Arjuna Eyes the Endothelium and Not the Eye of the Bird!!
Well, this Arjuna is not the Arjuna of Mahabharata, who said, “I can only see the eye of the bird.” Here, Arjuna is the medicinal plant, which is widely known as cardioprotective herb or heart medicine. Acharya Charak and other seers identify Terminalia arjuna as the best amongst the Cardioprotectives.
Modern sciences have identified the endothelium as the main target for effective CARDIOPROTECTION! Endothelium is the innermost lining of the blood vessels, arteries. The endothelium is body’s largest endocrine organ. This vessel lining is 5 times the size of the heart in mass and 6 times the size of a tennis court in area. Keeping the endothelium in sound health is the sole objective of any cardioprotective treatment.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Atherosclerosis, the hardening of the blood vessels, is the main pathological factor in the causation of the heart diseases. Atherosclerosis is a complex process in which fats accumulate in the large arteries. Over time, the arteries become thick and hard, which makes heart diseases more likely. It is interesting to know that atherosclerosis is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts; धमनीप्रतिचय (dhamanipratichaya) is the Sanskrit word for atherosclerosis. The remains of ancient human populations, mummies also prove the presence of atherosclerosis in ancient times.
The vessel wall is an active, integrated organ composed of three separate layers: intima, media and adventitia. The endothelial cells are very specialized, metabolically active cells and not only guard the internal surface of blood vessels but also are responsible for regulation of blood flow to critical organs, called as brain, heart and kidneys, the त्रिमर्म of Ayurveda.
In fact, the normal vascular endothelium is taken as a gatekeeper of cardiovascular health! It plays very critical role in maintenance of cardiovascular health by regulating blood fluidity and fibrinolysis, vascular tone, angiogenesis, monocyte/leukocyte adhesion, and platelet aggregation.
The disturbed endothelium, endothelial dysfunction, results in hardening of the blood vasculature which further leads to hypertension, dyslipidemia, inflammation and thrombosis. These abnormalities result in generation of excessive free radicals causing oxidative stress (OS), this OS further damages the endothelium and the vicious cycle continues, as shown in the diagram.
To break this vicious cycle, the WHO recommends certain Lifestyle Modifications to prevent heart diseases, for example regular physical exercise, not eating too much food, moderate use of fat, sugar and salt in food. The aim of these lifestyle modifications is to improve endothelial function.
There are number of modern published scientific articles on cardioprotective nature of Terminalia arjuna. Arjuna does have a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action and reverses impaired endothelial function. It prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation and reduces atherogenic lipid levels. It also improves cardiovascular health by controlling the autonomic nervous function. This herbal drug with multiple beneficial effects without causing side effects can modulate the existing treatment strategies.
Visionary seers called Arjuna as the leader of हृद्य, CARDIOPROTECTIVE medicines!! Arjuna achieves स्रोतसां प्रसादनम् (healthy endothelium)and therefore, it is the best cardioprotective.
Sandu Products containing Arjuna are: Arjunarishta, Balant Kadha No 3, Ashwagandharishta, and Tab Debix.