AGAVE

OTHER NAME(S):

Agave americana, American Agave, American Aloe, Amerikanische Agave, Century Plant, Garingboom, Hundertjährige Agave, Maguey, Pita Común, Pite, Spreading Century Plant, Wild Century Plant.

Overview

Overview Information

Agave is a plant found in parts of the US, as well as Mexico, Central and South America, the Mediterranean, and some parts of India. The roots, sap, and juice of agave are used to make medicine.

Agave has been taken by mouth for constipation, indigestion, flatulence, jaundice, cancer, and diarrhea; to promote labor; and to promote urine production. Also, pulque, a beverage prepared from agave, has been taken by mouth by breast-feeding women to increase milk production. Agave has also been applied to the skin to treat bruises and to promote hair growth.

How does it work?

Some chemicals in agave can reduce swelling (inflammation), cause the uterus to contract, or prevent the growth of some cancer cells.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate agave for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

The agave plant is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for most adults when applied to the skin. Exposure to the fresh agave plant may cause swelling and redness, skin sores, and swelling of small blood vessels (veins) within minutes to hours of exposure. The sap appears to be the most irritating part of the plant.

Not enough is known about the safety of agave when taken by mouth.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Taking agave by mouth during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE. There is some evidence that agave might stimulate the uterus and cause contractions. Also, pulque, an agave beverage, is unsafe to use during pregnancy because it contains alcohol. Drinking pulque during pregnancy has been linked with smaller infant size and reduced mental performance during the first 6 months of life.

Agave is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use while breast-feeding. Drinking pulque while breast-feeding has been linked with slower weight gain and reduced growth by 5 years of age.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for AGAVE Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of agave depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for agave. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Backstrand JR, Allen LH, Martinez E, Pelto GH. Maternal consumption of pulque, a traditional central Mexican alcoholic beverage: relationships to infant growth and development. Public Health Nutr 2001;4(4):883-91. View abstract.
  • Backstrand JR, Goodman AH, Allen LH, Pelto GH. Pulque intake during pregnancy and lactation in rural Mexico: alcohol and child growth from 1 to 57 months. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58(12):1626-34. View abstract.
  • Basilio CM, Seyler L, Bernstein J, et al. Isolation and characterization of an utero-active compound from Agave americana. P R Health Sci J 1989;8(3):295-299. View abstract.
  • Borup LH, Meehan JJ, Severson JM, et al. Terminal spine of agave plant extracted from patient's spinal cord. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2003;181(4):1155-1156. View abstract.
  • Brazzelli V, Romano E, Balduzzi A, et al. Acute irritant contact dermatitis from Agave americana L. Contact Dermatitis 1995;33(1):60-61. View abstract.
  • Brenner S, Landau M, Goldberg I. Contact dermatitis with systemic symptoms from Agave americana. Dermatology 1998;196(4):408-411. View abstract.
  • Cherpelis BS, Fenske NA. Purpuric irritant contact dermatitis induced by Agave americana. Cutis 2000;66(4):287-8. View abstract.
  • Crawford GH, Eickhorst KM, McGovern TW. Botanical briefs: the century plant--Agave americana L. Cutis 2003;72(3):188-90. View abstract.
  • Danielson DR, Reinhard KJ. Human dental microwear caused by calcium oxalate phytoliths in prehistoric diet of the lower Pecos region, Texas. Am J Phys Anthropol 1998;107(3):297-304. View abstract.
  • Du Toit PJ. Isolation and partial characterization of a protease from Agave americana variegata. Biochim Biophys Acta 1976;429(3):895-911. View abstract.
  • Golan H, Landau M, Goldberg I, et al. [Dermatitis from contact with Agave americana]. Harefuah 2000;139(7-8):276-8, 326. View abstract.
  • High WA. Agave contact dermatitis. Am J Contact Dermat 2003;14(4):213-214. View abstract.
  • Kerner J, Mitchell J, Maibach HI. Irritant contact dermatitis from Agave americana L. Incorrect use of sap as "hair restorer". Arch Dermatol 1973;108(1):102-103. View abstract.
  • Narro-Robles J, Gutierrez-Avila JH, Lopez-Cervantes M, et al. [Liver cirrhosis mortality in Mexico. II. Excess mortality and pulque consumption]. Salud Publica Mex 1992;34(4):388-405. View abstract.
  • Peana AT, Moretti MD, Manconi V, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extracts and steroidal sapogenins of Agave americana. Planta Med 1997;63(3):199-202. View abstract.
  • Ricks MR, Vogel PS, Elston DM, et al. Purpuric agave dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;40(2 Pt 2):356-358. View abstract.
  • Villarreal R, Martinez O, Berumen U, Jr. Phytobezoar from the stem ("quiote") of the cactus Agave americana: report of case. Am J Gastroenterol 1985;80(11):838-840. View abstract.
  • Yokosuka A, Mimaki Y, Kuroda M, et al. A new steroidal saponin from the leaves of Agave americana. Planta Med 2000;66(4):393-396. View abstract.
  • Backstrand JR, Allen LH, Martinez E, Pelto GH. Maternal consumption of pulque, a traditional central Mexican alcoholic beverage: relationships to infant growth and development. Public Health Nutr 2001;4(4):883-91. View abstract.
  • Backstrand JR, Goodman AH, Allen LH, Pelto GH. Pulque intake during pregnancy and lactation in rural Mexico: alcohol and child growth from 1 to 57 months. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58(12):1626-34. View abstract.
  • Basilio CM, Seyler L, Bernstein J, et al. Isolation and characterization of an utero-active compound from Agave americana. P R Health Sci J 1989;8(3):295-299. View abstract.
  • Borup LH, Meehan JJ, Severson JM, et al. Terminal spine of agave plant extracted from patient's spinal cord. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2003;181(4):1155-1156. View abstract.
  • Brazzelli V, Romano E, Balduzzi A, et al. Acute irritant contact dermatitis from Agave americana L. Contact Dermatitis 1995;33(1):60-61. View abstract.
  • Brenner S, Landau M, Goldberg I. Contact dermatitis with systemic symptoms from Agave americana. Dermatology 1998;196(4):408-411. View abstract.
  • Cherpelis BS, Fenske NA. Purpuric irritant contact dermatitis induced by Agave americana. Cutis 2000;66(4):287-8. View abstract.
  • Crawford GH, Eickhorst KM, McGovern TW. Botanical briefs: the century plant--Agave americana L. Cutis 2003;72(3):188-90. View abstract.
  • Danielson DR, Reinhard KJ. Human dental microwear caused by calcium oxalate phytoliths in prehistoric diet of the lower Pecos region, Texas. Am J Phys Anthropol 1998;107(3):297-304. View abstract.
  • Du Toit PJ. Isolation and partial characterization of a protease from Agave americana variegata. Biochim Biophys Acta 1976;429(3):895-911. View abstract.
  • Golan H, Landau M, Goldberg I, et al. [Dermatitis from contact with Agave americana]. Harefuah 2000;139(7-8):276-8, 326. View abstract.
  • High WA. Agave contact dermatitis. Am J Contact Dermat 2003;14(4):213-214. View abstract.
  • Kerner J, Mitchell J, Maibach HI. Irritant contact dermatitis from Agave americana L. Incorrect use of sap as "hair restorer". Arch Dermatol 1973;108(1):102-103. View abstract.
  • Narro-Robles J, Gutierrez-Avila JH, Lopez-Cervantes M, et al. [Liver cirrhosis mortality in Mexico. II. Excess mortality and pulque consumption]. Salud Publica Mex 1992;34(4):388-405. View abstract.
  • Peana AT, Moretti MD, Manconi V, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extracts and steroidal sapogenins of Agave americana. Planta Med 1997;63(3):199-202. View abstract.
  • Ricks MR, Vogel PS, Elston DM, et al. Purpuric agave dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;40(2 Pt 2):356-358. View abstract.
  • Villarreal R, Martinez O, Berumen U, Jr. Phytobezoar from the stem ("quiote") of the cactus Agave americana: report of case. Am J Gastroenterol 1985;80(11):838-840. View abstract.
  • Yokosuka A, Mimaki Y, Kuroda M, et al. A new steroidal saponin from the leaves of Agave americana. Planta Med 2000;66(4):393-396. View abstract.

More Resources for AGAVE

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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