Reviewed on 6/11/2021
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.


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.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate agave for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

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.


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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.


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.

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