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Cissus quadrangularis

A vine that speeds healing


Cissus quadrangularis is a succulent vine found in the hotter parts of India and Ceylon, and in certain parts of Africa. A paste made from the stem of Cissus and applied directly over the injury has long been used in traditional Indian herbal medicine to treat fractures and associated swelling. Cissus extract also has analgesic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both concentrated extract and dried powder forms are quite widely available.

Clinical trials and animal studies have shown that treatment with Cissus shortens fracture healing time between 33% and 55%, and that it is also able to reverse the damage to bones weakened by cortisol (stress hormone) and to increase bone density in cases of osteoporosis. Cissus has also been used to treat eye disease, ear disease, irregular menstruation, muscle injuries, burns and even anorexia.

The extract appears to have generalised healing properties that allow almost any damaged tissues to repair themselves far more quicky than would otherwise be the case. It is now quite widely used by bodybuilders to speed up the healing of muscle and tendon injuries resulting from extreme exertion, and to preserve muscle tissue in times of physical or emotional stress. More recently, claims have been made that Cissus quadrangularis extract enhances the weight loss effects of Irvingia extract, and diet pills containing extracts of both are now becoming available as weight loss aids.

The active ingredients appear to be phytosterols - chemicals that mimic the action of certain natural human hormones - but the extract is also rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and in 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 recommended dosage is 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 use of Cissus quadrangularis appears to be safe in adults. Possible side effects can include headaches, diarrhea and insomnia, and Cissus quadrangularis extract should not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women.




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