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Family Cucurbitaceae
Patolang bilog
Luffa cylindrica (Linn.) M. Roem
Tian luo gua

Scientific names  Common names 
Bryonia cheirophylla Wall. Kabatiti (Bon., Ilk.) 
Cucumis pentandrus Roxb. ex Wight & Arn. [Invalid] Kabatiti-aso (Ilk.)
Luffa acutangula var. subangulata (Miq.) Cogn. Patola (Bis., Bik., Tag.) 
Luffa aegyptiaca Mill. Patolang bilog (Tag.) 
Luffa cylindrica (Linn.) M.Roem Patulang-uak (Tag.) 
Luffa insularum A.Gray Patula-amu (Sul.) 
Luffa leucosperma M.Roem Salag-salag (Tag.) 
Luffa pentandra Roxb. Tabau-tabau (Ilk.) 
Luffa petola Ser. Tobobok (Tag.) 
Luffa subangulata Miq. Tabobog (Tag., Bis.) 
Luffa sylvestris Roxb. Tabubok (Tag.)
Melothria touchanensis  H.Lév. Angled luffa (Engl.)
Momordica cylindrica Linn. Bath sponge (Engl.)
Momordica luffa Linn. Gourd towel (Engl.)
Turia sativa Forssk. [Invalid] Sponge gourd (Engl.)
Luffa cylindrica (L.) M.Roem. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Si gua, Shui gua, Tian luo gua, Tian si gua.
DANISH: Luffa, Vegetabilsk svamp
DUTCH: Loofah, Loefahspons, Plantaardige spons.
ESTONIA: Ruljas käsnkõrvits.
FRENCH: Courge torchon, Luffa d'Egypte, Eponge végétale, Pétole, Courge cylindrique de Chine.
GERMAN: Schwammgurke, Schwammkürbis, Ägyptische Schwammkürbis.
HINDI: Mozhuku peerkankai, Jhinga, Dhundal, Turai, Meethi torai.
INDONESIAN: Blustru, Belustru.
ITALIAN: Luffa, Luffa d'Egitto, Petola, Spugna vegetale.
JAPANESE: Hechima.
KHMER: Ronôông muul.
LAOTIAN: Bwàp khôm.
NEPALESE: Palo, Ghiu toriya.
PORTUGESE: Esponja-vegetal.
SINHALESE: Vatakolu.
SPANISH: Lufa, Esponja vegetal, Pepino para paste.
THAI: Buap hom (Boap hom, Buop horm), Buap klom.

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.

- Fruit contains abundant saponin.
- Luffa, the spongy fiber, contains cellulose, xylan, mannan, galactan, and lignin.
- 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) (
- 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.

Parts utilized
Leaves, fruit.

· 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 and anthelmintic
· 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 bath sponges.
· 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.
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)
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. (
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. (
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. (
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. (
Antihyperglycemic / Fruit:
Study of methanol extract of fruit in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats showed remarkable dose-dependent antihyperglycemic activity. (
Study of extracts of whole plant of Lc showed significant antibacterial and antifungal activity in the chloroform extract. (10)
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) (
• 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)

- Cultivated.
- Common market vegetable.

Last Update March 2017
Update June 2014

Photos / Content © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Datei:Luffa aegyptiaca Blanco2.334.png / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The oxytocic properties of Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem. and Bidens pilosa L., traditionally used medicinal plants from western Uganda / Maud Kamatenesi-Mugisha et al /African Journal of Ecology / Volume 45 Issue s3, Pages 88 - 93 / DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00863.x
Phytochemical Profile and Antibacterial Properties of the Seed and Leaf of the Luffa Plant / F L Oyetayo et al / Journ Of Pharma and Toxicology 2(6):586-589, 2007 / DOI: 10.3923/jpt.2007.586.589
Immunomodulatory effects of two sapogenins 1 and 2 isolated from Luffa cylindrica in Balb/C mice / Anamika Khajuria et al / Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters / 2007, vol. 17, no6, pp. 1608-1612 / doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2006.12.091
Two proteins with ribosome-inactivating, cytotoxic and abortifacient activities from seeds of Luffa cylindrica roem (Cucurbitaceae).
BIOCHEMISTRY INTERNATIONAL, 1992 Jul;27(2):197-207 / POPLINE Document Number: 077530
Antioxidant Constituents in the Fruits of Luffa cylindrica (L.) Roem
/ Qizhen Du et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54 (12), pp 4186–4190 / DOI: 10.1021/jf0604790

Disinfection of waterborne coliform bacteria using Luffa cylindrica fruit and seed extracts / Ameer Shaheed et al / Environmental Technology, Volume 30, Issue 13 December 2009 , pages 1435 - 1440 / DOI: 10.1080/09593330903193485
ANTITUMOR ACTIVITY OF PROTEINS AND POLYSACCHARIDES OF CERTAIN CUCURBITACEOUS PLANTS / N Ibrahim et al / ISHS Acta Horticulturae 501: II WOCMAP Congress Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Part 2: Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Phytomedicine, Toxicology
The oxytocic properties of Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem. and Bidens pilosa L., traditionally used medicinal plants from western Uganda / Kamatenesi-Mugisha et al / African Journal of Ecology, Volume 45, Supplement 3, December 2007 , pp. 88-93(6) / DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00863.x

Evaluation of hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effects of Luffa cylindrica fruit extract in rats / Manjusha Hazra, Sriparna KunduSen, Sanjib Bhattacharya, Pallab K Haldar, Malaya Gupta, Upal K Mazumder / Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research 2: 138-146 (2011)
Antimicrobial Activity of Whole Plant of Luffa cylindrica (Linn) Against Some Common Pathogenic Micro-organisms / R. Indumathy, D. Satheesh Kumar, Kolagani pallavi, G. Sashikala Devi / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research 2011; 3(1): 29-31
Sorting Luffa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
In-Vitro Anthelmintic Activity of Luffa Cylindrica Leaves in Indian Adult Earthworm / Sangh Partap, Saurabh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Neeraj K. Sharma, K. K. Jha / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Vol 1, No2, 2012

Protective Effect of Luffa cylindrica L. Fruit in Paracetamol Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats / N. Balakrishnan, Tanvi Huria / International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2011; 2(6):1761-1764
Protein-synthesis inhibitory protein from seeds of Luffa cylindria roem / K KISHIDA, Y MASUHO, T HARA / FEBS LETT 01/1983; 153(1):209-212. / DOI:10.1016/0014-5793(83)80149-5
Comparative Study of Antimicrobial Potency and Phytochemical Analysis of Methanolic Extracts of the Leaf and Flower of Luffa cylindrica / Aladejimokun A. O., Adesina, I. A.*, Falusi, V. O. and Edagbo, D. E. / Journal of Natural Sciences Research, Vol.4, No.8, 2014
Antibacterial, antifungal and phytotoxic activities of Luffa cylindrica and Momordica charantia
/ Bashir Ahmad* and Abid Ali Khan / J. Med. Plants Res. Vol. 7(22), pp. 1593-1599, 10 June, 2013 / DOI: 10.5897/JMPR11.1454
Luffa cylindrica Seed Oil / Essence of Mineral Makeup
Food Value and Phytochemical Composition of Luffa cylindrica Seed Flour / Oyetayo Folake Lucy*, Ojo Babajide Abidemi / American Journal of Biochemistry 2012, 2(6): 98-103 DOI: 10.5923/j.ajb.20120206.02
Comparative Study of In vitro Antioxidant, Antibacterial and Cytotoxic Activity of Two Bangladeshi Medicinal Plants- Luffa cylindrica L. and Luffa acutangula / Israt Jahan Bulbul, Abu Hasanat Md. Zulfiker, Kaiser Hamid, Mst. Hajera Khatun, Yesmin Begum / Pharmacognosy Journal, Volume 3, Issue 23, July 2011, Pages 59-66 / http://dx.doi.org/10.5530/pj.2011.23.9
Nutrient analysis of fruit / Health Benefits Times
Effect of intake of sponge gourd (Luffa cylindrica) seed oil and Yukdomok (Chionanthus retusa L.) seed oil on lipid levels of blood and organs of a mice / Kyung-Soon Choi, Yong-Hwan Kim, Sun-Ok Kim, Kyung-Ok Shin, Keun-Hee Chung / Food Science and Biotechnology, June 2013, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 757–763
Phytochemical Screening and Anti inflammatory, Bronchodilator and Antimicrobial activities of the Seeds of Luffa cylindrica. / P Muthumani*, R Meera, Subin Mary, Jeenamathew, P Devi, B Kameswari, B Eswara priya / Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Science
Utilization of Cellulose from Luffa cylindrica Fiber as Binder in Acetaminophen Tablets / John Carlo O. Macuja, Laurence N. Ruedas, and Rebecca C. Nueva España / Advances in Environmental Chemistry
Volume 2015 (2015) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/243785
Dried Fruit of the Luffa Sponge as a Source of Chitin for Applications as Skin Substitutes
/ Ping-Lun Jiang, Mei-Yin Chien, Ming-Thau Sheu, Yi-You Huang, Meng-Hsun Chen, Ching-Hua Su,* and Der-Zen Liu * / Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 458287. / doi: 10.1155/2014/458287
The Study of Chemical and Tensile Strength of Luffa Fruit’s Fibers / Fatemeh Ashourisavadkouhi, Kamran Nosrati, Hadi Parsian and Niloofar Jenabian* / International Journal of Advanced Biotechnology and Research (IJBR), Vol-7, Special Issue-Number 2-April, 2016
Genotoxicity and antigenotoxicity study of aqueous and hydro-methanol extracts of Spondias mombin L., Nymphaea lotus L. and Luffa cylindrical L. using animal bioassays / Ifeoluwa Temitayo Oyeyemi, Olaide Maruf Yekeen, Paul Olayinka Odusina, Taiwo Mary Ologun, Orezimena Michelle Ogbaide, Olayinka Israel Olaleye, Adekunle A. Bakare / The Journal of Institute of Experimental Pharmacology of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Vol 8, Issue 4, Dec 2015

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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