ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Agave (Agave americana): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration

Authors:

Abstract

An evidence-based systematic review including written and statistical analysis of scientific literature, expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing.
NATURAL STANDARD REVIEW
Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD, MBA(C), Column Editor
Agave (Agave americana):
An Evidence-Based Systematic Review
by the Natural Standard Research
Collaboration
Dana A. Hackman, BS
Nicole Giese, MS
John S. Markowitz, PharmD
Adam McLean, MPharm
Steven G. Ottariano, RPh
Chris Tonelli, MA
Wendy Weissner, BA
Shannon Welch, PharmD
Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD
for the Natural Standard Research Collaboration
Dana A. Hackman is affiliated with Northeastern University.
Nicole Giese is affiliated with Natural Standard Research Collaboration.
John S. Markowitz is affiliated with University of South Carolina.
Adam McLean is affiliated with University of Nottingham.
Steven G. Ottariano is affiliated with VA Medical Center.
Chris Tonelli is affiliated with Emmanuel College.
Wendy Weissner is affiliated with Natural Standard Research Collaboration.
Shannon Welch is affiliated with Northeastern University.
Catherine Ulbricht is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital.
Blinded Peer Review: Natural Standard Editorial Board.
Natural Standard Review (www.naturalstandard.com) Copyright ©2005. Re
-
printed with permission.
Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy, Vol. 6(2) 2006
Available online at http://jhp.haworthpress.com
doi:10.1300/J157v06n02_09 101
ABSTRACT. An evidence-based systematic review including written
and statistical analysis of scientific literature, expert opinion, folkloric
precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, ad
-
verse effects, toxicology, and dosing.
KEYWORDS. Folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, toxicology,
dosing, Agave, Agave americana
SYSTEMATIC AGGREGATION, ANALYSIS,
AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Search Strategy
To prepare each Natural Standard Review, electronic searches are
conducted in nine databases, including AMED, CANCERLIT, CIN-
AHL, CISCOM, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, HerbMed, Interna-
tional Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Medline, and NAPRALERT. Search
terms include the common name(s), scientific name(s), and all listed
synonyms for each topic. Hand searches are conducted of 20 additional
journals (not indexed in common databases), and of bibliographies
from 50 selected secondary references. No restrictions are placed on
language or quality of publications. Researchers in the field of comple-
mentary and alternative medicine (CAM) are consulted for access to ad-
ditional references or ongoing research.
Selection Criteria
All literature is collected pertaining to efficacy in humans (regardless
of study design, quality, or language), dosing, precautions, adverse ef
-
fects, use in pregnancy/lactation, interactions, alteration of laboratory
102 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
assays, and mechanism of action (in vitro, animal research, human data).
Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria are utilized for selection.
Data Analysis
Data extraction and analysis are performed by healthcare profession
-
als conducting clinical work and/or research at academic centers, using
standardized instruments that pertain to each review section (defining
inclusion/exclusion criteria and analytic techniques, including validat
-
ed measures of study quality). Data are verified by a second reviewer.
Review Process
Blinded review of reviews is conducted by multidisciplinary re-
search-clinical faculty at major academic centers with expertise inepi-
demiology and biostatistics, pharmacology, toxicology, complementary
and alternative medicine (CAM) research, and clinical practice. In cases
of editorial disagreement, a three-member panel of the Editorial Board
addresses conflicts, and consults experts when applicable. Authors of
studies are contacted when clarification is required.
Update Process
Natural Standard regularly monitors scientific literature and industry
warnings. When clinically relevant new data emerge, best efforts are
made to update content immediately. In addition, regular updates with
renewed searches occur every 3-18 months, variable by topic.
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
Natural Standard Review 103
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,
104 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
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, Agave marginata, 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
Natural Standard Review 105
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,
106 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
chisos agave, false sisal, foxtail agave, golden flowered agave,
golden flower century plant, hardy century plant, Havard’s cen
-
tury 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 Victo-
ria’s Agave, Rough Century Plant, Smallflower agave, small-
flower 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, Te-
quila 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 BOTTOMLINE/EFFECTIVENESS
Brief Background
Agaves are succulent plants from the family Agavaceae, which in
-
cludes Beschorneria, Furcraea, Hesperaloe, Manfreda, Polianthes,
Prochnyanthes and Yucca. Agave plants are common in the Amer
-
ican 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).
Natural Standard Review 107
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 fi
-
bers 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 Af
-
rica 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 thick
-
ener 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 fer
-
mented to produce the alcoholic beverage pulque (octili), which Na-
tive 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 nutri-
tion. Traditional food strategies could be used not only for alleviat-
ing malnutrition, but also for developing locally relevant programs
for stemming the nutrition transition and preventing chronic dis-
ease, particularly among indigenous and traditional peoples who re-
tain knowledge of using food species in their local ecosystems (2).
Scientific Evidence for Common/Studied Uses
Insufficient available evidence.
Historical or Theoretical Uses Which Lack Sufficient Evidence
Antibacterial, bruises, constipation, diabetes, diuretic, dysentery, flat
-
ulence, hair-restorer, hemolytic activities, indigestion, insulin resistance,
jaundice, laxative, nutritional supplement, parasites, steroid source, swell
-
ing, Syndrome X.
108 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
Expert Opinion and Folkloric Precedent
Pulque is depicted in Native American stone carvings as early as
200 AD. According to pre-Columbian records, a Toltec noble
named Papantzin found out how to extract agua miel from the
maguey plant and the Aztecs consumed it at religious ceremonies.
Brief Safety Summary
Likely Safe: When consumed in amounts usually found in foods
and beverages.
Likely Unsafe: When used during pregnancy due to possible con-
traceptive effects (3).
DOSING/TOXICOLOGY
General
Recommended doses are based on those most commonly used in
available trials, or on historical practice. However, with natural
products it is often not clear what the optimal doses are to balance
efficacy and safety. Preparation of products may vary from manu-
facturer to manufacturer, and from batch to batch within one
manufacturer. Because it is often not clear what are the active com-
ponents of a product, standardization may not be possible, and the
clinical effects of different brands may not be comparable.
Standardization
There is no known standardization for agave.
Adult Dosing (18 years and older): Oral
Insufficient available data.
Topical
Insufficient available data.
Parenteral (Intravenous/Intramuscular)
Insufficient available data.
Natural Standard Review 109
Pediatric Dosing (younger than 18 years)
Insufficient evidence to recommend.
Toxicology
Over the years, high cirrhosis mortality rates have been reported in
Mexico City and in the surrounding states (Hidalgo, Tlaxcala,
Puebla and the State of Mexico); conversely, well-defined areas,
such as the northern states, have shown a considerably lower mor
-
tality rate (4).
PRECAUTIONS/CONTRAINDICATIONS
Allergy
People who have allergies to Agavaceae family should be cautious in
using Agave.
Adverse Effects/Post-Market Surveillance
General: The stiff, erect leaves of some Agave plants are tipped
with sharp needles, which can cause injury upon contact. There is
one case report of a terminal spine of the agave plant being ex-
tracted from a patient’s spinal cord (5). Systemic signs including
cutaneous lesions are common; treatment with oral antihistamines
and topical saline compresses resulted in subsidence of the sys-
temic symptoms within 24 hours and regression of cutaneous man-
ifestations in 7-10 days (6; 7).
Dermatologic: There are reports of acute irritant contact dermatitis
from Agave americana (8; 9; 10). Twelve cases of contact dermati
-
tis provoked by Agave americana have been described: 10 with
systemic signs and symptoms and 8 with abnormal laboratory re
-
sults. Oral antihistamines and topical saline compresses were ad
-
ministered and resulted in subsidence of the systemic symptoms
within 24 hours of hospitalization and regression of cutaneous
manifestations in 7-10 days. Needle-like calcium oxalate crystals,
raphides, are found abundantly in all tissues of Agave tequilana.In
tequila distilleries, five-sixth of the workers who handle the agave
stems have experienced contact dermatitis, whereas only one-third
110 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
of workers in agave plantations who harvest agave plants, com
-
plain of irritation (11).
Both vesiculopapular and leukocytoclastic vasculitis purpuric con
-
tact dermatitis have been reported resulting from direct exposure
to sap propelled by a chainsaw. The sap contains calcium oxalate
crystals, acrid oils, saponins, and other compounds, and the oxalic
acid crystals, which are recognized systemic toxins, were suspected
as the cause. When these crystals are embedded in the skin with re
-
sulting oxalism, they may result in vascular damage (12). Previous
case reports have also noted a papulovesicular eruption consistent
with an irritant contact dermatitis. In a case of Agave-induced
purpura in an otherwise healthy patient, histopathology was con-
sistent with an evolving leukocytoclastic vasculitis (13). There are
reports of irritant contact dermatitis from Agave americana when
used incorrectly as a hair-restorer (14).
Hepatic: Over the years, high cirrhosis mortality rates have been
reported in Mexico City and in the surrounding states (Hidalgo,
Tlaxcala, Puebla and the State of Mexico); conversely, well-de-
fined areas, such as the northern states, have shown a considerably
lower mortality rate. High alcohol intake and other environmental
characteristics could explain this striking difference; however,
there are no significant correlations. Further epidemiological stud-
ies still need to be done to determine the etiologic role of pulque
consumption as well as of the other risk factors. Nonetheless, the
current data stress the need to implement public health programs to
reduce alcohol consumption, especially pulque, and to minimize
the impact of these risk factors in high mortality areas (4).
Hematologic: Although saponins have been found to protect aga
-
inst visceral leishmaniasis in CB hamsters and Balb/c mice, some
kinds of saponins, especially steroidic saponins found in Agave
sisalana, have high hemolytic activity, and are thus potentially
toxic (15).
Other: Calcium oxalate crystals, found in prickly pear and agave,
may have caused microwear of human teeth, as seen in archaic
hunter-gatherers in the lower Pecos region of west Texas The cal
-
cium oxalate phytoliths are harder than enamel (16). Significant
increases in homocysteine levels and a tendency to increase blood
glucose concentration and to decrease insulin sensitivity were
found in healthy, non-obese young men who consumed 30 mL of
tequila daily for 30 days (17).
Natural Standard Review 111
Precautions/Warnings/Contraindications
Avoid in patients with known allergies to plants in the Agavaceae
family.
Use cautiously in patients trying to conceive due to possible con
-
traceptive effects (3).
Pregnancy and Lactation
Women from rural areas of the central plateau of Mexico drink a
mild alcoholic beverage called pulque as a galactogogue. Pulque is
believed to stimulate milk production in lactating women. The rel-
atively small amount of ethanol taken in by infants through milk is
unlikely to have harmful effects (18). However, pulque intake dur-
ing lactation may have adverse influences on postnatal growth in
some Mexican populations (19).
Contraceptive: Anordin and dinordin, prepared with steroids de-
rived from the sisal plants Agave sisilana and Agave americana
have been used for their antifertility effects. These agents, whose
antifertility properties have been confirmed by scientists in
Sweden and the United States, constitute a new family of contra-
ceptives with the great advantage of having to be taken only once
or twice a month instead of the 20 times per month necessary with
the ordinary pill (3).
INTERACTIONS
Agave/Drug Interactions
Steroids: Steroid hormone precursors are obtained from the leaves
(2) so there is a possible compound effect.
Contraceptives: Anordin and dinordin, prepared with steroids de
-
rived from the sisal plants Agave sisilana and Agave americana
have been used for their antifertility effects. These agents, whose
antifertility properties have been confirmed by scientists in
Sweden and the United States, constitute a new family of contra
-
ceptives with the great advantage of having to be taken only once
or twice a month instead of the 20 times per month necessary with
the ordinary pill (3).
112 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
Drugs That Alter Blood Sugar Levels: A tendency to increase
blood glucose concentration and to decrease insulin sensitivity was
found in healthy, non-obese young men who consumed 30 mL of
tequila daily for 30 days (17).
Agave/Herb/Supplement Interactions
Steroids: Steroid hormone precursors are obtained from the leaves
(2) so there is a possible compound effect.
Blood Sugar Altering Herbs and Supplements: A tendency to in
-
crease blood glucose concentration and to decrease insulin sensi
-
tivity was found in healthy, non-obese young men who consumed
30 mL of tequila daily for 30 days (17).
Agave/Food Interactions
Insufficient available evidence.
Agave/Lab Interactions
Homocysteine: Significant increases in homocysteine levels have
been found (17).
Blood Sugar Levels: A tendency to increase blood sugar levels and
to decrease insulin sensitivity were found in healthy, non- obese
young men who consumed 30 mL of tequila daily for 30 days (17).
MECHANISM OF ACTION
Pharmacology
Steroidal Effects: Steroid hormone precursors are obtained from the
leaves of agave plants. A new steroidal saponin was isolated from
the leaves of Agave attenuata. Its structure was established as
(3beta, beta, 25S)-spirostan-3-yl-O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>
2)- beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>2)-O-[beta-D-glucopyranosyl-
(1—>3)] -beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-D-galactopyran
-
oside. (20).
A new steroidal glycoside, agaveside D, isolated from the fruits of
Agave cantala was characterized as 3 beta-(alpha-
L-rhamno
-
pyranosyl-(1—>2), beta-
D-glycopyranosyl-(1—>3)-beta-D-
glucopyranosyl[beta-
D-xylopyransoyl-(1—>4) -alpha-L-rhamno
-
Natural Standard Review 113
pyranosyl-(1—>2)]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-25R-5 alpha- spirostane
on the basis of chemical degradation and spectrometry (21).
The structures of one new monodesmosidic spirostanoside and one
new bisdesmosidic furanostanol glycoside isolated from leaves of
Agave lophantha Schiede have been determined by means of
spectroscopic and chemical methods as (25R)-5 beta- spirostan-3
beta-ol-3-O-(beta-
D-apiofuranosyl(1—>4)beta-D-glucopyranosyl
(1—>3)[beta-
D-glucopyranosyl(1—>2)] beta-D-galactopyrano-
side) and 26-O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl(25R)-5 beta-furost-
20(22)-ene-3 beta, 26-diol-3-O-(beta-
D-xylopyranosyl(1—>3)-
[beta-
D-glucopyranosyl(1—>2)] beta-D-galactopyranoside), re
-
spectively. The 1H and 13C NMR resonances of the two com-
pounds were assigned by NMR (1H, 13C, HOHAHA, 1H-1H
COSY, HMQC, HMBC, NOE difference) studies. The pharmaco-
logical activities of the saponin containing fraction are discussed
(22).
Crude extracts of Agave americana contain two utero-active com-
pounds. One of these, tentatively named Fraction B, has been puri-
fied to chromatographic homogeneity. Its pharmacological actions
are similar to those of acetylcholine. However its chromatographic
and electrophoretic mobilities are different. Some chemical prop-
erties of fraction B are compatible with the structure of an acyl de-
rivative of choline different from acetylcholine (23).
Steroid sapogenins are constituents of Agave utahensis var. neva-
densis, A. lophantha A. parasana (24) and A. sisalana (25).
From the leaves of Agave lecheguilla Torrey, two steroidal sapogenin
diols have been isolated. Mass spectra, infra-red and nuclear mag-
netic resonance (NMR) data of these two compounds showed them to
be (25R)-spirost-5-ene-2 alpha, 3 beta-diol (yuccagenin) and (25R)-5
beta-spirostane-3 beta, 6 alpha-diol. The latter is a new compound to
which the trivial name ruizgenin has been given (26).
Barbourgenin is a steroidal sapogenin from Agave sisalana leaves
(27).
A new steroidal saponin was isolated from the leaves of Agave
attenuata Salm-Dyck. Its structure was established as (3beta,
5beta, 22alpha, 25S)-26-(beta-
D-glucopyranosyloxy)-22-meth
-
oxyfurostan-3-yl-O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>2)-beta-D-glu
-
copyranosyl-(1—>2)-O-[beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>3)]-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-D-galactopyranoside. The struc
-
tural identification was performed using detailed analyses of 1H
and 13C NMR spectra including 2D NMR spectroscopic techni
-
114 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
ques (COSY, HETCOR and COLOC) and chemical conversions.
The hemolytic potential of the steroidal saponin was evaluated and
the anti-inflammatory activity was performed using the capillary
permeability assay (28).
A new steroidal saponin was isolated from the leaves of Agave
shrevei Gentry. Its structure was established as 26-(beta-
D-gluco
-
pyranosyloxy)-22-methoxy-3-(O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>2)
O-[O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>4)-O-[O-beta-D-glucopyrano
-
syl-(1—>6)]-O-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl(1—>4)-beta-D-galactopyr
-
anosyl]oxy)-(3beta, 5alpha, 25 R)-furostane. The structural
identification was performed using detailed analyses of 1H and 13C
NMR spectra including 2D NMR spectroscopic techniques (COSY,
HETCOR, and COLOC) and chemical conversions. The steroidal
saponin showed absence of haemolytic effects in the in vitro assay,
but demonstrated a significant inhibition of the capillary permeabil-
ity activity (29).
In a previous paper, the isolation and structure determination of three
new steroidal saponins, dongnosides C (3), D (2) and E (1) from the
dried fermented residues of leaf-juices of Agave sisalana forma Dong
No. 1 was reported. In a continuing study on this plant, two additional
new major steroidal saponins, named dongnosides B (4) and A (5),
were obtained. Their structures were characterized, respectively, as
tigogenin 3-O-alpha-
L-rhamonpyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-D-gluco-
pyranosyl-(1—>2)-[beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>3)]-beta-D-glu-
copyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-
D-galactopyranoside and 3-O-alpha-L
-rhamnopyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>2)-[beta-
D-xylopyranosyl-(1—>3)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>3)]-beta-D-
glucopyranosyl-(1—>4)-beta-
D-galactopyranoside on the basis of
chemical and physicochemical evidence (30).
A new protease was isolated from an extract of leaves of Agave
americana variegata. The protease (EC 3.4.-) was purified 565-
fold with a yield of 39.5%. The 43.8 mg enzyme had a specific
activity of 0.44 units/mg. According to electrophoretic, ultracen
-
trifugal and other physical characterizations the enzyme was homo
-
geneous. The enzyme had an MR of 57000, a S20,W-value of 4.37
S, a D20, W-value of 6.8-7.0 - 10(-7) cm
2
sec
1
,aStokesradiusof
3.18 nm, a partial specific volume of 0.735 cm
3
g
1
, a frictional ra
-
tion of 1.25, a molecular absorbancy index at 280 nm of 5.773-
10(4), an isoelectric point of 5.25 and contained 8-10% carbohy
-
drate. Agave protease could hydrolyze a variety of protein sub
-
strates although it did have a restricted specificity. It is not a
Natural Standard Review 115
sulphhydryl protease but seems to be an alkaline “serine” protease
with an optimum pH of 7.8-8.0 Agave protease had marked esterol
-
ytic activity and with Cbz-Tyr-ONp had an apparent Michaelis con
-
stant of 0.0345 -10(-3) M and a V of 1.24 mol substrate/mol enzyme
per sec. The enzyme did not need metal ions for optimal activity,
monovalent cations did not influence its kinetic parameters, but it
was inhibited by cobalt, pC1HgBzO- and TosPheCH2C1. With re
-
spect to its primary specificity, as well as its pH-dependence there
was a resemblance with chymotrypsin, although the rate of hydroly
-
sis of Agave protease is much lower (31).
A new bisdesmosidic spirostanol saponin, along with three known
saponins, were isolated from Agave americana (Agavaceae). The
structure of the new saponin was elucidated as (25R)-3 beta, 6
alpha-dihydroxy-5 alpha-spirostan-12-one 3,6-di-O-beta-
D-gluco-
pyranoside. Among the isolated saponins, hecogenin tetraglycoside
showed cytotoxic activity against HL-60 human promyelocytic leu-
kemia cells with an IC50 value of 4.3 μg/mL (32).
Sterols, steroidal sapogenins, steroidal alkaloids and alkaloidal
amines derived from plant sources provide the starting materials for
steroid production. Hecogenin (IV), a saponin (Agave sislana), was
manufactured to cortisone by the process of Spensley et al. (33).
The bacterial diversity in pulque, a traditional Mexican alcoholic
fermented beverage, was studied in 16S rDNA clone libraries from
three pulque samples. Identity of 16S rDNA sequenced clones
showed that bacterial diversity present among pulque samples is
dominated by Lactobacillus species (80.97%). Seventy-eight
clones exhibited less than 95% of relatedness to NCBI database se-
quences, which may indicate the presence of new species in pulque
samples (34).
Antibacterial: Kassu et al. determined the botanical identity,
cytotoxicity, and antibacterial properties of the commonly used
toothbrush sticks in Ethiopia (35). The study was performed by
purchasing the commonly used toothbrush sticks from street mar
-
kets in various towns of Ethiopia. Voucher specimens were col
-
lected and their botanical identity was determined following floral
keys. The toothbrush sticks were ground in a mill and soaked in
absolute methanol for 24 hours and filtered. The crude methanol
extracts were used to test their antibacterial activity by impregnat
-
ing into filter paper discs and placing on test plates of Staphylococ
-
cus aureus and Bacillus cerues. Their lethality to brine shrimp
(Artemia salina) was performed following standard procedures.
116 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
Crude methanol extracts of only Agave sisalana, Birbira and
Hypericum revolutum test concentrations up to 500 μg/ml showed
weak toxicity to brine shrimp. All the extracts showed antibacte
-
rial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus by
agar diffusion method. Davidson et al. discussed the wound treat
-
ment practices of the Aztecs are discussed (36). The use of concen
-
trated maguey sap (Agave ssp.) was widespread and has persisted
in folk medicine due to its effectiveness. A possible reason may be
that it is effective. Laboratory analysis of maguey syrup indicates
that its utilization as a remedy by ancient and modern Mesoamer
-
icans could contribute to the healing process of aerobic wound
infections. Both pyogenic and enteric bacteria appear to be suscep-
tible to maguey syrup. The traditional addition of salt to the rem
-
edy seems to enhance the effectiveness of the material in inhibiting
the growth of one of the major causes of pyogenic infective pro-
cesses, Staphylococcus aureus. This finding is additional proof of
the effectiveness of pre-Hispanic medicine, and of the skills of
pre-Hispanic physicians.
Anti-Inflammatory: Agave intermixta Trel. and Cissus sicyoides L.
are two tropical plants originating from the Dominican Republic
that have shown anti-inflammatory effects from both oral (300 and
500 mg/kg (p.o)) and topical (2 and 5 mg/mouse ear) application in
in vivo models(37) Agave extract was able to reduce edema by
50% compared with the control group. No lethal effects were pro-
duced after oral administration of the extracts. In homogenated
tissue samples from the inflamed areas, a distinct decrease in the
level of myeloperoxidase enzyme was noted (37).
In lyophilized extracts of Agave americana L. (Agavaceae)ad-
ministered by the intraperitoneal route at doses equivalent to 200
and 300 mg/kg of fresh plant starting material, showed good anti-
inflammatory activity. Doses of genins (total steroidal sapogenins,
hecogenin and tigogenin) equivalent to the amount in the lyophi
-
lized extracts produced an anti-edentatous effect which was much
stronger and more efficacious than that obtained with an intraperi
-
toneal administration of 5 mg/kg of indomethacin or dexametha
-
sone 21-phosphate at a dose equivalent to the molar content of
hecogenin administered. At the doses used to evaluate the anti-in
-
flammatory activity, the genins did not have any harmful effect on
the gastric mucous membranes. Lesions occurred when signifi
-
cantly higher doses of hecogenin were given, but gastric damage
Natural Standard Review 117
was still less than that caused by the drugs used for comparative
purposes (38).
Antitumor: Antitumor agents have been extracted from Agave
schottii (Amaryllidaceae) (39).
Cytotoxic: A new chlorogenin hexasaccharide (1) was isolated from
leaves of Agave fourcroydes (Agavaceae). The structure of the new
saponin was elucidated as chlorogenin 3-O-[alpha-
L-rhamnopyran
-
osyl-(1—>4)-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>3)-[beta-D-glucopyrano
-
syl-(1—>3)-beta-
D-glucopyranosyl-(1—>2)]-beta-D-glucopyranos
yl-(1—>4)-beta-
D-galactopyranoside] (1) by spectroscopic analysis
and the result of acidic hydrolysis. The new saponin (1) as well as
known hexasaccharides (3 and 5) isolated here showed cytotoxicity
against HeLa cells, and (1) exhibited a cell cycle inhibitory effect at
the G2/M stage at the concentration of 7.5 and 10 μg/mL (40).
The cytostatic activities of Agave intermixta L. (Agavaceae) and
Cissus sicyoides L. (Vitaceae) have been determined. In the antimi-
totic assay, Agave intermixta L. showed complete inhibition of cell
division at 24 h of treatment. Both species showed a moderate
cytostatic activity against HEp-2 cells, Cissus sicyoides L. being
the most active species (41). Cytotoxic saponins can be obtained
from Agave (42).
Other: Agave americana is a cactus growing abundantly in Mex-
ico. Its cooked stem (“quiote”) yields by mastication a sweet juice,
which is swallowed while the fibers (“bagazo”) are spit out. This
may account for the rarity of bezoars from this origin (43).
Contraceptive: Anordin and dinordin, prepared with steroids de-
rived from the sisal plants Agave sisilana and Agave americana
have been used for their antifertility effects. These agents, whose
antifertility properties have been confirmed by scientists in
Sweden and the United States, constitute a new family of contra
-
ceptives with the great advantage of having to be taken only once
or twice a month instead of the 20 times per month necessary with
the ordinary pill (3).
Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics
Clearance Rate in Blood and Milk: One study assessed the quantity
of ethanol consumed in pulque, a mildly alcoholic beverage from
the maguey cactus, and its clearance rate in the blood and milk of
11 rural women in the state of Mexico. They divided lactating
mothers into two groups: one ingested a single dose of pulque
118 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
0.21 0.08 g/kg of body weight (group A) and one ingested 0.44
0.11 g/kg (group B). Maximal concentration of ethanol was
reached in milk at 60 minutes and almost equaled that in plasma.
Both groups showed a similar clearance pattern regardless of the
volume of pulque ingested. Clearance rates between groups were
different: ethanol concentration in milk at 60 min were 8.4 3.0
mg/dL for group A and 26.2 7.0 mg/dL, for group B. Two hours
later ethanol levels were 3.6 3.4 mg/dL and 23.3 9.4 mg/dL
respectively, for the two groups. Clearance rates were slower in
mothers showing the highest concentration of ethanol in milk. The
present data demonstrate that there is no differential elimination of
ethanol in maternal blood and milk following ingestion of a mod-
erate amount of pulque during lactation. The amount of ethanol re-
ceived by infants through milk is relatively low and therefore it is
unlikely to have harmful effects on them. Pulque consumption
adds about 350 kcal/day to the customary dietary intake of these
lactating women (18).
HISTORY
Pulque is depicted in Native American stone carvings as early as
200 AD. According to pre-Columbian records, a Toltec noble
named Papantzin found out how to extract agua miel from the
maguey plant and the Aztecs consumed it at religious ceremonies.
EVIDENCE TABLE
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
PRODUCTS STUDIED
Brands Used in Clinical Trials
NA
Brands Shown to Contain Claimed Ingredients
Through Third-Party Testing
Consumerlab.com (October 2005): NA
Consumer Reports (October 2005): NA
Natural Standard Review 119
NSF (October 2005): NA
USP (October 2005): NA
AUTHOR/UPDATE INFORMATION
Last Updated: May 2006.
REFERENCES
1. Arizaga S, Ezcurra E, Peters E, et al. Pollination ecology of Agave macroacantha
(Agavaceae) in a Mexican tropical desert. II. The role of pollinators. Am J Bot
2000;87(7):1011-1017.
2. Kuhnlein HV. Karat, pulque, and gac: Three shining stars in the traditional food
galaxy. Nutr Rev 2004;62(11):439-442.
3. Crabbe P. Mexican plants and human fertility. UNESCO Cour 1979;7:33-34.
4. 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.
5. Borup LH, Meehan JJ, Severson JM, et al. Terminal spine of agave plant ex-
tracted from patient’s spinal cord. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2003;181(4):1155-1156.
6. Golan H, Landau M, Goldberg I, et al. [Dermatitis from contact with Agave
americana]. Harefuah 2000;139(7-8):276-8, 326.
7. Brenner S, Landau M, Goldberg I. Contact dermatitis with systemic symptoms
from Agave americana. Dermatology 1998;196(4):408-411.
8. High WA. Agave contact dermatitis. Am J Contact Dermat 2003;14(4):213-214.
9. Brazzelli V, Romano E, Balduzzi A, et al. Acute irritant contact dermatitis from
Agave americana L. Contact Dermatitis 1995;33(1):60-61.
10. Shatoian I, Golomozenko VF. [Contact dermatitis caused by agave used for ther
-
apeutic purposes]. Vestn Dermatol Venerol 1987;(2):63-64.
11. Salinas ML, Ogura T, Soffchi L. Irritant contact dermatitis caused by needle-like
calcium oxalate crystals, raphides, in Agave tequilana among workers in tequila distill
-
eries and agave plantations. Contact Dermatitis 2001;44(2):94-96.
12. Cherpelis BS, Fenske NA. Purpuric irritant contact dermatitis induced by Agave
americana. Cutis 2000;66(4):287-288.
13. Ricks MR, Vogel PS, Elston DM, et al. Purpuric agave dermatitis. J Am Acad
Dermatol 1999;40(2 Pt 2):356-358.
14. 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.
15. Santos WR, Bernardo RR, Pecanha LM, et al. Haemolytic activities of plant
saponins and adjuvants. Effect of Periandra mediterranea saponin on the humoral re
-
sponse to the FML antigen of Leishmania donovani. Vaccine 1997;15(9):1024-1029.
16. Danielson DR, Reinhard KJ. Human dental microwear caused by calcium oxa
-
late phytoliths in prehistoric diet of the lower Pecos region, Texas. Am J Phys
Anthropol 1998;107(3):297-304.
120 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
17. Gonzalez-Ortiz M, Pascoe-Gonzalez S, Kam-Ramos AM, et al. Effect of tequila
on homocysteine, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic profile in healthy
men. J Diabetes Complications 2005;19(3):155-159.
18. Argote-Espinosa RM, Flores-Huerta S, Hernandez-Montes H, et al. [Plasma
clearance of ethanol and its excretion in the milk of rural women who consume pul
-
que]. Rev Invest Clin 1992;44(1):31-36.
19. Backstrand JR, Goodman AH, Allen LH, et al. 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):1626-1634.
20. Mendes TP, Silva GM, da Silva BP, et al. A new steroidal saponin from Agave
attenuata. Nat Prod Res 2004;18(2):183-188.
21. Uniyal GC, Agrawal PK, Sati OP, et al. A spirostane hexaglycoside from Agave
cantala fruits. Phytochemistry 1991;30(12):4187-4189.
22. Abdel-Khalik SM, Miyase T, Melek FR, et al. New steroidal saponins from
Agave lophantha Schiede and their pharmacological evaluation. Pharmazie 2002;
57(8):562-566.
23. 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.
24. Bedour MS, Elgamal MH, El Tawil BA. Steroid sapogenins, part XV. The constit-
uents of Agave utahensis var. nevadensis, A. lophantha and A. parasana.PlantaMed
1979;36(2):180-181.
25. Blunden G, Yi Y, Jewers K. A reinvestigation of the steroidal sapogenins of
Agave sisalana. Lloydia 1974;37(1):10-16.
26. Blunden G, Carabot A, Cripps AL, et al. Ruizgenin, a new steroidal sapogenin
diol from Agave lecheguilla. Steroids 1980;35(5):503-510.
27. Blunden G, Patel AV, Crabb TA. Barbourgenin, a new steroidal sapogenin from
Agave sisalana leaves. J Nat Prod 1986;49(4):687-689.
28. da Silva BP, de Sousa AC, Silva GM, et al. A new bioactive steroidal saponin
from Agave attenuata. Z Naturforsch [C ] 2002;57(5-6):423-428.
29. da Silva BP, Parente JP. A new bioactive steroidal saponin from Agave shrevei.
Z Naturforsch [C ] 2005;60(1-2):57-62.
30. Ding Y, Tian RH, Yang CR, et al. Two new steroidal saponins from dried fer
-
mented residues of leaf-juices of Agave sisalana forma Dong No. 1. Chem Pharm Bull
(Tokyo) 1993;41(3):557-560.
31. Du Toit PJ. Isolation and partial characterization of a protease from Agave
americana variegata. Biochim Biophys Acta 1976;429(3):895-911.
32. 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.
33. Fazli FR. Contraceptives and other steroid drugs: Their production from steroidal
sapogenins. Pak J Sci 1968;20(1-2):64-67.
34. Escalante A, Rodriguez ME, Martinez A, et al. Characterization of bacterial di
-
versity in pulque, a traditional Mexican alcoholic fermented beverage, as determined
by 16S rDNA analysis. FEMS Microbiol Lett 2004;235(2):273-279.
35. Kassu A, Dagne E, Abate D, et al. Ethnomedical aspects of the commonly used
toothbrush sticks in Ethiopia. East Afr Med J 1999;76(11):651-653.
Natural Standard Review 121
36. Davidson JR, Ortiz de Montellano BR. The antibacterial properties of an Aztec
wound remedy. J Ethnopharmacol 1983;8(2):149-161.
37. Garcia MD, Quilez AM, Saenz MT, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of Agave
intermixta Trel. and Cissus sicyoides L., species used in the Caribbean traditional med
-
icine. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;71(3):395-400.
38. 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.
39. Bianchi E, Cole JR. Antitumor agents from Agave schottii (Amaryllidaceae). J
Pharm Sci 1969;58(5):589-591.
40. Ohtsuki T, Koyano T, Kowithayakorn T, et al. New chlorogenin hexasaccharide
isolated from Agave fourcroydes with cytotoxic and cell cycle inhibitory activities.
Bioorg Med Chem 2004;12(14):3841-3845.
41. Saenz MT, Garcia MD, Quilez A, et al. Cytotoxic activity of Agave intermixta L.
(Agavaceae) and Cissus sicyoides L. (Vitaceae). Phytother Res 2000;14(7):552-554.
42. Sati OP, Pant G, Nohara T, et al. Cytotoxic saponins from Asparagus and Agave.
Pharmazie 1985;40(8):586.
43. 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.
doi:10.1300/J157v06n02_09
122 JOURNAL OF HERBAL PHARMACOTHERAPY
... Esta característica destacar el potencial del país para producir productos basados en los saberes ancestrales y su biodiversidad nativa. Por ejemplo, el penco andino que pertenece al género Agave, es una planta común de México, Centroamérica y de la parte tropical de América del sur, y es ampliamente utilizada en México para la producción textil, para la producción de bebidas fermentadas y destiladas (Gentry, 1982) y también como un azúcar alternativo (Hackman, 2006). ...
... Según Gutierrez y colegas (2007), el aguamiel y jarabe de diferentes tipos de agave han sido utilizados ancestralmente para la prevención y tratamiento de diferentes enfermedades. Según otras fuentes, las hojas de agave son fuente de metabolitos secundarios como saponinas esteroidales, glucósidos, compuestos fenólicos y flavonoides, los cuales proporcionan beneficios a la salud (Hackman et al., 2006). Estos metabolitos secundarios del agave han reportado efectos citotóxico, antiinflamatorio y antidiabético en diversos estudios in vitro e in vivo ( Kato et al., 1995, Hackman et al., 2006, Gutiérrez et al., 2007 ...
... Según otras fuentes, las hojas de agave son fuente de metabolitos secundarios como saponinas esteroidales, glucósidos, compuestos fenólicos y flavonoides, los cuales proporcionan beneficios a la salud (Hackman et al., 2006). Estos metabolitos secundarios del agave han reportado efectos citotóxico, antiinflamatorio y antidiabético en diversos estudios in vitro e in vivo ( Kato et al., 1995, Hackman et al., 2006, Gutiérrez et al., 2007 ...
Chapter
Full-text available
La gestión universitaria y en particular los procesos de vinculación con la sociedad deben comprometerse con la necesidad de potenciar el emprendimiento estudiantil en la universidad ecuatoriana. El problema investigativo se organiza en torno a la interrogante: qué características asume la gestión universitaria y particularmente la vinculación con la sociedad para potenciar el emprendimiento estudiantil en la Universidad Indoamérica. Se responde a los objetivos relacionados con: fundamentos teóricos y resultados preliminares que cimientan el objeto de estudio al diagnosticar fortalezas y carencias que permiten anticipar el conocimiento de fenómenos complejos, utilizando fuentes de evidencia cualitativa. Se aplica una estrategia tipo exploratoria orientada a una familiarización con hechos desconocidos y generar nuevas ideas que permitan nuevas preguntas. Se constató que la gestión de la vinculación da la posibilidad para potenciar el emprendimiento; no obstante, no se aprovecha lo suficiente para lograrlo.
... Agave americana is primarily used as an ornamental in xeriscapes, but it has a long history of traditional uses and has been evaluated recently for other valuable products [36]. It can be a source of sugar and nutrients, but also has medicinal uses as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer agents [36][37][38][39][40]. Traditional uses also include the production of pulque (a fermented beverage) and fibers for textiles similar to henequen or sisal [36]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Agave americana L. is one of many Agave species that could be developed for the production of valuable agricultural products. Although all species in this genus use Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) and most have drought and heat tolerance, Agave americana also has the combined traits of high yield and cold tolerance. This review highlights key characteristics of Agave americana that make it an exceptional novel crop for fiber, sweeteners, bioproducts, and bioethanol with resilient traits for changing climate conditions. Then, it proposes potential directions for breeding that will support production in semi-arid climates. With selection and breeding, yields of 16 Mg ha−1 y−1 may be achieved. Current field observations, with no crop improvement, indicate ~9 Mg ha−1 is the maximum yield, and in arid regions, a yield of ~3 Mg ha−1 y−1 is observed. It may be beneficial to breed for a shorter time to flowering, as has been successful for Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, so that further breeding goals are achievable in a decadal timespan. Specific trait selection during breeding will depend on whether fiber or sugar yields are the desired products at a given location. Even without breeding, varieties of Agave americana are climate resilient alternatives for some current commodity crops.
... These plants are often called as 'wild century', 'hardy century,' or 'rough century' plants as they are growing in dry lands. The plant is also known as 'century plant' indicates a huge application of Agave plant [1]. Beverages, fiber and food materials have been obtained from the agave plants [2]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The review outlines the current understandings of saponins and sapogenins in agave species with special focus on pharmacological role of hecogenin in numerous preclinical studies. A systematic literature survey was done on the pharmacological activities of hecogenin during the past 40 y with electronic databases like PubMed, Science Direct, Wiley, SciFinder, Google Scholar, Web of Science and Scopus. Hecogenin, a steroidal sapogenin found abundantly in the leaves of Agave genus species such as, Agave sisalana, Agave cantala, Agave aurea and many more. This phytosteroid (hecogenin) is used as initial material for the synthesis of steroidal drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. Hecogenin has exhibited potential role in the management of a number of disorders such as inflammation, arthritis, cancer, gastric ulcer, cardiotonic and larvicidal activity. In this review, we have summarized the saponins and sapogenins present in the Agave species and pharmacological roles of hecogenin with their mechanism of action.
... Also, in Africa, it is used for the treatment of high-blood pressure. Agave plant leaf tissue has been the most widely studied for bioactive compounds, but biological activity has also been analyzed in the inflorescence and sisal waste (Hackman et al., 2006). Due to its high nutritional content, "aguamiel" has been considered as a nutraceutical beverage and a food alternative to supplement diet in places where the water quality is poor and the meat consumption is insufficient (Silos-Espino et al., 2007). ...
Chapter
Aguamiel is the sap obtained from some species of Agave, which are called “maguey pulquero,” this beverage has been consumed as a beverage since pre-Hispanic times. This beverage has a sweet taste, herbaceous odor, and light-yellow color, which is collected by traditional methods and can be consumed as a fresh beverage, after applying a thermal process (cooked aguamiel) that prolongs its shelf life. Aguamiel may also be fermented to produce a traditional alcoholic beverage called pulque. The composition of aguamiel has been studied and is known to contain compounds such as sugars, gums, minerals, proteins, amino acids, and fructooligosaccharides (FOSs). These FOSs (fructans) confer prebiotic properties that favor the peristaltic movement of the consumer, lipid metabolism, cancer prevention, and the proliferation of probiotic microorganisms. Another important feature of this beverage is the probiotic activity, due to the presence of native microflora formed mainly by lactic acid bacteria which can inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria by producing bacteriocins. Some lactic acid bacteria present in aguamiel are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus paracasei, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides, but it is also reported that the presence of other bacteria and yeast such as Zymomonas mobilis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are the ones that allow the alcoholic fermentation of aguamiel. The nutritional quality of this beverage, as well as the probiotic and prebiotic activity, which allows aguamiel to be considered as a functional beverage, is discussed in this document.
... Moreover, other important group of bioactive compounds identified in AAE was saponins, which have been shown to be one of the most abundant compounds in Agave plants. In this regard, different studies isolated and characterized a wide variety of saponins in Agave plants, such as steroidal, spirostanol and furastanol saponins (Hackman et al. 2006). On the other hand, it is known that concentration of bioactive compounds varies among plants. ...
Article
Full-text available
Agave plants contain different bioactive compounds that are related to different biological activities; however, the application of Agave as a food additive has rarely been evaluated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant and antimicrobial potential of Agave angustifolia extract (AAE) on pork patties stored at 4 °C during 10 days. According to the spectrophotometric analysis, AAE contained phenolic compounds and saponins. In addition, AAE exhibited antioxidant activity based on DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assays (94.2, 239.1 and 148.8 µmol ET/g, respectively). Likewise, AAE showed bactericidal activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis (60 mg/mL) and Escherichia coli (60 mg/mL). AAE demonstrated a protective effect against oxidative processes (TBARS and metmyoglobin) in patties compared to the control group. Mesophilic and psychotropic counts showed that AAE exhibited a weak antimicrobial effect. AAE showed a protective effect on redness and lightness (at 3 and 10 days of storage, respectively). Sensory evaluation found that AAE had no effect on the analyzed parameters. AAE exhibited antioxidant activity that preserve quality and extended the shelf life of pork patties.
Chapter
Full-text available
https://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/Sustainable%20Wild%20Plants%20updated.pdf
Article
An external base‐free, efficient, cost‐effective, and environmentally benign protocol has been developed for the one‐pot multicomponent synthesis of highly functionalized pyranopyrazoles and benzochromenes using water extract of Agave americana (century plant) leaf ash, a waste‐derived catalyst, at room temperature. Mild reaction conditions, high yield, easy isolation of products, eco‐friendly standards, and no chromatographic separation are the salient features of this protocol.
Article
Full-text available
Thevetia peruviana is a medicinal plant used in the treatment of external wounds, infected area, ring worms, tumours etc. in traditional system of medicine. The aim of the study was to evaluate the wound healing potentials of T. peruviana leaves hexane (LH) and fruit rind (FW) water extracts and to prove the folkloric claims. The antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potentials could be important strategies in defining potent wound healing drug. Based on these approaches the current study was designed using incision, excision and dead space wound models with the biochemical, antioxidant enzymes and inflammatory marker analysis. The fruit rind water extract showed highest WBS of 1133 ± 111.4 g. The extracts in excision model retrieved the excised wound i.e. complete healing of wound at day 14. The hydroxyproline content of FW and LH treated dry granuloma tissue was increased to 65.73 ± 3.2 mg/g and 53.66 ± 0.38 mg/g, accompanied by elevations of hexosamine and hexauronic acid with upregulation of GSH, catalase, SOD, peroxidase and the down regulation of the inflammatory marker (NO) and oxidative stress marker (LPO) in wet granulation tissue was documented. Conclusively, both the extracts showed enhanced WBS, rate of wound contraction, skin collagen tissue development, and early epithelisation. Therapeutic wound healing effect was further proven by reduced free radicals and inflammatory makers associated with enhanced antioxidants and connective tissue with histological evidence of more collagen formation. The present research could establish T. peruviana as potential source of effective wound healing drugs.
Article
The genus Agave comprises more than 400 species with geographical presence in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. These plants have a rich history of folkloric use and are known for a wide spectrum of applications. Secondary metabolites of diverse chemical classes have been reported from Agave species. Owing to their pharmacological significance, the steroidal saponins of Agave have caught the attention of phytochemists, biologists and drug discovery scientists. The present review describes 141 steroidal saponins and sapogenins and covers the literature published from 1970 to 2015. It is a comprehensive and coherent presentation of the structures, methods of chemical profiling, structure elucidation and biological activities of the saponins and sapogenins reported from Agave. The article provides a perspective of the research on steroidal compounds of Agave.
Article
The sap of the plant Agave americana, incorrectly named "cactus juice" and used as a "hair restorer," evoked contact urticaria followed by acute eczematous dermatitis of the skin of the scalp, forehead, and wrist. Open patch tests with fresh sap produced burning pain, follicular contact urticaria, and subsequent irritant dermatitis in the patient and in two control subjects.
Article
Extracts of Agave schottii Engelm. (Amaryllidaceae) were shown to be effective inhibitors of the Walker carcinoma 256 (intramuscular) tumor system of the CCNSC. The active material was shown to be saponin. By means of a Silica Gel G dry-column technique, an effective separation of the acetates of the saponins present was accomplished. Gitogenin was identified as the genin of all saponins present. While the sugar associated with the saponin showing the highest degree of activity was galactose, the sugars associated with the three other saponins were identified as a mixture of galactose and glucose.
Article
A new protease was isolated from an extract of leaves of Agave americana variegata. The protease (EC 3.4.-) was purified 565-fold with a yield of 39.5%. The 43.8 mg enzyme had a specific activity of 0.44 units/mg. According to electrophoretic, ultracentrifugal and other physical characterizations the enzyme was homogeneous. The enzyme had a MR of 57000, a S20,W-value of 4.37 S, a D20, W-value of 6.8-7.0 - 10(-7) cm2sec-1, a Stokes radius of 3.18 nm, a partial specific volume of 0.735 cm3g-1, a frictional ration of 1.25, a molecular absorbancy index at 280 nm of 5.773-10(4), an isoelectric point of 5.25 and contained 8-10% carbohydrate. The enzyme contained no cysteine. Agave protease could hydrolyze a variety of protein substrates although it did have a restricted specificity. It is not a sulphhydryl protease but seems to be an alkaline "serine" protease with an optimum pH of 7.8-8.0 Agave protease had marked esterolytic activity and with Cbz-Tyr-ONp had an apparent Michaelis constant of 0.0345 -10(-3) M and a V of 1.24 mol substrate/mol enzyme per sec. The enzyme did not need metal ions for optimal activity, monovalent cations did not influence its kinetic parameters, but it was inhibited by cobalt, pC1HgBzO- and TosPheCH2C1. With respect to its primary specificity, as well as its pH-dependence there was a resemblance with chymotrypsin, although the rate of hydrolysis of Agave protease is much lower.
Article
A new steroidal glycoside, agaveside D, isolated from the fruits of Agave cantala was characterized as 3 beta-(alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1----2),beta-D-glycopyranosyl- (1----3)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl[beta-D-xylopyransoyl-(1----4)-alpha -L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1----2)]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-25R-5 alpha-spirostane on the basis of chemical degradation and spectrometry.
Article
Over the years high cirrhosis mortality rates have been reported in Mexico City and in the surrounding states (Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla and the State of Mexico); on the contrary, well defined areas, such as the northern states, have shown a considerably lower mortality rate. This situation may indicate that some factors such as the pattern of alcoholic intake and other environmental characteristics could explain this striking difference. To determine the role of alcohol, the availability and consumption of alcohol at regional and state level were compared with cirrhosis mortality rates. A high and statistically significant correlation was found with pulque availability and consumption (r = 72-92%, p less than 0.01) in all periods of time under examination. On the contrary, a statistically significant negative association was observed with beer consumption and a positive, but not significant correlation, with distilled alcoholic beverages. Infectious hepatitis incidence, prevalence of exclusive use of native languages (as an indirect index of ethnic background) and nutritional deficiencies were also studied as possible risk factors. Nutritional deficiencies and the prevalence of exclusive use of náhuatl and otomí languages were positively correlated. These results can be useful to conduct further epidemiological studies still needed to determine the etiologic role of pulque consumption as well as of the other risk factors. Nonetheless, the current data stress the need to implement public health programs to reduce alcohol consumption, especially pulque, and to minimize the impact of these risk factors in high mortality areas.
Article
Women from rural areas of the central plateau of Mexico drink during pregnancy and lactation a mild alcoholic beverage called pulque as a galactogogue. Ethanol present in milk could have a harmful effect on growth and development of breast-fed children. The purpose of this study was to quantify the ethanol consumed as pulque by eleven lactating rural women as well as its clearance rate in blood and milk. Mothers were separated in two groups depending upon the ethanol ingested in a single dose of pulque 0.21 +/- 0.08 g/kg of body weight (group A) and 0.44 +/- 0.11 g/kg (group B). Maximal concentration of ethanol was reached in milk at 60 minutes and almost equaled that in plasma. Both groups showed a similar clearance pattern regardless of the volume of pulque ingested. Clearance rates between groups were different: ethanol concentration in milk at 60 min were 8.4 +/- 3.0 mg/dL for group A and 26.2 +/- 7.0 mg/dL for group B. Two hours later ethanol levels were 3.6 +/- 3.4 mg/dL and 23.3 +/- 9.4 mg/dL respectively. Clearance rates were slower in mothers showing the highest concentration of ethanol in milk. The present data demonstrate that there is no differential elimination of ethanol in maternal blood and milk following ingestion of a moderate amount of pulque during lactation. The amount of ethanol received by infants through milk is relatively low and therefore it is unlikely to have harmful effects on them. Pulque consumption adds about 350 kcal/day to the customary dietary intake of these lactating women.
Crude extracts of Agave americana contain two utero-active compounds. One of these, tentatively named "Fraction B", has been purified to chromatographic homogeneity. Its pharmacological actions are similar to those of acetylcholine. However its chromatographic and electrophoretic mobilities are different. Some chemical properties of fraction B are compatible with the structure of an acyl derivative of choline different from acetylcholine.