What is Cissus Quadrangularis?
Cissus quadrangularis is a perennial plant that naturally grows in the form of vines across parts of Asia and Africa. Since it is a native plant to those areas, Cissus quadrangularis turns up quite frequently in ancient medicinal practices in places like Thailand and Africa, as well as in the documentation of Ayurvedic medicine. Cissus quadrangularis’ wide range of benefits made it popular rather quickly in the practice of herbal medicine. Many still consider it a prominent player amongst potent medicinal plants. Unlike annual plants, perennials will regrow in the spring without the need for replanting. This made it easy to grow naturally when in the correct environments.
As it gained popularity in the use of medicine, people realized that Cissus quadrangularis is quite the mouthful to say. A variety of nicknames have recently emerged, including devil’s backbone, the veldt grape and the adament creeper (x).
In Ayurvedic medicinal practices, Cissus quadrangularis was primarily useful for herbal treatments regarding bone health, pain relief and stomach conditions. Historically, all parts of the plant were used and the plant usually would have been prepared for medicinal use by being mashed, pulped, juiced, roasted or cooked in some manner before treatment (x). However, with advances in today’s technology, we are able to reap the plant’s benefits in a simpler and more convenient capsule or powder form.
Cissus Quadrangularis Benefits
There are a wide variety of claims surrounding the health benefits of Cissus quadrangularis, especially when used in supplemental form. The anti-inflammatory properties it contains make it particularly enticing. This is due to various compounds that are prevalent within the plant itself. Beyond the anti-inflammatory properties, there is some research along with anecdotal evidence to suggest that Cissus quadrangularis can have an effect on weight loss. It may also help fight allergies, arthritis, asthma and diabetes. Despite the fact that there are numerous health-related claims surrounding Cissus quadrangularis, there are only a few scientifically proven benefits that will be explained in more detail (x).
The most popular and widely known use for Cissus quadrangularis as a supplement is for weight loss, specifically when treating obesity. Through a variety of medical studies, scientists conclude that supplementing Cissus quadrangularis alongside dietary changes and exercise is able to boost metabolism and suppress appetite. While allowing metabolism to work more efficiently, it can also help the body absorb the nutrients in food more effectively. Cissus quadrangularis combined with a healthy, sustained diet and adequate exercise can help support your efforts of leading a healthier lifestyle (x, x, x, x).
Bone and Joint Health
Another widely researched claim surrounding the medicinal use of Cissus quadrangularis is the plant’s ability to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone degradation. This is why those suffering from osteoporosis or broken bones often use this plant for treatment (x, x).
Many active compounds found in the Cissus quadrangularis plant naturally have become more concentrated and isolated when extracted for use as a supplement. This allows for higher potency of specific compounds when searching for anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, there have been conclusive studies surrounding the use of Cissus quadrangularis as a treatment for hemorrhoids. The plant’s natural compounds are able to reduce swelling and irritation throughout the body. When your body is plagued with irritation in a specific area, it is able to lessen symptoms (x, x).
More specifically, taking Cissus quadrangularis can at least lessen the severity of asthma. Many often turn to steriods to treat asthma, but Cissus quadrangularis may have an equally positive impact (x).
When taken in specific doses, Cissus quadrangularis may help lower blood sugar levels. This is a great natural alternative to conventional medications when dealing with type 2 diabetes. Of course, it is best to speak to a doctor before taking this alternative route.
Due to the claims and evidence that Cissus quadrangularis is effective when combating obesity, it is especially helpful in regards to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has a direct link to obesity according to numerous health care professionals. It is important to discuss the use of Cissus quadrangularis if you already take medications that lower blood sugar levels. This can help to avoid dangerously low blood sugar levels (x, x).
The Cissus quadrangularis plant can have an intense impact on metabolic functioning in the body. It may even be capable of lowering cholesterol levels. By reducing cholesterol levels, one can also reduce the risk of heart-related ailments and improve the cardiovascular system (x).
Antioxidants and Ascorbic Acid
Cissus quadrangularis naturally contains a high level of antioxidants and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C. The combination of those two compounds is helpful when your body is attempting to fight off infections. Ingesting higher levels of ascorbic acid and antioxidants allows your body to produce more white blood cells. This can help fight infections or illnesses, as well as shield the body from pathogens or foreign substances. Not only that, but vitamin C is a vital component in the production of collagen (x, x).
Cissus Quadrangularis Side Effects
It is important to be aware of any and all possible side effects, as well as possible interactions with prescription drugs, that may occur when taking Cissus quadrangularis. The most common side effects include headaches, dry mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, intestinal gas, low blood sugar levels and drowsiness.
Do not use this supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also not safe for children, and therefore would not be safe to expose to infants or toddlers.
Due to the fact that Cissus quadrangularis could possibly lower blood sugar, diabetics taking other diabetes-related medications should avoid the supplement. If you choose to take this supplement alongside your diabetes medication, be sure to closely regulate your blood sugar levels and consult your physician before implementing it into your daily routine. Lowered blood sugar can also complicate blood sugar levels during surgical procedures. Talk to your doctor prior to surgery if you take Cissus quadrangularis to see when you should stop taking it. The general rule is to stop taking supplements at least two weeks before a procedure. This can ensure that it has evacuated your system in its entirety (x).
Cissus Quadrangularis Dosage
In order to avoid complications and side effects when using Cissus quadrangularis, it is important to know the dosage that is right for you. When taking the powder, it should be taken once or twice a day in doses of 500 milligrams (x). Still, it is important to recognize that doses will vary depending on age, weight, general health and other factors. Be sure to consult a trusted medical professional before integrating Cissus quadrangularis into your diet. It is also important to note that, although it is a natural product, it can have negative effects.
The Bottom Line
The Cissus quadrangularis plant has been in use for centuries amongst a variety of cultures for a variety of medicinal practices. Now, we are lucky enough to have the convenience of capsules and powdered forms of it in order to reap the benefits. When implementing any supplement into your daily routine, it is important to consider all possible interactions to avoid allergic reactions or side effects. Always consult a trusted health care professional for advice and guidance throughout the process. Also consider the dosage suggestions given by your doctor as well as the supplement provider.
By: Meghan Carney