By Michael A. Smith, MDArjuna is a long, slender tree native to central India.
Its leaves have a synergistic relationship with the Paphia moth, which produces tassar silk for threads used in clothes and other types of garments.
But Arjuna does something else besides providing expensive silk that you may be pretty interested in hearing about.
Arjuna has actually been found to have cardiotonic properties — meaning it can help strengthen, tone and protect heart muscle.1
This is great news for people suffering from heart attacks or congested heart failure and anyone interested in preserving their heart function for living a healthier, longer life.
Arjuna Enhances Heart Muscle ToneWhen Arjuna bark is developed into an extract and ingested it provides anti-inflammatory and cardiotoning compounds.
These compounds, called glycosides, improve the heart’s “squeezing” action and increase the amount of blood flow to your body. Again, this is an important effect for people with weak hearts.
Experimental studies have revealed that the glycosides can exert significant inotropic effects — that is to say it can strengthen heart muscle contractions.
The glycosides from Arjuna also have a hypotensive effect, increasing coronary artery flow and protecting the heart muscle against damage from low blood flow and low oxygen levels.2
Arjuna Helps Prevent Heart Cell DamageWe believe that a healthy endothelium and myocardium (heart muscle) are two important things for a healthy cardiovascular system.
The endothelium is comprised of cells that line the inside of arteries. They produce nitric oxide which is essential to maintaining healthy blood pressure and arterial plasticity — that is the ability of an artery to respond to changes in blood flow and blood pressure.
The endothelium and myocardium are susceptible to low levels of oxygen and can become damaged and even die when this happens, as with a heart attack.
When a heart attack was induced in rats using a drug called isoproterenol, the level of endothelial and heart muscle damage was minimized with co-administration of Arjuna.3
But believe it or not, more damage can occur when blood flow and oxygen levels are restored to normal. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) are damaging oxidative compounds that rise significantly when blood flow and oxygen are reintroduced.
This is when the endothelium and myocardium can really take a deadly hit. Doctors give this deadly process a name: Myocardial reperfusion injury.
Arjuna prevented reperfusion injury by activating the rat’s internal antioxidants. So as oxygen re-enters the heart muscle, it can protect itself with help from Arjuna by activating antioxidants like glutathione and super oxide dismutase.3,4
The Bottom LineThis has important implications for people suffering from heart attacks and reperfusion injury. We definitely think that human clinical studies are needed to further analyze Arjuna’s potential lifesaving effects.
Of course, a comprehensive program that includes diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes should be the primary target for supporting your cardiovascular health.
However, if you’re looking for added protection and unique cardiotonic support for a strong and healthy heart, you may want to consider adding Arjuna to your daily supplement regimen.
Pretty interesting, isn’t it?
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