Characterisation of polyphenols in Terminalia arjuna bark extract
The bark of Terminalia arjuna is known for its heart-health benefits in ayurvedic literature. This has been further supported by in vivo studies on animal and human volunteers. But there is no detailed study on identification of the active ingredients such as polyphenols. Polyphenols possesses antioxidant properties and are well-known health actives, it is important to characterise polyphenols in Terminalia arjuna. Aqueous extract of Terminalia arjuna bark was analysed for its composition and molecular weight distribution by dialysis. Compositional analysis revealed that it has 44% polyphenols and dialysis study showed that 70% of the polyphenols have molecular weight greater than 3.5 kDa. High performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of Terminalia arjuna, confirmed that it contains flavon-3-ols such as (+)-catechin, (+)-gallocatechin and (−)-epigallocatechin. Phenolic acids such as gallic acid, ellagic acid and its derivatives were also found in Terminalia arjuna extract. Ellagic acid derivatives were isolated and their spectral studies indicated that isolated compounds were 3-O-methyl-ellagic acid 4- O-β-D-xylopyranoside, ellagic acid and 3-O-methyl ellagic acid 3-O-rhamnoside. Hydrolysis and thiolysis studies of high molecular weight polyphenols indicated that they are proanthocyanidins. Given these results, it may be possible to attribute the heart-health effects of Terminalia arjuna to these polyphenols which may be responsible for the endothelial benefit functions like tea.