Agave is a succulent plant native to the deserts of the Southern United States. Although best known as the plant which gives us tequila, agave is also well known for agave syrup or agave nectar.
It's nectar is the sap within the agave plant, which has been used for centuries by local people as a sweetener. It comes in two forms, light and dark, which differ in how much processing they have been through. Light agave nectar has a mild flavour and tastes a little like honey, while the dark version has a stronger taste, comparable to maple syrup.
As a sweetener, agave nectar has a low glycemic value, so it does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. However, it is higher in calories than an equivalent amount of sugar.
Agave contains saponins, chemicals which help to block the absorption of cholesterol and are also believed to boost the immune system.
Agave also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and its sap can be applied to skin wounds in the same way as aloe vera, with similar healing results. Anti-inflammatory compounds in agave may also help to soothe stomach upsets.