Botanical Name: Luffa Cylindrica
Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Common Name: Sponge Gourds, Wash Sponge, Dishcloth Gourd, Gourd Towel, Vegetable Sponge, Loofah Gourd
Part used: Fruits and seeds are used but for the Lufa Cylindrica oil the seed is used as more than half of the seed has oil content.
Specific Gravity: The Specific gravity of Luffa Cylindrica oil is 0.92
Refractive Index: At 270C the refractive index is 1.474
Blends well with: In the present times research on bio fuel is taking prime importance. Researches prove that Luffa Cylindrica oil blends well with ethanol and other fuels.
Countries where it is found: Luffa cylindrica grows well in tropical and subtropical lands. Luffa cylindrica is said to be native to Asia and Africa. In India it grows wild in the wasteland along the coastal areas. It is now being cultivated as it is now popular for its medicinal qualities. It is now spread all over the tropical zone and it is believed ocean currents must have been the mode of seed dispersal.
Harvest Information: Luffa cylindrical is a annual herb, climber and monoecious. It grows up to 15 mts long. The plant can be harvested after 3-6 months of sowing. When the fruits turn yellow it is an indication that it has matured and at this stage it is harvested for its fibre. If its furit is to be used then it should be harvested before it becomes fibrous, that is after 2 months of planting. Fruits cannot be stored for long so it should be sold off immediately after harvesting.
History of Plant: Luffa Cylindrica got its name in the 17th century from an Egyptian Arabian name. This plant is used in African countries for many centuries. So also in India, in almost all states this plant is very popular and has been so for many centuries. Known as Peerkingai, Peechinga, jeeka, neethi beerakaya, dodka and so on, it has been used in the Indian cuisine for many centuries.
Extraction Process: The seeds of Luffa Cylindrica plant is cold pressed to extract oil.
Commonly Known Benefits: The Luffa plant has different uses as the fruit, leaves and seeds are used for different purposes. It is eaten in different forms and the seeds are used as herbal medicines in the powdered form. The fibrous mature fruit is used as cleansers. The hard ones are used to clean pots and pans while the soft ones are used as bathing sponges.