Family • Agavaceae - Agave americana AMERICAN AGAVE - CENTURY PLANT

Common namers

Magey (most Philippine dialects) Flowering aloe (Engl.)
Agave (Tag.) Spiked aloe (Engl.)
American agave (Engl.) Maguey (Engl.)
Century plant (Engl.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) New antibacterial tetratriacontanol derivatives from Agave americana L. / Virinder S Parmar et al / Tetrahedron • Volume 48, Issue 7, 1992, Pages 1281-1284 / doi:10.1016/S0040-4020(01)90790-2

(2) Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extracts and steroidal sapogenins of Agave americana / Peana A T et al / Planta medica • 1997, vol. 63, no3, pp. 199-202

A tropical plant with about 300 species. The leaves are fibrous, growing upward from the ground forming a massive rosette. Both sides of the leaves are smooth, with prickly edges and a thorny tips. The plant produces a flower stalk in about ten years, and dies after the fruit ripens. (Insert)


In thickets at low and medium altitudes.

Constituents and properties
Considered antiseptic, epurative, diuretic and laxative.
Studies suggest antibacterial, antiinflammatory properties.
Study isolated two new spirostanol glycosides: agamenoside A and B.
Study yielded a new steroidal saponin: a bisdesmosidic spirostanol saponin.

For cleansing the blood, a cup daily of an infusion of two grams of finely chopped leaves in each cup of water.
Infusion of the leaves used as disinfectant and tonic for falling hair.
Sap of leaves used internally for wound healing and inflammations.
Infusion of the plant with honey to soothe irritation of the eyes.
Decoction of leaves also used as wash for general eye problems.
Powdered plant used for anemia, kidney diseases and liver problems.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial: Study yielded tetratriacontanol, tetratriacontyl hexadecanoate and a new 2-tritriacontylchromone; two of them exhibited significant antibacterial activity.
• Antiinflammatory: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extracts and steroidal sapogenins of Agave americana. Extracts showed good antiinflammatory activity.
• Cytotoxic activity: A new steroidal saponin from the leaves of Agave americana: Study isolated a new bisdesmosidic spirostanol saponin along with three known saponins. Hecogenin tetraglycoside showed cytotoxic activity against HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells.

Caution !
• Contact Dermatitis
– The sap of Agave americana contains calcium oxalate crystals, acrid oils, saponins, among other compounds. Despite the known irritants, dermatitis is only rarely reported. (Source)
– A report of 12 cases of contact dermatitis secondary to intentional exposure in soldiers seeking sick leave. (Source)