Patolang-bilog is a climbing, hairy,
smooth vine, reaching a length of 12 or more meters. Stems are
four-angled. Leaves are rounded-ovate to kidney-shaped, 10 to 20
centimeters across, shallowly 5- to 7-angled or lobed, denticulate scabrous, with pointed tips and heart-shaped bases. Male flowers occur singly in the axils of the leaves on long-peduncled racemes, and are crowded at or near the apex of the peduncle. Calyx is green; lobes are ovate-lanceolate,
about 1 centimeter long. Corolla is rotate, yellow, 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter. Female flowers are solitary and peduncled. Fruit
is oblong, cylindric, smooth and green, 12 to 30 centimeters long. Seeds
are black, about 1 centimeter long, very narrowly winged, smooth or very sparingly tubercled. Fruit is
sweet and larger than the common and bitter wild form.
Cultivated for its edible
- Fruit contains abundant
- Luffa, the spongy fiber, contains cellulose, xylan, mannan, galactan,
- Seeds contain a fixed oil (45%).
- Study confirmed the presence of a saponium, m.p. 268-270 C, which is crystalline, white, and bitter.
- Methanolic extracts of leaf and flower yielded alkaloid, tannin, saponin, phytate and oxalate which were quantitatively higher in the flower extract than the leaf extract.
(see study below) (15)
- Phytochemical screening of seed and leaf extracts for secondary metabolities yielded alkaloids, saponins, and cardiac glycosides.
(see study below) (2)
- Nutrient analysis of Luffa fruit (serving size 1 cup/178g) yielded 100 Kcal, and 5.49 Kcal from fat; (Nutrients) protein 1.17g, total fat 0.61g, ash 0.66g, carbohydrate 25.53g, dietary fiber 5.2g, total sugars 9.2g; (Minerals) manganese 0.397mg, potassium 806mg, copper 0.151mg, magnesium 36 mg, iron 0.64mg, phosphorus 55 mg; (Vitamins) vitamin A 463 µg, vitamin B5 0.892 mg, vitamin B6 0.176 mg, vitamin C 10.1 mg, vitamin B1 0.082 mg, vitamin B2 0.075 mg; (Lipids) saturated fatty acid 0.048 g / palmitic acid 0.034 g, monosaturated fatty acids/oleic acid 0.112 g, and polyunsaturated fatty acids/linoleic acid 0.263 g. (20).
- Antiseptic, carminative, antitubercular, pectoral, cooling, antiseptic, galactagogue, emmenagogue.
- Root is hydragogue.
- Seeds are emetic and cathartic.
- Fruit considered anthelmintic, carminative, laxative, depurative, emollient, expectorant, diuretic, and lactagogue.
· Fruits are edible, eaten as vegetable.
· Root is a hydragogue cathartic even in small doses.
· Liquid from steeped dried fruit used as emetic.
· Fruit of bitter form is a violent cathartic and emetic.
· Vine and root used for decaying teeth, ozoena, and parasitic infections.
· Leaves used for skin diseases and orchitis.
· In Java leaf juice used for amenorrhea.
· Infusion of seeds or an alcoholic emulsion is a drastic purgative
· In Uganda, used to hasten childbirth.
· Seeds have been used in the treatment of asthma, sinusitis and fever.
· Tincture of seed oil used for various skin diseases.
· Fruit used in treatment of ascites, jaundice, biliary and intestinal colitis, fever, syphilis, tumors, bronchitis, splenomegaly and leprosy.
· Fruit used for bowel and bladder hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, toothache, smallpox, and scarlet fever.
· Fresh fruit considered cooling to the intestines, warming to the stomach, and tonic to the genital organs.
· Seeds used as emetic and cathartic.
· Infusion of seeds used as drastic purgative and anthelmintic.
· Sponges: Cultivation is
sometimes done for the ripe fruit for use in the manufacture of
· Seed oil: Cylindrical seed oil has been used in sunscreens, sunless tanning lotions, anti-aging products, facial moisturizers, body oils, and facial cleansers. (17)
Study was done to validate
the uses of Bidens pilosa and Luffa cylindrica in inducing labor in
Western Uganda. Results showed the aqueous leafy extracts to be oxytocic, increasing rat uterine motility. Its
bioactivity supports its therapeutic use as herbal remedies in childbirth.
• Antibacterial: Study showed
the seed extracts of LC to contain alkaloids, saponins and cardiac glycosides
with antimicrobial activities against E coli, S aureus, S typhi and
B subtilis. (2)
• Disinfection of Waterborne Coliform Bacteria: Study of the aqueous extracts of seeds and fruits of Lc for its activity as drinking water disinfectant showed highly variable and dose-dependent inactivation of both faecal coliforms and total coliforms, the seed extract achieving higher coliform inactivation than the fruit extracts. Although the antimicrobial potential of fruits and seeds was demonstrated, the disinfection performance was less than required to be considered a reliable disinfectant for drinking water. (6)
• Immunomodulatory: Isolated
triterpenoids from LC showed immunostimulatory effect with significant
dose-dependent activities in lymphocyte proliferation and phagocytic
activity of macrophages. (3)
• Cytotoxic / Abortifacient: Study
isolated two proteins with ribosome-activating, cytotoxic, and abortifacient
activities from the seed of L cylindrica. (4)
• Antioxidant: Hydrophilic antioxidant constituents in the fruit of Lc yielded eight compounds. Results showed that consumption of sponge gourds can supply antioxidant constituents to the human body. (5)
• Antitumor: Polysaccharides, aqueous extracts and proteins of M charantia, M balsamina and L cylindrica showed remarkable effects in reducing the number of viable Ehrlich Ascites tumor cells, as well as DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in the cells. (7)
• Oxytocic: Study to validate the claimed uses of Bidens pilosa and Luffa cylindrica inducing labor during childbirth showed the aqueous leafy extracts of Bp and Lc increased rat uterine motility suggesting oxytocic activity and validates their therapeutic herbal uses in childbirth. (8)
• Antihyperglycemic / Fruit: Study of methanol extract of fruit in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats showed remarkable dose-dependent antihyperglycemic activity. (9)
• Antimicrobial: Study of extracts of whole plant of Lc showed significant antibacterial and antifungal activity in the chloroform extract. (10)
• Anthelmintic: Leaf extracts of Lc were tested for anthelmintic activity against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Dose dependent activity was observed, with the methanolic extract showing more activity than the others. (12)
• Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol Induced Toxicity: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of ethanol and aqueous extracts of the fruit of Lc in paracetamol-treated albino rats. Results showed significant hepatoprotective effect, with supporting histopathological studies. (13)
• Luffin / Protein-Synthesis Inhibitory Protein / Seeds: Luffin, a protein which inhibits protein synthesis in rabbit reticulocyte lysate, was purified from the seeds of L. cylindrica. It showed weak cytotoxicity against murine leukemia L1210 cells. (14)
• Comparable Antimicrobial Activity / Flower and Leaf: Study investigated the antimicrobial activities of leaf and flower methanolic extracts against four bacterial and two fungal strains. Results showed the methanolic leaf extract was more potent than the flower against the bacterial strains (E. coli, Klebsiella spp., S. aureus, and S. typhi) while the flower extract showed better antifungal activity against C. albicans and A. niger. (see constituents above) (15)
• Antibacterial / Antifungal:Study screened L. cylindrica and Momordica charantia for antibacterial, antifungal, and phytotoxic activities. Both plants showed potent antifungal activity as the BuOH fraction of L. cylindrica showed significant activity against F. solani and T. longifusus. Crude methanolic extract showed moderate activity against B. subtilis and K. pneumonia. (16)
• Seed Flour: Study investigated the amino acid, fatty acid, and phytochemical compositions of Luffa cylindrica seed flour. Study yielded a total amino acid concentration of 72.71g/100g protein and a total essential amino acid of 38.76g/100g protein. Arginine was the most concentration essential amino acid at 9.75g/100g protein while linoleic acid (31.47%) was the most abundant fatty acid. Total concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids was 52.02%. Flavonoids (4.53%) were the most concentrated phytochemical in the seen flour. L. cylindrica yielded a high proportion of essential amino acids, a potential source of healthy fat, and exhibits low atherogenic potential. (18)
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Cytotoxicity: Study compared the antioxidant, antibacterial, and cytotoxic activities of various extracts of L. cylindrica and L. acutangula. Both plants showed concentration dependent antioxidant activity by DPPH assay and disc diffusion method. All extracts showed low to moderate levels of antibacterial activity. All extracts displayed considerable toxicity towards brine shrimps with LC50 of 15.92 µg/ml (LC) and 33.69 µg/ml (LA). (19)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antimicrobial: Study reports on an simple, efficient, and ecofriendly synthesis of nanoparticles using Luffa cylindrica fruit extracts. Antimicrobial study of nanoparticles showed the zone of inhibition to be relevant for both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. (21)
• Lipid Effects of
Sponge Gourd Seed Oil: Study evaluated the effects of sponge gourd (L. cylindrica) seed oil and yukdomok (Chionanthus retusa) seed oil intake on lipid levels of blood and organs in mice. Group treated with sponge gourd seed oil showed the highest total cholesterol level (171.75 ±27.15 mg/dL in the blood and showed significantly higher HDL-cholesterol level of 142.75 ± 16.32 mg/dL. (22)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Seeds: Study evaluated seeds of L. cylindrica for anti-inflammatory (carrageenan-induced paw-edema), bronchodilator (Guinea pig trachea), and anti-microbial activity. Isolated compounds, Cu-1 and Cu-3 showed anti-inflammatory activity. Cu-4 showed significant bronchodilator activity. Cu-2 and Cu-4 showed significant antibacterial (S. aureus) and antifungal (C. albicans) activity. (23)
Cellulose from Luffa Fiber as Tablet Binder: Study evaluated the cellulose from the fiber of L. cylindrica as binder in the formulation of acetaminophen tablets. Study showed the fiber is a good source of cellulose. The powder showed fair and passable flow properties. However, the used of LC-MCC as binder did not conform to the US pharmacopeia specifications. (24)
• Luffachitin / Sin Substitute / Wound-Healing Enhancement:Study evaluated luffachitin obtained from the residue of the sponge-like fruit of Luffa aegyptica as a weavable skin substitute. The pulp like residue of the dried fruit was woven into a thin, porous membrane as a skin substitute for conducting wound-healing on rats. The luffachitin membrane showed significant wound-healing enhancement compared to cotton gauze. (25)
• Luffa Fruit Fibers / Tensile Strength / Potential Uses: Study showed Luffa cylindrica's fiber has high medical potential with a high tensile strength of 8.363 newtons, which is equal or higher than some suturing material. Study suggest potential use as dental material such as suturing material, dental floss or even bristle dental brush. (26)
• Genotoxicity & Antigenotoxicity Studies: Study evaluated aqueous and hydromethanol extracts of S. mombin, N. lotus, and Luffa cylindrica using animal bioassays. All the extracts were able to ameliorate MMS (methyl methane sulfonate) induced genotoxicity in bone marrow cells of exposed mice. Results show the potential of the extracts to induce somatic and germ cell mutation in male mice. (27)
- Common market vegetable.