Cissus quadrangularis is a plant in the grape family that is often used to treat a variety of conditions. All parts of the plant are used for their medical properties, and in some regions it is one of the most commonly used medicines. Extracts from the plant can be used to maintain muscle and bone health, and stems can be used as compresses, to promote the healing of injuries. The plant has been shown to relieve pain, promote immune system health, and prevent various infections.
One of the most common uses for Cissus quadrangularis worldwide is as a dietary supplement to promote muscle growth. It is often used by body builders as a short-term supplement instead of steroids. Though there have been no studies that definitively demonstrate safety, used for periods of less than two months, the side effects remain mild and do not affect the body's production of hormones the way that steroids can. Evidence also suggests that Cissus quadrangularis may have properties that can make it an effective weight loss supplement.
Regions to which Cissus quadrangularis is native, often use the plant to promote muscle and bone healing after an injury. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fractures may heal significantly faster when wrapped with a bandage made from the stems of the Cissus quadrangularis plant. Oil made from the plant can also be applied to an injury with similar effects. The analgesic effects of Cissus quadrangularis help in relieving the pain of these injuries as well.
As a mild pain killer, Cissus quadrangularis is commonly used to relieve menstrual cramps and gastrointestinal disorders. Dried leaves and stems can be ground and taken orally. This treatment can relieve upset stomach and may have properties that can help treat stomach ulcers. As a topical treatment, Cissus quadrangularis can also be used to treat the pain and swelling of hemorrhoids.
Cissus quadrangularis may be used as a traditional treatment for a variety of serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and malaria. Though there have been no studies to determine its effectiveness in treating the first three conditions, preliminary research does indicate that the plant may have antimalarial properties. In regions where malaria is endemic, Cissus quadrangularis is commonly used as an antimalarial medication.