What is Cissus Quadrangularis?

Cissus quadrangularis can be very beneficial in bodybuilding. It is a plant of the grape family. It is also known as veldt grape, devil’s backbone, adamant creeper, as well as other common names asthisamharaka, hadjod, and pirandai.

Centuries ago, it was used in Asia and the Arabian Peninsula to relieve many ailments. It was also applied to regulate the menstrual cycle, as a painkiller and to treat bone fractures. It exhibits anti-inflammatory effects due to the rich composition of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, tannins, and polyphenols.

Cissus is mainly found in Africa and parts of Asia. It is used almost all over the world as a traditional medicine. Particularly popular in the southern areas of the United States and Brazil. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of various bone disorders because it contains active triterpenoids, alpha-sitosterol, and two isomeric ketosteroids.

Nowadays Cissus extracts are produced from its leaf, root, and stem. It is common herbal supplement available in supplement or healthy food stores or online. It can be found in powder, capsule, or syrup form.

What is Cissus quadrangularis used for?

Cissus Quadrangularis has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda (Indian medicine) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It gained much fame due to its unique health-promoting properties. Its beneficial effect was noticed in the treatment of hemorrhoids, asthma, allergies or gout

However, currently conducted research also shows the activities of Cissus in the field of many civilization diseases, among others those from the cardiovascular group, associated with carbohydrate disorders, i.e. mainly type 2 diabetes

In recent years, Cissus has shaped a unique reputation in terms of relieving pain in the joints and bones as well as reducing arthritis symptoms.

Because Cissus Quadrangularis improves overall health and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, it is recommended mainly for people struggling with:

  • Connective tissue injuries
  • Pain in joints
  • Ligaments and tendons injuries or pain
  • Convalescents after bone fractures

It is also a valuable element of:

  • Osteoporosis prevention
  • Works great in sports supplementation
  • Prevents overload injuries
  • Reduces the risk of injury
  • Reduces the time needed for effective regeneration

Numerous studies have proven that the compounds contained in this plant act analogously to endogenous anabolic hormones, but with no risk of side effects.

What are the Cissus Quadrangularis health benefits?

Studies have shown that Cissus contains an extremely large variety of compounds with versatile, health-promoting effects. They are dominated by flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, stilbene derivatives, β-sitosterol, quercetin, and kemferol

However, the main substances responsible for therapeutic effects appear to be specific tetracyclic triterpenoids, called ketosteroids.

Cissus is also called bone builder. All because it strengthens bones and builds a protective coating in the joints. It is believed that this natural dietary supplement also supports the immune system, anti-inflammatory and even prevents the formation of cancer. 

It is also used as an aid during weight loss and to improve athletic performance (strengthens the cardiovascular system and relieves pain). 

It has been clinically demonstrated that Cissus has strong antioxidant properties. This means that it helps remove excess toxins from the body and protects the cells of various tissues from damage. 

Healthy cells mean prolonging youth, improving well-being and improving immunity and physical fitness. The use of products containing Cissus Quadrangularis is recommended for the following problems:

  • Treatment of injuries to bones, tendons, and joints
  • Shortens fracture treatment time
  • Supports recovery of damaged bone tissue
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects
  • Relieves pain in the joints
  • Stimulates connective tissue renewal
  • Has antioxidant effect
  • Fights hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • Prevents bone fractures and weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • Relieves hemorrhoids
  • Irregular and/or painful periods
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Carbohydrate disorders,
  • Gastrointestinal disorders after using NSAIDs
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Prevents overload injuries
  • Promotes lean muscle mass growth

Cissus reduces joint pain and arthritis symptoms

Cissus has a strong analgesic effect, especially with joint pain, reduces swelling and stiffness of the joints, common symptoms of arthritis.

There is a lot of evidence for the effectiveness of Cissus in reducing pain symptoms in fractures, arthritis, and tendonitis.

Recently conducted research in this area on a large (over 1000) number of participants proved that Cissus significantly reduces pain associated with bone fractures, also reduces swelling, tenderness of such tissue and improves mobility [2].

Cissus Anti-inflammatory and analgesic

Cissus has high anti-inflammatory activity. The exact mechanism of this action has not been known. Scientists believe that it is implemented by inhibiting the activity of the COX-1 enzyme, which prevents the conversion of arachidonic acid to pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Cissus also relieves pain. The potency is comparable to popular painkillers from the NSAID group, but unlike them, it does not irritate the gastric mucosa.

Speeding up recovery from bone fractures and cracks

Scientific research conducted on participants struggling with cracks in the bone tissue proves the effectiveness of Cissus in this matter. Participants of the first analysis were people with jaw bone fractures. Supplementation with 500 mg of Cissus three times a day for 6 weeks has accelerated the healing of cracks. Cissus additionally reduced the pain and swelling in the jaw [6].

Another interesting study lasting 3 months, conducted on a 60-person group, showed that daily supplementation of 1200 mg of Cissus affected the expression of the non-collagen Osteopontin protein, which is part of the organic matrix. This protein is also an indicator of proliferation and differentiation among other bone remodeling processes [7].

Cissus quadrangularis in bodybuilding and athletics

Cissus has many positive effects on the movement apparatus, it also supports the treatment of tendinopathy in healthy and athletic people. 

cissus quadrangularis benefits

Everyone who engages in physical activity is putting the body in heavy physical regime. One of the negative effects of such training may be a pain in the tendon area caused by over physiological stimuli for bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

In other words, during training, we overload our stabilizing elements that are not used to such loads.

Cissus helps relieve unpleasant pain in the area of ​​overloaded joints. In a study of 29 healthy and trained participants between 20 and 46 years old, the effect of Cissus supplementation on reducing pain in joints/tendons was examined.

The participants experienced pain in the tendons as a result of strenuous training sessions. The assumption of the study was daily supplementation of 3200 mg Cissus for a period of 8 weeks.

The study also looked at other parameters such as blood pressure, heart rates, and biochemical blood tests.

The test results turned out to be very interesting. There was a reduction in pain symptoms on the WOMAC scale from 25.4 units to 17.4 which resulted in a decrease of slightly over 30%! This study proves the exceptional effect of Cissus on tendinopathy. 

Of course more publications are required for such a result, however, it can be safely concluded that Cissus Quadrangularis is one of the most interesting supplements in the treatment of tendinopathy [8].

Does cissus quadrangularis work for weight loss?

The slimming effect of Cissus was tested on a group of 123 people overweight or obese [3]. 92 people with obesity were divided into 3 groups: placebo, Cissus, Cissus + diet 2100-2200 kcal. 31 overweight participants formed a fourth group. At the end of the study, it was shown that people who took Cissus had lower levels of body fat, a more favorable lipidogram, a lower level of C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker) compared to people who did not take Cissus, regardless of whether nutrition was under control or not.

A group of 72 people who were overweight or obese, conducted a double-blind study [4]. People were divided into 3 groups: placebo, Cissus, Cissus + African mangoes. While the Cissus supplementation group had better results than the placebo in terms of weight reduction, the group with the combination of Cissus with African mango had much better results, indicating the synergistic effect of Cissus with African mango.

Cissus quadrangularis and diabetes

As it turns out, Cissus also has beneficial effects in the case of type 2 diabetes. Here the use of Cissus focuses mainly on stabilizing glycemic levels and the characteristic marker in diabetes control, i.e. glycosylated hemoglobin, HbA1C. Cissus supplementation stabilized the level of HbA1c, as well as the reduction of cytokines responsible for the induction of inflammation in the case of metabolic diseases [12].

As a curiosity, it can be mentioned that Cissus has some properties that sensitize peripheral tissues to insulin, i.e. insulin sensitivity [13].

Cissus helps in menopause

A study was conducted regarding the effects of Cissus on bone protection at menopause. The results were very optimistic. The analysis showed less tendency to fractures and damage not only to bone tissue but also to mediating tissue. Some beneficial effects on skeletal density have also been shown in type 2 diabetes [3, 4, 5].

Does Cissus help in healing hemorrhoids?

There are reports that Cissus is an effective means in the treatment of hemorrhoids are questioned, due to some study, which included quite a large group of participants, as many as 570. This study showed no differences in the comfort of patients suffering from hemorrhoids between the group using Cissus and the group taking a placebo [1]. In this topic, more well-designed studies are needed to rule out any doubt. Similarly, unfortunately, the issue of asthma and gout. At the moment, there is insufficient evidence of effectiveness for these disorders, which forces you to partially check the above “properties” on your own.

Other Cissus health benefits

Due to reports of such widespread use of Cissus, its impact on the regulation of metabolic syndrome parameters is currently being investigated. A study of 72 participants, lasting 10 weeks, observed the effect of daily supplementation with 300 mg Cissus on the parameters of lipidogram and glycemia. 

A decrease in the level of total cholesterol and its LDL fraction was observed, as well as an improvement in body composition, i.e. a decrease in body weight, fat, wrist circumference, as well as blood sugar [10]. 

Other studies were conducted in the company of other supplements known for their anti-inflammatory effects, which in combination with Cissus also had a beneficial effect. Currently, more metabolic syndrome is needed for the metabolic syndrome, most of them also include other anti-inflammatory components in their design, not Cissus separately, so their credibility does not necessarily apply to Cissus alone.

Other uses of Cissus are under investigation, however, some in vitro and in vivo tests have already been undertaken.

Some use of Cissus has been shown to protect the liver, hepatoprotective function. This effect was studied in rats that underwent mechanical liver injury. Daily supplementation with Cissus reduced ALAT and ASPAT transaminase markers, as well as bilirubin. In rats, there was also an increase in glutathione and an antioxidant enzyme found in large amounts in the liver, i.e. catalase [11].

Another publication demonstrates Cissus’ promising property of protecting the gastrointestinal tract against the negative aggravating effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Greater secretion of mucin, a protein lining the gastrointestinal tract, is also reported to provide a balance between microorganisms and to provide a barrier against pathogens and other pro-inflammatory substances [14, 15].

Is Cissus safe for health?

Cissus has been proven to be generally safe during supplementation in humans. Although not enough evidence has been provided to officially determine its medicinal benefits, certainly Cissus Quadrangularis is a natural agent that does not have a negative effect on the body. Cases in which persons using supplement based on this plant have improved their bone condition are presented. In addition, an improvement in joint mobility was shown by 31%. The Natural Medicines database has classified Cissus quadrangularis as an “probably safe” supplement when used orally and in the correct dosage.

Side effects reported include headache, flatulence, dry mouth, diarrhea, insomnia and gastrointestinal complaints, most likely caused by excessive consumption of the product. 

Does Cissus Quadrangularis cause an allergy?

No, Cissus Quadrangularis is safe for allergy sufferers. No allergic symptoms have been reported in people using this product.

‘With the exception of three participants […] adverse conditions were not reported by participants nor were there any reported discomfort after administration of either the placebo or the CRQ-300 over the 8-week period. Allergen-specific IgE tests on participants after 2 weeks of the study did not indicate any signs of allergy. The pulse rate of participants did not change during the study, and ranged from 52 to 81, while the respiratory rate ranged from 15 to 22.’

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352552/

Side effects

Everything should be in balance. It is no different in the case of Cissus, which overdose can cause [2]:

  • headaches
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • bloating

Dosage

There is no official dosage recommendation. Most products on the market come in powder or capsules.

Usually producers recommend doses of 300-1000 mg per day.

However studies have shown that doses 300-3200mg extract per day provide benefits. [16, 17]

For the treatment of injuries and fractures, the dose may be increased to 3,000 mg.

Conclusion

In view of the above information, it can be safely said that at the moment Cissus’s best-studied property is a protective effect on joints, bones and in general movement apparatus. Its other uses are undoubtedly promising, but in the light of current scientific reports one should simply wait for more extensive and designed research. One of the most interesting issues to examine is the regulation of inflammatory processes by Cissus Quadrangularis in relation to lifestyle diseases.

Many people using this substance praise the very positive results of its supplementation. Especially when injuries of joints or tendons appear and nothing can help. Cissus quadrangularis helps almost immediately. What’s more, it also helps to reduce pain, which supports faster recovery. Some people also emphasize the wonderful effect of the supplement on strength and increase of energy for everyday activities. All injuries to the skeletal system have a chance to heal faster due to the properties of the plant extract.

Where to buy Cissus Quadrangularis?

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21344797
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28165166
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27261621
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24803925
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24812472
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784127/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3800385/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113700?fbclid=IwAR3_C-QkN7vnbYG04yA-iPgfFCjyKsKRKqM308C9oa1Z8hUOzN9C2uotBwI
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26321745
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2330043/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21189914
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26321745
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20450951
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15383234
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16797507
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113700
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2330043/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113700
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2330043/
  20. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1166/cissus-quadrangularis
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352552/
  22. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24113700
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16948861h
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18377661

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