Family • Cucurbitaceae - Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. - SPONGE GOURD - Guang dong si gua

Scientific names

Cucumis acutangulus  Linn.
Curcubita acutangula (L.) Blume
Luffa acutangula (L.)
Luffa foertida
Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.

Common names

Patola (Tag.)
Patula-baibing (Sul.)
Saykua (Bis.)
Bath sponge (Engl.)
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
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

Patola, a 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.


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

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


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

Parts utilized and preparation
Leaves, fruit.


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) Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. / M O Soladoye and A A Adebisi / Protabase Record Display

(3) 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

(4) 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

(5) 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

(6) 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

(7) Sorting Luffa names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE

(8) ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY AND PHARMACOGNOSTIC STUDY OF LUFFA ACUTANGULA (L) ROXB VAR AMARA ON SOME DEUTEROMYCETES FUNGI / Dandge V. S, . Rothe S.P* and A. S. Pethe / International Journal of Science Innovations and Discoveries, Volume 2, Issue 1, January-February 2012

(9) Hepatoprotective activity of Luffa acutangula against CCl4 and rifampicin induced liver toxicity in rats: A biochemical and histopathological evaluation / Vishal B Jdhav et al / Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 48, August 2010, pp 822-829.


(11) Ameliorative effect of Luffa acutangula Roxb on doxorubicin induced cardiac and nephrotoxicity in mice / Vishal Jadhav et al / Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 51, Feb 2013, pp 149-156

(12) Protective effect of Luffa acutangula extracts on gastric ulceration in NIDDM rats: Role of gastric mucosal glycoproteins and antioxidants / B. P. Pimple*, P. V. Kadam, M. J. Patil / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2012)610-615 / doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(12)60126-6


(13) Evaluation of Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Potential of Luffa acutangula Roxb. Var. amara/ Naresh Singh Gill, Rashmi Arora and Shiv Ranjan Kumar / Research Journal of Phytochemistry 5(4): 201-208, 2011 / DOI: 10.3923/rjphyto.2011.201.208

(14) In Vitr Antioxygenic Activity of Ridge Gourd (Luffa acutangula) Pulp, Peel and Their Extracts on Peroxidation Models / Ananthan Padmashree, Gopal Kumar Sharma, Anil Dutt Semwal, Amarinder Singh Bawa /
AJPS, Vol.3 No.10, October 2012 / DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2012.310171

· 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, eaten raw or pickled.
• Unripe fruit is a good source of calcium, iron and phosphorus.
• Fruit considered a fair source of vitamin B.


• 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 excessive 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 leaves 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.

• 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.

Study Findings
• 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.
• Antimicrobial / Fruit: A fruit extract of Luffa acutangula was found to have more potent antibacterial and antifungal activity than leaf extract. Staph aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa species showed higher sensitivity to the leaf and fruit extracts.
• Hepatoprotective / CCl4 and Rifampicin Induced Toxicity : Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract for hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and rifampicin- induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Results showed significant hepatoprotection. Results suggest the contribution of endogenous antioxidants and inhibition of lipid peroxidation of membrane to its hepatoprotective property.
• Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic: Study evaluating methanolic and aqueous fruit extracts of L. acutangula fruits showed antihyperlipidemic and antidiabetic activity, with the methanol extract superior to the water extract.
• Cardioprotective / Nephroprotective / Doxorubicin Induced Toxicity: Study evaluated the protective effect of a hydroalcoholic extract of L. acutangula o doxorubicin induced cardio- and nephrotoxicity in mice. The protective activity was attributed to its antioxidant property with resulting membrane stabilization.
• Anticancer / Apoptosis / Leaf Extracts: Study evaluated leaf extracts of Luffa acutangula and Lippia nodiflora for in vitro anticancer effect against human lung cancer cell line (NCI-H460). Results showed high antiproliferative activity against the cell line tested.
• Gastroprotective / Anti-Ulcer: Study evaluated various extracts of L. acutangula for gastroprotective effect on type 2 diabetic rats. A methanolic extract produced significantly increase mucosal glycoprotein and antioxidant enzyme levels in gastric mucosa of diabetic rats. The ulcer healing effect was better than glibenclamide and the water extract.
• Attenuation of Oxidative Damage in Human Erythrocyte: Study evaluated the ability of L. acutangula to attenuate t-BPH induced oxidative damage in human erythrocyte. A methanolic extract exhibited higher antioxidant activity compared to other extracts. Results showed the aqueous fraction of fruit possess a beneficial role in mitigating t-BPH induced oxidative stress in erythrocyte.
• Apoptosis Inducing Activity in Leukemia Cells: Study showed partially purified methanolic extract, F-3, dose dependently induced apoptosis in leukemia cell line HL-60, probably mediated by an intrinsic pathway.
• Gastroprotective / Anti-Ulcer: Study on L. acutangula Roxb. var. amara ethanolic seed extract showed potent antioxidant activity by DPPH assay, significant anti-inflammatory activity (diclofenac as standard) and significant analgesic activity.
• Antiproliferative / Antiangiogenic / Fruit Extracts: Study evaluated L. acutangula fruit for its potential as anti-cancer agent. Results showed significant antiproliferative activity on human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial cell line (A-549).
• Antioxygenic Activity on Peroxidation Models: Ridge gourd pulp and peel powders and various fractions were evaluated for antioxygenic activity. Peel powder and its extracts showed slightly higher antioxygenic activity than gourd pulp powder and its extracts, probably because of higher phenolic and flavonoid contents.

Common market vegetable.
Seeds and sponges in the cybermarket.