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asthisamharaka - Cissus quandrangularis, Vitis quandrangularis Lin..

asthisamharaka :

asthisamharaka : Cissus quandrangularis, Vitis quandrangularis Linn. / Wall. Asthisamharaka  is an unique herb of its kind well known for its osteoprotective  property. It has become an indispensable part of folklore medicine  and treatment,.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Cissus
Species: C.quadrangularis


Sanskrit: Asthisamharaka , Vajravalli , Vajrangi , chaturdhara , Granthimani, asthiyuk
English: bone setter veldt grape ,devils back bone,winged treebine
Hindi: Hadjod , hadjora
Telugu: Nalleru ,nallerutige
Bengali: Hadjoda,hasjora,harbhanga
Marathi: Kandvel,ghanasakande,ghanasavel,chaudhari,harsankar
Oriya: Hadasinkuda
Gujarathi: Hadsankal
Tamil: Pirandai
Malayalam: Changalamparanda
Kannada: Asthisamhara, mangaravalli
Assamese: Harjora


The author of Nighantu Ratnakara mentions  2 varieties mainly of 3 sided and 4 sided stem. But only one variety of 4 sided  stem  is reported, which at times may  be  seen  shooting  out  branches  having 3 sides.
A 2 sided horticultural  variety  is also  grown in gardens.


Asthisamharaka - that which protects the bone and saves it from destruction. 


Synonyms in Ayurveda: asthisanhari, asthisanharaka, asthishrinkhala, vajravati, vajrang, kroshtughantika, granthiman, vajravallari, vajri, asthisandhanini

Asthisamharaka - which saves the  bone from their destruction. 
Vajravalli  ,Vajrangi  - makes the body as strong as  diamond. 
Granthimana - knotted  stem. 
Chaturdhara  - stem having  four  edges
Asthishrinkala, Asthiyuk-  stem resembles  bones

Rasa: Madhura
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Prabhava: Medhya

Cissus quadrangularis is used for obesity, diabetes, a cluster of heart disease risk factors called "metabolic syndrome," and high cholesterol. It has also been used for bone fractures, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, loss of appetite (anorexia), weak bones (osteoporosis), scurvy, cancer, upset stomach, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcer disease (PUD), painful menstrual periods, asthma, seizures, malaria, wound healing, and pain. Cissus quadrangularis is also used in bodybuilding supplements as an alternative to anabolic steroids.
The stems and roots yield a strong fibre.


A plant of drier to arid regions, mainly in the lowland tropics and frost-free subtropics, though it can also be found at elevations over 2,000 metres.. The plant is intolerant of any frost.
Succeeds in full sun to light shade . Succeeds in most soils but prefers a loam.


Seed - Layers very easily


Stem of fully grown plant is harvested by cutting.


Not significant 


Two new iridoids 6-O-[2,3-dimethoxy]-trans-cinnamoyl catalpol and 6-O-meta-methoxy-benzoyl catalpol along with a known iridoid picroside 1, two stilbenes quadrangularin A and pallidol, quercitin, quercitrin, beta-sitosterol and beta-sitosterol glycoside were isolated from Cissus quadrangularis Linn.


The ethno medicinal uses the whole plant of Cissus quadrangularis are bitter, sweet,sour, thermogenic , depurative, alternative, laxative, anthelmintic, carminative,digestive, stomachic,malaria, aphrodisiac,leprosy, ophthalmology, otorrhoea,chronic ulcer, epilepsy,convulsion, swelling, skin diseases and used in treatment of fractured bone. The plants are used for treatment of schistosomiasis.
The plant is used by Zulus as a drench for sick horses, aerial parts used as a poultice for wounds, lumpy skin disease and as tick repellant, brine shrimp toxicity, anti bacterial, anti-inflammatory, mutagenic. The stel are uses as pile, loss of appetite and constipation. Stem paste  used as scurvy and irregular menstruation, otorrhoea and epistaxis. Leaves and young shots are powerful bowel affection, concerned with indigestion. Juice of stem are dropped into otorrhoea and into nose in epistaxis. Decoction of Cissus quadrangularis are used in Bloddy diarrhoea , ear ache, tooth ache , gonorrhea and treatment of cancer.

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Stem, ,


Decoction of dried stalks: 10-30 ml bid 
Juice: 10-20 ml bid 
Powder: 3-6 g bid


Not Significant


No associated controversy.


Growth Form: It is a climbing herb with tendrils.
Foliage: Its simple leaves are green, broad-ovate.
Stems: Thick, succulent, quadrangular with angles winged, constricted at notes. Each node has a tendril emerging from the opposite side of the node.
Flowers: Its whitish flowers are inconspicuous.
Fruits: Its fruit are ovoid, turning red when ripe


Transverse section of stem showed squarish outline with prominent projection at each annular point. Epidermis is single layered, covered externally with thick cuticle. The epidermal cells are thin walled rectangular and tangentially elongated, followed by 2-3 layers of cork. The cortex is composed of 8-16 layers of thin walled, circular to oval parenchymatous cells; four patches of collenchymatous cells present in all the four angular points embedded in cortical region like an umbrella arching over large vascular bundles. The cortical cells are filled with brown-red contents. The endodermis is not distinct and stele consists of a large number of vascular bundles varying in size, in each angular region, below collenchymatous patch, while rest of bundles smaller in size. Vascular bundles are collateral and open type, capped by sclerenchymatous sheath, which is well developed in larger bundles. The cambium and interfascicular cambium are quite distinct; central region occupied by wide pith composed of thin walled, circular to oval parenchymatous cells. Idioblasts containing raphides and acicular crystals of calcium oxalate present in the outer region of cortex and in number of cells throughout the region.

Geographical distribution:

It is probably native to India, Bangladesh or Srilanka but is also found in Africa , Arabia and South East Asia. It has been  imported  to Brazil  and  southern  United States. 

General Use:

Used as medicine.
Young green stems - cooked. Usually fried or curried
The leaves and young shoots are used in the preparation of poppadoms and curries.
The ash of the plant is used as a substitute for baking powder

Therapeutic Uses:

The stout, fleshy quadrangular stem is traditionally used for the treatment of gastritis, bone fractures, skin infections, constipations, eye diseases, piles, anemia, asthma, irregular menstruation, burns and wounds. The leaves and young shoots are powerful alteratives. Powder is administered in treatment of hemorrhoids and certain bowl infections. The juice of stem is useful in scurvy and in irregular menstruation whereas the stem paste boiled in lime water is given in asthma. It is also used as a powerful stomachic. Cissus quadrangularis Linn. has potent fracture healing property and antimicrobial, antiulcer, antioxidative, antisteoporotic, gastroprotective, cholinergic activity as well as beneficial effects on cardiovascular diseases. It has been investigated that methanolic extract of Cissus quadrangularis possesses antiulcer and cytoprotective property in indomethacin induced gastric mucosal injury. The aqueous extract also shows acetylcholine like activity on isolated ileum of rabbit and uterus of rat. The action on dog blood pressure is analogous to muscarinic and nicotinic actions of acetylcholine. Ethyl acetate fractions of both fresh and dry stem extracts show antioxidant activity. The ethyl acetate extract and methanol extract of both fresh and dry stem further exhibit antimicrobial activity against gram-positive bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus species. Due to its widespread and versatile therapeutic uses as well as pharmacological actions, the present study highlighted the health promoting and therapeutic properties of Cissus quadrangularis. 

Systemic Use:

In allergies , asthma, haemorrhoids, bone fractures,  obesity, high cholesterol,  loss of appetite  etc


Paste - External Application


Bone FractureLow bone mineral densityOsteoporosisOsteoarthritisJoint painsHyperuricemiadiarrheaRicketsObesityInternal BleedingHemorrhoidImprove DigestionSyphilisMenorrhagiaPyorrhea

Clinical trials:

Clinical Trials were conducted to evaluate the analgesic anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity of ethanolic extract of Cissus quadrangularis in experimental standard modals i.e. albino rats following oral administration. The results showed that the ethanolic extract significantly reduce the edema induced by carrageenan within 1 to 5 hrs. post dosing at all the dose levels used. On the analgesic property acetic acid induce writhing was significantly reduce in the formalin test, the extract also significantly decreases the painful stimulus in both phases of test which confirms central and peripheral effects of the drugs. Its effects on antipyretic activity were also appreciable it significantly reduces fever at higher doses within 2 hrs. on yeast induce hyperthermia in rats.


Researches still ongoing to evaluate the full potential of the medicinal properties of the plant and its extracts from stem, leaves, roots etc.


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Cissus quadrangularis if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Cissus quadrangularis might lower blood sugar. Taking Cissus quadrangularis along with medications for diabetes might lower blood sugar too much. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar levels closely if you have diabetes and use Cissus quadrangularis. 

Surgery: Cissus quadrangularis might lower blood sugar and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using Cissus quadrangularis at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery

Toxicity studies:

It is possibly safe when taken by mouth appropriately short term for  upto  6 - 10 weeks.
Long term safety is not known.

Use in other system of medicine:

In Siddha medicine  it is considered as tonic and analgesic and is believed  to help  heal  broken  bones. 


Traditional recipes for treatment of physical and mental ailments exist in all major ancient civilizations of the world. Needless to mention that the root and stem extracts of the plant Cissus quadrangularis have therapeutic efficacy and are known to possess antioxidant, antimicrobial activity, and are routinely used to accelerate the process of bone fracture healing. The plant is considered as a versatile medicinal plant in both Ayurvedic and modern drug development areas for its valuable medicinal uses. It is a very rich source of some minerals, which are necessary for proper functioning of human body. In the present overview the Emphasis has been laid on the phytochemical constituents and pharmacological activity of the plant Cissus quadrangularis Linn

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