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Herbs & Plants

Dhundhul (Luffa cylindrical)

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Botanical Name : Luffa cylindrical
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Luffa
Species: L. aegyptiaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Indian Name :Dhundhul
Common Name :Lufa,
Egyptian cucumber,  Vietnamese luffa, Dishrag gourd, Rag gourd, Sponge gourd, and Vegetable-sponge. It is also called smooth luffa to distinguish it from the ridged luffa (Luffa acutangula)….In Bengali it is called Jhingha … CLICK & SEE
Habitat:Luffa plants are tropical in origin, believed to have originated in southern Asia.  They need a long hot growing season. Places like the US Gulf Coast are plenty hot.  Starting the plants indoors may be needed for cooler climates.

Description:
Ridged luffa is a tropical running annual vine with rounded leaves and yellow flowers. The plant is diecious, having both male and female flowers. The rather large male flowers are bright yellow and occur in clusters. The female flowers are solitary and have the tiny slender ovary attached. The leaves are covered with short hairs and the fruits are ribbed and cylindrical shaped. It has ten longitudinal angular ridges and a tapered neck. Ridged luffa is very similar to L. Cylindrica which lacks the ridge. The young fruit is used as a cooked vegetable; although some gardeners grow Chinese okra for the fibrows interior. The fibrows netting is an excellent sponge but there are also industrial applications such as waterfilters. In Suriname‘s traditional medicine, a tea of the leaves is used as a diuretic, while juice of the fruit is used against internal hemorrhage. The seeds have laxative properties. Propagation: By seeds.

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Loofah or Luffa, common name for a climbing plant of the cucumber family and for the vegetable sponge derived from the plant. There are six species of loofah plant, all of which are native to the Tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. The common name loofah and the scientific name Luffa are derived from the Arabic common name for this plant, lûfa. The most commonly used species, Luffa aegyptiaca, is an annual, monoecious vine (where male and female flowers appear on different parts of the plant), with deep yellow flowers. The female flowers are borne singly and the male flowers are in clusters.

The leaves are hairless, lobed, and triangular in outline. Tendrils arise from the stems near the leaves and the numerous branches are long and slender. The cylindrical or club-shaped fruit can be up to 30-40 cm (12-16 in) long and hangs down from the stems owing to its weight. The skin of the fruit is ridged and green, becoming straw-coloured at maturity. The small, brown or black seeds are wrinkled on the surface and look like watermelon seeds. They are released when the lid-like apex of the fruit breaks off. It is the dried and bleached vascular system of the mature fruit that is used as a sponge or dishcloth in many parts of the world. The young fruits of Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula are also eaten as vegetables in some countries.

General Uses:
When mature,the fruits become a tough mass of cellulose fiber that makes a great scrubbing sponge.  These natural cellulose fiber sponge wonders of the vegetable world have many uses. They’ll make your skin squeaky clean or shine up your dirty dishes. Luffa are most excellent in the bath or shower.  The exfoliating action leaves your skin feeling the cleanest and tightest it could possibly be.  Scrubbing your back with a luffa sponge in the bath or shower is an incredibly pleasurable experience.  Home artisan craft soap makers include slices of luffa in their creations to add an extra cleaning boost to their soaps. Shredded or powdered luffa can be also be mixed into soap.

Luffa sponges are great for washing items like large pots and other containers like Tupperware®.  We use them for cleaning almost everything, including cars, boats, plastic buckets, and anything that needs scrubbed but can’t withstand steel wool.  Non stick cookware is one example.

A large loofa or a smaller piece on a handle or rope makes a great back scratcher.  They can be cut into many shapes for scrubbing pads, padding, and other craft uses.  Cut the sponges lengthwise and remove the core to make sheets of sponge material. These sheets of luffa material can be sewn into items like table hot pads, sandals, bath mats, hats, or anything else you can imagine.

Edible Uses:   The luffa flowers and fruits are soft and edible when young and are sometimes cooked and eaten like squash or okra. Loofah has been an important food source in many Asian cultures. The leaves and vines should not be eaten.  When crushed, they produce a bitter compound and smell that seems to repel insects and animals. It is similar to the bitterness sometimes found in cucumbers, a close plant relative also in the Cucurbitaceae family.  According to some sources a fellow named Wehmer identified a substance known as luffeine for the bitterness of Luffa acutangula, a related species grown commonly for food.

Small luffa fruits often are eaten but disclaim any legal responsibility for any bad reactions anyone might have from consuming luffa. Unknown allergy potential. Eat at your own risk. Some luffa varieties may produce fruits that are too bitter to eat. Peeling the skin off removes some of the bitterness. If it tastes bad, don’t eat it . Th  Edible luffa can be found sometimes in markets with Asian style vegetables. People  like them sliced in a stir fry or just sauteed in a little olive oil. Seasoning with a dash of soy sauce and cayenne pepper makes a tasty appetizer. The flowers have a crunchy green flavor similar to celery or cucumber. They make a colorful salad. The edible size fruits taste something like a cross between a zucchini and a cucumber.

Medicinal Uses:
Powdered luffa fibers have also been used as an ingredient in Chinese herbal medicine. Some compounds in the plant and seeds have been studied and used for medicinal properties.

Parts used :   Leaves, fruit.

In Chinese medicine, the inner skeleton of the dried fruit is used to treat pain in the muscles and joints, chest, and abdomen. It is prescribed for chest infections accompanied by fever and pain, and is used to clear congested mucus. Loofah is also given to treat painful or swollen breasts. Research indicates the fresh vine has a stronger expectorant effect than the dried fruit. Dried fruit fibers are used as abrasive sponges in skin care to remove dead skin and stimulate the peripheral circulation.

Folkloric:
· Decoction of leaves for amenorrhea.
· Poultice of leaves for hemorrhoids.
· Juice of fresh leaves for conjunctivitis.
· Juice of leaves also used externally for sores and various animal bites.
· Seed oil used for dermatitis.
· Infusion of seeds as purgative and emetic.
• In Russia, roots is used as a purge.
• 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
· Fibrous nature of the mature fruit, devoid of pulp, is used as a bath brush or sponge.
• 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.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/luffa_acutangula.htm

Patola – Scientific name: Luffa acutangula Linn.


http://www.luffa.info/

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Patola.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa_aegyptiaca

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Snake Groud

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Botanical Name : Trichosanthes cucumerina
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus:     Trichosanthes
Species: T. cucumerina
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots
Order:     Cucurbitales

Common names:Snake gourd, serpent gourd, chichinda, and padwal
Snake Groud (Trichosanthes cucumerina) is a tropical or subtropical vine, raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable and for medicine. Other names include (Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguina ), serpent gourd, chichinga, and padwal. It is known as potlakaaya in Telugu, pudalankaai in Tamil, paduvalakaayi in Kannada and padavalanga in Malayalam. In Bengali It is called as chi chinga

Habitat :Snake gourd is found in the wild across much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and southern China (Guangxi and Yunnan). It is also regarded as native in northern Australia. and naturalized in Florida,[6] parts of Africa and on various islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans

 

The narrow, soft-skinned fruit can reach 150 cm long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens.

click to see. the pictures

Description
: This vegetable produces long and curved fruits that appear like snakes hanging on the supports or ground. This subtropical plant grows very fast in warm climates and produces lots of fruits for a long time. It is best to grow this vine plant along the supports for obtaining young straight fuits. Young fruits are harvested and cooked like Luffa. Seed has hard coat and may take a long time to germinate. There are several varieties with different fruit skin and length grown in Asia. An interesting plant for home garden and fresh market.
click & see
Propagation:
Snake Gourd has white male and female flowers and cylindrical , slender, tapering fruit(as shown in the picture)It turns orange when ripe and perple red at maturity. It needs insects to carry out the pollinating process for setting fruits. If the insects are not available in your area, the pollinating process can be done manually, by picking up male flowers and transferring pollens to femal flowers (face-to-face touching the center part of flowers). This process should be carried out when flowering is active during the daytime.

Medicinal Uses: The mineral and vitamin contents of the herb are calcium,phosphorous,iron,substential amount of carotene,little thiamine,riboflavin and niacin. Its calorific value is 18.
The plant is cardiac tonic.It counteracts feverishness. It is useful in restoring the disordered process of nutrition.It creats a coolingt effect on the body.It is low caloried food.Diabetics can safely reduce their weight while getting enough nutrition. It leaves are used in indigenous medicine in India.Its root serves as purgative and tonic where as its juice is strong purgative.

Indigestion: It aids to indigestion.Its leaves are useful as an emetic and purgative in children suffering from constipation.A teaspoonful of fresh juice can be given early morning to ailing children.The immature fruit can be eaten as fresh vegetable.

Heart disoders: The juice of fresh leaves is very useful in heart disorders like palpitations and pain in heart due to physical exertion.It should be taken thrice daily.

Jaundice: Infusion of the leaves of the herb is beneficial in the treatment of jaundice.It can be taken with decoction of coriander seeds thrice daily.

Fevers: A decoction of snake groud is useful in bilious fever. It is thirst reliever and laxative.Its efficiency increases if it is given with Chiratta and honey.In obstinate cases of fevers, a combined fution of this plant and coriander is more beneficial.A decoction of the leaves with the addition of coriander is also useful in bilious fever.

Other uses: The juice extracted from its leaves is used to induce vomiting.The latter is also applied locally as a liniment in case of liver congestion.In remitted fevers, it is applied over the whole body . The leaf juice is beneficial in the treatment of complete or partial baldness.

Precautions: The ripe fruit and its seeds are laxative but may cause indigestion. It should not be consumed as food.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.evergreenseeds.com/sngosgo.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_gourd

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