Cissus Quadrangularis Benefits

Cissus Quadrangularis for JointsCissus quadrangularis, also known as hadjod or veld grape, is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for repairing broken bones, easing joint pain, and strengthening the skeletal system.

The plant is a green vine of quadrangular shaped sections (thus the quadrangularis). The root and flesh of the plant is particularly rich in antioxidants including a good level of vitamin C, vitamin E, quercetin, resveratrol and genistein, as well a group of compounds called ketosterones.

The stem is most commonly used in herbal medicine, though the root contains many of the same compounds along with added minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron [16].

Cissus Quadrangularis for Bone Health

Cissus extract has been used for over hundreds years as a bone tonic in Ayurvedic medicine. Its name in Sanskrit is Asthisamharaka, meaning “bone setter”. Traditionally, the juice of the plant is taken twice a day to accelerate bone healing. Since the 1960s, evidence-based medicine has studied the effects of its extracts on bones and ligaments with good results – it appears that this vine has potential as a therapy to speed up healing time from fractures.

A 1962 study used a paste of Cissus extract applied topically to the site of the fracture to speed up healing processes [1]. In more recent times, animal studies have shown that Cissus can increase bone cell proliferation, resulting in improved bone thickness and strength [2][3][4]. While the validity of animal studies are questionable at best, these early investigations led to more recent (and more promising) human trials:

  • A human study in 2011 compared the bone healing effects of Cissus extract to Moringa extract, and to a combination of the two with an Asparagus extract. All of the herbal medicines studied reduced pain, swelling, tenderness and healing times for mandibular bone fractures, but only the Cissus extract taken on its own significantly shortened the duration of healing by up to three weeks [5]!
  • In 2010, a clinical study looked into the effects of externally applied Cissus paste on 16 subjects with various types of fractures. All but two of the patients experienced a significant reduction in healing time – half the patients experienced an estimated 53% reduction in healing time, and another six patients had a 40% reduction in healing time [6].

The mechanism behind these outstanding effects has been researched in vitro. Studies have shown that active components in Cissus extracts, including ketosterones, can:

  • Increase differentiation and proliferation of bone cells
  • Boost extracellular calcification
  • Improve bone mineralisation [7][8] 

All of this adds up to the potential for Cissus as an effective remedy for bone fractures, and a potential treatment or preventative measure against osteoporosis.

Cissus for Joint Pain

Whether your joint pain is due to structural issues or chronic inflammation from over-exercise, Cissus quadrangularis could help.

A 2013 study looked at the effects of a Cissus supplement on men with exercise-related joint pain, aged 20 – 46 years. All participants took 3500 mg of encapsulated Cissus powder per day for eight weeks while continuing their usual exercise programs. There was a significant decrease in pain in all participants who took Cissus, and blood tests showed a reduction in inflammatory biomarkers particularly in participants who were obese or overweight [9]

This analgesic effect may be due to Cissus‘ mild sedative effects on the central nervous system, in combination with its anti-inflammatory actions [14]. No matter the mode of action, Cissus is one of the top joint supplements on shelves today.

Cissus for Weight Management

Cissus quadrangularis has potential as an effective weight loss aid and a preventative against weight-related disease. Its rich antioxidant properties can help to protect against the inflammatory effects of excess body fat, and may help to speed up weight loss processes.

  • A 2007 study showed that a formulation containing 15mg of Cissus with standardised 2.5% ketosterones per day resulted in increased weight loss, regulation of blood sugar, and improved cardiovascular biomarkers in obese and overweight participants [12]. Other ingredients in the formulation included green tea extract, chromium, selenium and B vitamins.
  • Another study looked at the same formulation and its effects in conjunction with a weight-loss diet. The researchers found that participants who took the formula containing 15mg of Cissus per day experienced significantly more weight loss than the placebo group. It’s interesting to note that the group who took the Cissus formulation without dieting experienced the same outstanding weight loss results as the group who took Cissus while also following a strict calorie deficient diet [13]!
  • A 10 week study in 2008 showed that 250mg of Cissus per day resulted in a significant reduction in oxidative stress, fat mass, waist circumference, and insulin resistance. However, combining Cissus with Irvingia gabonensis showed even greater weight loss results [15].

Cissus for Gastrointestinal Health

The anti-inflammatory properties of Cissus may soothe the symptoms of stomach ulcers, reflux and heart burn.

Animal studies have shown that Cissus extract has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions that can protect against damage to the gut caused by NSAID medications, and even heal chronic ulcers [10] [11]. Its active constituents also appear to encourage cell proliferation, and to reduce the amount of stomach acid at a similar rate to popular antacid medications [11]. It may also protect against infection of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. [10].

Keep in mind that these are animal studies and to date, no human trials have been published. We recommend speaking to a qualified herbalist or naturopath if you are considering taking Cissus for digestive issues to ensure it is the safest and most effective option for your personal circumstances.

How To Take Cissus Quadrangularis Supplements

Cissus supplements are found powdered or encapsulated. Extracts are available, with standardized levels of ketosterones (aka ketosteroids). Most of the experimental studies we found used Cissus with a standardized level of 2.5% ketosteroids.

Capsules are a little more popular than powder – Cissus tastes very bitter.

Safe and effective dosage of Cissus (not extract) is about 700 – 1,300 mg per day.

Possible side effects of Cissus quadrangularis include:

  • Headache
  • Gas
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia

If you experience any of these side effects, stop using Cissus immediately and speak to a naturopath or herbalist before resuming.

Best 5 Cissus Quadrangularis Supplements

#5 PrimaForce Cissus Supplement (500mg, 120 capsules)

Primaforce cissusPrimaForce have compounded 500mg of Cissus extract into vegetarian-friendly capsules, with a whopping standardised dose of 40% total ketosterones. Two capsules per day is more than enough to reach the levels used in experimental research. PrimaForce use pharmaceutical-grade, clinically tested ingredients and few binders and fillers. With such a high dose of ketosterones in each capsule, this could be a good choice if you’re looking for anabolic growth (such as bone repair) rather than joint pain relief or weight loss.

#4 LiveLong Cissus (100g)

cissus joint supplementsLiveLong offer a high quality bulk powder, perfect if you prefer to spoon out specific doses. Be warned that Cissus powder tastes bitter and, as one reviewer put it, “is difficult to deal with”. Another suggested that adding it to coffee is a good way to mask the taste. Note that this product is made from the root rather than the stem of the Cissus plant – more minerals, but less research to back it up.

#3 Keter Wellness Cissus Pro 1000 (500mg, 120 capsules)

Keter CissusKeter Wellness offer a Cissus supplement that is made in the USA and certified for purity and potency. They have kept the Cissus powder pure and have only added a trace amount of vegetarian-friendly L-leucine as a natural flow agent. The capsules are also vegetarian-friendly, made of hypromellose, and contain 500mg of Cissus stem extract standardised to 2.5% ketosterones. This is a great choice if you’re looking for joint pain relief or weight loss support.

#2 Tested Nutrients Irvingia IGOB131 + Cissus CQR-300 (125mg, 60 capsules)

Irvinga CissusIf you’re looking for a supplement that has been clinically trialled and proven to promote weight loss – you’ve found it! Tested Nutrients have created a proprietary blend of Cissus and Irvingia gabonensis, as researched in this study for their synergistic effects on weight loss. These supplements are made in America, vegan-friendly, and created from high quality ingredients. Each capsule contains 125mg of Cissus, standardised to 2.5% ketosteroids, along with 125mg of Irvingia – the same dosage used in this study [] .

#1 LongLifeNutri Cissus (600mg, 120 capsules)

Best Cissus QuadThis Cissus supplement has a lot going for it – a whopping 600mg per capsule of Cissus extract with 2.5% standardised ketosterones, gluten free, and vegan-friendly. LongLifeNutri make this product in the USA according to strict GMP standards, ensuring high quality and potency – they also offer a money back guarantee. Plus, it comes with a free capsule case!

Further Reading:

About James Lyons

James Lyons (BHSc Nutritional Medicine) is a clinical nutritionist, medical writer, and educator. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and is passionate about improving public access to reliable and accurate health information.

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