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Agave (Agave americana)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Agavaceae, Agave abortiva, Agave abrupta, Agave acicularis, Agave acklinicola, Agave affinis, Agave ajoensis, Agave aktites, Agave albescens, Agave albomarginata, Agave angustiarum, Agave angustifolia, Agave angustissima, Agave anomala, Agave antillarum Agave antillarum var. grammontensis, Agave applanata, Agave arizonica, Agave arubensis, Agave aspera, Agave asperrima, Agave attenuata, Agave aurea,Agave avellanidens, Agave bahamana, Agave bakeri, Agave banlan, Agave barbadensis, Agave baxteri, Agave bergeri, Agave bernhardi, Agave boldinghiana, Agave bollii, Agave botterii, Agave bouchei, Agave bourgaei, Agave bovicornuta, Agave braceana, Agave brachystachys, Agave bracteosa, Agave brandegeei, Agave brauniana, Agave breedlovei, Agave brevipetala, Agave breviscapa, Agave brevispina, Agave brittonia, Agave bromeliaefolia, Agave brunnea, Agave bulbifera, Agave cacozela, Agave cajalbanensis, Agave calderoni, Agave calodonta, Agave campanulata, Agave cantala, Agave capensis, Agave carchariodonta, Agave caribaea, Agave caribiicola, Agave carminis, Agave caroli-schmidtii, Agave celsii, Agave cernua, Agave cerulata, Agave chiapensis, Agave chihuahuana, Agave chinensis, Agave chisosensis, Agave chloracantha, Agave chrysantha, Agave chrysoglossa, Agave coccinea, Agave cocui, Agave coespitosa, Agave colimana, Agave collina, Agave colorata, Agave compacta, Agave complicata, Agave compluviata, Agave concinna, Agave congesta, Agave conjuncta, Agave connochaetodon, Agave consociata, Agave convallis, Agave corderoyi, Agave costaricana, Agave cucullata, Agave cundinamarcensis, Agave cupreata, Agave dasyliriodes, Agave datylio, Agave davilloni, Agave de-meesteriana, Agave dealbata, Agave deamiana, Agave debilis, Agave decaisneana, Agave decipiens, Agave delamateri, Agave densiflora, Agave dentiens,Agave deserti, Agave desmettiana, Agave diacantha, Agave difformis, Agave disceptata, Agave disjuncta, Agave dissimulans, Agave donnell-smithii, Agave durangensis, Agave dussiana, Agave eborispina, Agave eduardi, Agave eggersiana, Agave ehrenbergii, Agave eichlami, Agave ekmani, Agave elizae, Agave ellemeetiana, Agave endlichiana, Agave engelmanni, Agave entea, Agave erosa, Agave evadens, Agave excelsa, Agave expansa, Agave expatriata, Agave falcata, Agave felgeri, Agave felina, Agave fenzliana, Agave ferdinandi-regis, Agave filifera, Agave flaccida, Agave flaccifolia, Agave flavovirens, Agave flexispina, Agave fortiflora,Agave fourcroydes, Agave fragrantissima, Agave franceschiana, Agave franzosini, Agave friderici, Agave funifera, Agave funkiana, Agave galeottei, Agave garciae-mendozae, Agave geminiflora, Agave gentryi, Agave ghiesbrechtii, Agave glabra, Agave glaucescens, Agave goeppertiana, Agave glomeruliflora, Agave gracilipes, Agave gracilis, Agave grandibracteata, Agave granulosa, Agave grenadina, Agave grijalvensis, Agave grisea, Agave guadalajarana, Agave guatemalensis, Agave guedeneyri, Agave guiengola, Agave gutierreziana, Agave guttata, Agave gypsophila, Agave hanburii, Agave harrisii, Agave hartmani, Agave haseloffii, Agave hauniensis, Agave havardiana,Agave haynaldi, Agave henriquesii, Agave hexapetala, Agave hiemiflora, Agave hookeri, Agave horizontalis, Agave horrida, Agave houghii, Agave huachucaensis, Agave huehueteca, Agave humboldtiana, Agave hurteri, Agave impressa, Agave inaequidens, Agave inaguensis, Agave indagatorum, Agave ingens, Agave inopinabilis, Agave integrifolia, Agave intermixta, Agave intrepida, Agave isthmensis, Agave jaiboli, Agave jarucoensis, Agave karatto, Agave kellermaniana, Agave kerchovei, Agave kewensis, Agave kirchneriana, Agave lagunae, Agave langlassei, Agave laticincta, Agave latifolia, Agave laurentiana, Agave laxa, Agave laxifolia,Agavelecheguilla, Agave lemairei, Agave lempana, Agave lespinassei, Agave lindleyi, Agave littaeaoides, Agave longipes, Agave longisepala, Agave lophantha, Agave lurida, Agave macrantha, Agave macroacantha, Agave macroculmis, Agave maculata, Agave madagascariensis, Agave mapisaga, Agave margaritae, Agavemarginata, Agave marmorata, Agave martiana, Agave maximiliana, Agave maximowicziana, Agave mayoensis, Agave mckelveyana, Agave medio-picta, Agave medioxima, Agave megalacantha, Agave melanacantha, Agave melliflua, Agave mexicana, Agave micracantha, Agave millspaughii, Agave minarum, Agave mirabilis, Agave missionum, Agave mitis, Agave monostachya, Agave montana, Agave montserratensis, Agave moranii, Agave morrisii, Agave muilmanni, Agave mulfordiana, Agave multifilifera, Agave multiflora, Agave multilineata, Agave murpheyi, Agave oaxacensis, Agave nashii, Agave nayaritensis, Agave neglecta, Agave nelsoni, Agave nevadensis, Agave nevidis, Agave newberyi, Agave nickelsi, Agave nissoni, Agave nizandensis, Agave noli-tangere, Agave obducta, Agave oblongata, Agave obscura, Agave ocahui, Agave offoyana, Agave oligophylla, Agave oliverana, Agave opacidens, Agave orcuttiana, Agave ornithobroma, Agave oroensis, Agave ovatifolia, Agave oweni, Agave pachyacantha, Agave pachycentra, Agave pacifica, Agave pallida, Agave palmaris, Agave palmeri, Agave pampaniniana, Agave panamana, Agave papyriocarpa, Agave parryi, Agave parvidentata,Agave parviflora, Agave patonii, Agave paucifolia, Agave paupera, Agave pavoliniana, Agave peacockii, Agave pedrosana, Agave pedunculifera, Agave pelona, Agave perplexans, Agave pes-mulae, Agave petiolata, Agave petrophila, Agave phillipsiana, Agave picta, Agave planera, Agave polianthiflora, Agave polianthoides, Agave portoricensis, Agave potatorum, Agave potosina, Agave potrerana, Agave prainiana, Agave promontorii, Agave prostrata, Agave protamericana, Agave protuberans, Agave pruinosa, Agave pseudotequilana, Agave pugioniformis, Agave pulcherrima, Agave pulchra, Agave pumila, Agave punctata, Agave purpurea, Agave purpusorum, Agave pygmae, Agave quadrata, Agave quiotifera, Agave ragusae, Agave rasconensis, Agave regia, Agave revoluta, Agave rhodacantha, Agave rigida, Agave roezliana, Agave rudis, Agave rupicola, Agave rutteniae, Agave rzedowskiana, Agave salmdyckii, Agave salmiana, Agave samalana, Agave sartorii, Agave scaphoidea, Agave scaposa, Agave scheuermaniana, Agave schildigera, Agave schneideriana,Agave schottii, Agave scolymus, Agave sebastiana, Agave seemanniana, Agave serrulata, Agave sessiliflora, Agave shafer, Agave shawii, Agave shrevei, Agave sicaefolia, Agave simony, Agave sisalana, Agave sleviniana, Agave smithiana, Agave sobolifera, Agave sobria, Agave sordida, Agave striata, Agave stricta, Agave stringens, Agave subinermis, Agave subsimplex, Agave subtilis, Agave subzonata, Agave sullivani, Agave tecta, Agave tenuifolia, Agave tenuispina, Agave teopiscana, Agave tequilana, Agave terraccianoi, Agave theometel, Agave thomasae, Agave thomsoniana, Agave tigrina, Agave titanota, Agave todaroi, Agave toneliana, Agave tortispina, Agave toumeyana, Agave troubetskoyana, Agave tubulata, Agave underwoodii, Agave unguiculata, Agave utahensis, Agave van-grolae, Agave vandervinneni, Agave ventum-versa, Agave vernae, Agave verschaffeltii, Agave vestita, Agave vicina, Agave victoriae-reginae, Agave vilmoriniana, Agave viridissima, Agave vivipara, Agave vizcainoensis, Agave wallisii, Agave warelliana, Agave washingtonensis, Agave watsoni, Agave weberi, Agave weingartii, Agave wendtii, Agave wercklei, Agave wiesenbergensis, Agave wightii, Agave wildingii, Agave winteriana, Agave wislizeni, Agave wocomahi, Agave woodrowi, Agave wrightii, Agave xylonacantha, Agave yaquiana, Agave yuccaefolia, Agave zapupe, Agave zebra, Agave zonata, Agave zuccarinii, American aloe, Arizona agave, Arizona century plant, bald agave, blue agave, Cantala, century plant, Chisos mountain century plant, coastal agave, corita, cow's horn agave, desert agave, desert century plant, dragon tree agave, drunkard agave, dwarf century plant, dwarf octopus agave, eggers' century plant, chisos agave, false sisal, foxtail agave, golden flowered agave, golden flower century plant, hardy century plant, Havard's century plant, henequen, hohokam agave, ixtle de jaumave, leather agave, Lecheguilla, little princess agave, maguey, Maguey bandeado, Maguey chato, Maguey del Bravo, Maguey de Desierto, Maguey de Havard, Maguey de la India, Maguey de montaña, Maguey de pastizal, Maguey de Sisal, Maguey de tlalcoyote, Maguey diente de tiburn, Maguey Henequen, Maguey lechuguilla, Maguey liso, Maguey mezortillo, Maguey pajarito, Maguey primavera, Maguey spero, Maguey sbari, Mckelvey Agave, McKelvey's century plant, Mescal ceniza, Mescalito, Mexican Sisal, Mezcal azul tequilero, Mezcal yapavai, Murphey Agave, Murphey's century plant, Octopus Agave, Palmer Agave, Palmer century plant, Palmer's century plant, Parry Agave, Parry's Agave, Puerto Rico century plant, Pulque, Queen Victoria's Agave, Rough Century Plant, Smallflower agave, smallflower century Plant, Schott Agave, Schott's Century Plant, Sisal, Sisal Hemp, Shindagger, Smooth Agave, Squid Agave, St. Croix agave, Slimfoot century plant, Swan's Neck Agave, Tequila, Tequila Agave, Thorncrest century plant, Thread-leaf agave, Toumey agave, Toumey's century plant, Utah agave, Weber agave, Weber blue agave, Weber's century plant, wild century plant.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Agaves are succulent plants from the family Agavaceae, which includes Beschorneria, Furcraea, Hesperaloe, Manfreda, Polianthes, Prochnyanthes and Yucca. Agave plants are common in the American southwest, Mexico, central and tropical South America, the Mediterranean and some parts of India. Plants in the Agavaceae family are recognizable by their distinctive rosettes, which are composed of thick, hard, rigid leaves often with marginal teeth and usually with a sharp terminal spine and flower spikes. There are over 200 known species of Agave; many produce musky odors that attract bats serve to pollinate them, while others produce sweet odors to attract insects (1).
  • Agave americana is also known as the American aloe, although it is not related to the true aloes. The leaves of the agave plant yield fibers suitable for textile production. The native people in Mexico used the agave spikes to make pens, nails and needles. Agave sisalana, the source of sisal fiber, is cultivated in plantations in Africa and Asia. The flowering stem can be dried or roasted and eaten; the seeds can be ground into flour to make bread or used as a thickener for soups. A sweet liquid (sap) called agua miel (honey water) gathers in the plant if the stem is cut before flowering. This sap is collected over a period of about two months, and can then be fermented to produce the alcoholic beverage pulque (octili), which Native Americans use in religious ceremonies. Further distillation creates Mescal (mezcal). A form of tequila is made when Mescal is produced from the Blue Agave (Agave tequilana) plant within the Tequila region of Mexico. This is the most important economic use of agave, worth millions of dollars to the Mexican economy. Mescal is often sold with the caterpillar of the agave moth in the bottle.
  • Agave is also useful as a sugar alternative because with a 90% fructose, it has a low glycemic index. Steroid hormone precursors are obtained from the leaves. Pulque prepared from Agave species was a food item studied intensively for nutrition potential among traditional and indigenous peoples, and is an example of how local food-based strategies can be used to ensure micronutrient nutrition. Traditional food strategies could be used not only for alleviating malnutrition, but also for developing locally relevant programs for stemming the nutrition transition and preventing chronic disease, particularly among indigenous and traditional peoples who retain knowledge of using food species in their local ecosystems (2).

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.