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  • Agave americana L.
  • Agavaceae
  • Agave family

Common Names

herbsAmerican agave
herbsAmerican centaury
herbsCentury plant
herbsFlowering aloe
herbsSpiked aloe

Parts Usually Used

The plant

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Agave is a perennial plant; the broad-linear, fibrous leaves grow upward from next to the ground to form a massive rosette. They are gray and smooth on both sides and have prickly edges. After 10 years or more, the plant produces a flower stalk which bears large yellowish-green flowers on many horizontal branches. The fruit is a 3-celled capsule. After flowering and fruiting, the plant dies.

Also called Agave (Manfreda virginica L.) also known as rattlesnake-master, and false aloe as well as the botanical name of (Agave virginica L.). Do not confuse this herb with another plant called Rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium).

Where Found

Grows in the arid and semi-arid regions of tropical America and in some parts of Europe.

Medicinal Properties

Antiseptic, diuretic, laxative

Legends, Myths and Stories

The agave is considered the Mexican Tree of Life and Abundance, probably because the people of that region have had so many uses for it. It provides them with food, fodder, paper, twine, soap, roofing, dye, and alcoholic drinks. Its popular name century plant comes from the mistaken notion that it blooms only once in a hundred years. Actually, it flowers after 8-10 years and then dies.


The sap has antiseptic properties and is taken to stop the growth of bacteria in the stomach and intestine. Can also be used as a laxative. Used for syphilis. Recommended at times for pulmonary tuberculosis, diseased liver, and jaundice. Agave fiber soaked in water for a day is used as a scalp disinfectant and a tonic in cases of falling hair.

Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: boil 1 tbsp. plant in 1 pint water.

Powder: take 1/2 tsp., 3 times a day.

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