Bitter Sponge (Luffa echinata) Home Remedies: Headache, Liver Disorders

By Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu) PhD (Ayu)
Devadali is an Ayurvedic herb used for inducing therapeutic Vamana (emesis) and Virechana (purgation) Panchakarma. This action is called ‘Ubhayato bhagahara’. 


Devadali is Luffa echinata Roxb.
Cucurbitaceae family.
English names – Bristly Luffa, Bitter Sponge, Bitter Luffa, Rag gounrd.

The plants are commonly found in the states like Gujarat, Bihar, Uttara pradesh, West Bengal etc.
The plants are found in three sub varieties without change in the qualities and action. The varieties to point out are based upon the color and they are yellow-red and white.

Another botanical variety is Luffa graveolens Roxb and is similar in therapeutic action. The seeds are used more in clinical application. The whole plants can also be used; but with lesser benefits.

Devadali as bitter in taste, hot and severe/deep penetrative (teekshna) in action and Kaphavatahara. This is found to be good in the conditions like worm infestation, food poisoning, gaseous tumors, phlegm accumulated conditions, hemorrhoids etc.
Echinatin is the most dominant chemical constituent of this drug.
Read related: Luffa echinata: Uses, Dose, Research, Side Effects

Home remedies

Jaundice, headache

1. Seed cold infusion errhine (nasya) for jaundice and headache:
The seeds or fruit is soaked in a cup of water and kept overnight. This is squeezed well and cold infusion obtained is used to instill into the nostrils in the dose of 2-3 drops once in a day, early in the morning, preferably in empty stomach. This leads to mild purgation and vomiting followed with profuse nasal discharge. This recipe is effective in jaundice and head ache conditions.


2. Hot infusion or decoction of the plant for wound washing:
The dried plants are taken and its decoction or hot infusion is made. This is used to wash the wounds and ulcers.

Alcoholic liver disease

3. Fine powder of the seed for gaseous tumors and alcoholic liver disorders:
Seeds are soaked in cow’s urine or fresh juice of ash gourd for 3-4 hours. Later it is made into fine paste and kept for drying (under the sunshine).This powder is administered in the dose of 125-250 mg along with honey, sugar cane juice or jaggery water. This is effective in gaseous tumors and alcoholic liver disorders.

Abdominal worms

4. Hot infusion of the plant for abdominal worms:
Hot infusion of the plant (dried) is administered in the abdominal worms of the adults, in the dose of 20-30 ml. This gives significant benefits, if the medication is continued for 5-6 days.

Devadali is hot in potency and penetrative in action. It should not be administered to the pregnant and young and old aged people. Also, the patients who are suffering from debility, abdominal ulcers, fatigue etc should avoid this.   “ Proper dose of the substance determines the action of the drug as medicine and poison”-This famous quote appears 100% true with respect to the herbal drug Devadali.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu)

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