|Scientific names||Common names|
|Agave altissima name Zumagl.||Magey (most Philippine dialects)|
|Agave americana name L.||Agave (Tag.)|
|Agave complicata Trel. ex Ochot.||American agave (Engl.)|
|Agave cordillerensis Lodé & Pino||Century plant (Engl.)|
|Agave felina Trel.||Flowering aloe (Engl.)|
|Agave fuerstengergii Hacobi||Spiked aloe (Engl.)|
|Agave gracilispina (Rol.-Goss.) Engelm. ex Trel.||Maguey (Engl.)|
|Agave ingens A.Berger|
|Agave melliflua Trel.|
|Agave milleri Haw.|
|Agave ornata Jacobi|
|Agave picta Salm-Dyck|
|Agave rasconensis Trel.|
|Agave subtilis Trel.|
|Agave subzonata Trel.|
|Agave theometel Zuccagni|
|Agave zonata Trel.|
|Aloe americana (L.) Crantz|
|Agave americana L. is an accepted name|
|Agave, derived from the scientific name is the adopted common name for most agave species: (1) Magey, maguey, agave, Agave americana (2) Agave, sword agave, Agave vivipara L.|
|Other vernacular names|
|FINNISH: Raita agave.|
|HINDI: Kamal cactus, Gwarpatha.|
|SPANISH: Maguey espadin.|
Agave is a tropical plant with about 300 species. The leaves are fibrous, growing upward from the ground forming a massive rosette. Both sides of the leaves are smooth, with prickly edges and a thorny tips. The plant produces a flower stalk in about ten years, and dies after the fruit ripens. The pineapple-shaped heart of the plant yields a sweet sticky juice, agave nectar.
– In thickets at low and medium altitudes.
– Study isolated two new spirostanol glycosides: agamenoside A and B.
-Study yielded a new steroidal saponin: a bisdesmosidic spirostanol saponin. (3)
– Studies on chemical composition of leaves yielded high amount of total dietary fiber (38.40%), total sugars (45.83%), and protein (35.33%), with a relatively low ash content (5.94%) and lipid (2.03%). Agave inulin showed significant differences when compared to commercial inulin. (8)
– Study of leaves isolated tigogenin, hecogenin, 9-dehydrohecogenin, rockogenin,12-epirockogenin, gitogenin, chlorogenin and manogenin. (10)
– Considered antiseptic, depurative, diuretic and laxative.
– Studies suggest antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.
– Leaves, sap.
– The pineapple-shaped heart of the plant yields a sweet sticky juice, agave nectar, which can be made into a syrup and used as a sweetener, with a taste similar to honey.
Folkloric traditional medicine uses of agave
– For cleansing the blood, a cup daily of an infusion of two grams of finely chopped leaves in each cup of water.
– Infusion of the leaves used as disinfectant and tonic for falling hair.
– Sap of leaves used internally for wound healing and inflammations.
– Infusion of the plant with honey to soothe irritation of the eyes.
– Decoction of leaves also used as wash for general eye problems.
– Powdered plant used for anemia, kidney diseases and liver problems.
– Agave is best known for its role in tequila.
Scientific studies on agave
Study yielded tetratriacontanol, tetratriacontyl hexadecanoate and a new 2-tritriacontylchromone; two of them exhibited significant antibacterial activity. (1)
Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extracts and steroidal sapogenins of Agave americana. Extracts showed good anti-inflammatory activity. (2)
• Hecogenin Tetraglycoside /Cytotoxic activity:
A new steroidal saponin from the leaves of Agave americana: Study isolated a new bisdesmosidic spirostanol saponin along with three known saponins. Hecogenin tetraglycoside showed cytotoxic activity against HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells.
• Cytotoxic activity:
Study evaluated the cytotoxicity of various parts of medicinal plants such as Agave americana, Strychnos nuxvomica and Areca catechu using MCF-7 and Vero cell line. Results showed the methanol extract of Agave americana and aqueous extract of Areca catechu are potent cytotoxic. (6)
• Fructosyl Transferase:
Study investigated the possible role of fructosyl transferase in the biosynthesis of fructosans in Agave americana. The possible mechanisms of fructosan biosynthesis from sucrose is discussed. (7)
• Anti-Anxiety / Leaves:
Study evaluated the anti-anxiety effects of an ethanolic extract of Agave americana leaves in rat and mice. Results obtained from experimental models confirmed the anxiolytic activity (400mg/kg) comparable to standard drug diazepam. Activity was attributed to flavonoid phytoconstituents. (9)
• Anti-Leishmanial / Leaves:
Study evaluated the comparative in vitro anti-leishmanial activity of various fractions of Agave americana extracts. An ethyl acetate fractions showed significant anti-leishmanial activity with IC50-25 µg/ml complete inhibition (IC50) at 50µg/ml. (11)
Study reports on the use of Agave americana fibers as a new low cost and abundant biosorbent to remove metal dye (Alpacide yellow) from aqueous solutions. Findings showed a spontaneous and endothermic biosorption process. (12)
• Agave Dermatitis:
Study reports on a case of Agave-induced purpura in an otherwise healthy patient. Histopathology was consistent with an evolving leukocytoclastic vasculitis. (13) Study reports on 12 cases of self-inflicted contact dermatitis provoked by Agave americana, ten with systemic signs and symptoms, 8 with abnormal laboratory results. Treatment consisted of oral antihistamines and topical saline compresses. (14)
• Contact Dermatitis
– The sap of Agave americana contains calcium oxalate crystals, acrid oils, saponins, among other compounds. Despite the known irritants, dermatitis is only rarely reported. (see study above) (13)
– A report of 12 cases of contact dermatitis secondary to intentional exposure in soldiers seeking sick leave. (see study above) (14)
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