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Did You Know?
By D.P. Agrawal


Did you know how an Indian remedy to heal bone fractures works

Now there is experimental verification of the healing properties of the plant used in traditional medicine. The Indian plant is Cissus quadrangularis (commonly called hadjod, the healer of broken bones) which is used in traditional medicine to treat bone fractures. Recently, a team of researchers at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, tried to explain how the plant, which can be used both internally and externally, works.

The plant belongs to the grape family. Earlier trials had already shown that it reduces healing time for fractures by 55-33 per cent. To under­stand how it works, the NCL team, led by Dr. Murali Sastry, boiled the plant stem in water for five minutes to prepare an extract. On studying its composition, the scientists found that the extract was rich in two elements - calcium and phosphorus - which are present in the bones as calcium hydroxyapatite.

hen Dr Sastry's team passed carbon dioxide through the extract, they found calcium carbonate crystals formed. This demonstrates the availability of the calcium in the plant to produce other com­pounds, maybe even calcium hydroxya­patite. "This research could help explain how the bone grows," says Sastry. The findings appeared in the November 25, 2005 , issue of Current Science (Vol 89, No 10). Earlier studies have shown the plant has anti-osteoporotic properties and could be useful for menopausal women too.

Posted March 2006

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