Osteoporosis is a public health problem which is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The repair of bone defect is still a big challenge for orthopedic surgeons. Traditional use of Cissus quadrangularis (C. quadrangularis) in the treatment of bone disorders has been documented. The present study was employed to delineate the effects of ethanolic extract of C. quadrangularis on the proliferation, differentiation and matrix mineralization of human osteoblast like SaOS-2 cells. Lactate dehydrogenase assayed in the conditioned medium of control and C. quadrangularis treated cells did not differ significantly indicating that ethanolic extract of C. quadrangularis is nontoxic to osteoblastic cells. [3H] Thymidine incorporation assay revealed that C. quadrangularis treatment has increased the DNA synthesis of human osteoblastic SaOS-2 cells indicating increased proliferation of these cells. The data on alizarin red and ALP staining revealed increased matrix mineralization of human osteoblast like SaOS-2 cells. The study also revealed that the anabolic actions of ethanolic extract of C. quadrangularis in human osteoblast like cells are mediated through increased mRNA and protein expression of Runx2, a key transcription factor involved in the regulation of bone matrix proteins. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed increased transcriptional activity of Runx2 on the promoter of osteocalcin after C. quadrangularis treatment. These results indicate positive regulation of C. quadrangularis on the proliferation, differentiation, and matrix mineralization of human osteoblast like SaOS-2 cells. J. Cell. Biochem. 112: 1035–1045, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.