Which is the Best Alternative for Eucommia ?

Abstract

Herbs are the roots of the traditional medical system and main sources of therapeutic agents for natural management of many chronic ailments. Eucommia which is cultivated in China is enriched with numerous medicinal properties but cannot be made easily available to many people. So, Indian Ayurvedic traditional medicine System have a better alternative i.e. Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) which is more conventional for medicine preparation.Eucommia Ulmoides

Description of Eucommia Ulmoides

Eucommia ulmoides which is also known as “Du Zhong” is native to China. It is loaded with lots of medicinal properties and has been used in Chinese traditional medicines (TCM) as well as a folk drink from the last thousand years. This has been widely cultivated in China for its bark and is a very valuable plant in herbology.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom- Plantae
  • Clade – Tracheophytes
  • Order – Garryales
  • Family – Euphorbiaceae
  • Genus – Eucommia

Morphology

Eucommia trees grow upto 15 meters in length consisting of deciduous leaves which are beautifully arranged in an alternative manner, ovate along with acuminate tip and possess serrated margin.

Chemical Composition

According to studies there are about 112 compounds which have been isolated from Eucommia and which have been extracted from various parts like barks, stem, seeds and leaf. Some of the major phytochemical constituents are lignans, iridoids, phenolics, steroids, flavonoids (rutin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and ferulic acid), etc.

Medicinal Properties

Some of the medicinal properties of Eucommia are discussed below-

  1. Leaves of Eucommia are believed to enhance strength in bones and muscles which ultimately leads to longevity and promoting fertility.
  2. Many formulations including herbal tea which contains standardized leaf extracts, proved to be beneficial in boosting energy metabolism and reducing fattiness.
  3. Eucommia possess various pharmacological properties like anti-oxidants, anti- allergic, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, cardio- protective and neuro- protective properties.
  4. It’s phytochemical make it capable in effective management of various diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer and neurological diseases in following ways-
  • Cardiovascular system- According to chinese medical system, Eucommia us believed as a cardiac tonic. Bark of this tree is an essential and active component which is used in antihypertensive conditions. It also regulates healthy blood pressure.
  • Anti-oxidant effect - Antioxidants properties of Eucommia reduces the oxidative stress and free radical levels in the body by increasing the levels of antioxidants enzymes in the blood.
  • Anti-bacterial and Anti-viral properties - Eucommia effectively inhibits the bacteria and reduces the anti-inflammatory secretions in the body. Some bacterial strains ( Acinetobacter baumannii and Staphylococcus aureus) and fungal strain (Aspergillus fumigatus) respectively are inhibited by extracts of this useful herb.
  • Anti- obesity effects - Eucommia performs anti- obesity and anti-metabolic actions because it contains geniposidic acid and chlorogenic acid. It maintains healthy metabolism.
  • Neuroprotective effects - Stem bark of Eucommia inhibits cytotoxic activity and is beneficial in rejuvinating brain cells. It is also helpful in improving memory dysfunctions.
  • Phytostrogenic properties - Bark of Eucommia exhibit Phytostrogenic and androgenic effects and also contains isoflavones which have properties similar to estrogen and androgens. These both hormones play an important role in physiology of male and female both i.e. skeletal muscle development, enhancing bone density and sex drive.

Possible Side Effects

Apart from the Medicinal health benefits of Eucommia, it may cause certain side effects. According to surveys, this has caused severe headaches, dizziness, cold and edema in some people. So, people who are already prone to some disorders and are taking medicines related to diabetes, anticoagulant, thrombolytic problems, etc. should use Eucommia formulations under doctor supervision.

What can be the Best Alternative to Eucommia in Ayurveda?

Ayurveda (Science of life) has been a boon to mankind with its natural and holistic healing methods. Chikitsa (treatment) in Ayurveda involves Ayurvedic herbs and basic lifestyle changes and treatment is done in accordance with the vitiated Dosha. Indian traditional herbs are a key component of Ayurveda and all the practitioners use Ayurvedic herbs for purification, cleansing the body and naturally boosting the immune system. One such magical herb is Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna).

General Description and Morphology of Arjuna

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) is considered a religious and sacred tree in India, it’s leaves are used in Ganesh pooja on various religious occasions. Apart from its traditional importance, this is known for its versatility in medicinal properties also. Arjuna is a well – known cardio – tonic and a deciduous evergreen tree which is usually large sized along with strong and long roots. This tree grows upto 40-85 feet in height and possesses conical leaves which are dull green colour. The bark, which is a most important part, is grey and smooth in texture.

Names

  • English name – Arjun tree
  • Hindi name – Arjun
  • Sanskrit names – Dhavala, nadisarja, Indradro, Phalguna, Partha, Pandava, veerantaka and Dhoorta.
  • Bengali name – Arjun gach
  • Gujrati name – Sadadi
  • Malayalam name – Chola, Poomaruthu
  • Marathi name – Sadaru
  • Tamil name – Poomarudhu, Neelamarudhu.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom – Plantae
  • Order – Myrtales
  • Family – Combretaceae
  • Genus – Terminalia
  • Species- Terminalia arjuna

How is Arjuna Medicinally Beneficial?

Arjuna is a scientifically proven beneficial plant which is used in treatment of many chronic diseases and indigenous medical systems.

Chemical Composition

The major phytochemical constituents present in stems, bark and leaves of Arjuna. But according to research, its bark is most important as per the medicinal point of view. It possesses polyphenols, flavonoids, tannins, triterpenoids, saponins, sterols, minerals (Copper, zinc and calcium) and amino acids (Tryptophan, tyrosine, histidine and cysteine).

Medicinal Properties of Arjuna

Some of the potential medicinal benefits of Arjuna are discussed below.

Ayurvedic Properties of Arjuna

According to the Ayurvedic scriptures, arjuna possesses astringent taste (Kashaya rasa) as well as due to its cool potency (Sheet virya) this is highly beneficial in Cardiovascular disorders. It works tremendously in relieving ulcers and wounds caused due to aggravated Kapha and Pitta dosha.

Other Medicinal and Pharmacological Properties

  1. Arjuna is an amazing detoxifier agent which cleanses the blood and helps in relieving bleeding conditions and Urinary tract infections (UTI’s).
  2. It is very beneficial in regulating normal hormonal balance and is effective in managing Cysts, fibroids, etc.
  3. Arjuna tremendously works in maintaining normal cholesterol levels and relieves plaques blockage in arteries.
  4. This herb has therapeutic effect in fighting lung illness and keeps the airways clear for a healthy respiratory system.
  5. Arjuna possesses tannins and coenzyme-Q10 which are way more important for keeping healthy heart muscles.
  6. It controls Anxiety, palpitation, etc. and keeps  our mind in a calm state.

Conclusion

From the above brief discussion and comparative study in Eucommia and Arjuna it can be assured that both these are way more beneficial and overloaded with goodness. But due to easy and accessibility of Arjuna, this can be preferred and moreover it will not cause any kind of side effects.

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Dr. Vikram Chauhan
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.