The Cissus Experts have been traveling Southeast Asia gaining more insight into Cissus Quadrangularis. Although this plant is grown throughout SE Asia, it’s healing attributes are not widely known. We only found a few products that included Cissus Quadrangularis, and they were mostly for aiding with hemorrhoids. However, we wanted to research the long, ancient history of Cissus.
As we were holding this magnificent plant we were amazed at it’s strength and durability. The plant itself is very unique in structure and growth. The vines of the plant are that like a winged bean, or a dragon fruit plant. The leaves look similar to water cress, they are small, simple, heart-shaped and toothed. The flowers are small, greenish white, in short cymes. It grows wildly up from the root in abundance and hangs downward, again very similar to a dragon fruit plant.
We’ve always been well aware of the benefits of Cissus: an antioxidant, cortisol inhibitor, bone/ligament/tendon strengthener, etc., but we wanted to find more about it’s ancient healing scriptures of Ayurveda. Most of the history of cissus comes from India.
The Sanskrit word for Cissus Quadrangularis is Asthisamharaka literally means “that which saves the bones from their destruction”. It is also named Asthisandhani, which describes its peculiar quality of healing the bone fractures. From Ayurvedic texts the taste of Cissus is said to be sweet, but the properties are sour in the digestive tract. It has a heating potency throughout digestion and was used as a laxative in some cases. Cissus is an appetizer, digestant, an aphrodisiac and healer of bone fractures. Mainly it was used for diseases like piles, fractures, asthma, cough and loss of appetite.
The stem and leaves of cissus have great medicinal value. The plant was always used both, internally as well as externally. Mainly used to promote bone healing from fractures, crushed stems are used as a poultice over bone fractures, along with the juice of its roasted stems, orally, is given with ghee (Indian butter). In epistaxis (nose bleed), the stem juice is instilled nasally, to arrest the nose bleed. The powdered stem is missed with pulses and fried in sesame oil, as a remedy for several Vata diseases such as Arthritis, High or low blood pressure, Cracking or popping joints, and Constipation.
Orally, the plant is recommended with Vakeri (Caesalpinia digya) root powder, to treat veneral diseases. In loss of appetite and indigestion, the cooked leaves are advised or their burnt ash is used. In menorrhagia, the stem juice, combined with gopicandana, is prescribed with ghee and honey. The fresh juice of the plant is used to treat in asthma. As a blood purifier, it is said to be beneficial in blood disorders in scurvy also. Asthisamharaka is also used as a general tonic.
These ancient uses with cissus were fascinating to us. It seemed the most prevalent use of cissus was for bone fractures. Today, research on the Bone-Healing Properties of CissusCissus quadrangularis has been studied extensively to verify its bone-healing properties. Clinical trials and animal studies have shown that treatment with Cissus facilitates the remodeling process of the healing bone, speeding the restoration of bone tensile strength. In clinical trials, Cissus shortened fracture healing time between 33% and 55%. In a number of studies, the effect of Cissus was observed in bones that were weakened by cortisol. When Cissus extracts were given, cortisol-induced weakening was halted, and the healing process began.
Although the bulk of the research on Cissus centers around bone healing, the possibility exists that Cissus may act to improve the healing rate of connective tissue in general, including tendons. If this is the case it would be of great benefit to bodybuilders and athletes.
Besides the above-mentioned properties of Cissus, the plant is also rich in the vitamins/antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. As analyzed, Cissus quadrangularis contained ascorbic acid 479 mg, and carotene 267 units per 100g of freshly prepared paste in addition to calcium oxalate.
The typical recommended daily dosage of Cissus extract is between 100 and 500 mg, depending on the concentration of the extract and the severity of symptoms. For the powder of the dried plant, the Ayurvedic texts recommend a dosage of 3 to 6 grams to accelerate fracture healing. Safety studies in rats showed no toxic effects at dosages as high as 2000 mg/kg of body weight. So not only is Cissus efficacious, it is also quite safe, in either the dried powder form or the commercially available extract.