Luffa acutangula L.
Species: L. acutangula
Local Name: Torai
Sindhi Name: Toori
English Name: Ridge Gourd
Part Used: Fruits
L. acutangula is an extensive tendrillar climber. Leaves are orbicular and scrabrid. Flowers are pale yellow; male and female are in the same axil. Fruit is long and compressed. Seeds are black in color.1
L. acutangula is cultivated in China, Australia, Russia, India, Tropical Africa, and Tropical America. In Pakistan, it is cultivated in Sindh and Punjab.2
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
- Branches and leaves of acutangula are rubbed on the affected areas for the treatment of ringworm infection in Districts Kashmore, Sajawal, Ghotki, Nawabshah, Dadu, Badin, Jacababad, and Sukkur (Sindh).
- Powdered leaves of acutangula are mixed with water to form a paste for application on the affected areas for the treatment of ringworm infection in Districts Kashmore, Sajawal, Ghotki, Nawabshah, Dadu, Badin, Jacababad, and Sukkur (Sindh).
L. acutangula contains cucurbitacin B, luffin, and colocynthin. Seeds contain palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic acid, and traces of lignoceric acid. Flowers contain free amino acids, arginine, glycine, threonine, lysine, alanine, asparagines, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and leucine. Fruit contains oleanalic acid, cucurbetacins B, and E.3,4
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific Studies
Seeds of L. acutangula are beneficial for use as emetic, expectorant, demulcent, and used for the treatment of spleen enlargement.1,5 Kernels of the seeds are used for the treatment of dysentery.6 Decoction of leaves cures amenorrhea and uraemia.7 Leaves are also beneficial when applied externally to alleviate pain in piles and eczema. Dried powdered fruits are used as snuff in jaundice. Fresh juice is reported to be beneficial for diabetes. Root possessed diuretic and laxative propertied. It is reported that a mixture of garlic with L. acutangula leaves is applied locally for the treatment of leprosy.1,3,7 It is also reported that the plant possessed CNS depressant activity.4 Extracted oil from the seeds of L. acutangula is used for the treatment of skin diseases. Due to the presence of cellulose fibers, it is used for the treatment of constipation.8 Fruits of L. acutangula possessed antibacterial, antifungal, antiproliferative, and antiangiogenic activities. Juice of roasted young fruit is beneficial for curing headache. Pulp of the fruit is used for the treatment of different kinds of insect bites.7
- Pullaih, T. (2006). “Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants”, 3, p: 1272, Regency Publications, New Delhi, India.
- Nazimuddins, S., and Naqvi, S.H. (1983). “Flora of Pakistan”, 154, 28, Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.
- Jyothi, V., Ambati, S., and Jyothi, A.V. (2010). “The Pharmacognostic, Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile of Luffa acutangula”. International Journal of Pharmacy and Technology. 2(4). p: 512-524.
- Mohan, G. K., and Sanjay, J. S. (2010). “Pharmacognostic and Phytochemical Investigation of Luffa acutangula amara Fruits”. International Journal of PharmTech Research, 2(2). p: 1609-1614.
- Khare, C.P. (2007). “Indian Medicinal Plants”, p: 384, Springer Science Publication, New York, U.S.A.
- Dashora, N., Chauhan, L. S., and Kumar, N. (2013). “Luffa acutangula (linn.) Roxb. var. amara (roxb.) A Consensus Review”. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. 4, 2. p: 835–846.
- Joshi, S. G. (2000). “Medicinal Plants”, p: 163, Oxford and IBH publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, India.