There is historical evidence in the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda that Ayurvedic physicians in India have used the bark of the tree Arjuna for over 5000 years. The Botanical name of this plant is TERMINALIA ARJUNA and in Sanskrit treatises this tree is also called as Nadisarjja.
The Arjuna tree is found in the sub-Himalayan regions, Bengal, the Deccan plains and in Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka. It generally grows in marshy belts. The extract from the bark of this tree is considered to be useful a heart tonic.
Vagabhatta, the famous Indian Ayurvedic physician was the first to record that this remedy is useful in heart diseases. Charakadatta has described it as a tonic and as an astringent.
As a cardiac remedy, it has been found useful heart failure. This remedy is also considered to be useful to arrest bleeding. This remedy is also useful in urinary infections and dissolving urinary calculi. This remedy is considered to be useful in fevers.
Other rare uses include healing fractures and contusions, diarrhoea and dysentery. An ointment made out of the bark and honey has been found useful in Acne. The juice of fresh leaves has been found to be useful earache. Ashes of the bark have been found to relieve the pain in scorpion stings and a decoction of the herb has been found to heal chronic non-healing ulcers. The powder of the bark is even considered to have aphrodisiac properties, if taken with milk over a long period of time.
Unfortunately this remedy has not been well proved and there is not much data about its efficacy.
Allopathic research has revealed that the bark contains large quantities of Calcium, some Magnesium, Aluminum, an astringent, and a compound Arjuninine, Arjunetin, essential oils and coloring matter. Opinions by the Allopaths about the efficacy of this herb are, however not very encouraging.
The Ayurvedic physicians have been using this remedy in all sorts of heart diseases and claim marked success in Angina, palpitations and valve diseases. This drug needs a lot more methodical research.