Arjun is one of India's sacred trees, named for Arjuna, the warrior hero of the epic Mahabharata. Its bark is considered an important cardiac aid, used in treating many types of cardiovascular disorders, such as angina, myocardial infarction, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and hypercholesterolemia. The active constituents include triterpenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols (this latter ingredient is an important therapeutic component of two myrobalans fruits from related trees: Terminalia belerica and T. chebula). A recent clinical trial indicated improvements in patients with angina using arjun (compared to placebo) and a laboratory study confirmed its blood pressure lowering action. In modern Ayurvedic formulas, the herb is frequently combined with ashwaganda, which has sedative alkaloids that help to lower blood pressure. The therapeutic benefits of arjun are similar to those of the hawthorn fruit that is commonly used in both Western herbalism and Chinese medicine: promoting heart function and improving the viscosity of the blood by reducing excess platelet sticking and blood lipids.
Formula for improving cardiovascular functions
In this formula, the key herb arjun is combined with five other herbs to benefit circulation. Myrrh (guggul) invigorates blood circulation, alleviates inflammation, and helps lower blood lipids, as revealed by numerous studies; it is combined with arjun in modern Ayurvedic formulas for improving blood flow. Neem has a hypotensive action; neem, licorice, and ashwaganda are used as correctives and restoratives for numerous chronic diseases, including cardiac disorders. A traditional remedy in India for poor circulation in the veins is the combination of berberis and neem, which is used as a specific remedy for hemorrhoids. In Artoralt, berberis is included also as a treatment for the liver, based on the concept that liver disorders can lead to elevated blood lipids.