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Family Cucurbitaceae
Patola
Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.
SPONGE GOURD

Guang dong si gua

Scientific names  Common names 
Cucumis acutangulus  Linn. Patola (Tag.) 
Curcubita acutangula (L.) Blume Patula-baibing (Sul.) 
Luffa acutangula (L.) Saykua (Bis.) 
Luffa foertida  Bath sponge (Engl.)
Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. Angled luffa  (Engl.)
  Ridge gourd (Engl.)
  Ridged luffa (Engl.)
  Chinese okra (Engl.)
  Sponge gourd (Engl.)
  Towel gourd (Engl.)
  Guang dong si gua (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Jinghey
CHINESE: Kak kuey, Leng jiao si gua, Si gua, Yue si gua
DANISH: Kantagurk
FRENCH: Courge anguleuse de Chine, Papangay, Papengaye
HINDI: Hireballi, Jhinga torooee, Jhingil torai, Kali, Torai, Turai
INDONESIA: Hoyong, Ketola, Ketola sagi, Oyong.
JAPANESE: Shokuyou hechima
KHMER: Ronôông Chrung
LAOTIAN: Looy
PORTUGESE: Bucha de purga, Lufa riscada
SINHALESE: Dara veta kola, vata kolu, veta kola, Wetakolu
SPANISH: Calabaza de Aristas
TAMIL: Peerkan kai, Pekan aki
THAI: Buap, Buap liam, Manoi liam
VIETNAMESE: Murop kai

Botany
The vegetable is a coarse, annual, herbaceous vine. Leaves are subrounded-ovate, 10 to 20 centimeters long, shallowly five-lobed, and heart-shaped at the base. Female flowers are pedicelled, occurring singly in the axils of the leaves. Male flowers are yellow, 2 centimeters long, borne in axillary racemes. Calyx lobes are lanceolate and pointed. Fruit is oblong-oblanceolate, 20 to 25 centimeters long, about 5 centimeters in diameter, green, and characterized by 10 prominent, longitudinal sharp angles. Seeds are numerous and close-packed.

Distribution
- Cultivated for its edible fruit, but not established.
- In cultivation in the Old World Tropics.


Constituents
- Fruit contains a bitter principle, luffeine.
Seed contains a fixed oil of glycerides of palmitic, stearic, and myristic acids.

Properties
Fruit is considered demulcent, diuretic, nutritive.
Seeds considered purgative and emetic.

Parts utiliezed and preparation
Leaves, fruit.

Uses
Nutrition
· Edible; cooked or fried, used in soups and sauces.
• Occasionally, stem tops with young leaves and flower buds used as leafy vegetable.
• Young fruits of cultivars, earten raw or pickled.
• Unripe fruit is a good source of calcium, iron and phosphorus.
Fruit considered a fair source of vitamin B.

Folkloric
• Decoction of leaves for amenorrhea.
• Poultice of leaves for hemorrhoids.
• Juice of fresh leaves for granular conjunctivitis in children. Also used to prevent the lids from adhering at night from ecessive meibomian secretion.
• Juice of leaves also used externally for sores and various animal bites.
• Pulp of fruit used internally, like calocynth, to cause vomiting and purging.
• Powdered dried fruit made into snuff for use by those afflicted with jaundice.
• Seed oil used for dermatitis.
• In Russia, roots is used as a purge.
• In Iran and Iraq infused seeds used as purgative and emetic.
• In India, roots is used for dropsy and as laxative; leaf and fruit juice used to treat jaundice.
• In Java, leaf decoction used for uremia and amenorrhea.
• In Bangladesh, pounded leaves used for hemorrhoids, splenitis, leprosy. Juice of leaces used for conjunctivitis in children.
• In West Africa, leaf extract of ridged gourd applied to sores caused by guinea worms; leaf sap used as eyewash in conjunctivitis; fruits and seeds used in herbal preparations for treatment of venereal diseases.
In Mauritius, seeds eaten to expel intestinal worms; leaf juice applied to eczema.
• Seed used as insecticidal.

Others
Sponge/Brush: Fibrous nature of the mature fruit, devoid of pulp, dries into a matrix of stiff vascular bundles and used as a bath brush or sponge.
Pesticide: In China, has been used as a pesticide.
• Fibers sometimes used for making hats.


Studies
Trypsin Inhibitors: Study isolated two trypsin inhibitors, LA-1 and LA-2, both consisting of 28-29 amino acid residues, respectively. Both strongly inhibit trypsin by forming enzyme-inhibitor complexes.
Constituents:
Study isolated seven oleanane-type triterpene saponins, acutosides A-G.
Antioxidants :
An antioxidant-guided assay yielded eight compounds. Results showed consumption of sponge gourds can supply some antioxidant constituents to the human body.
Antimicrobial / Water Disinfectant :
Study showed the some antimicrobial potential of seeds and fruits of Lc as a disinfectant of drinking water. However, the disinfection performance was less that would be required to be considered reliable
.

Availability
Cultivated.
Common market vegetable.
Seeds and sponges in the cybermarkets.


Last Update September 2012

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Allozymic, Morphological, and Phenological Diversity in Cultivated Luffa acutangula (Cucurbitaceae) from China, Laos, and Nepal, and Allozyme Divergence between L. acutangula and L. aegyptiaca
Economic Botany 59(2):154-165. 2005 /doi: 10.1663/0013-0001(2005)059[0154:AMAPDI]2.0.CO;2
(2)
Study of Nutritive Value and Medicinal Uses of Cultivated Luffa acutangula

(3)
Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. / M O Soladoye and A A Adebisi / Protabase Record Display
(4)
Trypsin inhibitors from ridged gourd (Luffa acutangula Linn.) seeds: Purification, properties, and amino acid sequences / Umesh Haldar et al / Journal of Protein Chemistry • Volume 15, Number 2 / February, 1996 •
DOI 10.1007/BF01887398

(5)
Studies on the constituents of Luffa acutangula Roxb. I. Structures of acutosides A--G, oleanane-type triterpene saponins isolated from the herb
/ Nagao T, Tanaka R, Iwase Y, Hanazono H, Okabe H / Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1991 Mar;39(3):599-606
(6)
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
(7)
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
(8)
Sorting Luffa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE


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