Update 4/4/20. Have you heard of Cissus (Cissus quadrangularis)? I didn’t, until recently when someone told me they were taking this medicinal herb for arthritis. After I did some digging I found there were a lot of reasons why people were taking Cissus. So, what Id like to do is briefly cover what is Cissus and what the Cissus research seems to be showing so that you can make a more informed decision about whether this herb is right for you. Cissus quadrangularis is actually a vine that grows in various areas of Asia and Africa. It has several ingredients such as vitamin C, quercetin, which are antioxidants.
In the US it's often called cissus or cissus quadrangularis (pronounced “sis-sus quad-drang-u-lair-us”). Like most herbal supplements, it has many other names. A few others include you might also see include:
- Winged Treebine
What Does The Research Say?
Let's look at the evidence for the supplement. To make this easier the reasons people would take this supplement are broken down into different sections.
Cissus And Arthritis
Cissus quadrangularis is popular with weight lifters because they think it helps arthritis. Lab animal studies suggest that it might reduce joint swelling.
But what about people?
One study noted that the supplement reduced joint pain in men who exercised regularly. In this study, 29 healthy men (29-46 years of age) who regularly exercised strenuously, said they had chronic joint pain. They were given 300 mg for 8 weeks. After the study, the men said they had less joint pain.
There was no placebo group. Another issue was that it doesn't appear that the researchers actually checked to see if the men actually had arthritis. Just saying you have “joint pain” may or may not mean you have arthritis. I also noticed the study only included men. What about women?
See the glucosamine review for more on that supplement.
Cissus does appear to have some anti-inflammatory properties and this seems to be where people got the idea that it may help arthritis pain. My guess is that speculation about it helping arthritis may have started because of its effect on hemorrhoids.
Cissus And Ulcers
The supplement has been tested to see if it helps ulcers. So far, most of the research involves lab animals. The human proof is lacking.
Cissus And Weight loss
So can it help weight loss? In one randomized placebo-controlled study, the supplement promoted weight loss more so in overweight people who did not receive it.
The problem with this study was that the product studied (called, Cylaris) didn’t only contain Cissus. It had soy, chromium, green tea extract, caffeine, and other ingredients.
In another investigation, Cissus AND Irvingia gabonensis (African Mango) were combined to promote more weight loss than Cissus alone. In this 10 week study of 72 obese people, those treated with Cissus alone lost 8.82 lbs after 10 weeks while those treated with Cissus and African mango lost 11.86 lbs. Those in the placebo group lost about 2 pounds.
See the African Mango review.
In another weight loss study, a Cissus extract (CQR 300) was compared to another supplement (called “CORE”) in overweight people. Both supplements resulted in more weight loss compared to placebo over the course of 6-8 weeks. People took the CQR 300 extract for 6 weeks and the CORE Cissus supplement for 8 weeks.
- People taking the CORE supplement 6.9 lbs without dieting and 8.5 lbs with dieting (2100 cal/day).
- People who took the Cissus extract (CQR300) lost 4 lbs without dieting and 5 pounds while dieting.
Cissus And Osteoporosis
Preliminary studies hint that the nutrient may help build bones –in rats and maybe in people. So far, the research is mostly limited to lab animals and test tubes. No study to date has demonstrated that the supplement can rebuild bone or reverse osteoporosis in humans.
What About Fractures?
Some speculate the supplement may help bones heal faster after they are fractured. The evidence stems from the early 1960s. In a more recent study of 8 dogs, researchers broke the right forelimb of dogs to create a fracture (I know, very cruel!). Dogs given the supplement healed their fractures faster than those not given it.
What about ligament and tendon injuries? The proof is lacking.
See the BPC 157 review.
Cissus And Testosterone
So, does this supplement have an anabolic effect? Can it raise testosterone or androstenedione levels? The human proof is lacking. This doesn't mean it doesn't work, but rather that nobody appears to have done any research on Cissus and anabolic hormones or exercise.
Like all hormone boosting supplements to know if it really works is to get your hormone levels checked first. Then try a supplement for a month and then retest hormone levels again.
Cissus And Cortisol
Some websites make the claim that supplement suppresses cortisol levels. Cortisol is to bodybuilders what crosses and sunlight are to Dracula. So does it? There's no human proof.
Does It Detox The Liver?
Preliminary research -lab rats- appears to show the supplement helps protect against liver damage. That doesn't necessarily mean it cleanses or detoxes the livers of humans. Research is lacking.
Cissus Quadrangularis Side Effects
Does Cissus have any side effects? Studies usually report it's generally safe in healthy people who take it for short periods of time. In lab animals, high levels have been reported to produce side effects including hemorrhaging of organs, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and loss of balance. most human studies report no serious side effects. Here is a short list of things to consider. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than recommended for the first week
- talk to your doctor if pregnant or nursing
- stop taking at least 2 weeks before surgery
- talk to your doctor if you take any medications
Does Cissus Work?
Preliminary research so far is interesting. The health effects experienced may depend on what you were taking it for, the severity of the condition, and the quality of the supplement used. People have told me Cissus has helped their arthritis pain but without better research, it's hard to know how significant an effect it might have.
Here it is on Amazon if you want to learn more.
Susan Breen says
I have been taking Cissus for a couple of years after I was told that shoulder surgery was appropriate due to major tears to my rotator cuff. I regained ease of movement in that shoulder, major relief from pain, and happy to avoid surgery.
I get my supply directly from DoubleWood Supplements. I have avoided buying anything through Amazon for about 2 years – it is a sinister company, destroys small businesses, supports ICE deportations with their technology, treats its factory employees abysmally, avoids responsibility for deaths due to truckers who are independently contracted to speed shipments. Amazon functions as a monopoly which at one point many years ago would have succumbed to anti-monopolistic laws!
I directly contact small companies that sell through Amazon (hence amplify this corporate monolith’s profits), ask them to work directly with me so that none of my money benefits Amazon. They are delighted! I do not need to support a corporation that is trying to take over every industry, even cars and pharmaceuticals, etc. , doesn’t pay taxes, and promotes the dissolution of small businesses who are intimidated to “fulfill” orders through this sinister corporation. I hope you can find another way to support your research without feeding Amazon’s coffers!
Joe Cannon says
Susan, Im really happy to hear cissus has helped you avoid surgery. While I have not heard of Double Wood Supplements, I looked them up. they seem like a good brand. I also noticed they have a store on Amazon but I understand you preferring to deal directly with the company. I’m sure the company appreciates this as well.
Joe, using Cissus a couple weeks now and it could be helping, my muscle testing says it helps a little. What I have found recently which I think is great is a Deep Tissue Oil by Richard Schulze. My knee bends good and so I know there is cartlidge and tissue there and would NOT do a knee surgery..
Also doing self acupuncture on my knee and believe that is also doing me good. Doing the needles every other day at least. J
Joy, really glad to hear you are getting some relief! Thanks for the update 🙂
Joe, what makes you THINK Anatabloc will be back? I got 4 great months on it….but that was it. And I took it for a good while, maybe a year or so.
Hi Joy, I have no proof or insider information. I just have a hunch I have.
The swansons product MAY NOT be a good choice…reading about whole herb vs extract….
Joy, I’m not sure either way. Overall Im generically more of a fan of getting the whole thing because extracts tend to provide only one part of a plant. Best I could say is you should know soon if its helping or not.
Joe, I just read your whole blog on Cissus and I don’t know why I didn’t see it in the past. I read about the glucosamine and I take MOSTLY the sulfate form. Don’t know IF glucosamine has done anything for me and I’ve taken it consistently for about 2 yrs now. Before it was off and on.
I still reflect on the 4 great months on Anatabloc. Then it stopped working and then fit hit the shan….so I guess it’s gone. That was quite an episode. It would be very NICE if Cissus gave me some relief.
Joy, yes glucosamine is likely the most popular supplement for arthritis out there. I do feel most of the evidence is for the sulfate at this time. I remember you saying about the benefits you were getting from Amatabloc, followed by no effects. Very odd. I have not heard much about Anatabloc lately. I do think it will be back eventually.
Thanks, I just ordered the swansons Cissus for myself and daughter to give a TRIAL try. Via Amazon. Thanks.
Joy you are welcome and I’ll be looking forward to learning how it worked for you 🙂
Here is what the Vitacost Cissus product says, all about joint health. IF, I give it a try, I’d get this powder.