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Agave, from drink to syrup

  1. The Jesuit Jos� de Acosta already mentioned numerous applications of these striking plants in 1589: '... The tree of miracles is the maguey (agave), about which many wonderful stories are told written, for he gives water and wine, oil and vinegar, and honey, and a matter for wrapping food, needle and thread, and a hundred other things ... It is a tree grown by the Indians of � Nueva Espana � huge is appreciated... '

Beverage Pulque from Agave

  1. Already in pre-Columbian times the Agavaceae were the center of attention. Today they are also indispensable in the world of Mexicans: from certain types of agave they extract a «honey water» »which, after fermentation, is converted into the world-famous pulque.

Agave for paper and roofing

  1. The leaves of these agaves are also used in the construction industry as coverings for roofs and shelters. Half-dry, folded in half and overlapping each other, they serve as water drainage channels. In the epidermis, the Mexican chef packs meat, vegetables, ... for preparations and papillotte. The young leaves are also eaten, as are the flower and flower stalk.

Agriculture and industrial use

  1. Other agaves are of economic importance because of their fibers, which are, among other things, twisted into cords, or processed into clothes brushes, paint brushes, scouring pads and even clothing! The most important here are the henequen, (Agave fourcroydes), the sisal (Agave sisalana), the ixtle de Jaumave (Agave funkiana) and the lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla).

Agave for food

  1. As a health educator I am of course also interested in the medicinal effect. In traditional medicine, Agave atrovirens is used to treat kidney pains and arthritis. Possibly important is the agave syrup, one of the many substitutes for sugar. The heart of the agaves, which is about 10 years old, is processed without the leaves into a sweet syrup, which consists for the most part of fructose. The syrup is about 25 percent sweeter than normal sugar, but mainly has a lower glycemic index (average 15) than regular sugar (70). These sugars are released in the body much more gradually, which means less fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

For further study

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