Luffa cylindrica

Synonym ► L. aegyptiaca Mill. L. pentandra Roxb.

Family ► Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated throughout greater parts of India.

English ► Smooth Luffa, Sponge-gourd, sponge Cucumber.

Ayurvedic ► Dhaamaargava, Ma-haakoshtaki, Mahaajaalini, Raa-jakoshataki.

Siddha/Tamil ► Mozhukupeerankai, Pikku.

Action ► Plant—used against pharyngitis, rhinitis, mastitis, oedema, swellings and burns. Leaves— used for chronic bronchitis. Leaf juice is given for amenorrhoea. Flowers—used for treating migraine. Seeds—alcoholic extract exhibited 9.80% fungitoxic activity.

German Commission E included Luffa aegyptiaca among unapproved herbs. Preparations of Luffa sponge, used as a preventive for infections or cold, as a remedy for colds, nasal

Lupinus albus Linn. 385

catarrh as well as sinusitis and suppuration of the sinus, have been negatively evaluated.

The saponins isolated from aerial parts are effective in controlling obesity, also the side-effects of steroids.

The oleanane saponins, lucyoside AH (at least one component) is effective in preventing loss of hair.

Spongegourd extracts or saponins (ginsenosides and lucyosides) find application in topical medication for skin disorders and haemorrhoids. Lucyo-sides are also used as antitussive.

The roots of the mature plants contain an acidic pentacyclic triterpene, bryonolic acid. Bryonolic acid showed antiallergic and anti-inflammatory activity in experimental animals. An aqueous extract of seeds showed strong fibrinolytic activity. It also showed anticancer activity in transplanted tumours.

colic; also in nephritis and chronic bronchitis.

The fruit contains chrysoeriol and its glycosides as principal flavonoids. Seeds contain cucurbitacin B, triter-pene alcohols, and a saponin with olea-nolic acid as sapogenin.

The alcoholic and ether extracts of the plant showed protection against CCl4-induced hepatic injury in rats. The aqueous extract of fruits is beneficial in jaundice as it significantly lowered serum bilirubin level in chlorpromazine-induced jaundice in rats and human patients. The ethano-lic extract (50%) of the plant exhibited hypoglycaemic activity.

The yellow-flowered var. of De-vadaali (Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim, Bihar, Bengal) is equated with Luffa graveolens Roxb.

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