Luffa

What other names is Luffa known by?

Angled Loofah, Courge Éponge, Courge Torchon, Dishcloth Sponge, Éponge Loofa, Éponge Végétale, Laine Torchon des Antilles, Liane Torchon, Loofa, Loofah, Lufa, Luffa acutangula, Luffa aegyptiaca, Luffa cylindrical, Luffa operculata, Luffaschwamm, Papangaye, Sigualuo, Sponge Cucumber, Vegetable Sponge, Water Gourd.

What is Luffa?

Luffa is a plant. When the mature fruit is allowed to dry, a fibrous, sponge-like structure remains. The fibers can be boiled in water, which is then used as medicine.

Luffa is taken by mouth for treating and preventing colds. It is also used for nasal swelling and sinus problems. Some people use it for arthritis pain, muscle pain, and chest pain.

Women use luffa to restore absent menstrual periods. Nursing mothers use it to increase milk flow.

Sometimes the whole luffa "sponge" is rubbed against the skin to remove dead skin and stimulate the skin. Luffa charcoal, which is prepared by heating luffa fibers in a closed container, is applied directly to the skin for shingles in the face and eye region.

In foods, young luffa fruits are eaten as vegetables.

In cosmetics, powdered luffa is used in skin care products to reduce swelling and "detoxify" the skin.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis). Early research suggests that using a specific homeopathic nasal spray (Luffa comp.-Heel Nasal Spray by Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH) containing luffa, Galphimia glauca, histamine, and sulfur four times daily for 42 days helps control seasonal allergy symptoms. The effects appear to be similar to the effects of nasal spray containing the drug cromolyn sodium.
  • Nasal swelling (sinusitis). Early research suggests that taking a specific homeopathic product (Sinsitis PMD tablets by Bionorica) containing luffa, lungmoss, and potassium dichromate for about 2 weeks helps relieve symptoms of sinusitis.
  • Treating and preventing colds.
  • Sinus problems.
  • Pain.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Promoting breast-milk production.
  • Removing dead skin, when the intact luffa "sponge" is rubbed against the skin.
  • Stimulating the skin, when the intact luffa "sponge" is rubbed against the skin.
  • Shingles infection in the face and eye area, when charcoal made from luffa is applied directly to the affected area.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of luffa for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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