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Friday, 24 October 2008

Cissus quadrangularis: one plant - many answers

Sometimes something comes along that is so good it’s hard to believe. Imagine a plant that has been in safe use for centuries. One that heals bones & joint problems, lessens pain without side effects can aid in the healing of overuse injuries, help solve gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers or acid reflux, is full of antioxidants & vitamins, can help with fat issues. Would you pay for a product like that? Of course you would & to be honest so would a lot of us.
Well you’re in luck because this isn’t some fantasy of an ideal supplement but a real plant that has been in use & is recorded in ancient Ayurvedic texts & has been shown by modern medicine to be completely safe. Cissus quadrangularis is that plant (we’ll call it Cissus from now on just to save the extra typing :-). The science gets a little tricky & much of the reasoning behind what it does is a little speculative, but it gets results, even if the science behind this wonder plant isn’t fully understood. First of all it gives pain relief & anti inflammatory effect at around the level of aspirin or ibuprofen, note the effect is slower to come on, but it lasts & without any side effects associated with these drugs (1,2).
The bulk of the studies on Cissus has been on the repair of bone & these have shown that bone is healed at a highly accelerated rate (3,4,5). Some studies have used cortisol to stimulate bone breakdown & Cissus appears to halt the effect of this hormone on the bones. So, interestingly if cortisol is halted in bone tissue, what about muscle tissue where it has a similar breakdown effect? So, far there are no studies on this possiblity as far I know, but it’s one I have got my eye out for as the implications of a totally safe, natural anti-cortisol product that is actually beneficial is a very real possibility.
One of the primary effects of Cissus is thought to be an increase in collagen turnover, so with increased synthesis & replacement you could expect quicker recover from overuse injuries, cartilage & tendon repair & this seems to be the case through anecdotal evidence although as yet no formal research has been done in this area beyond the probable finding in bone research studies that it seems to be increased collagen repair that seems to be a major factor (3,4,5).
As well as these benefits you also get a product that is packed full of antioxidants & antimicrobial substances (6)
Let’s look at the ‘side effects’ now. First off is fat control. Cissus tends to make you leaner (7,8) The treatment of ulcers & acid reflux (9), it will ease ulcers & reduce or relieve completely acid reflux. There is also anecodotal evidence that after 15-20 days continuous usage there is increased blood flow to the muscles & so bigger pumps. This effect isn’t universal, nor is it proven scientifically, but a certain proportion of users seems to be getting this result, enough reports to make it seem worth a mention.
So basically you get a product that will help control pain with no side effects (for the vast majority of users), will aid bone health, appears to help joints & connective tissue, is packed with usable nutrients, antioxidants & antimicrobials, can aid stomach issues, can make you leaner & might well give you massive pumps. Do you really want anything more from one supplement?
Dosage & type is the final issue I’d like to cover. First of all there are a selection of preparations available out there. The active ingredient is said to be Ketosterone & there are many amounts out there from 5% Ketosterone to up to 50% in some capsules. So, you’d think the higher the dose, the better. But in my view this is wrong. Cissus is a plant extract, like many such products there are a vast number of phytonutrients that work synergistically together to produce an effect much greater than the whole. The purer, higher grade ketosterone lacks many of these nutrients & so could possibly be less effective than the less pure alternative. I would aim at a product around the 6% ketosterone mark myself, it is levels around this purity that many studies have used & so the effects are known & there’s little guess work. As for dosage, between 3-6grams per day seems to have the desired effect (although the very small or very large may need to modify the dosage up or down slightly depending upon their need) . An average sized adult should be aiming at around the 5 gram mark. Take half first thing in the morning & half in the evening. You can take it with food or without. I tend to take it away from food, but I don’t know if there is any reason you should avoid food, but it fits my timing plan well.
Are there ANY downsides? Well, there is one obvious one, & that is taste. It takes a few days to adjust to the taste. Some of you might want to cap them yourselves (or buy pre-made capsules), but realistically if you stick with it for a few days you soon adjust. It smells worse than it tastes, so don’t sniff before you drink! I suppose the other possible bad effect could be you are a non-responder or maybe an allergy, but apart from that I can’t think of any reason not to give it a try.

1 Indian Journal of Pharmacology 1984 Vol 16, issue 3 pages 162-163. An experimental study of analgesic activity of Cissus quadrangularis. SP Singh, N Misra, KS Dixit, N Singh, RP Kohli
2 J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Mar 21;110(2):264-70. Epub 2006 Sep 26. Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and venotonic effects of Cissus quadrangularis Linn. Panthong A, Supraditaporn W, Kanjanapothi D, Taesotikul T, Reutrakul V.
3 J Indian Med Assoc. 1962 Jun 1;38:590-3. Cissus quadrangularis in healing of fractures. A clinical study. Udupa KN, Prasad GC
4Indian J Med Res. 1975 Jun;63(6):824-8. Studies on Cissus quadrangularis in experimental fracture repair: effect on chemical parameters in blood. Chopra SS, Patel MR, Gupta LP, Datta IC.
5 Indian J Med Res. 1976 Sep;64(9):1365-8. Studies of Cissus quadrangularis in experimental fracture repair : a histopathological study. Chopra SS, Patel MR, Awadhiya RP.
6 J Med Food. 2003 Summer;6(2):99-105. Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Cissus quadrangularis L. Chidambara Murthy KN, Vanitha A, Mahadeva Swamy M, Ravishankar GA.
7 Lipids Health Dis. 2006 Sep 2;5:24. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X.
8 Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Mar 31;7:12. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Momo CN, Agbor GA, Sobgui CS.
9 Journal of Medicinal Food. September 1, 2004, 7(3): 372-376. doi:10.1089/jmf.2004.7.372. Mallika Jainu, C.S. Shyamala Devi.


Unknown said...

Great Blog I find
Cissus Quadrangularis
I see this swesome blog

Roman said...

that is very interesting plant and really impressive article, Thank you for sharing.

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john quayle said...

i have been using this product for about six months at 1 tablet a day,i used to have a problem with my shoulder,i have had the problem for almost 5 years,after taking this product for 3 days my joints stopping clicking and hurting,i also have noticed that i can move alot more easy. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is haveing joint pain of anykind

Madhu said...

WHERE DO I BUY IT!!!!!!! Is there a particular brand I should go to???
Please let us know. Thanks

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

Where to buy would depend on which country you are in - I bought mine from a bulk supplement supplier as it was the cheapest - bear in mind this stuff is no good if you compete in drug-free federation as it gives a false positive in drug tests, so bear that in mind if you are a competitor. I've not been able to use it in a while as I'd fail any drugs test :-( it's a pain because it's a great plant, it's just a shame drug testing is so rubbish it shows a plant as an illegal drug...

Madhu said...

Thanks for the reply..... as i live in the UK I have ordered it from here..

Hope this is the real deal....
Can you please confirm??
Thank you :)

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

That looks like it's the stuff you want. They over-hype it a bit on their site with the whole "Our cissus is better than every other cissus", but companies do that - I'd buy it (if I could use it & compete :-( )

Madhu said...

Thank you very much......I'll keep you updated on how I find the product. :)

Anonymous said...

It is really a miracle great on your bones..All of a sudden you will feel strong;)

It is abundantly available in the hills of India.

If you make any dish directly from the new stem of this plant, I would have to warn u - don't consume too much because it is highly sedative. I'm feeling woozy since morning:)

Gill said...

Just got some from bulk powders. I use about a flat teaspoon 3 times a day. It doesn't say on the packet. Does anyone know if that's about right? I mix it with a small amount of coconut milk, and honey. I thought of also mixing in raw vocals powder, but haven't done it yet. It tastes a bit like coffee. Gill.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

You are taking way more than most people take. The recommended dosage is around 2-3 grams per day. I would go to the chemist & buy a half teaspoon measuring spoon. Have a level one of those each day - that is enough for most people.
I don't know what 'raw vocals powder' is? As a vegan if I wanted sweet I'd use something maple, agave or similar syrup rather than honey - coconut milk is awesome
Please do remember if you are an athlete you could well fail a drugs test using cissus, it has chemicals that are similar to breakdown chemicals in steroids so steer clear if you are drug-tested.

Gill said...

Thanks for that. The predictive text ran riot and I didn't check. It should have said raw cocao powder. I just heard about cissus from a Truth Caulkins video from the Longevity Now site with David Wolfe, who is an expert in nutrition and more or less vegan I believe, as am I. Amazing guy. I think that may be where I got the idea of the amount from. I'm only a youthful 60 year old trying to sort her tennis elbows and body in general out, so no probs with regulations but thanks anyway! Gill.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

Things you can think about to enhance recovery:
MSM (most is vegan, but pop off a quick email to any supplier just to confirm),

Glucosamine HCl (not sulphate as it comes from shellfish),

DHA/EPA (get from algae, not fish - not only is it less possibility of toxins, but nicer to fish) opti3 or v-pure are2 options to consider,
Do not forget to get a tablespoon or two of either ground flax, chia seeds, walnuts, or hemp seeds every morning to get your ALA
(NOTE ALA & DHA/EPA are both omega-3 fatty acids, they both work against inflammation but using different pathways so getting both is important if you suffer from inflammation issues),

Also berries are awesome as are green leafy veggies,

Outside of food I'd consider getting hold of a golf ball. You can do self massage using a golf ball several times a day if you like,

Massage is a great tactic to consider if you find a good therapist,

You can also look up exercises on youtube or similar that should help (find a source you trust & use those).

Hopefully that will help you relieve the worst of the symptoms.

For general health I'd first get the elbows sorted out, then consider adding some resistance training (help keep those bones strong & those muscles firm) & some cardio (it can be as easy as a brisk walk 2 or times a week), also consider a morning practice of some easy bending & stretching just to keep you feeling supple & you should be good for another 60 years at least :-)

Gill said...

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to send such a detailed reply. Thanks to David Wolfe, I'm already taking loads of msm and I take spirulina, blue green algae, hemp seed oil and coconut oil and liquid zeolites etc., and mostly raw organic foods when I can so I'm hoping I'll soon be 50 again! I'm also lucky enough to have become friends with probably the only nerve release therapist in the country, who has sorted many people who were on the brink of having operations. He's been poking my elbows and I notice immediate improvement. His website's in the process of improvement. In case anyone's interested, it's He helps a lot with sports injuries at a local kung fu group as well. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it. Gill.

Danny said...

I went to several stores in California and they had never heard of CQ. What is the best type to buy online and which website(s) do you recommend? Don't usually buy supplements online so any suggestions that you can point towards will be helpful.



Vegan Bodybuilding said...

I'd look for 6% ketosterone. I am not in the US, but I'll ask some friends see where they get their stuff from - watch this space.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

I found this one I have written just to get confirmation that it is totally vegan - it is 40% ketosterones & they recommend only a couple of grams per day (in several doses). I've never tried any that concentrated, but it should work pretty much the same I'd guess? When I get some time I'll see if any research has been done of these higher concentrations & how the effects compare to the lower % stuff I normally use.
I will let you know when they reply about their product.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

I've just received a reply is suitable for vegans. So, you could give that brand a try!

Anonymous said...

I'd delete references 7&8. Anthing with Julius Oben is suspect.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

Why is anything suspect from Oben? - I posted this even though you chose to be anonymous making claims (never a good move by the way when making claims like this).
They are both peer reviewed studies, have you reasons for making those claims (if so you should really put them WITH a claim like this), if it's just hearsay, then this is not the site to post it.
I'm really happy to change things IF you produce some evidence of wrongdoing...but obviously it is hard to trust an anonymous comment without evidence.
Any proof of wrongdoing & I'll be happy to amend the article, as the saying goes "The ball is now in your court, Mr or Ms Anonymous person".

Pete Currington said...

You can check out this site
They are the Cissus Experts and they have tons of information about the cissus plant and supplements.

Pete Currington said...

Found a great site about cissus called Cissus Experts
They seem to have a vast amount of info on the cissus plant and all the major supplements out there.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

Just a quick update on this comments area. I have been in contact with WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) & it seems that cissus q no longer gives a false positive in drug tests, you can get the full update at
(read that to get full details)

evglen said...

Hello... I've been searching for a Cissus extract to purchase from Australia. Unfortunately they won't ship Cissus Pro or the USPlabs product to Aus. Can anyone recommend a decent brand I can have shipped to me here? Desperate to find something high quality for my husband's upcoming surgery to foot. Thank you!

Unknown said...

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