Terminalia Arjuna Reduces Cardiac Hypertrophy
TL:DR cardio protective herbal compound that improves cholesterol, triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, and reduces cardiac hypertrophy.
Terminalia arjuna follows a similar theme to past herbal compounds reviewed such as triphala and artemisia iwayomogi. I’m personally very interested in these compounds, primarily for cycle support. In this case, arjuna is a tree bark, and it most certainly can’t be patented, meaning not much money invested in its review and not much interest from researchers. It has been used for thousands of years, however, as a milk decoction for treatment heart disease, or topically as a powder for treatment of wounds.
Studies 1 through 5 indicate its cardioprotective nature, while 6-7 show improvements to cardiac health through decrease in size and lowering blood pressure.
Study 1: In rats, arjuna prevents oxidative stress associated with lack of oxygen (and its subsequent return). A similar finding was found in rabbits, and it was replicated through different methods in rats two more times (1, 2).
Study 2: Cardioprotective against induced DNA damage
Study 3: Cardioprotective against induced cardiotoxicity
Study 4: Cardioprotective against chronic adrenal stimulation
Researchers speculate its effective by maintaining / improving antioxidant activity and inhibiting LPO and cytokine levels.
Study 5: Animal testing indicates that arjuna lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Study 6: 30 patients took 500mg and significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, cortisol and cholesterol (Dwivedi et al, 1989)
Study 7: 12 patients with chronic heart failure were administered 500mg every 8 hours for 2 weeks. There was a decrease in cardiac size. Long term, patients had improvement in symptoms and quality of life.
An additional study is available here where it was paired with ashwagandha. Because of the pairing, it makes the results difficult to interpret.
Nausea, gastritis, headache, bodyache, constipation and insomnia were reported but considered to be mild. There was no liver, kidney or other metabolic toxicity reported, even after 24 months of administration. However, large doses can reduce the amount of thyroid hormone and increase some liver values, indicating that it may be hepatoxic and induce hypothyroidism. The dose would have to be extremely high: 2000mg/kg did not produce any kind of toxicity in animals.
500mg every 8 hours in humans is a common dose without significant adverse effects, and is likely sufficient for our use, going as high as 1500mg (500mg every 8 hours) if cardiac hypertrophy is a known issue.
I’ve looked at a very narrow use for arjuna, and in which I am concluding that it is useful in lowering systolic blood pressure and helps in regards to left ventricular hypertrophy. Therefore, I can see a role for it as an on cycle cardiac protective compound.
That said, we’re early in evaluating this compound, there’s not that many human trials, and really no anecdotal experiences (in our brommunity) that we can learn from, at least not yet. On the plus side, it’s not that expensive and it’s reasonably easy to find. I don’t think this has as wide an application triphala, for example, but I can certainly see myself including this on aas cycles where cardiac hypertrophy is a concern.