of Terminalia macroptera root. J Ethnopharmacol. 1997;57:203–7.
6. Gupta R, Singhal S, Goyle A, et al. Antioxidant and hypocholesterolaemic effects of Terminalia arjuna tree-bark powder: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. J Assoc Physicians India. 2001;49:231–5.
7. Bharani A, Ganguli A, Mathur LK, et al. Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate. Indian Heart J. 2002;54:170–175.
8. Dwivedi S, Aggarwal A, Agarwal MP, et al. Role of Terminalia arjuna in ischaemic mitral regurgitation. Int JCardiol. 2005;100:507-8.
9. Antani J, Kulkarni R, Antani N. Effect of Abana on ventricular function in ischaemic heart disease. Japanese Heart Journal. 1990;31:829–835.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015