Phytopharmacological overview on Terminalia arjuna Wight and Arn
The application of medicinal plants to maintain health and treat disease started since time immemorial and still is a part of medical practice.Terminalia arjuna is a tree with simple leaf, smooth and thick bark belonging to the family Combretaceae. Flowers are small, regular, sessile, cup-shaped, polygamous, white, creamy or greenish-white and robustly honey-scented and flowering from April to Julys. Its fruit is a drupe, 2.5–5 cm long, ovoid or oblong, fibrous-woody, smooth-skinned with five hard angles or wings.Ancient Indian physicians used the powdered tree bark of Terminalia arjuna Wight & Arn. for alleviating “hritshool” (angina) and othercardiovascular conditions. Also believed to be a natural liver tonic, Arjuna regulates cholesterol by decreasing LDL levels in the liver. Arjuna is a best hepatitis reliever and heart strengthener for humankind. Leaves of Terminalia arjuna are best healing for hepatitis .Its stem bark possesses glycosides, large quantities of flavonoids, tannins and minerals. Arjuna contains specific active constituents namely Arjunilic acid, Tomentosic acid, Sitossterol, Triterpine glycosides like Arjunetosides , Arjunine and Arjunetein. The bark is rich in Saponnins, natural anti-oxidants (flavonoids-arjunone,arjunolone,leteilin), gallic acid, ellagic acid, phytosterols, rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper, reducing sugars & coloring matter.The Arjuna bark with its remarkable medicinal properties helps, maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Arjuna is known to possess diuretic properties This have been recorded as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipid lowering effects while glycosides are cardiotonic, thus making Terminalia arjuna unique amongst currently used medicinal plants. In this review an attempt has been made to discuss various aspects of its ethnomedical, phytochemical, pharmacological, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal, antihelmintic, immunomodulatory, antidiabetic, radioprotective, antimutagenic properties for benefit of mankind. Experimental studies have revealed that whole plant is highly useful staring from its use in cardiovascular tonic to asthma. There is ample evidence of its beneficial effect in coronary artery disease. The extracts of Arjuna are known to help in strengthening the heart muscles, relieving stress, and hypertension. Arjuna is effective for a variety of heart related conditions like high blood pressure, heart palpitations, rapid heartbeat and high cholesterol. These reports are very encouraging and indicate that this should be studied more extensively for its therapeutic benefits.
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