Agave Americana

American Aloe. Century plant. N. O. Amaryllidaceae. Tincture of fresh-chopped leaves.

Clinical.-Gonorrhoea. Hydrophobia. Scurvy. Stomacace.

Characteristics.-Agave is an unproved remedy. The juice of it fermented is the Mexican intoxicating beverage called "Pulque." The plant has a local reputation as a remedy for hydrophobia. A striking case is quoted by the H. Recorder from El Siglo Medico. A boy developed the classical symptoms of hydrophobia four and a half months after being bitten: Quarrelsomeness, excitement, fright, inability to swallow, small frequent pulse, great anxiety. Finally swallowing was impossible, restraint had to be used to prevent him biting his nurses in the hospital, when, as a last resource, a piece of Agave was offered to the boy by the doctor in attendance, cut from a hedge of the plant with which the hospital grounds were fenced. To the astonishment of all, the boy reached for it and ate it greedily, almost without chewing. By evening a decrease in the violence of the nervous attacks was manifest, though they remained as frequent as before. The improvement was slow but continued. On the fourth day he took some nourishment, but also continued chewing Agave and swallowing the juice. On the fifth day he recovered consciousness by still demanded Agave. On the eighth day he said he did not want any more as "it tasted too bitter and caused a burning in the mouth." He had no further symptoms of the disease. According to Hansen Agave is indicated in scurvy, stomacace, and painful erections in gonorrhoea.

Relations.-Compare: Lyssin, Fagus, Lach., Aloe, and other Liliaceous plants.