In China and Taiwan Edible Luffa are commonly used in local dishes and lots of places around the world including South America, Africa and they are now being grown in the US as a commercial crop. Luffa are grow fast and when green the small fruits can be sliced and used in many dishes with a cucumber like favor, and have many healing abilities.
Luffa is great for liver problems and helps with jaundice and anemia. Plus the seeds can also be eaten too for healing the liver and thus should be saved. The fruits also contains a lot of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones, iron for treating anemia, B vitamins for health and vitality, Vitamin C which works together with the zinc in Luffa to stave off colds and flues. Luffa is lower in fat, high in fiber, and contains lots of anti-inflammatory agents making it good for arthritis and other painful diseases.
Luffa lowers cholesterol and helps with constipation, gas, and it’s a very good expectorant for respiratory problems. Luffa also contains a peptide that resembles insulin so it’s great for lowering blood sugar too.
World wide Luffa Oil is getting a wonderful reputation as a powerful skin healing agent. The oil of the seed is used in cosmetics because it creates moist young looking skin. Also the oil is now being looked at as a good anti-fungal agent, anti-inflammatory agent, and anti-cancer agent too. The oil is very toxic to skin cancer cells… and because of that it’s being used in sunblock agents. And the oil contains lots of arginine which is important for speeding up wound healing and for proper cellular division.
Plus the leaves can be used directly for treating hemorrhoids… and the juice of the leaves are also great for eye inflammation.
Luffa is a fast growing plant that climbs and with large yellow flowers that beautiful, thus making a nice addition to any garden. The small smooth (less than 4 inches long) luffa fruits are edible with a mild flavor and tender – If bitter do not eat them… they are too old.
Later they become tough and grow up to 1 1/2 feet long…. then they can be dried and used for sponges for your bath. The large Luffa Fruit is ready for pick when they have dark spots and you can hear the seeds rattling around inside. Clip them from the plant and them dry… then peel off the dry skin from the sponge… and shake out all the seeds. For a white sponge soak the dried sponge in bleach or peroxide… or keep it just as it is for a natural look.
Luffa sponges are wonderful for exfoliating dead skin… thus helping to get rid of toxins in the body and at the same time increase skin circulation. Removing dead skin increases blood flow and thus makes your skin look younger and feel better.
Many different countries eat Luffa… and in Japan they are used like apples, they can also be used in salads, in other countries they stuff Luffa like zucchini, and in India they make curries with Luffa with peanuts or beans… and chutney’s with them… plus Luffa flowers and buds are edible too. In Canada they call them – Chinese Okra and in Latin countries they call them – Estropajo.
You can buy Luffa Gourds at any Asian Market… and the seeds and oil can be ordered on-line. Plus Luffa sponges can be found at most markets, bath stores, and on-line.
These are my leaves in the photograph… no gourds yet, but the leaves are beautiful and grow very fast.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 20 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on FB under Dr. Paul Haider, Healing Herbs, Shambala Spiritual Transformation Institute, Meditation for the Soul, and Relax Into Success, Punjab teas, and at www.paulhaider.com – feel free to contact him any time. Also check out Dr. Haider’s radio show at http://www.thesourcecenterradio.com/The-Relaxed-Soul.html June show to be about “Divine Particles”