Ayurvedic Herb for a Healthy Heart

Updated: Mar 10

The bark of an ancient tree can help to improve coronary health and bring more love to your heart.

According to researchers, the Arjuna tree, (Terminalia arjuna) native to India, has anti-inflammatory effects and can enhance heart muscle tone.


According to CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600,000 people die every year of heart disease in the United States, that is 1 in every 4 deaths. A number that is significant and proves that heart disease is the leading cause of female and male deaths in this country.

The most common type of heart disease? CHD.

Coronary disease costs the United States over $108.9 billion each year, a number that includes the cost of health care, medication and includes an estimate in loss of productivity.

CAUSES

Research suggests that coronary heart disease (CHD) starts when certain factors damage the inner layers of the coronary arteries. These factors include:

Smoking

• High levels of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood

High blood pressure

• High levels of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes

• Blood vessel inflammation

Plaque might begin to build up where the arteries are damaged. The buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries may start in childhood.

Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause angina (chest pain or discomfort).

If the plaque ruptures, blood cell fragments called platelets (PLATE-lets) stick to the site of the injury. They may clump together to form blood clots.

Blood clots can further narrow the coronary arteries and worsen angina. If a clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block a coronary artery and cause a heart attack.

What could cause such an epidemic? What could be natural and a holistic and more cost effective approach to possibly prevent a heart attack?

THE DOSHIC HEART

In Ayurvedic terms, The Prana Vaha Srotas (respiratory channel), resides in the heart. The prana vaha srotas is the life carrying channels (srotas). Those channels are born in the left chamber of the heart. This is referred as mula (root) of this respiratory web. The left chamber receives oxygenated blood from the lungs plus the entire gastrointestinal tract. The marga (passage) is the respiratory tract and the bronchial tree, including the alveoli. The opening (mukha) is the nose.

There is agni (fire) in pranavaha srotas. The Pitta subdosha (Sadhaka Pitta) which is located in the heart processes thoughts into feeling and emotions.

When the heart senses stress it will pump the necessary blood supply to the limbs. The stress receptors in the heart process those signals and have the job to cleanse the waste products that those signals caused.

Now imagine a system, which might be already congested (lymphatic) system and no more available receptors to respond. This combination aligned with clogged arteries will in turn cause even more stress and damage to the heart.

ARJUNA FOR A HEALTHY HEART

In India, the bark of the tree Arjuna myrobalan has been used to prevent heart disease.

The huge tree can grow very high and can be found along riverbanks along India and Sri Lanka.

Arjuna means “white” or “shining” due to the qualities of its bark that is harvest once a year when the tree is mature. Every year the bark of Arjuna is said to produce a new skin that helps to prolong life and strengthen the heart. Arjuna has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. I can reduce inflammation (Pitta pacifying) and the congestion (Kapha pacifying) associated with the heart damage.

Besides acting as a heart tonic, Arjuna is used as a blood detoxifier, and in the case of urinary disorders. It improves circulation and due to this property is used as an aphrodisiac.

No wonder Arjuna is the name of the legendary hero of the Mahabharata, Hinduism’s great battle. A character associated with strength and protection.

DOSAGE- 1-6g per day (dried bark)

SAFETY- No drug-herb interactions known.

Due to its astringent (drying) qualities, this herb is contraindicated to people suffering from constipation. The herb should not be used in case of pregnancy.

Sources:

​CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/nhlbi.nih.gov

Dr. John Douillard arjuna-an-herbal-hero-for-the-heart

​LAD, VASANT, Textbook of Ayurveda, Fundamental Principles, 2002

POLE, SEBASTIAN, Ayurvedic Medicine- The Principles of Traditional Practice, 2006

Journal of the Association of Physicians of India (49:231-5, 2001).


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