NOTE: We are updating our coronavirus (COVID-19) page with evidence as it comes in.
Summary of Terminalia arjuna
Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details
Terminalia Arjuna (usually simply referred to as Arjuna) is a tree bark that is used medicinally in Ayurveda for the purposes of cardiovascular health pertaining to the heart itself. It has a large variety of bioactives, with the water extract showing promise at improving left ventricle function of the heart without any observable toxicity of side effects when taken at 500mg thrice a day (every 8 hours).
There are numerous human studies conducted on Arjuna bark, although many of them are low in sample size. Nevertheless, the water extract appears to be effective in improving cardiac function in persons who have recently undergone cardiac trauma or injury; Myocardial Infarction is the most commonly researched ailment in this regard. Only one study exists on otherwise healthy persons, but Arjuna showed benefit in improving left ventricle function in an exercise test and the benefits may affect a person regardless of health state.
In animal models, this extract appears to exert protection on cardiac tissue in response to various cardiac insults including beta(2)adrenergic agonists (like ephedrine, although isoproterenol was used in the studies) and catecholamines themselves.
The water extract appears to be effective for improving cardiovascular health, particularly at the level of left ventricle function. The studies in humans are underpowered at this moment in time and only one in healthy humans (preliminary evidence), but all evidence appears to be promising and in the same positive direction. The water extract appears to be quite safe
Other extracts such as ethanolic or acetone, with different bioactives, may not have similar cardioprotective effects (no human trials, but some in vitro evidence suggesting the bioactives are not in these extracts) yet appear to be somewhat cancer protective. Tumor growth in animal models is reduced with either the ethanolic extract or isolated Arjunolic Acid (commonly seen as the main bioactive) as is reduced DNA damage in response to mutagens, and these are attributed to the antioxidative capacity of Arjuna which is comparable to Vitamin C on a per weight basis. Due to the anti-cancer effects of the ethanolic extract having some cytotoxic properties, and LD50 has actually been established with this extract and it is possible that side-effects may occur. Additionally, the anti-cancer evidence is somewhat limited as although cytotoxicity has been established in cancer cells a lack of evidence exists to assess healthy cells (a good anti-cancer drug will be highly selective in killing cancer cells, which Arjuna does, and not healthy cells, which Arjuna has not been sufficiently tested for).
Other possible uses of Arjuna include ulcer protection in the stomach with potency similar to Rantidine in one study (associated with the ethanolic extract), protection to the liver and kidney likely mediated by antioxidative properties (ethanolic extract) and the cardiovascular properties may increase anaerobic cardiovascular performance in healthy persons (with the one study using sprinting as a test) although this last claim has a lone study in support of it and no replication.
Ethanolic extracts have potent antioxidative and potentially potent anticancer effects, but although there are no reported side effects with the ethanolic extracts currently (due to a lack of human interventions) it is theoretically plausible that higher than recommended doses could be harmful related to the anticancer effects (cytotoxicity)
Want to know which supplements you should take?
Examine.com bases all of its recommendations based on research. We’re a trusted resource because we don’t sell or even advertise supplements.
If you’re tired of wasting time and money on supplements that don’t work, our 17 Supplement Guides will help you figure out precisely what to take — and what to skip — based on your health goals and the latest scientific evidence. There’s a reason why over 50,000 customers rely on Examine.com’s independent and science-based analysis.
And best of all — free lifetime updates are included!
I want unbiased recommendations to improve my health »
How to TakeMedical Disclaimer
Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details
A standard dose for the purposes of cardiac health appears to be 500mg of the bark (water extract) taken daily in the morning without food (no evidence exists to suggest that taking it with food is bad or anything). For persons who suffered cardiac trauma (such as Myocardial Infarction), this dose tends to be taken thrice a day every 8 hours
The leaf extracts and ethanolic extracts appear to be more related to the cytotoxic and anti-tumor effects, but not enough evidence exists to recommend an active dose of these extracts for human consumption.
Improve your health with the latest information on 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes.
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research. Quickly and easily look up scientific research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
Human Effect Matrix
The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects terminalia arjuna has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
|Grade||Level of Evidence [show legend]|
|Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials|
|Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled|
|Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies|
|Uncontrolled or observational studies only|
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||Very High See 2 studies|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|Minor||- See study|
|-||- See study|
Get access to the latest nutrition research summarized
By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.
Things to Note
Is a Form Of
Also Known As
Arjuna, Dhavala, Kakubha, Nadisarja, Veeravriksha, Partha, Indradru
Goes Well With
Ashwagandha (appears to benefit cardiovascular function on parameters that Arjuna does not, and combination therapy in health persons has at once been shown to confer additive benefits to exercise capacity with both being effective in isolation)
The water extract (used for cardiovascular health) and ethanolic/acetone extracts (used for cancer prevention and antioxidant purposes) are markedly different and, for all intents and purposes, should be treated as different supplements
Tired of misinformation? Get unbiased info on supplements.
At Examine.com, our incentives line up with yours — getting unbiased information. It’s why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements.
Join over 250,000 people who’ve learned about effective versus overrated supplements, supplement buying tips, and how to combine supplements for safety and efficacy.
Click here to see all 84 references.