Terminalia Arjuna

Botanical Name: Terminalia Arjuna

Sanskrit Name: Arjuna

Family Name: Combretaceaea


Vernacular names :

Common name – arjun

  1. Hindi – arjun
  2. Kannada –maddi
  3. Telugu –tellamaddi
  4. Tamil –belma, marudampattai


Indradru,   Kkubha, Dhavala,   ViravrIksa,   Nadisarja, Partha.

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: Udardapragamana, Kasaya. skandha

Susruta: Nyagrodhadi, Salasaradi

Vagbhata:Viratarvadi, Nyagrodhadigaua, AsaNadigana


In RIgveda, the word Arjuna is used either to indicate whitecolour or leucoderma (R.V.1/122/5).     Sounaka alsoopined the same but Sayana commented it as   ArjunaVrIksa. KiithakaSamhita quoted two kinds of Arjuna viz., Lohita Tulaand Babhru Tula. Hindu mythology documented that these two plants have their origin while lord Indra killed a gaintVrtra. Theblood (Rakta) and Lasika of Vritra have attained the form ofLohitaTiila and BabhruTilla respectively. Sayana described ‘Tula’ as ‘Manjari’ and one of its synonym is Phalguna. The ‘Babhru ‘Tula Phalguna’ is considered as the best Medhya according to JaiminiBrahmana (1/354).

Other Brahmanagranthas and ,Srouta sutras have delineated Arjuna as the substitute for Soma.

Some consider that Jangida mentioned in Atharvaveda is T. arjuna.

Charaka delineated Terminalia Arjuna in ,the Udardaprsaman group (C.S.Su. 4). BrihatTrayi have indicated in for Raktapitta, Arsas, Kustha, Prameha, Mutraghata and Vrana but not Hridroga. It is Vrinda, Chakrapani and Sodhala who have high-lighted the role of Arjuna in Hridroga.   Susruta mentionedArjuna and Kakubhaseperately (S.S.Ka. 6/3). Dalhana in this context opined that Kakubha is a, shrub with aromatic root and it may be Artagala. Though Dalhana’s comments confuse us, its identity is usually made with Arjuna or a variety of Arjuna.

In certain instances Charaka quoted the utility of flowers of Kakubha in therapeutics (C.S.Ci. 23/99 & 29/142). Dhananjaya is

the synonym used only twice by BrhatTrayi (C.S.Ci. 4/74 &A.H.Ut. 22/82). Similarly, Partha is the synonym delineated once each by Susruta and Vagbhata (S.S.Ka 6/23 &A.H.Ut. 22/107). ‘Partha’ is another plant identified witliKapatavanka by not with Arjuna (A.H.Su. 15/24). Svetavaha is the synonym only used by Vagbhata at one instance (A.H.Su. 15/19).

RaghunathjiIndraji (Katobhatta) is of the opinion   that SterculiaTerminaliaglabra are the real sources of Arjuna. Rasikhal Parikh also opines that Sterculia is the correct source of ,Arjuna. Chunekarjiinformes that some Vaidyas useLagerstromoeaflos-regina asArjuna.

Note—   Dr.Madhukar Reddy (Heritage Bionatural Products, Hyderabad) informed in an personal commurication that T. arjunais an often rejected herb in the European Union. It is considered as Cardiotoxic, abortificient and fish poison in EU. In this con-text it may be essential to rethink about the identity of Arjuna. Dr. Chopra’s report about the myocardial necrosis as the side effect of T. arjuna may be thoroughly reviewed. However, Arjunaksirapilka is the best form of administration for heart diseases


If we consider Arjuna and Kakubha as two different kinds or even if we notice the common practice of using white and black varieties of Arjuna.They are identified as T.arjuna and T. alata (T. tomentosa) respectively.

Botanical details

A large, evergreen tree, with a spreading crown anddrooping branches, common in most parts of India and also planted in many parts for shade and ornament. Stems rarely long or straight, generally always buttressed and often fluted; bark very thick, grey or pinkish green, smooth,   exfoliating   in   large,   thin,   irregular   sheets; leaves   sub-opposite,   oblong  or   elliptic,   coriaceous, usually 10-15 cm. long, occasionally 25 cm.,   cordate, shortly   acute or obtuse at the apex; flowers in panicledspikes; fruits 2.5-5.0 cm. long, nearly glabrous, ovoid or ovoid-oblong, with 5-7 hard, winged angles.

  1. alata – A large tree, 25-32 m high; bark dark,cinerous and rough. Leaves -subopposite or uppermost alternate, hard, coriaceous,   oblong, ovate or elliptic, hairy beneath. Flowers- dull yellow, in erect terminal panicles. Fruit -with 5 broad wings, obovoid-oblong.


Common on river banks, stream; found almost throughout india. The tree is common throughout the greater part of the Indian Peninsula along rivers, streams, ravines and dry water-courses, reaching a large size on fertile, alluvial loam.   It is rare in the Karnatic, but is fairly plentiful in Tirunelveli and on the west coast.   It extends northwards to the sub-Himalayan tract, where it is distributed along the banks of streams; in Punjab, it is a cultivated tree. It is common in Chota Nagpur,   Orissa and in the Northern Circars. It is extensively planted in India for shade or ornament in avenues or parks, even in dry and hot regions.   In favourable localities,   especially along the banks of streams, the tree attains very large size.

Chemical constituents

  1. arjuna – arachidic stearate, cerasidin, arjunic acid, tannins, arjunone, arjunetin, arjunolone, arjunglucosides I & II; arjunoside I, II & IV; arjunolic acid etc.
  2. alata – gum, arjunic&arjunolic acids, arjunetin, betulinic and ellagic acids; tannins etc.


Rasa –kasaya

Guna –ruksa, laghu

Virya – sita

Vipaka –katu

Karma –kapha- pittahara, udardaprasamana, hridya


Bhagna, SadyaVrana (as haemostatic?), Prameha, Hridroga, Kshaya, Trisna etc.

Cardiomyopathy like Myocardial infraction, angina, coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension. In case of heart attack though it can not act against, like streptokinase or eurokinase, but regular use of it after just recovering from heart attack, reduces the chance of further attack to a great level. Besides no such Toxicity or side effects has so far be found it can be advocated to use in regular basis for a strong and well functioning heart.

Terminalia Arjuna can help lower Cholesterol as much as 64% – people taking Terminalia Arjuna preparation saw their LDL levels plummet by an average of 25.6%. In animal studies with extremely high blood fats, LDL levels dropped from 493 to 162 ,after 60 days. That’s a whopping 64 percent drop. Plus, HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) actually increased.

Terminalia Arjuna reduces angina episodes much better than nitroglycerin – In one study, angina episodes were cut in half by the Arjuna, with none of the nasty side effects. Plus, it can be used as long as you like, without fear it’ll stop working.

Terminalia Arjuna has been shown to help reverse hardening of the arteries.

Part used



Powder 3-6g; decoction 50- 100ml

Therapeutic uses

  • Sukrameha- Decoction of Arjuna and Chandana is beneficial

(2) Puyameha— Decoction of Dhava and Arjuna is beneficial

(3) Kushta— Khadira, Aragvadha and Arjuna are used for


(4) Hridroga— Godhuma and Arjuna bark processed in oil,

ghee andjaggery is given orally with milk


Arjunarishta, arjunaghrita, parthadyarishta


(1) In a clinical study the role of Arjuna is studied over IHD and the drug is found to be effective in correcting the T-wave changes (Chaturvedi, 1967).

(2) The cardiotonic activity of Arjuna (T. arjuna) is reported from NIA, Jaipur (Jha, 1983).

(3) An experimental study was carried out in 50 dogs by liqating coronary artery and T. arjuna decoction was administered (25   dogs   in   each group).  At the end of the study histopathological study revealed thatArjuna significantly regenerated the cardiac tissues in the infarcted area. After carrying out coronary angiogrphy in dogs treated with Arjuna it was noticed that new coronary vessels developed (Gupta, 1972).

(4) Its bark significantly decreased the elevated cholesterol and increased the HDL cholesterol. It was   also noted that the prostaglandin levels which were low have been increased and high levels of catecholamines were brought down by the administration of the drug besides relief from symptoms like pain, palpitation etc (Dwivedi, 1986).

(5) Serum lipids were foUnd to be lowered by administrationof bark powder (10 mg/kg b.w.) in triton-induced hyperlipaemia.Chronic feeding of this powder (100 mg/kg b.w. p.o.) in animalssimultaneously fed with cholesterol (25 mg/kg b.w.) for 30 days, caused lowering in lipids and protein levels of beta-lipoproteins followed by an increase in high density lipoprotein-cholesterol compared with the cholesterol fed groups. T. arjuna altered lipolylicactivities   in   plasma,   liver,   heart and   adipose   tissues   of hyperlipaemic rats. The lipid lowering effect of this natural product was found to be mediated through inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, increased faecal bile-acid excretion and enhanced plasma lacithin : cholesterol acyltransferase activity and stimulation of receptor mediated catabolism of low lipoprotein (Khanna et al., 1996).

(6) Diet-induced hyperlipidaemic rabbits were given 50% ethanolic extract of bark. It effectively reduced the TCL, LDL and TG levels. The extract did not show any adverse effect on liver and renal function and heamatological parameters (Ram et al., 1997).

(7) T. arjuna and A. racemosus (1-4 g each/kg b.i.d./day) given for 15 days showed significantantidiabetic activity (Ind. Drugs. 1983 Aug. p. 432-435).

(8) Arjunalone a flavonoid from bark is reported for female contraception (Satyavati, 1983).

(9) The hypotensive and cardiotonic properties are reported (Hippokrates, 1982).

(10) The diuretic, hypotensive and cardiotonic properties are reported (J. Res.Edu. Ind. Med. 1988 Oct-Dec. p.31-36).

(11) Marked reduction in total cholesterol and raise in the HDL are observed (Intl. J. of Crude. Drug Res. 1990, 28 (1) : p.43-47).

(12) Bark extract (500 mg b.i.d.) given with other drugs for three months considerably improved the performance of Tread-mill test and exercise tolarance in IHD patients. No side effects are noticed (Ind, Med. Gazette, 1992, 126(2) : p56-59).

(13) Arjuna bark (arjunolic acid) exhibited anti-acne activity (Int.Mat. Med.Vol.II p.278).

(14) The bark is acrid, and credited with styptic, tonic, febrifugal and antidysenteric properties. In fractures and contusions, with excessive ecchymosis, The powdered bark is taken with milk. The powdered bark seemed to, give relief in symptomatic complaint in hypertension; it appearently had a diuretic and a general tonic effeptin cases of cirrhosis of the liver. A decoction of the bark is used as a wash in ulcers. The alcoholic extract of bark contained : CaO, 0.33; Mg0, 0.078; and Al2O3, 0. 076 The fruit is tonic   and deobstruent. The juice of the freshleaves is used in earache. The twigs are used by tribalsof Bastar to cure blisters and ulcers of the mouth (Kirt. &Basu, II, 1024; Burkill, II, 2136; Chopra, Nayar& Chopra, 241; Jain, Econ. Bot., 1965, 19, 241; Chem. Abstr., 1952, 46, 7713).

Terminaliaarjuna Side effects:

Because it can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, people on medication for BP and diabetes need to take precaution to avoid over dosing.

It is safe to use in children and during lactation. Consult your doctor for advise to use in pregnancy.

Courtesy : The Wealth of India series , DravyaGuna by Dr. J.L.N. Sastry , InidanMateriaMedica by VaidyaBhagwan Dash , DravyaGuna by Dr. GnjanendraPandey