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Baby your heart with Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna)!


Author: Dr. Virender Sodhi MD (Ayurved), ND
Release Date: November, 2008
Research Topic: Cardiac Support

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of heart disease out there. About 12.6 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease, which results in heart attacks and about 1.1 million Americans suffer heart attacks every year, half of which are considered fatal. CHD is the leading cause of death in Americans. East Indians are at an even higher risk of getting heart attacks than Americans.

Fortunately, CHD can be prevented and even controlled. Extensive clinical and statistical studies have identified several factors that can increase your risk of CHD. Controlling as many risk factors as possible is the best way to keep your heart healthy. Some of these risk factors are under our control and some not. The uncontrollable factors are as follows: 1) Age:  85% of people who die of heart attacks are 65 or older. 2) Gender: males have a greater risk of dying with heart attack than females. 3) Genetics: A family history of heart problems could increase your chances of getting heart disease even further. The factors that are controllable are those such as tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high lipids, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes mellitus. One extremely important and often forgotten factor is STRESS

Ayurvedic medicine provides a magnificent solution; time tested and researched for centuries. Dr. Dean Ornish published many studies showing an actual reversal of coronary artery disease using Ayurvedic concepts. Although many Ayurvedic plants have shown to help coronary artery disease, Arjuna (Teminalia Arjuna) by far seems to be the best plant for heart health. This tree is commonly found along the greater peninsula close to a water source. It is the bark of the plant that is used for medicinal uses. Arjuna extract has shown to be a powerful antioxidant protecting the heart from oxidation. The anticoagulant and anti platelet aggregation action keeps the blood thin, and lowers the bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). It also has cardioprotective, hypotensive and anti-inflammatory activities. In many animal model studies, Arjuna extract has shown to reverse the damage to heart muscle.  Its blood thinning abilities were comparable to those of aspirin and heparin. It has also been given in bleeding disorders, which means it has adaptogenic actions. An adaptogen can modify the body’s action depending upon what is needed. Arjuna has been shown to be beneficial in patients with CHD in a number of studies. In one study when patients were given Arjuna extract, the results were comparable to nitroglycerine in reversing angina and increasing exercise capacity. The numbers of anginal attacks were reduced and 80% of patients received symptomatic relief.  In a different study, Arjuna extract reversed heart failure from NYHA VI to NYHA I, and showed significant improvement in ejection fraction and reduction in the left ventricular muscle size. Patients who were on diuretics, digoxin and vasodilators continued to show improvements in their signs and symptoms, NYHA class and quality of life after Arjuna extract was added to their diets.

In animal studies Arjuna has shown to reverse plaque formation in the arteries of the subjects. It has also shown to have liver protective and mild diuretic actions and above all, no toxicity has been noticed in the therapeutic doses. The herb has shown to lower blood pressure in animal models and its actions are considered to be beta-blockers. Traditionally, it was used to increase wound healing, by increasing amino acid hydroxyproline which has rapid collagen turnover.

Typical dose of Arjuna is 500 mg of standardized extract. I have used Arjuna Heart™ in the cases of heart palpitations, coronary artery disease, hypertension, myocardial infarction and even heart failure. Typical dosage for this preparation is one capsule three times per day. Even people who are drug regimen can add Arjuna Heart™ to their treatment protocol.

A 63 year old patient of mine had bypass surgery and his three blood vessels were bypassed one year ago, developed anginal pain again and the standard protocol was not helping him. Once he began using Arjuna Heart™ along with his drug regimen, he noticed remarkable improvement in his exercise capacity and was pain free within 4 weeks. Looking at no toxicity profile and all the beneficial qualities of Arjuna, every Indian should be on this preparation to protect their heart from heart disease. Don’t forget, Indians do have a higher chance of getting heart attacks. Of course nutrition, exercise and stress reduction techniques like yoga are an extremely important part of the puzzle. After all creating health is a personal issue and we need to be proactive about it.

For more information about Dr. Virender Sodhi and the Ayurvedic Clinic, please visit www.ayurvedicscience.com. For the herbs listed above, please visit www.ayush.comor please call: 1-800-925-1371.

References:

Phytomedicine.  2003; 10(6-7):474-82. 

Fitoterapia. 2003 Sep; 74(6):553-8. 

Phytother Res 2003 Mar; 17(3):265-8

Indian Heart J 2002 Mar-Apr; 54(2):170-5

Mol Cell Biochem 2001 Aug; 224(1-2):135-42

Phytother Res 2001 Sep; 15(6):519-23

J Ethnopharmacol 2001 May; 75(2-3):197-201

J Assoc Physicians India 2001 Feb; 49:231-5

J Assoc Physicians India 1999 Jul; 47(7):685-9

Altern Med Rev 1999 Dec; 4(6):436-7

Int J Cardiol 1998 Dec 1; 67(2):119-24

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1998 Jan; 42(1):101-6

Indian Heart J 1997 Sep-Oct; 49(5):507-10

Int J Cardiol 1995 May; 49(3):191-9 

Disclaimer: This article is purely informative and should not replace the guidance of your physician. If you suffer from an illness, you should consult a physician before taking any herbs, vitamins, minerals or enzymes. Even at the peak of health, it is best to consult a qualified practitioner before taking any dietary supplement


 
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