English Name: luffa fiber, luffa vegetable sponge
Literal Translation: “net of string melon”
Pharmaceutical Name: Retinervus Luffae Fructus
Medica Category: Substances for Topical Application
Properties: Si Gua Luo enters the Lung, Stomach, and Liver channels; it is sweet in nature and neutral/slightly cool in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Si Gua Luo is the dried skeleton of a sponge-like vegetable that is native to India and China known as the sponge gourd or the Vietnamese luffa (Luffa cylindrica (L.) Roem.). It is a cylindrical vegetable resembling a long, thick cucumber with a hard rind and a fibrous cells and seeds within. The young fruit can be made into soup and consumed; otherwise, Si Gua Luo is usually calcined for use as medicine. It can be decocted or ground into powder for internal use or made into a paste for topical applications.
Si Gua Luo eliminates toxins and dissolves phlegm to address toxic swellings, abscesses, sores, and lesions.
Si Gua Luo opens peripheral channels and collaterals and dispels wind to treat bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome) that manifests as muscles aches, spasms, and cramps. This herb also acts to dispel pain arising from qi, blood, or phlegm stagnation in the channels as well.
Si Gua Luo opens channels and collaterals in the breast and is used in formula to promote lactation, and relieve breast distention and pain in cases of stagnation.
Si Gua Luo (charred) stops bleeding (e.g. in hematochezia and profuse uterine bleeding).