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.
The young fruit is edible and can be eaten raw like cucumber or can be cooked and eaten. The dry fruit of this tree is fibrous and is used as sponge during baths to remove the dead cell. The seeds are used to make oil but are sometimes roasted and eaten as snacks. The seed has a synthesis of proteins and has anti inflammatory, anti tumour and anti fungal properties. It has diuretic emetic and purgative properties making it useful for skin diseases, spleen enlargement and asthma. It can be taken internally to cure chest pains, backache, internal haemorrhage, dysentery and rheumatism. Externally it is used to cure boils and shingles. It is found effective for bronchitis, leprosy, fever, jaundice and syphilis.
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.
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.