Agave – a unique plant
Agave is a perennial stemless plant that belongs to the genus Succulent, loves the desert or semi-desert. Zone of natural distribution – Mexico, Central and North America, the Mediterranean. There are about 400 species of agave. In appearance, agave is similar to the aloe plant familiar to all of us.
The leaves of the agave are dense, fleshy, covered with a wax layer with a hard shell and a prickly edge, form a basal rosette. The color of the plant varies from gray-green shades to green-blue. For industrial use, blue agave is the best.
From Latin, the name agave is translated as “amazing.” The plant causes a deserved surprise during the flowering period in the fifteenth year of life. The flower is carried high in the sky, up to almost 10 meters, and looks like a panicle with yellow funnel-shaped flowers. Agave flowering is a unique phenomenon, which can be seen more on rare photos than in life, it precedes the death of the plant.
Mexicans eat leaves and stems of agave, from the juice of the plant produce sugar, molasses, alcoholic beverages (tequila, etc.). And the syrup made from the juice of this plant, perfectly replaces sugar. Its aroma is similar to that of honey, but also with caramel notes.
In order to get as much juice from each plant as possible, its leaves are cut in a special way to stimulate core growth. The plant ripens only 8 years after planting, but it can reach 15 years of age – it is believed that the older the blue agave, the better its juice will be, and the more it will be able to get.
During agave processing, spiny leaves, the length of which can reach 3.5 meters, are cut off from the soft core, a shape similar to a barrel. After this, the core undergoes heat treatment – it is evaporated in special furnaces for 2-3 days. The heat-treated agave core is crushed and juice is squeezed out of it. Sometimes not only the core, but also the agave leaves are crushed and pressed, and the extracted juice is filtered and heated at a temperature below 46 ° C, due to which vitamins, minerals and enzymes are completely preserved. Later, the heating temperature drops to 40 ° C, and all excess water from the preparing agave syrup gradually evaporates.
The agave pulp, as well as the syrup extracted from the leaves, are rich in various valuable useful substances, especially fructose and other polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, etc. Agave contains vitamins E, K, A, B, D and group B, minerals: iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium. The plant also includes various resins and essential oils.
Raw agave syrup contains up to 80% fructose, a naturally occurring form of sugar that does not cause an accelerated increase in blood sugar. Most often, it is found in fruits and, with moderate use, has a beneficial effect on the state of our body.
Agave syrup is an excellent substitute for refined sugar and artificial fructose, with a low glycemic index (17). This means that it is absorbed into the blood more slowly than other sugars (especially white sugar), and does not cause a sharp release of insulin into the blood and pancreatic wear, respectively.
That is why agave syrup is an invaluable find for those who love not only sweet, but also healthy. Ideal for those who follow the figure and weight.
Agave syrup is also useful in that it contains up to 5% inulin – a probiotic that stimulates the intestinal flora, improves metabolism and the absorption of vitamins and minerals from other products. Therefore, agave-based drugs increase the motility of the large intestine. The plant also has antipyretic, analgesic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties, which is why it is actively used for respiratory diseases. Agave preparations (infusion from leaves) are used for dyspepsia, which is often accompanied by heartburn, belching and bloating.
Thanks to its calming properties, agave is excellent for treating various neuralgia. It also improves metabolic processes in the body, removes excess fluid, promotes rapid tissue regeneration and enhances lactation in nursing mothers.
There is another property of agave – birth control – due to the presence of substances that inhibit the activity of eggs. These substances are isolated for the preparation of natural contraceptives, which are enough to take several times a month.
Prepared from agave and medicines for external use. They help with sciatica (inflammation of the sciatic nerve), radiculitis, rheumatism, furunculosis, breast diseases, bruises and sprains. Agave root is used to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Juice eliminates teenage acne, acne, boils.
Those who want to lose weight should pay attention to this plant. Due to the fact that agave gently cleanses the body, removes excess water and normalizes metabolism, it is an indispensable tool in the fight against extra pounds.