The loofah is a fibrous seed pod. It is part of the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family. They are also known as Vietnamese luffa, Vietnamese gourd, Chinese okra, luffa, sponge gourd, and many other names around the world. They are first a vegetable, second a sponge. Vegetable you say....yes you can eat them.
They can be harvested at an early stage and eaten. Most people don't know this I have found out. They are best eaten when they are small and green like a cucumber. They are a common ingredient in soups and stir fry in Vietnam. In some Western countries it is known as a butter squash and eaten when it is still tender and green.
As the plant fully develops it becomes very fibrous. This is the stage it becomes a sponge.
other facts to know...
Another unknown fact is the juice from a loofah is also a natural remedy for jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin or eyes due to an imbalance of the bodies chemical levels. You get the juice by pounding the bitter loofah and squeezing it through a cloth. The loofah has to be green and tender to do this. This is a great option for someone looking for another natural remedy.
In Paraguay, panels are made out of loofah combined with other vegetable matter and recycled plastic. They can also be used to make tables or used in building houses there.
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