Throughout my life, I’ve always managed to find foods that alleviate certain body imbalances. If I have a headache, almonds tend to help. Digestive issues, and I’ll eat some yogurt. And I’ve found that high mineral content water just makes my body feel well. These are things that I haven’t done any research on, I just learned over time that they work for me.
This presents a problem. I will never have enough time or ailments to try everything to see what works. Which makes me glad that human beings have a well documented history in our use and application of herbs and ingredients. There are some things I would have never thought to try, and it’s not surprising that in some areas of the world, people have been using it for thousands of years. Hippocrates himself promoted the use of a brew made from leaves of a willow tree, and ancient peruvians utilized the bark of the “fever tree” – which we now view as aspirins humble beginnings.
Trees are amazing. Long lived and adapted to their environment, they have evolved many compounds to survive. And when ingested by humans, can have a positive effect on our health.
One tree in particular, Arjuna, has several beneficial compounds. A tall evergreen tree with yellow flowers and cone shaped leaves has been used as the herb of choice in Ayurvedic medicine for cardiovascular health.
The bark of Terminalia arjuna has been used in India for more than 3000 years, primarily as a heart remedy. An Indian physician named Vagbhata has been credited as the first to use this product for heart conditions in the seventh century A.D. Research on terminalia has been going on since the 1930s, but studies have provided mixed results. Its role, if any, in heart disease still remains uncertain.
Arjuna contains ingredients that help stimulate the heart. It might also help the heart by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. ( http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-811-TERMINALIA.aspx?activeIngredientId=811&activeIngredientName=TERMINALIA&source=0 )
Drugs.com states that 500 mg of arjuna herb every eight hours can reduce angina or chest pain and increase exercise capacity in patients with cardiovascular diseases. In fact, it may be as effective isosorbide mononitrate, the most common drug used to treat angina. ( http://www.livestrong.com/article/414039-benefits-of-arjuna-herb/ )
Arjuna’s ability to suppress the blood’s absorption of lipids indicates that it has cholesterol-regulating properties. Its principle constituents are §-sitosterol, ellagic acid and arjunic acid.
The bark powder has a significant hypocholesterolaemic effect. In one study there was a significant decrease in total cholesterol (-9.7 ± 12.7%), and LDL cholesterol (-15.8 ± 25.6%). ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11225136 )
In addition, it possesses significant antibacterial activity against bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis in the laboratory and has significant antioxidant action that is comparable to vitamin E.
Pineapple-Raspberry-Banana Smoothie Recipe
1/2 cup(s) of pineapple
1/4 cup(s) of frozen raspberries
1/2 cup(s) of water
1 cup(s) of ice
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour in a cup. Serve immediately.