The word "loofa" (also known as "loofah", "loufa" and "luffa") is derived from the Arabic word " lūfa" which means "plant".
A "gourd" describes a crop plant in the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, melons and loofas. Gourds produce large fruits with shells that harden when dry.
Loofa gourds look like giant zucchini or cucumber, often reaching over 14 feet!
Young loofa gourds are usually cooked and eaten just like squash, or used in salads instead of cucumbers. Longer and more mature loofa gourds have very fibrous tissue, which when dried, can be used as a bath and shower sponge.
When loofa gourds ripen, their skin becomes dry. After about 2 weeks of dehydrating, their skin hardens and turns brown. By peeling off the skin and removing the seeds, you are left with a loofa. The next step is to allow the loofa to dry. Once the loofa is dry and hard, soaking it in warm water for just one minute fluffs it up and turns it into a soft, fibrous sponge that's perfect for exfoliating in the shower.