Arjuna Terminalis is a tree originating in India, the bark of which is utilized in many herbal preparations for various concerns, but primarily for supporting heart health.
This was Victoria‘s #1 suggestion for supporting healthy heart circulation and promoting normal sinus rhythm. It is a great tonic herb for heart health in general. This can be taken as needed and/or daily, for consistent support and maintenance.
Typical preparations include, encapsulated bark powder, tincture or tea made from the bark.
Medical properties that are associated with this herb in herbal books and alternative medical texts, include: cardiac tonic (seems to improve cardiac muscle contraction and cardiac output, thanks to saponins), astringent, febrifuge, antidysnteric, hemostatic, lithotriptic, rejuvenative tonic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic. It is noted as being cooling and soothing. [These properties look like a foreign language to you? No fear! Head over to our Properties & Therapies page for an alphabetized list of definitions!]
Arjuna contains the antioxidants called olymeric proanthocyanidins, as well as other beneficial constituents such as: arjunolic acid, arjunin, terminic acid, glycosides [arjunoside I-IV], arachidic searate, arjunic acide, arjunetine, tannins, saponins [these are thought to be responsible for the positive *inotropic effect], and phytosterols.
*Positively inotropic agents increase the strength of muscular contraction.
Let’s talk about a couple other herbs that are good for promoting a healthy heart. Herbs like Hawthorn, Crataegus oxcantha, that have been said to heal damage caused by heart attacks. I like to use the berries, leaf and flower. You can brew a tea to drink daily from the dried, beneficial parts of this plant. If you use whole, dried berries, consider soaking them over night. And/or busting them in a mortar and pestle first. Victoria always suggested Hawthorn as an adrenals tonic. Hawthorn is considered a cardiac tonic, diuretic, astringent, antispasmodic and sedative. Supports kidney health, general digestion, memory, proper artery function, and adrenal health.In history, the thorns from this tree are thought to be the ones used to make the crown of thorns which the Roman soldiers placed on Christ’s head to mock Him on Crucifixion day. It remains a symbol of hope and joy in Greece today.
One of my favorite circulatory herbs is Cayenne! Really, any type of capsicum fruit, [ie, hot pepper] will be warming and stimulate circulation promoting a normal and balanced blood pressure and provide nutrients directly to the cell structure of the arteries, veins and capillaries to rejuvenate their elasticity. The pulse frequency is not increased, but given more power.
Can be used topically as a rubefacient, hemostatic and analgesic. Also being antiseptic these properties make it a perfect first aid herb.
As well as stimulating the circulatory system, it produces warmth and stimulates peristaltic motion in the intestines, thereby aiding assimilation and elimination, while rebuilding stomach tissue and healing stomach and intestinal ulcers. [Go eat some spicy Mexican food for those ulcers! Yes, really!]Arjuna, as mentioned before, is an herb used in Ayurveda [Traditional Herbal Medicine originating in India], and has a positive effect on the ventricle function of the heart, and it has been found that the antioxidative capacity of Arjuna is comparable to Vitamin C on a per weight basis.
Ginger, Zingiber offininale, is a mild stimulant and circulatory aid. It is also carminative, and is most popularly known for its anti-nausea actions. It is also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It is a warming herb. You can use fresh root grated into soups and stews for added warmth. I love adding a bit of ginger with garlic, onion and cayenne herbs that I throw into my chicken noodle soup during cold seasons. Make ginger root tea and add other herbs like cinnamon and clove for a pleasant autumn spiced tea. Can be taken as a tincture as well as ‘candied’. You can find candied ginger at many grocery stores and this is a great form to keep handy in the car for motion sickness. Since it is aromatic, it is handy to use in it’s essential oil form to diffuse.
I also just happen to love the amazingly tropical-ness of the aerial part of this plant! We always just see the root, but the flower and plant it self is stunning! [Go do a google image search for ‘ginger flower’ and enjoy].Another heart helper is Hops. Humulus lupulus is most popularly known as a nervine, sedative and antispasmodic. It is also traditionally recommended for nervous tension, anxiety, neuralgia, insomnia, depression, digestive disorders, and hearth disease.
Elderberry as a stimulant and alterative is another mild herb that is beneficial for supporting healthy circulation. It is also an immunostimulant and anti-inflammatory.
Elderberry is used in many different ways, added to fritters, muffins, pies, made into wine, syrup, jelly, tea, tincture or even pickled! Fresh, under-ripe, elderberries should not be consumed in large quantities. “The fresh leaves, flowers, bark, unripe berries, unripe buds, and roots of the elderberry contain a bitter alkaloid and also a glucoside that, under certain conditions, can produce hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid) which is poisonous.” [source] This bitter alkaloid is very astringent and can cause nausea and intestinal cramping in large doses.
What are your thoughts? Do you use any of these herbs for supporting a healthy heart? Have any questions? Post them below!
Blessings in Christ, Kerry
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure disease. It is simply for use in the maintenance and promotion of good health in cooperation with a licensed medical practitioner. Kerry Brock and Shawnee Moon are not licensed to treat or diagnose disease. Consult with your physician for diagnosis or treatment. By using this information you agree that the decisions regarding your health are your own responsibility and understand that Kerry Brock and Shawnee Moon are not liable for your health decisions.
Sources and continued reading:
Prescription for Nutritional Healing James & Phyllis Balch, Weiner’s Herbal Michael Weiner, The New Age Herbalist Richard Mabey The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra, The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine Daniel Mowery, Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible Earl Mindell, Victoria Fortner, The School of Natural Healing Dr. John Christopher, Back to Eden Jethro Kloss, The Complete Medicinal Herbal Penelope Ody, A Modern Herbal Mrs. M. Greieve, The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal David Hoffmann, The Green Pharmacy James A. Duke, Ph.D., 20,000 Secrets of Tea Victoria Zak, The Herb Book John Lust,