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Uses: Vegetable/potherb, Beverage (alcoholic), Pharmaceutical, Folk medicine, FIBER, Textile/cordage, Useful poisons
Comments: Leaves provide sisal hemp, a fiber of great commercial value, used for binder twine, ropes, and marine cordage. May also be substituted for Manila fiber or jute. Woven into rugs, mats, and fabrics for coffee scaks, wagon covers. Also used for mops, paper board and kraft paper. Medicinally, source of cortisone and could be a source of steroids and diosgenin (contraceptive). Folk medicines include remedy for dysentery, jaundice, leprosy, sores, sprains, and syphilis. Sap exuding from excised flower stalks is sweet and is used to make a beer (pulque) and a kind of brandy (mexical, mescal, or mezcal). Central buds may be baked with corn oil and salt then eaten as a side dish. Sisal waste is molluscicidal and may have a remarkable effect on fungal growth and inhibition of aflatoxins. Toxicity includes raw sap which is highly irritating to the eyes and skin. Mattresses may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This low input semidesert species provides drugs, fiber, leaf-protein, waxes, alcohol, and organic mulch.