Cissus quadrangularis is a vine belonging to the grape family that originates from Africa and tropical Asia. It has been used in Ayurvedic and African medicine for over 100 years for conditions such as fracture healing, digestive parasites, pain, asthma and irregular periods. Three studies show positive weight-loss effects using CQ, especially in combination with other natural products, but doses vary depending on the combination. Talk to your physician before using herbal remedies to treat any condition.
In September 2006, a study published in “BioMed Central” investigated the effect of CQ on obesity. Researchers enlisted 92 obese and 31 overweight individuals for placement into four groups: placebo, obese taking formulation without diet intervention, obese taking formulation and dieting, and overweight taking formulation and dieting. Groups received 514 mg twice a day of placebo or Cylaris, a formula containing a minimum of 2.5 percent CQ, soy albumin, green tea extract, caffeine, niacin-bound chromium, selenium, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and folic acid. After eight weeks, the first group lost 5 lbs., the second lost 14.5 lbs., the third lost 18 lbs. and the fourth group lost 8 lbs. Those taking the formula increased HDL, or good, cholesterol by 43 to 50 percent, and decreased total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels.
Cissus Quadrangularis and Irvingia Gabonensis
A study published March 2008 in “BioMed Central” evaluated the use of CQ in a randomized trial for weight loss. Seventy-two people were divided into three groups, one receiving a 250 mg placebo, another 150 mg CQ extract, and the last group a 250 mg combination of CQ and Irvingia gabonensis, a plant also known as bush mango.
At the end of the 10-week trial, with no dietary stipulations or exercise, the average percentage of weight loss per group was as follows: Placebo, 2.1 percent; CQ, 8.8 percent; and CQ/IB, 11.9 percent. The percentage of body-fat loss that resulted was as follows: P-4, CQ-14.6 and CQ/IB-20. Additionally, total and LDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose levels decreased with the CQ/IB group. A 250 mg dose of CQ/IB appears to be most effective in this study.
Cissus Quadrangularis and CORE
A February 2007 study published in “BioMed Central” compared the effects of a standard CQ extract called CQR-300, with CORE -- a combination of 7.5 mg CQ and niacin, green tea extract, selenium, soy albumin, folic acid and vitamins B-6 and B-12 -- on obesity. Assigned randomly, 153 participants received placebo, CQR-300 or CORE twice a day for six weeks and were assigned a 2,100 daily calorie intake. The CQR-300 recipients experienced a 5.4 percent reduction in body weight, a decrease in fasting glucose of 14.6 percent, a total cholesterol reduction of 18 percent and an increase in HDL of 21.1 percent. The CORE recipients lost 8.5 percent body weight, had a 16.1 percent fasting glucose decrease, a 26 percent decrease in cholesterol and a 43 percent increase in HDL. Placebo group had no significant changes.
Researchers in these studies say the formulations were effective in combination with diet and exercise intervention, and warrant more research for clinical application. None of these study participants experienced severe side effects, but interactions with medication is unknown. Current studies elicit no warnings but further investigation is necessary to determine any negative side effects. Consult your physician before taking CQ.