Arjuna plant found in India is popular for its medicinal uses; it improves cardiac muscle function and pumping action of the heart. Arjuna is a thick tree reaching a height of 20 to 27 metres. It has long, conical-shaped round leaves and white bark, which emits a milky juice when cut down. The bark of the tree is primarily used for medicinal purposes. Arjuna tree is native to Indian soil. It is seen all around the sub-Himalayan tracts, the Deccan regions, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. It grows predominantly beside water channels or marshy belts.
This tree has been named Nadisarjja in early Sanskrit dissertations, where its bark has been delineated as a cardiac tonic. Vagbhatta, a distinguished physician of historic India, was the first to recommend the bark of this tree for heart disorders. Later, Chakradatta, another celebrated Indian physician, delineated it as a tonic and an astringent and also used it in heart syndromes. He prescribed its use both as a decoction with milk and treacle water (syrup) and as a ghrita, which is a preparation with ghee or clarified butter.
Arjuna tree with all-pervasive powers cures and heals bruises, skin troubles and even acts as stimuli. The bark of Arjuna tree provides cardiac stimulus and has cooling and strengthening effects. It is constructive in holding back secretion or haemorrhage. It helps in mitigating feverish symptoms. Arjuna is also helpful in removing calculi or stones formed inside the urinary system, in encouraging flow of bile and in the convalescence of wounds.
The bark and preparations made from Arjuna are believed to have a remarkable stimulating effect on the heart. The practicians of Indian system of medicine use them in conditions of cardiac arrest and dropsy. Some practicians of modern medicine believe in its stimulating action upon the heart and use it as a cardiac invigorator. As a cardiac stimulant, either a decoction of the bulky portion of the bark mixed with milk should be consumed every morning in an unfilled stomach or its powder- in 0.75 to 2 grams doses, should be used with milk and jaggery. In Ayurveda, the bark of Arjuna is regarded helpful in the treatment of asthma. According to this system, a fine powder of the bark is prepared and preserved in a well-corked bottle. A patient suffering from asthma should fast on the day of full moon. A dish of condensed milk and rice (kheer) should be cooked and placed where the moonlight falls on it the whole night. During the wee hours of morning, 12 grams of the powdered bark should be dispersed over the kheer and taken by the patient to his satiation. The patient must not go to sleep for at least 12 hours after intake. This is known to provide comfort.
The bark of Arjuna tree helps the bones to retrieve their potency after a fracture. The powder of the bark can also be had with honey. A decoction of the bark taken in doses of 15 to 30 grams may alleviate patients of diarrhoea or dysentery. An ointment prepared by blending the bark and honey applied over the sore area, can heal acne fruitfully. The juice of fresh leaves of Arjuna tree can be used helpfully in earache. Ashes of the bark are also recommended in scorpion stings. The decoction of the herb is used as an astringent for cleansing sores, ulcers and syphilitic infections. The powder of the bark is an effective sex stimulus, if gulped with milk repeatedly over a period of time.
The bark contains extraordinarily huge quantities of calcium, modest amounts of aluminium and magnesium and tannins -an astringent used in developing leather and manufacturing ink. It also possesses a crystalline compound arjunine, as well as lactone, arjunetin, volatile oil, sugars and colouring stuff.