The name asthisanhari is derived from its use in healing bone fractures.
The plant grows commonly in the hotter and drier regions of India, including the Deccan peninsula, extending west to the lower eastern slopes of the Western Ghats and south to Travencore. It is also widespread in the drier parts of Africa and Arabia.
A rambling shrub usually found climbing over bushes (Plate 19). The stem is thick, fleshy, glabrous, ridged and quadrangular, as the name suggests, and constricted at the nodes. The leaves are simple, alternate, thickened, broadly ovate to suborbicular, obtuse, with a serrate margin, about 8 cm long and 6 cm broad. There are numerous tendrils arising from the nodes; flowers small, in umbellate cymes occurring opposite the leaves, with a cup-shaped, lobed calyx; petals greenish-yellow and red tipped. The fruits are globose berries.
Leaves, stems, roots.
The leaves and stem are frequently eaten with curry in southern India. In Madras the young shoots of the plant are burnt to ashes in a closed vessel and administered in dyspepsia and indigestion. Thejuiceofthe stem is used in otorrhoea and epistaxis. A paste of the stem is used by traditional healers, applied as a poultice over bone fractures and swellings. The entire plant is considered to be an alterative, anthelminti? aphrodisiac, antiasthma tic and is useful in gastrointestinal disorders such as colic and dyspepsia and irregular menstruation. It is also important in Siddha medicine where the plant is burnt to ash before being used for similar indications.
The herb is fed to cattle to induce flow of milk. The whole plant is used in fractures, sprains, rheumatism, irregular growth of teeth, broken horn, anthrax, haematuria, elephantiasis, dislocation of hip, various wounds and cracked tail.
Quadrangularins A, Band C, resveratrol, piceatannol, pallidol and parthenocissin are present in the stem.
4- Hydroxy- 2-methyltricos- 2-en- 22-one, 9-methyl-octadec-9-ene, heptadecyl octadecanoate, icosanyl icosanoate, 31-methyltritriacontan-l-ol, 7 -hydroxy- 20-oxo-docosanyl cyclohexane and 31-methyltriacontanoic acid, 7 -oxoonocer-8-ene-3- 21-dioP, onocer- 7-ene-3- 21-diol, onocer- 7 -ene-3- 21-diol, a-amyrin, a-amyrone taraxeryl acetate, friedelan -3-one, taraxerol, p-sitosterol and isopentacosanoic acid4 have been isolated from the stem.
Bone-healing activity: A phytosterol fraction isolated from Cissus quadrangularis showed bone-healing activity when tested in experimental bone fractures of the right humerus in young rats. Examination of the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands indicated no obvious abnormalities but an increase in wet weight was noted. Daily injections of this fraction for 6 weeks in rats also produced a marked increase in body weight, mucopolysaccharide content of bone and uptake of Sr and enhanced the rate of healing of the fractured bones by influencing the early regeneration process of connective tissue and mineralisation. Studies involving tagging with radioactive C in rats, using micro-autoradiography of various tissues, suggested that the probable pathway may be through the anterior pituitary and the adrenal glands. After metabolism in the liver, the sterol fraction reached the osteogenic cells at the fracture site and appeared to exert a stimulating effect on healing.
Histopathological studies showed that the rate of healing was enhanced in experimental fractures of the right femur in dogs which had been treated with 1M injections of an aqueous extract of C. quadrangularis. The rate of progress of ossification in the treated animals was faster than in untreated animals. After 3 weeks, the callus in the untreated animals contained cartilaginous tissue with a few, thin and sparse bony trabeculae, whereas treated animals had considerably advanced ossification and the callus consisted of a network of bony trabeculae. After 6 weeks ossification was complete and remodelling was advanced in the treated animals in comparison to the untreated animals where ossification was still in progress. An aqueous extract of the plant, applied topically or given by injection, hastened healing of fractures as measured by a reduction in the convalescent period. It aided the strengthening of the bones by up to 90% over 6 weeks and had an influence on both the organic and mineral phases of fracture healing. Ca uptake studies also demonstrated an earlier completion of the calciferous process, suggesting it may be useful not only in building up the bone but also in improving functional efficiency. A total extract of the plant was found to neutralise the anti anabolic effect of cortisone in healing of fractures, possibly due to its vitamin content.
The fresh juice of the plant can irritate the skin and cause itching. A 50% ethanol extract of stem administered IP in mice showed an LD 50 of 681 mg/kg body weight.