Si Gua Luo (Retinervus Luffae Fructus)

What Is Si Gua Luo

Si Gua Luo commonly known as Retinervus Luffae Fructus is the fiber bundle of the ripe fruit of Luffa cylindrica, which is an annual dicotyledonous vine belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. It is a relatively practical and common Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Compendium of Materia Medica> in 1,578 AD.

There are 9 species of Luffa, which are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. Among them, the common species are Luffa cylindrica and Luffa acutangula.

Luffa cylindrica commonly known as Luffa aegyptiaca, Sponge Gourd, Egyptian cucumber, or Vietnamese luffa is a short-day plant. This plant originated in tropical Asia and is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They are important vegetables and medicinal plants in many countries. The fiber bundles of their ripe fruits are used as kitchen and bathroom sponges.

Luffa cylindrica

In summer and autumn, people gather the yellow inner dried fruits of Luffa cylindrica, remove their outer skin and pulp, wash them with water, dry them in the sun, remove their seeds, cut them into segments, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.

Si Gua Luo contains xylan, mannan, galactan, organic acids, cellulose, and proteins.

Generally, light yellowish-white Si Gua Luo with a lightweight, flexible, and cannot be broken is preferred.

According to <Compendium of Materia Medica>, the medicinal property of Si Gua Luo is relatively neutral, with a sweet taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the lung, stomach, and liver meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to expel wind and activate meridians, promote blood circulation and lactation, and treat rheumatic arthralgia, muscular spasms, limb paralysis, distending pain in the hypochondrium, chest discomfort, chloasma, herpes zoster, toothache, traumatic injury, chronic pharyngolaryngitis, asthma, bronchitis, menoxenia, menstrual breast pain with lumps, the proliferation of mammary gland, acute mastitis, postpartum rheumatism, postpartum gout, prolapse of uterus, synovitis, hemorrhoid, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, and thyroid adenoma. It is an important component of Ru He Nei Xiao Granules and Hua Mo Yan Capsules.


  • Anti-inflammation, inhibiting carrageenan-induced paw swelling in rats and sterile cotton ball-induced mouse granulation tissue growth.
  • Increasing the pain threshold and inhibiting pain caused by thermal, electrical, and chemical stimulation in mice.
  • Inhibiting the increase of body weight in hyperlipidemia rats and reducing the serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels.
  • Inhibiting the activity of α-glucosidase and reducing the blood glucose level of rats induced by streptozotocin.
  • Expelling wind and activating meridians, treating rheumatic arthralgia, muscular spasms, and limb paralysis.
  • Promoting blood circulation, treating distending pain in hypochondrium caused by stagnation of qi and blood.
  • Promoting lactation, treating hypogalactia, galactostasis, and acute mastitis.
  • Its decoction can increase the urine output of rats with chronic congestive heart failure and promote the excretion of uric acid.
  • Its decoction has a protective effect on acute myocardial ischemia in mice induced by pituitrin, and can reduce serum lactate dehydrogenase and MDA content in myocardial tissue, and increase superoxide dismutase activity in myocardial tissue.


Side Effects

At present, there are no reports in the literature that Si Gua Luo has toxic effects, and there are no reports of serious adverse reactions when it is taken according to the prescribed dose.

Animal experiments have shown that its decoction can cause reduced spontaneous activity, reduced diet, raised hair, and even death in experimental animals.

Precautions and Warnings

  • The dosage of Si Gua Luo should be controlled at 5-12g.
  • It can be made into decoctions, capsules, or mashed for external use.
  • People who are allergic to Si Gua Luo should not take it.
  • Pregnant and lactating women should take it under medical supervision.