While researching medicinal plants found in Mexico for a medicinal plant garden I am designing in Cuixmala, Mexico, I was astonished to read about a use for luffa I was unaware of. Luffa grows on a vine, and when the luffa-pod is harvested and the outer skin peeled off, it is used most commonly as a natural scrubber for many cleaning purposes from scrubbing dishes, to scrubbing your back in the bath or shower. I have a small soft one I use to exfoliate my face with. According to Mexican medicinal plant lists, luffa, known as Estropajo, is used in the treatment of head lice. The directions and application is quite simple: pick the luffas when they are less than 5 inches long, and are still soft inside. Peel the skin off and mash the fruit in water, then use as a hair rinse.
Additionally, previously used and tired luffas can be used in the garden as a seed starter medium. Just plant directly in the ground once the plant has roots. It can also be composted following use.
*If you or anyone you know tries out this toxin-free method and it works, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!