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Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis): A Medicinal Plant with Promising Health Benefits and Therapeutic Potential

Introduction: Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis), also known as the Devil's Backbone or Hadjod, is a medicinal plant that has been widely used in traditional medicine systems for centuries. With its origins in India, this plant belongs to the Vitaceae family and is characterized by its unique four-angled stem. Hadjod holds significant importance in various cultures due to its potential health benefits and therapeutic properties. Its traditional use can be traced back to ancient Ayurvedic texts, where it is highly regarded for its ability to promote bone health and treat musculoskeletal disorders. Historically, Hadjod has been used as a natural remedy for fractures, bone loss, and joint-related conditions. In Ayurveda, it is classified as a 'Asthisandhaneeya' herb, meaning it has the potential to strengthen bones, promote fracture healing, and improve overall bone health. The plant's name, "Hadjod," is derived from the Hindi word "hadjod,"

Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.): A Comprehensive Exploration of its Botanical Description, Traditional Uses, Medicinal Properties, and Modern Applications


Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) is a unique and valuable plant that has been utilized for centuries in traditional medicine systems. Also known as Veld grape, Devil's backbone, or Asthisamharaka, Hadjod belongs to the grape family (Vitaceae) and is native to India and other parts of Southeast Asia. This article aims to explore the various aspects of Hadjod, including its botanical characteristics, traditional uses, phytochemical composition, medicinal properties, and modern applications.

In traditional medicine, Hadjod holds significant importance due to its reputed healing properties and versatile applications. It has been traditionally used to support bone health, promote joint mobility, and aid in the healing of fractures. Additionally, Hadjod has been employed in treating various ailments such as asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual disorders, and skin conditions.

The objective of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of Hadjod, shedding light on its botanical description, traditional uses, phytochemical constituents, medicinal properties, and potential modern applications. By delving into the scientific and traditional knowledge surrounding Hadjod, we aim to enhance understanding of this remarkable plant and its potential benefits for human health.

Botanical Description:

Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) is a succulent perennial plant characterized by its unique growth pattern and distinctive features. Here are the key aspects of its botanical description:

Plant Type, Habit, and Growth Pattern:

Hadjod is a climbing or trailing plant with a woody base. It is classified as a succulent, meaning it has the ability to store water in its stems and leaves. The plant exhibits a sprawling growth habit, with long, flexible stems that can reach lengths of several meters. The stems tend to be slender, cylindrical, and four-angled in shape, which gives rise to one of its common names, "Veld grape."

Leaves and Stems:

The leaves of Hadjod are simple and alternate in arrangement. They are generally fleshy, green, and have a succulent texture. The leaf shape is usually ovate to elliptical, with a smooth or slightly serrated margin. The leaves vary in size, typically measuring around 2 to 6 centimeters in length. One of the notable characteristics of the leaves is their ability to exude a watery sap when injured or broken.

The stems of Hadjod are the most prominent feature of the plant. As mentioned earlier, they are four-angled, giving them a square-like appearance. The stems are succulent, green, and slightly woody at the base. These angled stems are considered a unique trait of Hadjod and are often used as a diagnostic feature for identification.


Hadjod produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are typically green or yellowish-green in color. The flowers are arranged in clusters or cymes, and they often have a somewhat unpleasant odor. While the flowers may not be visually striking, they play a crucial role in the plant's reproductive cycle, eventually giving rise to small, round fruits.

Natural Habitat and Geographical Distribution:

Hadjod is native to regions of India, particularly in the arid and semi-arid zones. It is also found in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia. This plant thrives in dry, tropical climates and can be commonly found growing in rocky or sandy soils, open grasslands, and wastelands. It is well-adapted to withstand drought conditions and has the ability to survive in areas with limited water availability.


Understanding the botanical characteristics and natural habitat of Hadjod provides a foundation for exploring its traditional uses, phytochemical composition, and medicinal properties.

Traditional Uses and Folklore:

Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) holds a rich history of traditional uses and cultural significance in various medicine systems. Let's explore its traditional uses in different regions and communities, as well as any associated folklore, myths, or legends:


In Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India, Hadjod has been highly regarded for its medicinal properties. It is classified as a "Rasayana" herb, meaning it is believed to promote longevity and overall well-being. Hadjod is traditionally used for the following purposes:

Bone health:

Hadjod is considered a potent herb for supporting bone health, healing fractures, and strengthening the skeletal system.

Joint disorders:

It is used to alleviate joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with conditions like arthritis.

Digestive health:

Hadjod is employed to improve digestion, alleviate gastrointestinal disorders, and promote appetite.

Respiratory ailments:

In some regions, it is used to relieve respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis.

Traditional Practices in Africa:

Hadjod is also used in traditional medicine practices in some African countries. It is believed to have similar applications for bone fractures, joint pain, and digestive disorders. Additionally, Hadjod is sometimes used as an aphrodisiac or to address male sexual health issues.

Folklore and Myths:

While specific folklore or myths associated with Hadjod may vary across cultures, this plant is often celebrated for its regenerative and strengthening properties. In some regions, it is believed that Hadjod possesses the ability to mend broken bones and make them even stronger than before. Such beliefs have contributed to its common use in traditional bone-healing practices.

In various cultural contexts, Hadjod is revered as a symbol of resilience and endurance. Its ability to grow in harsh environments and its robust nature are often metaphorically linked to human strength and tenacity.


It is important to note that while traditional uses and folklore offer valuable insights into the historical significance of Hadjod, scientific research is necessary to validate and understand its true therapeutic potential.

Phytochemical Composition:

Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) contains a diverse array of phytochemical constituents, which contribute to its medicinal properties. Here is an overview of the key active compounds found in Hadjod and their potential therapeutic benefits:


Ketosterones are a group of bioactive compounds present in Hadjod. They are believed to possess anabolic properties, promoting the growth and strengthening of bones and connective tissues. Ketosterones are considered responsible for the bone-healing effects of Hadjod.


Hadjod contains carotenoids such as β-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are known for their antioxidant properties, protecting cells from oxidative damage and reducing inflammation. They may contribute to the overall health-promoting effects of Hadjod.


Hadjod is rich in flavonoids, including quercetin, kaempferol, and rutin. Flavonoids exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities. They may contribute to the potential anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects of Hadjod.

Triterpenoids and Steroids:

Hadjod contains triterpenoids and steroids such as lupeol, β-sitosterol, and stigmasterol. These compounds possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and immunomodulatory properties. Triterpenoids and steroids may contribute to the beneficial effects of Hadjod on joint health and pain relief.


Scientific studies have explored the phytochemical composition of Hadjod and its potential medicinal properties:

1. A study published identified and characterized several bioactive compounds in Hadjod, including ketosterones, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. The study confirmed the presence of these compounds and suggested their potential for bone-healing and anti-inflammatory effects.

2. Another study published investigated the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Hadjod in animal models. The researchers found that Hadjod extracts exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, supporting its traditional use for joint disorders.


While these studies provide preliminary evidence for the phytochemical composition and potential medicinal properties of Hadjod, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms of action and therapeutic applications of its active compounds.

Medicinal Properties and Health Benefits:


Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) is associated with a range of medicinal properties based on both traditional knowledge and scientific research. Here are some of the potential health benefits and conditions for which Hadjod is believed to be beneficial:

Bone Health and Fracture Healing:

Hadjod is traditionally renowned for its ability to support bone health and aid in fracture healing. It is believed to stimulate the production of collagen and promote osteoblast activity, leading to enhanced bone formation and mineralization.

Scientific studies have supported these claims. Research published demonstrated that Hadjod extracts accelerated fracture healing in animal models by enhancing bone remodeling and mineralization.

Joint Health and Arthritis:

Hadjod has been traditionally used to alleviate joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint disorders. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of Hadjod may contribute to its potential benefits.

A clinical study published investigated the efficacy of Hadjod in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The study reported significant improvements in pain, joint function, and quality of life after Hadjod treatment.

Digestive Health:

Hadjod is employed in traditional medicine to improve digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal disorders. It is believed to possess gastroprotective and anti-ulcer properties.

A research study published demonstrated that Hadjod extracts exhibited significant gastroprotective effects by reducing gastric ulcers and increasing antioxidant enzyme activity.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects:

Hadjod is believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These effects are attributed to the presence of flavonoids, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals.

Scientific research published reported the anti-inflammatory activity of Hadjod extracts by inhibiting pro-inflammatory mediators.


In addition to its traditional and modern applications, Hadjod is also utilized in commercial products that harness its therapeutic properties. One such product is Orthozac syrup, a 200 ml ayurvedic pain relief syrup manufactured by Elzac Herbals, a renowned ayurvedic manufacturer specifically formulated for ortho health. Orthozac syrup incorporates Hadjod as one of its key ingredients, harnessing its potential to provide relief from pain and support orthopedic health. By including Hadjod in its formulation, Orthozac syrup offers a natural alternative for individuals seeking ayurvedic remedies for orthopedic conditions. As research and utilization of Hadjod continue to expand, we can anticipate the development of more innovative products like Orthozac syrup that utilize the potential benefits of this remarkable medicinal plant.

It is important to note that while traditional knowledge supports these medicinal properties, further research is still needed to fully understand the mechanisms and efficacy of Hadjod for various health conditions. Nonetheless, the available scientific studies provide promising evidence for the potential benefits of Hadjod in bone health, joint disorders, digestive health, and inflammation.

Pharmacological Actions and Mechanisms:

The pharmacological actions of Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) involve several molecular and physiological mechanisms that contribute to its therapeutic effects. Here are some key actions and mechanisms associated with Hadjod:

Bone Healing and Remodeling:

Hadjod is known for its osteogenic properties, promoting bone healing and remodeling. It stimulates osteoblast activity, leading to increased collagen synthesis, mineralization, and accelerated fracture healing.

Research published demonstrated that Hadjod extracts increased alkaline phosphatase activity, an enzyme associated with bone formation, and enhanced the expression of genes involved in bone remodeling.

Anti-inflammatory Activity:

Hadjod exhibits anti-inflammatory effects, which contribute to its potential benefits for joint disorders and other inflammatory conditions. It inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).

A study published identified the flavonoid quercetin as a key compound responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of Hadjod extracts.

Antioxidant Effects:

Hadjod possesses antioxidant properties, protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage. Its phytochemical constituents, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, scavenge free radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation.

A research study published reported that Hadjod extracts increased antioxidant enzyme activity, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), reducing oxidative stress and improving gastric health.

Analgesic Activity:

Hadjod exhibits analgesic effects, providing pain relief. It is believed to modulate pain perception and inhibit pain mediators.

A clinical study published reported a significant reduction in pain scores among patients with osteoarthritis of the knee treated with Hadjod.


These pharmacological actions and mechanisms provide a scientific basis for the traditional uses and therapeutic effects of Hadjod. They highlight the plant's potential in promoting bone health, alleviating inflammation and pain, and exerting antioxidant effects. However, further research is necessary to fully elucidate the precise molecular pathways and mechanisms involved in Hadjod's pharmacological actions.

Current Research and Modern Applications:

Recent scientific studies and ongoing research have continued to explore the potential of Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) in various fields. Here are some noteworthy developments and modern applications related to Hadjod:

Sports Nutrition and Performance Enhancement:

Hadjod has gained attention in the field of sports nutrition and performance enhancement. Research suggests that Hadjod may have anabolic properties, promoting muscle strength, endurance, and recovery.

A study published investigated the effects of Hadjod supplementation on resistance-trained men. The study reported significant improvements in muscle strength and endurance in the Hadjod group compared to the placebo group.

Metabolic Health and Weight Management:

Hadjod has shown potential in supporting metabolic health and weight management. Research suggests that it may help regulate blood glucose levels, enhance insulin sensitivity, and reduce body fat accumulation.

A study examined the effects of Hadjod supplementation in overweight and obese individuals. The study reported improvements in glucose control and insulin sensitivity, suggesting a potential role in managing metabolic disorders.

Cosmeceuticals and Dermatology:

Hadjod is increasingly being explored for its applications in cosmeceuticals and dermatology. It is believed to have skin rejuvenating properties, promoting wound healing, and improving skin texture.

Preliminary research suggests that Hadjod extracts may enhance collagen synthesis and have potential anti-aging effects. Although limited, studies have investigated the use of Hadjod in topical formulations, highlighting its potential for skincare products.

Commercial Products and Formulations:

Several commercial products and formulations incorporating Hadjod are available in the market. These include dietary supplements, bone health formulations, joint support products, and topical creams.

It is important to choose products from reputable manufacturers that ensure quality and standardization.


As research on Hadjod advances, its modern applications in sports nutrition, metabolic health, dermatology, and cosmeceuticals continue to emerge. However, it is crucial to note that further research and clinical trials are needed to establish the efficacy, dosage, and safety profiles of Hadjod for these specific applications.

Safety, Side Effects, and Precautions:

Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) is generally considered safe when used appropriately. However, it is important to be aware of some side effects, precautions, contraindications, and drug interactions. Here are some important considerations regarding the safety profile of Hadjod:

Side Effects: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea. Skin rash or allergic reactions have been reported in rare cases.

Precautions and Contraindications: Hadjod should be used with caution in individuals with known allergies to plants of the Vitaceae family, as they may also be sensitive to Hadjod.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a healthcare professional before using Hadjod, as there is limited safety information available in these populations.


As with any herbal product or supplement, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting Hadjod, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions, are taking medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. This will help ensure its safe and appropriate use for your specific circumstances.


Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis Linn.) is a medicinal plant with a rich history in traditional medicine systems. Throughout this article, we have explored various aspects of Hadjod, highlighting its botanical description, traditional uses, phytochemical composition, medicinal properties, pharmacological actions, and modern applications. Here are the key points discussed:

·        Hadjod is a climbing plant known for its square stems and succulent leaves. It is native to certain regions of Asia and Africa.

·        In traditional medicine, Hadjod has been used for its bone-healing properties, joint health benefits, digestive health support, and anti-inflammatory effects.

·        Phytochemical analysis reveals that Hadjod contains active compounds such as ketosterones, flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids, which contribute to its medicinal properties.

·        Scientific studies have provided evidence supporting the potential of Hadjod in bone healing, joint disorders, inflammation, and other health conditions.

·        Hadjod's pharmacological actions involve promoting bone remodeling, exerting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and providing analgesic benefits.

·        Modern applications of Hadjod include sports nutrition, metabolic health, and cosmeceuticals, although further research is needed to validate these applications.

·        Hadjod is generally considered safe when used appropriately, but precautions should be taken in certain populations and potential drug interactions should be considered.

·        The future prospects for research and utilization of Hadjod are promising. Ongoing studies may further elucidate its mechanisms of action, efficacy for specific conditions, and explore novel applications.


In conclusion, Hadjod holds significant potential as a medicinal plant with its traditional uses deeply rooted in various cultures. The scientific evidence supports its traditional claims and suggests broader applications in modern contexts. Continued research and exploration of Hadjod will pave the way for a deeper understanding of its therapeutic potential, ensuring its optimal utilization in healthcare and related fields.



The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for personalized guidance.

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