Terminalia arjuna: An Invaluable Bio-Wealth of India

Terminalia arjuna

Terminalia arjuna: An Invaluable Bio-Wealth of India 

-Dr. Arvind Singh

Terminalia arjuna (White Marudah) popularly known as Arjuna is a large-sized (20 – 25 m tall) deciduous tree having a buttressed trunk and forms a wide canopy at the crown from which branches droop downwards.It belongs to Combretaceae family of the flowering plants. The bark of the Terminalia arjuna is soft and thick with grey colour on the outer surface and tinge inside. It easily flakes off in flat large pieces. It has an oblong, conical leaves which are green on the top and brown below.

Terminalia arjuna is variously called Arjun, Koha, Kahu and Arjan in Hindi; Arjuna, Dhanvi, Indradruma, Kakubha, Karvirak and Nadisarjja in Sanskrit; Arjhan in Bengali; Sahjo in Oriya; Sadada and Sadado in Gujarati; Sadura in Marathi; Vellamatta in Tamil and Yerra Maddi in Telugu. It is the state tree of Delhi.

Distribution and Ecology:

Terminalia arjuna is native of Indian sub-continent distributed throughout semi-arid, sub-humid and humid tropical South Asia from Pakistan to Malaysia. It occurs in valleys and plains up to 1200 m, elevation. In India the tree species is commonly found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Western Peninsula.

Terminalia arjuna grows best on neutral (pH 6.5 – 7.0), fertile soils especially loose moist alluvial loam with good water supply and drainage. Terminalaarjunaalso grows on a variety of soils including saline and alkaline soils with pH above 7.5. It is a moderate shade bearer.Terminalia arjuna produces pale yellow flower which appears between March and June. The fruit is glabrous, 2.5 to 5cm long and is fibrous and woody divided into five wings appearing between September and November.

Economic Importance:

Terminalia arjuna is well known for its medicinal properties. It was introduced into Ayurveda as a treatment of heart disease by Vāgbhata (7 century A. D.). It is traditionally prepared as a milk decoction. In the Ashtānga Hridayam, Vāgbhata mentions Terminalia arjuna in the treatment of wounds, haemorrhages and ulcers, applied topically as a powder.

Terminalia arjuna helps in maintaining the cholesterol level at the normal rate, as it contains the antioxidant properties similar to the vitamin E. The bark is astringent, febrifuge, cooling, cardiac stimulant, cholagogal, lithotriptic and vulnerary. It is an excellent remedy for heart diseases. 

Terminalia arjuna strengthens the heart muscles and maintains the heart functioning properly. It also improves functioning of cardiac muscle. It is used for the treatment of coronary artery disease, heart failure, edema, angina and hyper cholesterolemia. The bark of Terminalia arjuna possesses diuretic, prostaglandin enhancing and coronary risk factor modulating properties. It is useful in the treatment of asthma as well. Juice of the leaves is used to cure dysentery and earache.

Some of the important Ayurvedic formulations of Terminalia arjuna includes Arjunarishta, ArjunaGhrita, Arjunakhsirpak and Arvindasava.

Some Facts about Medicinal Uses of Terminalia arjuna:

1. Terminalia arjuna is extremely useful against myocardial-infraction, angina, coronary artery diseases, heart failure, hypertension and hyper cholesterolemia. 

2. Regular use of Terminalia arjuna just after recovering from heart attack reduces the chance of further attack to a great level. 

3. Terminalia arjuna lowers cholesterol by about 64%. Low density lipid (LDL) level comes down by an average of 26%. 

4. Terminalia arjuna reduces angina episodes much better than nitroglycerin. 5. Terminalia arjuna checks the hardening of the arteries.

Besides medicinal uses, Terminalia arjuna has several other uses also. The leaves are used as fodder for livestock. The leaves are also an excellent feed to tussar silkworms (Antheraeamylitta). It makes and excellent fire wood and charcoal. The wood is strong and moderately heavy and is used for agricultural implements, poles, cart wheels, boats and buildings. Terminalia arjuna is grown in the urban areas for the purpose of shade.

The tree species is used for reclamation of degraded lands. For instance saline and alkaline soils, deep ravines and mine spoils.

Cultural Importance:

Besides economic importance, Terminalia arjuna has cultural importance as well. It is one of the sacred trees of India. The leaves and flowers of Terminalia arjuna are offered to Lord Vishnu and Lord Ganpati on the several religious occasions.


Conclusively it can be said that Terminalia arjuna is a tree species of immense economic importance. The plant is well known for its medicinal value which is generally present in the tree bark. The preparation of bark is highly useful in the treatment of heart diseases. Hence Terminalia arjuna is an invaluable bio-wealth of India.
Dr. Arvind Singh is M. Sc. and Ph. D. in Botany with area of specialization in Ecology. He is an dedicated Researcher having more than four dozen of published Research Papers in the Journals of National and International repute. His main area of Research is Restoration of Mined Lands. However, he has also conducted Research on the Vascular Flora of Banaras Hindu University-Main Campus, India.

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