Ever heard of the modest-looking Loofah, also called as Luffa. It is a simple bath accessory used since time immemorial to clean and exfoliate the skin. This belongs to the cucumber family. Earlier people thought it was got from the sea, made of sea sponge due to their spongy nature. But these are dried gourds obtained from the cucumber family. It is believed to be an Old World plant having its origins in Asia & Africa. Carbon dating showed it to be the first plant to be domesticated. The Egyptians were the first to use it as a bath sponge.
Being an inexpensive, multipurpose scrubbing and bathing tool people have never bothered to find out its origin or uniqueness. People have come up with synthetic versions which resemble the original loofahs in shape but differ in colour. These nylon versions aren’t so good as the original, plant loofahs.
How are these loofahs made–
- These gourds are grown in tropical and subtropical regions.
- The plant produces flowers which are long and gourd-like in shape resembling a cucumber
- The fruits are left to mature on the vines
- Once these fruits change colour and turn yellow or brown they are plucked.
- The tough outer skin is peeled and the seeds are removed.
- Then the sap is washed out of the plant with a strong spray of water.
- These wet sponges are dried in the sun
- It takes around 6 months for them to dry, then they can be stored in cloth bags to prevent them from dirt & dust
Uses of the loofah sponge-
- Helps in exfoliation by sloughing off the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
- Exfoliation brings a glow to the skin and keeps the bacteria at bay
- Relaxation and peace of mind- showering with a loofah helps to relieve tension and brings about tranquillity in the person.
- It is made from natural things so doesn’t cause any harm to the skin.
- It is biodegradable so can be used without any fear of the environment
- Stimulates blood circulation of the body
- Loofah is even used as a household cleaning product
- Loofah is used in the scrubbing of pots, tiles, sink & showers
- Loofah fibres are used as medicine. Loofah charcoal obtained after heating of loofah fibres is used to cure shingles of the face and the eye region
- The dried loofah can be powdered and used in skin care products to detoxify the skin
- The unripe loofah fruits are eaten as vegetables
- The dried loofah is used to alleviate arthritic pain, muscle pain and chest pain
- It is economical and easy to use.
Use loofah sponge for that soft, clean and flawless skin
Dr PREETI TALWAR