The active ingredient Arjuna is still relatively unknown in Europe. Yet Arjuna was already described in ancient Ayurvedic writings and has been used for many years. In India, the native tree Terminalia Arjuna is valued for its healing and strengthening effect on the heart. It is also no coincidence that the tree bears the same name as the warrior Arjuna of the same name from Indian mythology.
In our Arjuna test 2022 we explain what exactly Arjuna is, how it is used and which effects are actually scientifically proven. We inform you about the criteria you should consider before buying so that you can find the best product for you and give detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Arjuna: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for Arjuna
- 5 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Arjuna
- 5.1 What is Arjuna?
- 5.2 Meaning and origin of the term Arjuna
- 5.3 What active ingredients does Arjuna contain?
- 5.4 How does Arjuna work?
- 5.5 For whom is the intake of Arjuna useful?
- 5.6 Are there different types of Arjuna?
- 5.7 How should Arjuna be dosed?
- 5.8 What are the side effects of Arjuna?
- 5.9 What are the alternatives to arjuna?
- Arjuna is a food supplement that is also often referred to by the botanical term Terminalia Arjuna. It is the reddish inner layer from the bark of the arjuna tree, which grows mainly in India
- Arjuna preparations are most often found in powder form. However, they are also available as capsules or tablets. More rarely, they are available as tinctures and in combination with other active ingredients.
- Numerous studies have confirmed that Arjuna has a positive effect on the heart and coronary vessels. It sometimes has a blood pressure-lowering, blood circulation-promoting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and strengthening effect on the heart wall.
The Best Arjuna: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for Arjuna
When buying Arjuna, there are different criteria that you should consider. These can be noticeable in the price and the quality.
The raw material is usually cleaned, dried and tested before packaging. In the market, Arjuna is offered in the following forms:
The most common variant is Arjuna in powder form. Powder is suitable for those who are reluctant to swallow tablets and prefer to mix the preparation in a liquid such as orange juice or muesli. With powder, you often get much more filling quantity at a more attractive price.
Arjuna is also very often offered in capsules. The gelatine capsules make them easier to swallow than tablets and are taken with a little liquid. You can also open the capsules and mix them with liquid, but this would not pay off in the long run, which is why you should rather use Arjuna in powder form. They are also very good for taking on the go.
Another way to take Arunja is in tablets. They are also taken with a sip of water. As Arjuna tablets are compressed, they can also be crushed in a mortar and mixed with a drink or cereal. Tablets, like capsules, are easy to divide and transport.
Less commonly, Arjuna is found as a liquid preparation. There are tinctures that contain only Arjuna as an extract in an alcoholic solution and there are tinctures that contain other herbal essences in addition to Arjuna. Another form is a fermented herbal drink that contains hawthorn, ashwaganda and other ingredients besides Arjuna.
The advantage of liquid preparations is that the absorption is much faster and more direct. With capsules, on the other hand, it takes much longer for the gelatine layer to be broken down by the stomach acid and Arjuna to be broken down. The disadvantage is again that tinctures are the most expensive of all forms of intake.
The filling quantity and the filling weight differ in principle due to the different types of products.
Powder is often offered in 100 g packages. However, there are also much larger packages, so it is worth comparing them.
Tip: Break down the price of the products to 100 grams or to a number of pieces. This will help you compare and find the best deal for you.
Capsules and tablets are mainly sold by the unit. A normal package usually contains 60 pieces. But of course there are differences here too.
Tinctures are usually in small tincture bottles of 120 ml or in larger bottles of 500 ml.
You will find many organic Arjuna products on the market. From an Ayurvedic point of view, you should choose an organic product whenever possible. Also because the tree Terminalia arjuna is native to a tropical country, organic and certified products are to be preferred. In the next step, we will explain which seals you should look for so that you can be sure of your choice.
There is a multitude of organic seals, making it difficult for consumers to keep track of them all. For this reason, the EU and the German government have created two seals to ensure uniformity:
- Organic food that has been produced according to the regulations of the European Court of Justice must be labelled with the Euro-Leaf logo since 2012. This shows the code of the inspection body and the origin, which is indicated as "EU agriculture", "non-EU agriculture" or "EU/non-EU agriculture".
- The German state organic seal according to the EC Organic Regulation was created in 2001 to offer consumers a uniform labelling. This seal can be used in addition to the mandatory EU seal.
"BDIH tested heavy metal contamination" from the Federal Office of Industrial and Commercial Enterprises for Medicinal Products, Health Food, Food Supplements and Cosmetic Products.
The packaging certainly only plays a minor role when buying Arjuna. Nevertheless, you should consider in advance whether you travel a lot and would like to take Arjuna outside the home. In principle, capsules and tablets are suitable for this.
But the right packaging can also save you from accidental emptying or spilling.
When you are on the road, you should therefore look for containers that are easy to close, preferably with a pressure cap or screw cap. At home, on the other hand, sturdy containers that cannot tip over are suitable. These can be made of cardboard, plastic or, even better, tinted glass.
They do not give off any foreign odours onto the product and still filter out most UV rays due to their colouring.
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Arjuna
In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of Arjuna and to bring you closer to the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information for you in the following sections.
What is Arjuna?
If you enter the term Arjuna into a search engine, you will be confronted with various definitions. Arjuna is also a Japanese anime series of the same name from 2001, the near-Earth asteroids are called Arjuna asteroids and there is also the Arjuna Award, which is given to athletes in India. But Arjuna is also a mythological figure of Hinduism, which is even related to our theme and product, among other things. But more about that later.
The product we would like to describe here is an active ingredient extracted from the bark of the Arjuna tree. The arjuna tree, which is also called the true myrobalan, Terminalia glabrata or mainly Terminalia arjuna, is native to large parts of India. It can grow between 20 - 26 m high and grows mainly along rivers.
Arjuna is often confused with chokeberry in search engines. However, chokeberry is a berry of which there is a much wider range of products.
The evergreen tree has leathery leaves in an elongated oval shape. The flowers are yellow and panicle-like and open for the first time in autumn. In winter, wing-like fruits develop from them. In Ayurveda, apart from these fruits, it is mainly the bark of the tree that is used.
This bark is white-greyish on the outside and regularly flakes off in large, flat pieces. The inner layer of the bark is reddish. It is removed and processed into a powder.
Meaning and origin of the term Arjuna
Arjuna from the Arjuna tree is closely associated with Hindu mythology. Indeed, the tree shares its name with the Indian heroic figure Arjuna.
The Mahabharata is one of India's most famous epics and comparable to the Holy Scriptures in Christianity. It says that Arjuna was Krishna's dialogue partner and a fighter. When the hero was despondent and powerless before a battle, the gods sent him the Arjuna tree on earth.
This tree helped him regain physical and emotional strength. According to this epic, the tree is said to have positive effects on the soul and body. It is said to have a strengthening effect on the heart, emotions and soul.
What active ingredients does Arjuna contain?
The reddish powder from the bark of the Arjuna tree contains glycosides, large amounts of flavonoids, tannins, phytosterols and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper. Glycosides have been found to act on the heart by increasing the beating power and lowering the heart rate.
Flavonoids have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood lipid-lowering effects. Tannins are plant tannins, phytosterols are plant hormones used in medicine for prostate enlargement. (2)
How does Arjuna work?
In the following we will discuss the different effects of Arjuna.
Effect on the heart
In Ayurvedic teachings, Arjuna is used for various cardiovascular diseases. Many clinical studies and experimental studies with animals have shown that Arjuna has a blood pressure-lowering, blood circulation-enhancing, antioxidant and antihypertrophic (hypertrophic = growth of tissue or organs) effect. (4, 8, 9)
Likewise, its beneficial effect on coronary artery disease has been proven. This is because the bark has a significant effect on the contractility of the heart, it increases the flow of the coronary arteries and protects the heart wall from blood flow damage. (3, 4)
In a study involving 85 men with chronic chest tightness (angina pectoris) and circulatory disturbance (ischaemia), exercise parameters improved significantly under Arjuna compared to the placebo group.
The participants performed a treadmill exercise test and clinical tests. One group received 500 mg Terminalia arjuna every 8 hours, another group received a vasodilator preparation and the other group received a placebo. No significant differences were found when comparing the two preparations.
No significant adverse effects were observed during the therapy with Terminalia arjuna. (1)
Another study with rats showed that Terminalia arjuna caused a significant increase in internal antioxidants. All groups treated with arjuna alone even showed a preserved heart wall.
The group treated with a damaging agent showed better recovery values with the administration of arjuna. Thus, the administration of Arjuna could better protect the heart from damage. (3)
Effect on diabetes
Arjuna has cardioprotective properties as well as an anti-diabetic effect. It has a balancing effect on high blood sugar levels and could be used in diabetes therapy with fewer side effects. (5)
Effect on high blood lipid levels
The powder of the arjuna tree has also been shown to have a positive effect on high blood lipid levels. (2)
Furthermore, it has been confirmed that Arjuna has a diuretic, anticoagulant, antioxidant and positive effect on prostaglandin, which plays a role in hormone formation, inflammatory processes and pain mediation. (2, 9)
For whom is the intake of Arjuna useful?
Taking Terminalia Arjuna is useful for those who want to improve the function of their cardiovascular system and are looking for a natural product. Arjuna can be an alternative or adjunct to conventional, orthodox medical methods for minor ailments when accompanied by a doctor.
As you read in the studies, Arjuna also had a heart-protective function. It can therefore be assumed that Arjuna is also useful for prevention. People who have severe heart problems should only use it in consultation with their doctor.
For children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, the use of Arjuna is not advisable, as the study situation here is lacking and uncertain. (2, 4)
Are there different types of Arjuna?
The raw material of Arjuna bark remains the same, but there are differences in the subsequent processing. When buying, look for the indication whether it is Arjuna extract or the full powder of the bark.
With tinctures, it is clear that the Arjuna extract is mixed in an alcoholic liquid. In the other forms of ingestion, however, fillers and excipients such as silica, rice flour, magnesium salt, etc. may have been incorporated.
Compare the products for this feature and check whether they are useful excipients that also serve your health and your wallet.
How should Arjuna be dosed?
The dosage of Arjuna naturally depends on the form of the preparation. Different dosages apply to capsules, powders, tablets or tinctures. But there are also variations within the product category. This is partly due to the fact that not only the active ingredient Arjuna is processed, which stretches the preparation.
The following table summarises the average information of several products and should give you an approximate idea of the intake. Please be sure to follow the instructions in the package leaflet and discuss your plans with your doctor in advance. He or she knows your state of health and can guide you through the intake process.
|Form of administration||approximate dosage|
|Powder||approx. 2 times daily dissolve a teaspoonful in water and take with meals|
|Capsules and tablets||approx. 1 - 3 capsules/tablets daily with meals and a little water|
|Tincture||approx. 20 - 30 drops 2 times daily|
What are the side effects of Arjuna?
Arjuna is not a medicine, but a food supplement that is freely available to everyone without a prescription. However, if you have heart and blood circulation problems or are about to undergo a medical procedure, do not self-medicate with Arjuna. Be sure to consult a specialist and discuss your plans with him.
Food supplements are no substitute for a balanced and varied diet. Therefore, pay attention to a healthy lifestyle.
Studies have not found any significant side effects. (1) Arjuna has been documented to have a good safety profile in combination with other conventional medicines. (9) However, there is little data on the specific mechanism of action.
That is, in what form and dosage Arjuna should be taken and whether the raw material or an aqueous or alcoholic extract should be used has not yet been determined. (7)
Toxicological studies and its interaction with other medicines are also lacking. (7) To investigate the therapeutic potential of Terminalia arjuna, clinical studies would have to be conducted with a large number of subjects. (6)
What are the alternatives to arjuna?
Besides arjuna, there are other alternatives in natural medicine that we would like to briefly introduce:
Hawthorn belongs to the genus of the rose family, which is widespread in Europe, but especially in North America. They have white flowers that develop into the typical red fruits. The hawthorn is said to have a positive effect on heart problems.
This has been proven several times in studies. Hawthorn is used in particular for heart failure, declining cardiac output, cardiac stenosis, high blood pressure with cardiac muscle weakness, slight changes in the heart rhythm and arteriosclerosis.
It also has a significant positive effect on high blood sugar and fat metabolism, it strengthens the immune system and is anxiety-relieving. (10, 11)
Ashwaganda is also known as sleeping berry or winter cherry. Its effect is not directly related to the heart, but in Ayurveda it is valued for energy, performance, calmness and strength.
Studies have shown significant improvement in hypothyroidism, generalised weakness, muscle strength and neuromuscular coordination. (8, 12)
Image source: Ndianfoodimages / 123rf
Bharani A, Ganguli A, Mathur LK, Jamra Y, Raman PG. Efficacy of Terminalia arjuna in chronic stable angina: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study comparing Terminalia arjuna with isosorbide mononitrate. Indian Heart Journal. 2002 Mar-Apr;54(2):170-175.
Dwivedi S (November 2007). "Terminalia arjuna Wight & Arn.—A useful drug for cardiovascular disorders". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 114 (2): 114–29. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.08.003. PMID 17875376.
Karthikeyan K, Bai BR, Gauthaman K, Sathish KS, Devaraj SN (October 2003). "Cardioprotective effect of the alcoholic extract of Terminalia arjuna bark in an in vivo model of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury". Life Sciences. 73 (21): 2727–39. doi:10.1016/S0024-3205(03)00671-4. PMID 13679240.
Meghwani H, Prabhakar P, Mohammed SA, Seth S, Hote MP, Banerjee SK, Arava S, Ray R, Maulik SK (July 2016). "Beneficial effects of aqueous extract of stem bark of Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.), An ayurvedic drug in experimental pulmonary hypertension". J. Ethnopharmacol. 16. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.029. PMID 27401289.
Mohanty IR, Borde M, Kumar C S, Maheshwari U. Dipeptidyl peptidase IV Inhibitory activity of Terminalia arjuna attributes to its cardioprotective effects in experimental diabetes: In silico, in vitro and in vivo analyses. Phytomedicine. 2019;57:158-165. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.09.195
Kaur N, Shafiq N, Negi H, et al. Terminalia arjuna in Chronic Stable Angina: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cardiol Res Pract. 2014;2014:281483. doi:10.1155/2014/281483
Kapoor D, Vijayvergiya R, Dhawan V. Terminalia arjuna in coronary artery disease: ethnopharmacology, pre-clinical, clinical & safety evaluation. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;155(2):1029-1045. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.056
Sandhu JS, Shah B, Shenoy S, Chauhan S, Lavekar GS, Padhi MM. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(3):144-149. doi:10.4103/0974-7788.72485
Amalraj A, Gopi S. Medicinal properties of Terminalia arjuna (Roxb.) Wight & Arn.: A review. J Tradit Complement Med. 2016;7(1):65-78. Published 2016 Mar 20. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.02.003
Orhan IE. Phytochemical and Pharmacological Activity Profile of Crataegus oxyacantha L. (Hawthorn) - A Cardiotonic Herb. Curr Med Chem. 2018;25(37):4854-4865. doi:10.2174/0929867323666160919095519
Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(1):CD005312. Published 2008 Jan 23. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005312.pub2
Sharma AK, Basu I, Singh S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2018;24(3):243-248. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0183