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Plant Information

Common Name: LOOFAH
Scientific Name: Luffa cylindrica
Alternative Names: Vadoekplant (Afr), Dishcloth gourd (Eng), Ghosavala (Indiƫ).

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Luffa cylindrica
Luffa cylindrica
Luffa cylindrica


  • Annual
  • Loofah is native to tropical Africa and Asia.
  • It is a tendril-bearing climber with large bristly leaves, to 20cm long.
  • Male and female flowers are yellow and strongly veined - males have shorter stalks than females.
  • Cylindrical green fruits, to 50cm long, turn yellow when ripe.

Culinary Uses

  • Young fruits are eaten raw like cucumbers, cooked like marrows, pickled, or dried.
  • Shoot tips, young leaves, flower buds and flowers are eaten lightly steamed.
  • Seeds are roasted as a snack.

Parts Used

  • Leaves and flowers are cut as required and used fresh.
  • Fruits are cut when 15cm long for culinary use or left on vine to dry, before skinning and retting to clean flesh from fibres.
  • Seeds are pressed for oil.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Internally for rheumatism, chest pains, back ache, orchitis, haemorrhoids, internal haemorrhage, and insufficient lactation.
  • Externally for shingles and boils.
  • Dried fruit fibres are used as abrasive sponges in skin care to remove dead skin and stimulate the peripheral circulation.

Other Uses

  • Cosmetic: Soft inner skeleton - use as a sponge - rejuvenate skin - feet, knees, elbows
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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