Luffa operculata L.


For centuries sponge cucumber has been used in folk medicine in South America as a purgative, an emetic, an anti-asthmatic and diuretic. Here, Luffa is known as Espoñjilla, meaning ‘little sponge’.

In Brazil it is known as cabacinho or casadores and is regarded as a universal remedy for constipation, swollen tissue, tumerous growths and water retention. It is also used in cases of hyposmia (reduced sense of smell). Willmar Schwabe brought this herbal remedy back with him from an expedition to the indigenous peoples of Columbia and introduced it to the International Homeopathic League in 1962.

Luffa operculata is a smaller version of L. cylindrica, otherwise   known as the loofah sponge, the fibrous interior of which is used in the production of massage brushes or gloves. L. cylindrica is also used for medicinal purposes.

Botanical characteristics

This annual climber has an angular stem and can grow to a height of three metres. Its kidney and heart-shaped leaves have three to five lobes and are 10 to 12 cm in length. The stamenless pale yellow flowers, which are to be found on the leaf axils, produce a pointed   cylindrical fruit about the size of a plum. On the lengthways ribs, the grey, pumpkin-like fruit is covered in short prickles. The fruit's interior contains pithy tissue, a finely woven fibrous tissue and pale-brown, flat seeds.



Luffa originates from Columbia, Peru, Brazil and Mexico and is cultivated in areas where it occurs naturally.



A.Vogel uses a homeopathic dilution in accordance with the current Homoopathisches Arzneibuch (HAB) (New Official Homoeopathic Pharmacopeia). The dried fruits of Luffa operculata L. are used.

In its country of origint, the spongy tissue of the dried fruit is used as a medicinal remedy and as a cosmetic sponge