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ShrubbySpecies Plant

Cissus quadrangularis

Cissus quadrangularis

The adamant creeper or bone-setter, cactus vine, climbing cactus, edible stemmed vine (Cissus quadrangularis L., 1767) is a shrub species belonging to the Vitaceae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Rhamnales Order,
Vitaceae family,
Cissus quadrangularis,
Genus Cissus,
Species C. quadrangularis.
The terms are synonymous:
– Cissus bifida Schumach. & Thonn.;
– Cissus edulis Dalzell;
– Cissus quadrangula Salisb.;
– Cissus quadrangulus L.;
– Cissus tetragona Harv.;
– Cissus tetraptera Hook.fil.;
– Cissus triandra Schumach. & Thonn.;
– Saelanthus quadragonus (L.) Forssk.;
– Saelanthus quadragonus (L.) Forssk. ex J.F.Gmel.;
– Vitis quadrangularis (L.) Morales;
– Vitis quadrangularis (L.) Wall.;
– Vitis quadrangularis (L.) Wall. ex Wight;
– Vitis quadrangularis Cordem..
The following varieties are recognized within this species:
– Cissus quadrangularis var. aculeatangula Verdc.;
– Cissus quadrangularis var. acuteangula Verdc.;
– Cissus quadrangularis var. pubescens Dewit;
– Cissus quadrangularis var. quadrangularis.

Etymology –
The term Cissus comes from the Greek name for ivy “κισσός” (cissos), extended to generically mean a climbing plant.
The specific epithet quadrangularis comes from the prefix quadri-four times and from angulusangolo: with four corners, referring to the stem.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Cissus quadrangularis is a perennial plant native to tropical Asia and Asia. In detail, this area in Africa includes: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal. Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe; in Asia: Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Its habitat is that of savannahs, dry deciduous forests and semi-arid areas, the edges of coastal forests, sandy banks of rivers, drainage ditches, from sea level up to 2,250 meters in Africa.

Description –
Cissus quadrangularis is a perennial, deciduous, procumbent or climbing, branched shrubby plant which can reach a length of several metres.
The plant anchors itself to plants and supports through simple cirri opposite the leaves.
The stems are succulent, green in colour, restricted to the nodes, 10-20 cm apart, with a quadrangular section, 0.5-2.5 cm wide, with protruding edges edged with reddish brown.
The leaves are borne on a 0.5-2 cm long petiole; they are alternate, rather fleshy, generally simple, ovate-cordate with obtuse apex and entire or crenulated-serrated margin, sometimes three-lobed, 2-6 cm long and wide, light green in colour, short-lived on the plant, 2-4 months , with the chlorophyll function carried out largely by the stems.
The inflorescences are located on a 1-2.5 cm long peduncle opposite the leaves; these are compound umbels carrying tiny greenish or pinkish-white bisexual flowers with a calyx with 4 small teeth, about 1 mm long, a corolla with 4 oblong-ovate petals with pointed apex, retroflexed, early deciduous, about 2 mm long, and 4 opposite stamens to the petals.
The fruits are globose, fleshy berries, with a particularly acidic flavour, 0.7-1.2 cm in diameter, initially green in colour, then dark red when ripe.
Inside there is an obovate seed of 0.4-0.6 cm in diameter.

Cultivation –
Cissus quadrangularis is a deciduous, succulent climbing plant that produces stems 1 to 15 meters long and photosynthesis is carried out by the green quadrilateral stems.
It is a popular medicinal herb, especially in India, where it is particularly prized as an analgesic herb that promotes healing, especially of broken bones.
The plant is grown in gardens both as a medicinal plant and also for ornamental purposes.
For its cultivation, take into account that it is a plant of the driest to arid regions, mainly in the lowland tropics and frost-free subtropical regions, although it can also be found at altitudes above 2,000 meters. The plant fears frost and grows in a sunny position or even light shade.
From a pedological point of view it grows well in most soils but prefers clayey, perfectly draining, even poor, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils; in the tropical and semi-arid subtropical regions and marginally in the milder temperate-warm ones it should be placed in a position sheltered from the winter rains. More often it is grown in pots by succulent collectors, in full sun or in any case at the maximum possible brightness, with very moderate watering in winter and minimum night-time temperature values not lower than 10 °C.
The plant reproduces by seed, in a draining substrate kept humid at a temperature of 24-26 °C, and by offshoot, layering and stem cuttings with 2-3 nodes.

Customs and Traditions –
Cissus quadrangularis is a plant known by various common names; among these we report: adamant creeper, bone-setter, cactus vine, climbing cactus, edible stemmed vine, veld grape (English); harbhanga, hasjiora (Bengali); cissus de Galam, raisin de Galam, vigne de Galam (French); hadjod, harjora (Hindi); sunduballi (Kannada); channamparanta, peranta (Malayalam); hadachud (Nepali); asthisanhari, vajravalli (Sanskrit); hirassa (Sinhala); perandai, piranthai (Tamil); nalleru (Telugu).
This plant has been appreciated as a medicinal species since ancient times. Ayurveda books attribute to it tonic and analgesic qualities and prescribe its use to promote the healing of bone fractures, which is why they call it asthisamharaka (which prevents bone destruction). Properties have also been attributed to it in the treatment of osteoporosis, asthma and cough and external hemorrhoids and gonococcus.
In Siddha medicine, it is considered a tonic and analgesic and is believed to help heal broken bones, hence its name asthisamharaka.
The Assamese people and the Garo tribe of Meghalaya and Bangladesh have used C. quadrangularis for bone fractures.
Contemporary research has demonstrated its favorable effects on bone health and its effectiveness as an anabolic, because it contains compounds that act as antagonists of glucocorticoid receptors. In clinical treatments it has reduced the healing time of bone fractures by between 33 and 55%. It is effectively used in compounds to help obese people lose weight.
It has bactericidal effects and helps prevent gastric ulcers and stomach cancer as the extracts obtained from the plant attack Helicobacter pylori.
The young shoots and leaves, despite being caustic and with an acrid flavour, rich in vitamin C, carotene and calcium, are locally consumed as vegetables; robust fibers are also obtained from the stems and roots. All parts of the plant have been used since ancient times in traditional medicine, particularly Indian, for the supposed analgesic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, gastroprotective properties and for the positive effects on obesity, osteoporosis and in the healing processes of fractures, studies are underway laboratory to verify its properties, side effects and isolate the active ingredients present.
Other uses include agroforestry uses.
The plant is sometimes grown to stabilize sand dunes and can be grown into a hedge.
The stems and roots also produce a strong fiber.

Preparation Method –
Cissus quadrangularis is a plant that has been used as a medicine since ancient times. It has been used in various classical Ayurvedic medicines to heal broken bones and injured ligaments and tendons.
Experimental studies have been carried out for its effects in animals with osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Among the food uses it is reported that the young stems are eaten cooked; usually fried or curried.
The leaves and young shoots are used in the preparation of poppies and curries.
The fruits are also consumed.
The ash of the plant is used as a yeast substitute.
In the medicinal field, an infusion of the plant is antifungal and anthelmintic.
The pulped stem is administered in the treatment of asthma; it is used as an alternative in cases of amenorrhea; and is administered in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
The leaves or young stems are analgesic and also accelerate the speed of healing; they are crushed and applied as a poultice to relieve the pain of broken bones; for the maturation of boils; to treat wounds and burns; to relieve pain in rheumatic joints; and also as a cure for saddle sores on horses.
The powdered dried roots are used to treat indigestion.
The pulverized root is considered specific in the treatment of fractured bones.
An extract of the stem in ethyl alcohol has shown interesting estrogenic properties. Furthermore, it has demonstrated a growth-promoting effect on skin cells and also reduces cell death due to oxidation. The plant has potential as an active ingredient in preparations for the treatment of skin aging in post-menopausal women.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

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Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.

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