The Benefits of Cissus Quadrangularis

This herb can help you shed pounds and get healthy bones and joints

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An herb long used in ayurveda and in traditional African and Thai medicine, Cissus quadrangularis is a plant whose extracts are used in herbal medicine. Available in dietary supplement form, Cissus quadrangularis is said to offer a variety of health benefits.

Why People Use It

Proponents claim that Cissus quadrangularis may help promote weight loss, as well as aid in the following health problems:

  • Asthma
  • Dental conditions 
  • Diabetes
  • Hemorrhoids
  • High cholesterol
  • Joint 
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Osteoporosis 

In addition, Cissus quadrangularis is said to speed up the healing of fractures, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation. It is also used in bodybuilding supplements as an alternative to steroids (due to the purported anabolic effects on bones).

Health Benefits

While few clinical trials have tested the health effects of Cissus quadrangularis, a number of preliminary studies suggest that it may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available research:

Weight Loss

The use of Cissus quadrangularis may support your weight-loss efforts, according to a small study published in Lipids in Health and Disease in 2008. For the study, researchers assigned 72 people who were overweight or obese to 10 weeks of treatment with a placebo, Cissus quadrangularis, or a combination of Cissus quadrangularis and Irvingia gabonensis.

Compared to the placebo group, those assigned to Cissus quadrangularis showed significantly greater improvements in a number of factors (including body weight, waist size, and cholesterol levels). However, those given the combination of Cissus quadrangularis and Irvingia gabonensis appeared to experience the greatest improvements.

In a 2007 study published in the same journal, researchers found that Cissus quadrangularis was more effective than a placebo in promoting weight loss, reducing blood sugar levels, and improving cardiovascular risk factors in obese and overweight people. The study involved 168 adults who were overweight or obese, 153 of whom completed the study.

Bone Health

Cissus quadrangularis shows promise for protection against osteoporosis, suggests a 2011 study published in the Italian journal La Clinica Terapeutica. In tests on rats, treatment with Cissus quadrangularis was found to increase thickness of bone.

In a study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry the same year, tests on human cells determined that Cissus quadrangularis may help stimulate the growth of bone-forming cells known as osteoblasts.


Although Cissus quadrangularis has a long history of use as a treatment for hemorrhoids, a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand in 2010 found that it failed to aid in hemorrhoid treatment. In tests on 570 people, researchers determined that Cissus quadrangularis was no more effective than a placebo in relieving hemorrhoidal symptoms.

Possible Side Effects

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of Cissus quadrangularis. Use of the herb may trigger a number of side effects, including headaches, dry mouth, and sleep problems. Some evidence suggests that it may reduce blood glucose levels, and animal studies suggest that it has sedative and muscle-relaxing properties at high doses.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. 

Learn more about using dietary supplements safely, but it's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with Cissus quadrangularis and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.

Where to Find It

Also known as Cissus succulent, Vitis quadrangularis, and Vitis succulent, Cissus quadrangularis is widely available online and is sold in many natural-foods stores and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

The Takeaway

Although it's too soon to recommend Cissus quadrangularis for weight loss (or as a treatment for any condition), some research indicates that other natural remedies may support your weight-loss efforts.

For example, studies suggest that drinking green tea regularly and maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D may support your weight loss efforts. In order to achieve long-term weight loss success, however, it's crucial to combine a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise. Some studies show that managing your stress and getting sufficient sleep can also help you slim down. 

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Article Sources

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