Have you heard about the Agave plant before? Agave is a spiny succulent that can grow up to 3.5m tall. This plant is native to Mexico and known to some as the century plant, as there are some talks that this plant only flowers once every one hundred years. Thankfully, it is misleading because Agave usually blooms after 20-30 years as it stores enormous food reserves in its leaves, then it will die. Agave grows across the world and prefers a sunny and dry climate with well-drained soil.
The name Agave derives from the Greek word agavos, which means illustrious. The name came from the history of the Aztec goddess, Mayhuel, which said that this plant represents longevity for her. This plant has been widely used by the Ancient Greeks and Native Americans back then.
Agave has produced many benefits for humans, as to drinks, cosmetics and skin cares, sweeteners, and many more! Thank God that they didn’t flower once every hundred years, so their benefits can be enjoyed continuously. This spiny succulent has been proven to be very beneficial for a better life, and what’s better is that we have compiled the facts of its benefits and uses in daily life below:
1. Agave for drinks
In Mexico, Agave’s hometown, drinks are made by cutting off the plant’s flower head and collecting the rising sap. One plant can produce up to 1000 liters! Can you imagine how much juice it has stored? The sap will be fermented into a drink, which people usually call pulque, then later distilled to make the spirit mescal. Blue Agave is also the main ingredient used to produce tequila.
2. Agave for sweetener
Have you ever tasted Agave’s nectars before? They are a natural substitute for honey and refined sugar. To obtain this sweet nectar, the leaves must be cut to reveal the core. The core or pina is then extracted, filtered, and heated to produce sugar, producing the sweet agave nectar.
They are 1.5 times or one and a half times sweeter than sugar, which is why they are the perfect sugar substitute. Agave’s calories are denser than table sugar (60 calories, while sugar has 48 calories). Still, because they taste sweeter than sugar, we can use less of it to achieve the same taste of sweetness and fewer calories. Moreover, Agave’s nectars are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index, which means that they wouldn’t cause a significant impact on our blood sugar.
3. Agave for foods
The flowers, stalk, and root of this plant is all edible. Back then, Native Americans roasted the leaves in pits. Although it takes a couple of days for the processing, the plant can be a staple food as it can be ground into a powder and stored for years, and might come in handy when they had a food shortage. You can eat the stalks and flowers during this era and add them as your salad mixtures or consume it raw or roasted. However, you need to check the organic varieties before consuming them to ensure you aren’t eating the ones treated with pesticides.
4. Agave for soap
This versatile plant is indeed incredible! Its leaves and roots contain saponins that can be made into a cleaning agent. This extract can be made into soap, but be careful when picking this plant as their spine might prick you.
5. Agave for tattoos
Not stopping on merely giving material for soaps, Agave is beneficial for something more. Back then, before there are any needles and ink, Agave can be used for tattoos, using the sharp and pointy tip of their thorn for an excellent needle. As for the ink, the leaves can be burned and ground into charcoal. Isn’t this plant perfect?
6. Agave for needle and thread
As we are talking about needles, the Agave plant can also be used as a natural sewing kit. By removing the thorn at the end of the leaf, there will be some feet of fiber that remain intact. The thorn can be removed by pounding the leaf until it becomes soft, and the leaf can be scraped until the fiber and thorn can be removed. The fiber will be the thread, while the thorn is the needle. They can be used to patch up anything. However, this plant can cause a skin rash if it comes into contact with bare skin. Before touching it, make sure to use a glove.
7. Agave for rope
The Native American has discovered that this plant can also be used to make ropes. The leaves can be burned until charred, then let soak in water. The other option for making ropes from it is by boiling the leaves for a long while. After it is charred or cooked well, remove everything except the fibers. The fiber is the material to wound into a rope.
8. Agave for firewoods
Traditionally, firewoods are one of the vital things to have. Agave can be used for firewoods, from the flowering stalk and the hearts can be a good burning material.
9. Agave for medicine
Agave’s roots, sap, juice, and leaves can all be used in medicinal treatments. They have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Hence they can heal wounds, burns, and skin irritations. They can also treat constipation, jaundice, scalp infections, dysentery, and even toothache. The roots and leaves can be made into gums and applied to an aching tooth to soothe the pain. Ancient Mexican folks even use this plant to cure snakebites.
10. Agave for face and hair masks
Agave’s nectars can be used along with several ingredients such as turmeric, coffee, baking soda, avocado, and aloe vera face masks as healing properties for your skin! It can help keep your skin moisturized, supple, and soft, calming irritated skin and brightens your skin! Moreover, they can also be used as hair treatments to treat dry hair. Mix a tablespoon of Agave nectar with any hair mask product or add it to conditioner, it can help make your hair shine beautifully and stronger to prevent hair loss.