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Luffa (Luffa operculata)

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Also listed as: Luffa operculata
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • AirDefense®, angled loofah, buchinha-do-norte (Portuguese - Brazil), cabacinha, Cucurbitaceae (family), dammarane-type triterpene glycosides, esponjilla (Spanish - Latin America), esponjuelo (Spanish - Latin America), glucosides, isocucurbitacine B, loofa, loofah, Luffa quinquefida, Luffaschwamm (German), luperosides, Momordica operculata, neocucurbitacin A, neocucurbitacin B, opercurin A, opercurin B, pashte (Spanish), Poppya operculata, saponins, sigualuo, SinuFix Mist®, Sinusin®, wild loofa.
  • Note:Luffa aegyptiaca, also known as Luffa cylindrica (common name synonyms include dishcloth sponge, silky loofah, smooth loofah, sponge cucumber, vegetable sponge, and water gourd; the dried fruit is popularly used as a bath sponge) is another species of Cucurbitaceae that is not covered in this monograph.

Background
  • Luffa operculata is a plant in the family Cucurbitaceae. In some cultures, young luffa fruits are eaten as vegetables.
  • Traditionally, an infusion from the dried fruit is taken into the nose, where it causes the release of mucus, thereby relieving many nasal symptoms.
  • Well-designed clinical trials in support of Luffa operculata for any use are lacking. Further research is required.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Limited research reports that a combination of herbs and minerals that contained Luffa operculata lessened symptoms of hay fever. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

C


There is a lack of high-quality scientific evidence on the use of Luffa operculata for hay fever. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abortion inducing, amenorrhea, arthritis, asthma, chest pain, chronic cough, chronic rhinitis, common cold prevention (general), common cold treatment, constipation (laxative), dry mouth (xerostomia), lactation stimulation, migraine, muscle pain, nasal discomfort, nasal inflammation, respiratory problems, snake bites, sneezing, sore throat, ulcers (mouth), wheezing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is a lack of safety or efficacy information regarding the use of Luffa operculata in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is a lack of safety or efficacy information regarding the use of Luffa operculata in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to Luffa operculata or other members of the Cucurbitaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • One gram of Luffa operculata extract taken by mouth may be lethal for a 70 kilogram adult.
  • Chronic use of Luffa operculata in a nasal spray may produce changes in the lining of the nose and sinuses. Other side effects include headaches, light sensitivity, lack of concentration, absent-mindedness, irritation, nasal irritation, nosebleeds, or inability to smell.
  • Use cautiously in patients who suffer from nosebleeds, nasal irritation, or necrosis of the nasal pyramids, because Luffa operculata may cause nosebleeds.
  • Avoid in patients taking agents via inhalation, as Luffa operculata may produce changes in the lining of the nose and sinuses and thereby alter the effect of the medicines or herbs in the nasal spray.
  • Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to Luffa operculata or other members of the Cucurbitaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Not recommended due to lack of sufficient data.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Luffa may interact with anticancer agents, bisphosphonates, intranasal agents (nose sprays), or respiratory agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Luffa may interact with anticancer agents, intranasal agents (nose sprays), or respiratory agents.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Adler, M. Efficacy and safety of a fixed-combination homeopathic therapy for sinusitis. Adv.Ther. 1999;16(2):103-111.
  2. Kawahara, N., Kurata, A., Hakamatsuka, T., Sekita, S., and Satake, M. Two novel cucurbitacins, neocucurbitacins A and B, from the Brazilian folk medicine "Buchinha" (Luffa operculata) and their effect on PEBP2alphaA and OCIF gene expression in a human osteoblast-like Saos-2 cell line. Chem.Pharm.Bull.(Tokyo) 2001;49(10):1377-1379.
  3. Kawahara, N., Kurata, A., Hakamatsuka, T., Sekita, S., and Satake, M. Two new cucurbitacin glucosides, opercurins A and B, from the Brazilian folk medicine "Buchinha" (Luffa operculata). Chem.Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2004;52(8):1018-1020.
  4. Kloss, P. [On the bitter substance from Luffa operculata Cogn.]. Arch Pharm Ber.Dtsch.Pharm Ges. 1966;299(4):351-355.
  5. Menon-Miyake, M. A., Saldiva, P. H., Lorenzi-Filho, G., Ferreira, M. A., Butugan, O., and Oliveira, R. C. Luffa operculata effects on the epithelium of frog palate: histological features. Braz.J Otorhinolaryngol. 2005;71(2):132-138.
  6. Menon-Miyake, M. A., Carvalho de, Oliveira R., Lorenzi-Filho, G., Saldiva, P. H., and Butugan, O. Luffa operculata affects mucociliary function of the isolated frog palate. Am J Rhinol. 2005;19(4):353-357.
  7. Matos, F. D. J. and Gottlieb, O. R. Isocucurbitacine B Cytotoxic Constituant of Luffa Operculata. So Anais Da Acadamia Brasileira De Ciencias 1967;39(2):245.
  8. Weiser, M., Gegenheimer, L. H., and Klein, P. A randomized equivalence trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Luffa comp.-Heel nasal spray with cromolyn sodium spray in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Forsch.Komplementarmed. 1999;6(3):142-148.
  9. Wiesenauer, M., Gaus, W., Bohnacker, U., and Haussler, S. [Efficiency of homeopathic preparation combinations in sinusitis. Results of a randomized double blind study with general practitioners]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1989;39(5):620-625.
  10. Wiesenauer, M., Gaus, W., Bohnacker, U., and Haussler, S. [Efficiency of homeopathic preparation combinations in sinusitis. Results of a randomized double blind study with general practitioners]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1989;39(5):620-625.
  11. ZIEGLER, E. [ON THE PROBLEM OF SUPPORTIVE HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF THROAT, NOSE AND EAR DISEASES, DISCUSSED WITH LUFFA OPERCULATA AS AN EXAMPLE.]. HNO 1963;11:351-352.
  12. ZIEGLER, E. [LUFFA OPERCULATA AS A HOMEOPATHIC DRUG IN THROAT, NOSE AND EAR DISEASES.]. Landarzt. 1-20-1964;40:78-79.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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