RIDE ANDES - Ecuador - The Agave Plant

AGAVE (the tequila plant)

ride andes horse trek agave plant

Agave is a genus of 208 species of perennial (living longer than two years) plants, where each circular arrangement of leaves only flowers once. A succulent, agave is a widely believed to be a type of cactus or related to Aloe Vera, however, neither are true. Found in southwestern United States, Mexico and tropical South America, agave was especially important to the Aztecs. These people used the leaf paste to make paper, fermented the juice into alcohol (tequila is also made from agave), used leave to make thatch, spun fibers into cords, fashioned pins and needles from thorns, and cooked the root to make a nutritious meal. In short, the Aztecs used this one plant to make food, drink, shelter, clothing and writing implements. The two most commonly cultivated types of agave are Agave americana, which is sold as an ornamental plant and Agave azul, used in the production of tequila and a sweetener called ‘agave nectar’. However, there are several types of agave that should not be handled. Upon contact, the juice from these types can cause reddening of the skin, itching and blistering that can last up to two weeks.   

Read about the health benefits of agave here http://www.allaboutagave.com/health-benefits-of-agave-nectar.php