Cissus quadrangularis or Devil's Backbone is a plant belonging to the grape family. It has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries as an analgesic (pain reliever) and treatment for broken bones. It also has antibacterial properties and may be used as a bodybuilding and weight loss aid.
Cissus quadrangularis is thought to be native to India and Sri Lanka, but can also be found in other parts of Asia, Africa, and North and South America.
Vitamins and plant steroids can be extracted from Cissus quadrangularis, which are believed to be responsible for many of its benefits, including anabolism.
One of the best known benefits of Cissus quadrangularis is its ability to speed up the heeling of broken bones. It has been hypothesised that this works through the ability of Cissus quadrangularis to increase the metabolism and uptake of calcium, which is vital in the process of bone heeling (Mishra et al, 2010). A study in dogs has shown that treatment with Cissus quadrangularis resulted in the complete healing of broken bones in 21 days, whereas those receiving a placebo were still unhealed at the same time (Deka et al, 1994). This effect has also been shown in rats, during which treated animals were observed to have a 50% increase in bone healing time (Singh et al, 1962). Undoubtedly, if you have sustained a fracture, your training will be severely affected. However Supplementing with Cissus quadrangularis may help to speed up your recovery.
Because of the effects of Cissus quadrangularis on bone healing, some authors have stated that it has anabolic properties and antiglucocorticoid (stress hormone) effects (Mishra et al, 2010). Combined, this means that muscle tissue is better preserved during times of physical and mental stress. Therefore, supplementing with Devil's Backbone during training may help improve lean gains.
When combined with other fat burning ingredients such as green tea and chromium, it was observed that those receiving Cissus quadrangularis experienced an increase of 187% weight loss over those receiving the placebo, without dieting. This effect was greater for those who also commenced dieting (Oben et al, 2006). These authors attributed this weight loss to the ability for Cissus quadrangularis to act as a fat blocker and increase feelings of fullness. This shows that Cissus quadrangularis shows promise for use as a weight loss aid.
Animal toxicological studies show that no signs of toxicity or side effects were observed in rats fed up to 2500 mg Cissus quadrangularis extract/kg body weight/day for 90 days. This is the equivalent of 200 g for an 80 kg man (Kothari et al, 2011). Furthermore, human subjects did not report any side effects from the use of Cissus quadrangularis (Oben et al, 2006). It can therefore be concluded that the use of Cissus quadrangularis is safe.
Cissus quadrangularis extract has been shown to be effective in aiding weight loss when consumed at 514 mg twice a day before meals (Oben et al, 2006). This is therefore the recommended dosage and ingredient timing.
Because Cissus quadrangularis can act as a fat blocker, it can be found in fat burners and other weight loss supplements.
Deka et al (1994), Effect of Cissus quadrangularis in accelerating healing process of experimentally fractured radius-ulna of dog, a preliminary study. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 26: 44-45
Kothari et al (2011), Safetyassessment of Cissusquadrangularisextract (CQR-300): Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity studies. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49: 3341-3357
Mishra et al (2010), Pharmacological and Therapeutic Activity of Cissus quadrangularis: An Overview. International Journal of PharmTech Research, 2: 1298-1310
Oben et al (2006b), The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Lipids in Health and, 5 (online)
Singh et al (1962), Studies of C. quadrangularis in fracture by using phosphorus. Ind. j. Med. Sci., 76: 926-931