Agave sap (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Agave Dermatitis: How harmful is agave sap? Are you susceptible?

Agave dermatitis warning (c) Debra Lee Baldwin You're already wary of poison oak, cactus glochids and the milky sap of euphorbias. Now add agave sap to the list. In susceptible individuals, it causes the skin condition "agave dermatitis."

Case in point: I assumed my ex (my then-husband) was exaggerating when he said his skin itched like crazy. I mean, how bad can agave sap be? Don't they make syrup and tequila out of it? You never hear about agaves being toxic! While attempting to remove an overly large century plant (Agave americana), he didn't don protective clothing. It was a hot day, and he took off his shirt. That was 40+ years ago. (Yeah, I owe him an apology.)

Chopped up agave

Chopped up agave

As recently as the fall of '18, I was unaware of the dangers of agave sap. Workers came to remove Big Blue, an Agave americana in my garden that had died after flowering. (See the video.)  They wore long-sleeves, trousers, sunglasses and hats. And they used a chain saw, which I've since learned is unwise, because it makes bits of the plant fly. Fortunately Big Blue was no longer juicy. Living agaves, though fibrous, contain much more sap.

With century plants getting larger than most homeowners anticipate, and dying after they mature (at 15-20 years) and flower, such removals are becoming commonplace.

Btw, you know how I advise not bothering to cut off agave bloom stalks? I routinely say, "You might as well enjoy the show, the plant will die regardless." Well, find out why you should cut it off, on my site's Agave page.

Why is "agave dermatitis" unknown?

I predict it won't be for long. My ex merely itched. Greg M., who emailed me, said his skin felt like it was on fire. Greg's skin turned red and blistered. According to a dermatology site for MDs, agave sap can cause "CICD: Chemical Irritant Contact Dermatitis," which happens when oxalic acid crystals become embedded in the skin. The resulting "oxalism...may result in vascular damage." Another online source states that an estimated 30% of Mexico's tequila plantation workers experience agave dermatitis.

What to do?

I am not a medical practitioner. When in doubt, or if symptoms don't improve, contact your doctor or go to an urgent care clinic. Both my ex and Greg M. washed the sap off immediately, and both were fine. And just as you would do whenever considering contact with a potentially harmful substance, first do a patch test. The Mayo Clinic explains how.

Find treatment suggestions from readers in the Comments below.

Girl eating agave

Girl eating agave

P.S. Don't eat raw agave!

According to the Chongquing Times, "Zhang," 26, thought the agave leaf she was taking a bite out of was Aloe vera. She expected it to be bitter, but not that bitter. Her mouth and throat burned. Zhang is one of many Chinese vloggers who earn money from live-streaming their day-to-day activities. She cut short her video and rushed to a hospital, where they pumped her stomach. (You can't make these things up.)

Let me (and others) know

In the Comments, please share any experiences you've had with agave removal and sap exposure. Thanks!

Enjoyed this article? Please share it!


  1. Tim Wheeler on August 8, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    When my Big Blue (A. americana) spiked I knew removing it would be a major project, and damage to adjacent plants was possible no matter how careful my great succulent gardeners were. I had two reasons for cutting the inflorescence stalk before it attained its tree-top height: 1) removing the dead agave’s 20+ foot stalk would be like felling a tree embedded in a thicket of 6-foot barbed swords, and 2) I had applied a systemic treatment of imidacloprid only 3 months before the stalk appeared, and I didn’t want to risk poisoning pollinators with the myriad flowers on their way.

    So my two succulent gardeners, who I had been lucky to meet at a drought-tolerant landscaping fair a few years ago, used long-handled pruning saws to cut down the stalk at about 4 feet tall. They made quick work of it. A few months later they removed the main plant in the same manner, methodically hand-sawing off each leaf from a safe distance using the long-handled saws, then sectioning the thick remaining trunk. They maintained control of the process throughout, and they suffered no dermatitis. The pieces filled two dumpsters, which my neighbor graciously supplied.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 8, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Tim — I’m a big believer in cutting off the stalk as it begins to form, rather than waiting for it to turn into a tree. I used to tell people not to bother, because they asked if that would stop the plant from dying. “You might as well enjoy the show.” But you really don’t need a 20-foot stalk! The one I had removed (in the video) landed on a prized palo verde tree and almost killed it. I’d paid $100+ for the tree and was NOT happy.

      The next time a big agave started to bloom, I said, “Oh, no you don’t!” and sawed through the stalk with a pruning knife in a matter of minutes. I fully expected the dying agave to produce a bunch of smaller bloom stalks, but it didn’t. (It was Agave franzosinii, if that matters.) Then my gardener sawed off the leaves to create a pineappled core. That sat as an eyesore/conversation piece for months until I had him roll it under some shrubbery. He finally sawed it into pieces. Being a multistep process, we didn’t need dumpsters.

      • Kevin Hackett Sr on March 25, 2021 at 9:19 pm

        Hey! Thanks for this article. I can only wish I had seen it earlier, before I did the noble deed of helping a damsel in distress. A friend of my wife said she had a Century plant that had bloomed and was dying, and now needs to be taken down. “Your husband has a landscaping company, right?” she asked. My wife said that I could take care of it before an impending storm comes. So we talked about it and I agreed to do it for her. After all, how hard could it be to cut the dead bloom off a plant. The day came and I arrived, amazed and in awe of the 30’ height and 12” girth of this dead bloom. I pull out my chainsaw, put on my gloves and safety glasses and go to town on it. Within minutes, my arms were on fire! So I go put on a long sleeve shirt and get back to it. “Lower if you can get it closer to the ground.” she said. I went lower and lower, all the while, getting showered with the sap.
        I had no idea what I had gotten myself into! I am extremely allergic to poison ivy and that seems like nothing compared to the burning and itching of this! 10 days of this and just now seeing hope of it going away. I’ve tried aloe, peroxide and colloidal silver, CBD oil, hydrocortisone, Kenolog (prescription steroidal cream), and prednisone. I will never make this mistake again!

        • Roxane Adesso on April 20, 2023 at 8:46 am

          Use baking soda to neutralize the acid. Works immediately

      • Estevan Martinez on August 14, 2023 at 5:32 pm

        I had an experience on 08-12-23. I have always trimmed my agave blue at the base with a small blade. But decided to try my chain saw to see if I could get a better clean cut. I had eye protection and gloves, but was wearing a short sleeve shirt. I had no idea that the liquid substance of this plant was poisonous. Within minutes of completing the job, by arms started burning. At first I didn’t understand why. Dealing with poisonous sea creatures, I knew rinsing off with hot water often reduces the pain. This did not work. So I decided to treat it as if I had been exposed to poison oak, which is prevalent in my area. I got a Benadryl itch relief stick and started rubbing my skin with it and got relief within 5 minutes

        • Debra on August 14, 2023 at 5:43 pm

          Hi Estevan — Thanks very much for sharing a remedy that worked so well (and quickly!) for you. For others visiting this page, here’s a link to Benadryl itch relief stick

    • Pauline on October 29, 2023 at 2:54 am

      I recently chopped up a large stalk and immediately felt intense pain to my uncovered forearms. It was so bad, I ran inside and immediately washed arms with soapy water. No relief was felt. I then ran to the kitchen like a crazy woman and applied Vinegar, still no relief and the pain was intense by now. Running back to the bathroom I applied a soothing cream, still no relief, ran back to the kitchen and applied ice packs and downed 2 antihistamines. Finally relief. I have never felt such intense pain like microscopic fire ants biting all together.

  2. Diane Bonner on August 8, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    I had CICD just about a month ago. I was trimming the leaves off my Agave americana that were sticking out. I leaned over a cut stem and placed my inner arm just below the elbow against a cut edge accidentally. I had this happen a few years ago also, so I knew to go wash it off immediately! Unfortunately I still got the itchy red blotches which eventully blistered a little. I used Sarin lotion to help with the itches, but I still have slightly darker skin where the blisters were. Scars?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 8, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Gosh I hope there’s no scarring. Sounds a lot like a burn and its aftermath. Thanks for sharing this info, Diane!

      • John LoMonaco on April 2, 2021 at 1:38 pm

        Uggh. I just learned the hard way myself. I though fire ants had gotten on me. Darkening of the skin after this is called “post inflammatory hyperpigmentation” and usually goes away. Kojic acid and hydroquinone available from you medspa or derm can help. I’m a plastic surgeon BTW.

        • Debra Lee Baldwin on April 2, 2021 at 3:56 pm

          Thank you, Doctor LoMonaco — I really appreciate knowing this, and I have no doubt visitors to this page will too.

  3. Felicia on August 8, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Not only does it burn my skin but it has made me sick to my stomach and the effects lasted for two days🤢

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 8, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      I’m sorry that happens to you, Felicia, but it’s good to know about it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Heather L. on March 4, 2021 at 6:10 am

      I had to come here to see why I had such a reaction on my skin. I was also strangely nauseous for a few hours after I encountered the plant on my skin. I would have never put the two together.

      • Debra Lee Baldwin on March 4, 2021 at 8:30 am

        Hm. First time I’ve heard of nausea. But then I’m no medical expert.

  4. Robert Ando on August 10, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Are there other succulents that can cause similar skin irritations? Which ones?

  5. Mary Jane Olenski on August 18, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Several years ago, i removed and pruned Agave plants. Not realizing the toxicity, wore a short sleeved shirt.
    I suffered and itched for 6 weeks after. Did research above the plants juice afterward. It was a very very uncomfortable 6 weeks to say the least. Now i prune with an 8 foot saw on an extension pole and wear lots of clothes and protection.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

      Wow, Mary Jane, I admire your perseverance in keeping agaves at all! Thanks for letting us know how the sap affected you.

      • Andrew Jensen on November 25, 2022 at 11:51 am

        I was chopping and hacking away the central root of a 6 year old century plant just now. It has a really soft center after you cut away the leaves. The little bits of plant where flying everywhere. I had short sleeves and leather gloves on. The little chips were like wet chunks of cabbage, white in color. I got some on both arms and it started burning. I hurried inside and had someone Google symptoms, I was panicking, like full panic. It burned and itched pretty good, I don’t think I’ve ever felt something like that before. I washed my arms with handsoap in the bathroom. My heart rate and anxiety was still very high. I learned that it wasn’t poisonous from the person searching what to do. I applied calamine lotion to my arms. After a minute or two more I decided a full shower would help more. I think I had the plant and oils on my arms for less than 5 minutes. During the shower I was able to calm down and little red dots started appearing on my arms. We applied calamine lotion again and I focused on getting my heart rate down, trying to calm myself. I am not exhibiting nausea yet, I hope that doesn’t happen. 15 minutes after the shower and application of calamine lotion my arms appear a normal color and it looks like I had hives, just visible little raises in my skin where the red bumps used to exist.

        I ended up washing the affected areas a total of 3 times and had less than 5 minutes exposure. Total panic attack was less than 30 minutes. Yikes. Stay safe.

        • Debra Lee Baldwin on November 25, 2022 at 2:08 pm

          Andrew, I hope you’re OK and have no further effects from experiencing agave dermatitis. Sounds like rapid heart rate and anxiety are other issues people should watch out for. Thank you for sharing in detail what happened to you. Warm regards, Debra

  6. Robert on November 2, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for the information. I wish I would have done my homework before cutting this plant…Ouch! My arms are paying the price! Cortisone seems to be helping.

  7. SF Belliveau on November 28, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I made the mistake of rolling up my sleeves when my husband and I were trimming the agave. I was so focused and intent on what we were accomplishing that I didn’t even stop scratching when my skin began to burn and itch! I noticed the contact-dermatitis after I showered, and the next day I went to the doctor and got a tetnus shot and cortizone creme. Its slowly going away, but the itch is awful and never again will i do yardwork with my skin exposed.

    • Cristian Betancourt on January 7, 2021 at 3:33 am

      Hey I thought it would be fun to eat a century plant but it’s been a few days and my tongue is very sensitive and hurts. Should I be worried it will I be able to out last this.

      • Debra Lee Baldwin on January 7, 2021 at 9:22 am

        Please contact a medical professional.

        • Azera on January 22, 2021 at 11:03 am

          I’m very relieved to find this site. I’m a Midwesterner and new to AZ. I didn’t realize how toxic these plants were. My Beau had Agave plants under a window replanted in the yard. If I knew this before we would have tossed them instead of wasting the money.

          4 days after I backed up into a small plant I’m sitting here in extreme pain and even crawling at times.. I was in flip flops watering and I grazed the back and underside of my Lt foot. I didn’t think much about it as it felt like a little scrape and I barely saw a white cut mark on my callous. The FOLLOWING evening I got up to go to bed and could barely put any pressure on my foot, it felt like a knife on fire was embedded in my heal. I pried opened the teeny tiny slice and saw black little dots – I pulled them out. The next morning I had a bright red line shooting from the cut to a vein and a big red rash containing a few bumps under the skin. Today the redness is finally going down (I didn’t
          get blisters) but the pain is still there. Has anyone experienced this and how long before I can walk again?

          Lmao, get this…Due to tippy toeing for days my LT calf is firing off cramps anytime I put pressure on the ball of my foot . So now it’s even harder to get around! These are little Devils and I want them out but we have to have them in the ground long enough for it finacially to make sense. Happy 2021!

          • Debra Lee Baldwin on January 22, 2021 at 11:34 am

            Oh no! You moved from the Midwest without a Southwesterner’s reflexive caution regarding agaves, cacti and the like. Those of us native to the region instinctively recognize keep-away plants. The pain sounds horrific. I strongly urge you to get medical attention (I realize it’s easy to say, harder to do). “How long before I can walk again?” HONEY, PLEASE DON’T DELAY!

          • Lisa on October 20, 2023 at 7:06 am

            This was an unpleasant experience – a combination of intense itching and stinging over an extensive area. Washing with soap and water did not seem to help very much. I applied Benadryl gel, 1% hydrocortisone, but the only thing that really helped was 20% benzocaine numbing spray. It took at least 10 minutes to kick in. About six hours later, the symptoms returned at which point I had purchased some lidocaine over-the-counter. I reapplied the hydrocortisone and Benadryl gel. I also took 50 mg of Benadryl orally, and quite a few shots of tequila (talk about “hair of the dog”!) 18 hours later I feel OK. GOOD LUCK!

          • Debra on October 20, 2023 at 12:20 pm

            Hi Lisa — Now there’s a treatment I hadn’t thought of! LOL

        • Cynthia on August 7, 2021 at 8:52 pm

          Would you say that the same would hold true for Mangaves?

          • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 8, 2021 at 8:22 am

            I don’t know. But most of the mangave cultivars I grow have thin leaves and don’t get larger than a few feet in diameter, so the likelihood of having cause for concern when removing one is insignificant.

  8. Mark Evans on May 9, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Whew! I think I may be reacting to the use of an agave stalk cane that I walk on the beach with. I’ve just been itching like crazy on my arms.
    I’ve saved a bunch of the stalks to make into surfboards, of course everything is under resin when used in boards. They do make great surfboards.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on May 12, 2021 at 10:38 am

      Hi Mark — Could be…although I’d think any allergens would be in the sap, not the dry stalk. You amaze me with your ingenuity and creativity—surfboards from agave stalks!? Makes sense—they’re very lightweight because cells that grow fast tend to stretch and aren’t dense (like, say, a slow-growing oak). Plus they’re fibrous which likely gives them tensile strength. How on earth did you ever come up with the idea?

  9. Michael D Jones on June 20, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    So I have a question for the folks here. I have been using Blue Agave syrup to sweeten my coffee in the morning. No problems for a long time but recently I broke out in a terrible rash. Has anyone had this type of reaction to consuming agave syrup?

    • Marion on July 15, 2021 at 6:02 pm

      I bought some agave syrup in a Mexican market. They called it miel de maguey. I ate some one morning on toast and by that night I couldn’t stop scratching. I am also allergic to poison Ivy and mango skin but I didn’t thinking consuming syrup would cause a reaction. I’m miserable. Should I go get a steroid shot or wait it out? I’ve been taking Benadryl and using oatmeal plasters

      • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 15, 2021 at 6:53 pm

        Hi Marion — I’m not a medical professional. Sounds like you need one. Hope you get better soon!

  10. Jay jay on June 21, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    I didn’t know either, so my method of removing the one my wife planted was with my tractor and a bush hog. (In a tee shirt). Just so you know that wasn’t a good idea at all. It is crazy that someone could be that dumb. I suppose it is a little bit funny from her prospective. I came out pretty good though just a bad rashes on both arms from the elbows to the wrist. I did have on gloves. Point being, find the humor in it and learn the lesson. It makes it a little easier to get through the itching and burning.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 21, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Jay jay, I admire how you endured the battle with “the one my wife planted” with humor and resignation. May you recover quickly and completely, with only an entertaining story left. Take photos before the rashes fade.

  11. Andrea on June 30, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Debra, I recently learnt the hard way about agave sap too. I tried to dig out a large variegated agave yesterday and was not making much progress, so thought I would cut off the leaves with a hand saw. I have dug out the same plant before in another part of my garden with no issues and was wearing gloves so couldn’t understand why the skin on my arms, legs and chest felt like it was on fire. I have had a red blistered rash appear all over my arms over night. Definitely won’t make the same mistake again.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 30, 2021 at 3:46 pm

      Oh, no, Andrea! I’m so sorry to hear that. See Dr. LoMonaco’s advice below, if you’re looking for something to put on it.

  12. Audrey Nunez on July 2, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    We are sitting on our bed reading this article and comment as we have our legs completely covered in small red blisters/dots perhaps. VERY itchy! But at least we are glad to know where the rash comes from as it appeared after we cut out our agave plant out from our yard! We are just trying to find a cure, we’ve tried hydrogen peroxide in small doses and it seems to help. We are trying calamine lotion next.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 3, 2021 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Audrey — Yikes, it got both of you! Do you happen to know what kind of agave it was?

    • George on November 22, 2023 at 5:49 am

      Make a pasty solution of baking soda. It neutralizes the poison big time. It works. Make sure you scrub under your fingernails as well. The monster blue Agave attacked me. No joke.

      • Debra on November 26, 2023 at 4:40 pm

        Hi George — Thanks for sharing what worked for you!

  13. Carrie on July 29, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah I made that same mistake yesterday. I used a pole saw to cut the leaves off and immediately felt the burn. It wouldn’t stop so I just kept putting soap on and kept my arms under the water. My sister brought me Claritin and the itch went away. But last night I had red bumps all over my chest and arms. It was an agave artichoke plant. I’m expected to have them for awhile upon reading what everyone is saying. It was the most painful itch I have ever felt.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 2, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Oh no. May you feel better soon, Carrie. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  14. K Smith on August 3, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    We have had agave cactus lining the curb at the end of our yard for about 18 yrs, once a neighbor backed into the sword tip I knew they had to go since her infection included a short hospital stay. I’ve had rashes on and off through the years and only thing that stops burning and itch is a baking soda paste (w/water) which is messy but so good ( thicker the paste the better it sticks to skin) Ever since the 1st rash I am covered from head to toe when trimming & I still seem to get infection, this time on my face and arms. Having them removed soon, I have loved having them and watching them grow and given away many sprouts with warning included.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 3, 2021 at 4:57 pm

      You’re not alone. People don’t realize how big they get. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  15. Rene Lyden on August 7, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    I have a small plant they had brown spots on it. While cutting it h arms off, some of the sap got on my skin. Instant hives, burning skin and terrible itching. Rinsed off with alcohol and used dawn dish soap to scrub the affected area. My right thumb and entire left arm( sap must have squirted on my arm) immediately hives. Live and learn I guess.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 7, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      Yikes, sorry to hear that, Rene!

  16. Kim on August 23, 2021 at 9:48 am

    I am going on my 3rd week of dealing with spread of the rash across my torso – being from the midwest I thought I had poison oak or sumac – but hadn’t been in contact with any. I have been, however, planting my zero scape Mid Century garden with Agave Americana in FL. What I thought had falling down my shirt or crawled on my stomach at night was a weird bug. Now after 2 weeks and the spread of rash, blisters, itching and pain I realize had to be Agave Dermitits. Its spreading due to its location – under bra cup and is located between the fold of my stomach fat. Drying up slowly but definitely a warning sign. Seems worse than poison oak of my youth.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 23, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Wow, I’m no doctor, but it sounds like a severe reaction. I hope you go to an Urgent Care clinic. Three weeks!

  17. Dean HARVEY on August 29, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Hello – I am so pleased i found this chat, I cut a huge Agave yesterday with a chainsaw, I had already cut the main leaves off last year but the Agave Core was 3 feet thick at the bottom. I wore shorts, gumboots and a T Shirt and started getting itchy soon after I started. I persevered and got the whole Agave out at ground level but my Lets were screaming. I showered with alot of soap and the itchiness dissipated over the next Hour. I woke up today and my legs are a mess, a large red rash with raised red skin that is painful if I stroke it with the back of my hand, My advice is protection, maybe a raincoat and over leggings.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 29, 2021 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Dean — I’m sorry this happened to you. Thanks for letting visitors to this page know. Now if I could only get them to come here BEFORE they tackle an agave!

      • Jill on July 10, 2023 at 4:56 pm

        This plant is terrible… I have a red rash and bumps!!! I hate this plant that’s why we were digging it out of the yard I just acquired.

  18. Charles on September 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

    I have just done a very stupid thing. I have known for many years about the therapeutic benefits of aloe vera being especially good for the skin. I live in Italy and being english my skin is fair and the sun has reacted with the heart medication I am taking and I have been itching badly for several months. Today I decided to try using aloe vera gel from the aloeplants we have growing wild and in abundance in our fields. So I chopped a stem from what I thought was aloe vera. The absence of gel did not concern me as I assumed that because of the very dry season we have been having it could be explained. I separated the spikes, stripped the stem and rubbed the exposed flesh of the plant onto my arms. Within about 10 seconds I was jumping up and down itching like hell. At this point my wife came to enquire what all the fuss was about and said “this is aloe agarve you need aloe vera” which she grows in pots. In the hope that the proper plant would neutralise the burning itch that was by now almost beyond bearable I cut a leaf, exposed the green gel that spewed out and applied it. There was no change so I had to jump in the shower and deal with it. I have learned my lesson but as a warning to others….check first !

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on September 6, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Charles — What a story! I’m glad you’re OK and that jumping in the shower helped. Now don’t keep us in suspense. What is “aloe agarve?” I entered it into online English-Italian translators, but “aloe” and “agave” are the same in both languages. I’m assuming, based on your story and the fact that your comment came to this page, it means “agave.” I wonder which one, though. Probably good ol’ Agave americana.

      • Charles on September 7, 2021 at 4:20 am

        Now I have looked again I can see that aloe and agave are two separate plants…yesterday when I searched my judgement was a little impaired !

    • Tina on September 16, 2021 at 12:12 am

      Same here! I thought it was aloe vera and despite the lack of gel I didn’t hesitate a second to rub it all over the back of my hands and face 😭 Seconds later the burning itch started and I ran to the bathroom and washed it off- which didn’t help- so I then put some anti itch cream on it which kinda helped cool it off after about 10 minutes. 24 hours later I have small red dots all over the affected areas…not a pleasant sight but at least it doesn’t itch/hurt anymore. Now I’m just worried if those dots will disappear and when they do if they leave permanent brown spots as someone mentioned above …that’d be just horrible.

  19. Marie on October 20, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    A warning about agaves and pets!!!!!
    Two years ago, I had a large desmettiana growing in a pot. My doggie apparently chased a lizard into the plant and ripped and chewed off many leaves in pursuit of the lizard. The next day, she wouldn’t eat or drink and was very depressed. Puzzled, I searched the yard and found the destroyed plant. Checking on the internet, I found reference to the microscopic oxalis acid crystals (with photos!) present in agaves. I took her to the veterinarian and explained about the oxalis crystals in the agave, but she had never heard of this type of reaction, and performed endoscopy of her larynx, esophagus. and trachea for signs of any plant particles. There were no obvious plant particles, but everything was swollen and inflamed. Fortunately, my doggie responded well to a course cortisone and antibiotics. Needless to say, I’ve removed all the agave from the back yard! (Lots are still in the front, though, because I love them!)

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 20, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Marie — I’m glad your dog is OK. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s helpful to know the type of agave, too, although I imagine this is good advice, regardless.

  20. Scott on October 24, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    Just got back from a trip to Mexico. Visited the agave fields and no one bothered to tell me that the plant was toxic. I have a rash across my chest now. How long does this rash last for most people? And does the rash fade eventually or will the red spots be permanent?

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 25, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Oh Honey, I have no idea. I’m not a medical professional, and I strongly recommend you consult one. Everyone is different, and this is way beyond my job description. Do let us know what transpires, OK? Your experience (and what was helpful) could be valuable to others. Thanks!

  21. Kirsty on January 4, 2022 at 2:32 am

    Oh Im pleased I found this site! My husband was laughing at me flapping my arms around as Im picking up all the cut leaves and putting them in the bin. No rash but my arms were so itchy! A cold shower after helped. I have 1 more still to trim back in the garden and 1 to remove. I will definitely be in full protective clothing when I tackle that task!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on January 4, 2022 at 12:08 pm

      Glad to have helped! I’m no doctor, but I’ve heard that allergic reactions get work on successive exposures. So don’t take changes, Kirsty!

  22. Paul on January 20, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    Cut into agave yesterday. Raised red bumps- some with tiny white heads- all over my arm.
    Could’ve been worse, I imagine, had we not thought collectively, “Anyone else getting itchy?” and ran for the hose. We pulled out the first-aid kit, too. Hit it with wipes, anti-infect, anti-itch, etc.
    The itching hasn’t been awful but it’s unsightly.
    We must get the word out!!!
    Thanks for your post. 🙂

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on January 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks for a post that will help others, Paul. I’m glad you were able to prevent it from getting worse. Do you happen to know what kind of agave? I’ve heard some are more allergenic than others.

  23. Dr. Gaurav Mudgal on March 7, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Yeah, I heard of it being a researcher from some published works but neevr thought it would be taht itchy and blistery over my wrist. I tried to wrok up for my students in lab, to get a chunk of these plants’ leaves knife cut fresh from a yard in a village. the latex was slimy but it started itchng…th first touch itslef and the next day showed up the patches over my wrist. BAD DAY. I hope it sooths as I see above. I am so very relaxed to see the going away in above nrratives.

    thanks to all.. saviours.

  24. tom heinich on April 23, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    the best way to remove artichoke agave is by single chain around base to back of vehicle, then bump forward lightly drive/neutral about 30 times to uproot. sledgehammer away rootdirt then push into trashcan and hopefully you are strong enough to stand it back up!!!!!!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on April 23, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      I can see how this would work without damaging the agave too much. It’ll lose its lower leaves sooner than later, anyway. Great description of how to tug it out of the ground. It would be smart to do this when the ground is soft after rains. Otherwise, you’ll want to soak the soil or the agave may shear off at ground level. Thanks, Tom!

  25. Nakida McDaniel on May 4, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    A friend of mine had bought some leaves from her aunt’s plant back from SC and asked if I wanted some aloe Vera leaves! I was excited. I use aloe Vera for many things including making soap. The leaves had been frozen to preserve. I began to peel them and noticed it didn’t look like aloe Vera gel inside annnnnd then I began to itch all over my hands and breast area! Went to my plant finder and discovered it was not what it was thought to be and actually this plant. The itching and burning are unbearable! Never again! Thanks for writing this article. 😊

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on May 4, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Nakida — Thank you for sharing your experience. May you recover quickly and completely! It’s easy for those not familiar with agaves and aloes to confuse them. The green leaves of both are thick, elongated triangles. Aloe leaves are goopy and gel-filled. The interior of agave leaves is moist and fibrous, in fact, the stringy fibers of certain agaves (notably Agave americana, century plant) were used as threads for sewing by early native Americans. Not only is that impossible with aloe leaves, they come from a different part of the world—South Africa.

  26. Laurie Moy on May 23, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you Debra for your article! I unfortunately mistakenly confused an agave plant with an aloe vera plant. I had a leaf stalk and cut a piece off to rub on my skin. I wondered why it instantly burned. A day later, I noticed the area was covered with red bumps like a rash and some had some white heads that looked like pimples. I was confused because I didn’t think I had any aloe allergies since I use an aloe vera based moisturizer. It wasn’t until I used the google lens identifer on the leaf that I realized it was an agave leaf! Your article educated me on agave sap and CICD. Mystery solved!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on May 23, 2022 at 12:06 pm

      That makes sense. Thanks for letting us know, Laurie. You’re certainly not the only one to make that mistake!

  27. mary on June 27, 2022 at 8:40 am

    So glad I found this site.. I didn’t know this was a thing. .Just happened to me while pruning off dead leaves. I thought I had gotten into fire ants. Dish soap, vinegar, lavender oil, Benedryl, baking soda paste and long sleeve white cotton shirt and the itching has stopped. My gorgeous plant is going in the trash today,—$150 dollar Mexican pot and all!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 27, 2022 at 9:23 am

      Hi Mary — Wow you had a severe reaction, especially since you were merely removing dead leaves. Do you happen to know what kind of agave it is/was? Some species are more allergenic than others. Thanks!

      • mary on June 27, 2022 at 10:11 am

        It is a Silver Surfer. I must havecame in contact with the sap when carrying off the leaves I had pruned.

        • Debra Lee Baldwin on June 27, 2022 at 11:49 am

          Thanks Mary. I believe that’s a cultivar of Agave americana (century plant).

  28. Finn on July 4, 2022 at 4:49 pm

    This just happened to me, I was wearing a wet t shirt and the sap went straight though. I was in the shower within 20 min but holy hell it itched. Hopefully doesn’t last too long..

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Finn — I hope so too. What a miserable way to spend the Fourth of July!

  29. Debra Woods on July 8, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    I decided to remove an agave Americana after bloom had died and been cut off. I wore “sleeves” sold to protect arms that covered my hands, not fingers and went to about 4 inches above my elbows. I was protecting against punctures on my arms, not aware of toxic burn issue. With my exposed fingers I kept rubbing about 6 inch area up to my sleeveless shoulders. Burn was intense to hands and upper arms, immediately washed with soap so it lessened a little but not much. I then rubbed generous amount of “Tea Tree Oil” someone had given me at least 17 years ago.. Not knowing if it would help or hurt more. Immediate total relief within less than 5 minutes. Of course I read all about it after the fact. No one had mentioned Tea Tree Oil so I decided to write. Gardeners did it in the past, I just wanted to do it right then, so I did.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on July 8, 2022 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Deb, that’s so good to know. I’ll add tea tree oil to the article right now.

  30. Michael Harshberger on August 28, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Debra, thanks for the excellent information about agave dermatitis. A week ago, while pruning four large blue agaves at the front of our property, I suddenly began experiencing the ‘skin on fire’ reaction. I couldn’t see what was causing it but I figured bathing the affected area would help. I hadn’t yet read about the tea tree oil but I’ll be prepared if there’s a next time. One week later my reaction is abating but some areas on my bare legs and arms blistered from the exposure. I’m sure that misguided machete strokes against fresh agave fronds caused the sap to spray and I wasn’t aware until too late. I’m also allergic to poison oak, sumac and ivy. Figures.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on August 28, 2022 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Michael — I’m glad it wasn’t worse! This tends to be a weekend phenomenon—comments like yours seem to come on Saturday or Sunday. I suspect this isn’t going to slow down, in terms of frequency and occurrences. Agave americana, which I assume yours are, get bigger and bigger. Those planted a decade ago are now large, in the way, and in need of cutting back.

  31. James Aus on September 25, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    Using the top of the chainsaw bar while a tricky task and specialist manoeuvre prevents getting covered in sap.
    I also don’t cut a full 12-13000rpm with the chainsaw rather half to 3/4 throttle and have saw closer to ground so the chips and sap droplets cants fling upon to my long sleeve shirts

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 2, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks James — All good tips from someone who’s done it!

    • Tani on October 5, 2022 at 4:01 pm

      maybe your chain saw has a better protection then mine but I still got the sap up and down my are’s and legs. You just know more about the plant when using the chain saw and knew to be more cautious of it.

  32. Raymond Brown on October 23, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Glad to read your post. Had severe skin reaction after removing large agave with chain saw. Bare arms got covered in we pulp and began to burn. I carefully washed but it was too late the damage was done. I’m 80 years old and have gardened for over 50 years in California and never once heard about the potential for chemical burns from Agave. More needs to be out there warning people. Thanks again for your post

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on October 23, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Raymond — I’m so sorry to hear about what happened. Yes, more info needs to be out there. I hope you recover quickly!

  33. Judy Fortier on December 4, 2022 at 7:54 am

    Just hacked off some lower leaves from my big agave. MY SKIN WAS THE ITCHIEST IN MY LIFE,,,UNBEARABLE. Scrubbed the areas 3 x with dawn soap SCRUBBED finally some relief . VERY VERY BAD I have horrible skin!!!!!!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on December 4, 2022 at 8:06 am

      Oh no, Judy, that’s awful. May you heal quickly and completely!

  34. James D. on December 9, 2022 at 11:17 am

    Just experiencing this revelation for myself unfortunately, outside my grandmother’s cutting down her blue agave near her clothesline and next thing I know hands feel like they are soaking in hydrochloric acid ,soap and water barely helped & I’m still applying aloe as I dictate this( thank God for voice function) I will be using a saw with a full body tyvec suit from now on lol hope this becomes more well known so we can find a better remedy for exposure to agave sap. Good luck and glad everyone is ok 👍

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on December 9, 2022 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, James. A “full body tyvec suit” is new to me, but it sounds like a great idea, ha. May you get over your allergic reaction ASAP!

  35. Ace Jay on December 10, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    I can relate with this agave plant, since last week dated 1st of December 2022, i have been cleaning my mothers yard including plants and such AGAVE plant which is i don’t even know this will cause to my skin rashes.. it blew my mind not knowing the results of my negligence.. i have 2 weeks of sleepless night and terrible day of itch…small dotted blisters and skin boils all over my body, back, left arm, neck and face… was infected.. and i will never ever go near again:

    My Treatment:
    CALAMINE Cream, 3x per day
    Tea Tree Oil Helps a lot before sleeping = Soothes a lot..
    Sulfuric Soap during shower =

    this was a terrible experience with my entire life.. i hope this will help…

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on December 12, 2022 at 5:21 pm

      I’m sorry to hear you had such a miserable experience. Hoping your treatment combo works well and soon!

  36. Laura on February 5, 2023 at 10:24 pm

    Found this site after researching this plant for new landscape plants. Thank goodness I found this info! Hard pass for me!

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on February 6, 2023 at 8:06 am

      Hi Laura — Glad I could help!

  37. Mikes Mayfeild on March 8, 2023 at 9:45 am

    I starting removing a large Agave Americana, about 12′ high and some smaller ones that were bunched up with the main one, what a mess. I had on long sleeves and long pants and safety glasses. I noticed an itching feeling around my wrists and arms and on my neck. I took a shower right after and used TechNu in addition to soap. It seemed to help and has mostly discipated in two days. I have more to do so on my next wash I will use liquid soap so that I don’t pollute the bar soap and also use a face shield.

    • Debra Lee Baldwin on March 17, 2023 at 12:06 pm

      Wow, Mikes, you certainly were determined to remove it! Thanks for sharing your experience and what you used to combat the allergic reaction.

  38. Robert Hammes on April 22, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    I started using Bior’e Facial Wash with baking soda for exfoliating and Deep cleaning of the face and had no problems or reactions
    to the product for several years then the company changed their formula saying no longer with just baking soda, but instead its Now called Biore Blue Agave & baking soda balancing pore cleanser, I noticed after using this product on my forehead there was pinkness then redness and itching on my forehead near the hair line and then 5 little black things looking like hairs growing out of it, then those black things disappeared . So being a US Army Veteran I checked into the Loma Linda VA Hospital Dermatology Dept and had a Biopsy done which came back Positive as having a Basal Cell Carcinoma (Cancer) which I had successfully removed last Wednesday leaving me cancer free in that area on 4/19/23 leaving me with a hole in my forehead about the size of a quarter. Now I have a 5 inch vertical incision and later a scar. I wish I had heard about CeraVe facial Wash & Moisterizer earlier. Now that the Blue Agave has done a number on me I find out that this product contains carcinogenic chemicals such as Cera Microcristallina which can act as a genotoxic carcinogen, not just an irritant but this chemical can promote the development of cancers and damage the DNA of your skin.
    It also contains many more rigsky ingredients such as Sodium Laureth sulfate. Believe me I wouldn’t recommend using this on your skin Now Please find another facial cleanser this Bior’e Facial Wash Company does not care about your skin or health.
    I reached out to the company which by the way is Mfg in Canada & Distributed by Kao USA inc in Cincinnati, Ohio and they sent me in
    reply a lengthy Confidential Medical Questionnaire which in turn they would send me replacement coupons for my trouble !
    REALLY ! do they think that I am that stupid and gullable ?
    Instead I will be contacting an Attorney that specializes in and handles product Liability cases !

  39. Tamara on May 10, 2023 at 8:44 pm

    We harvest Agave (Mescal) for ceremonial purposes, we are named after them “Mescalero” Apache… we harvest them, trim the leaves, then cook them under ground… we wear long sleeves and jeans to protect our skin, but sometimes the sap still gets thru; never knew that Tea Tree Oil would work, mixed it with some lotion and rubbed it on my daughters arms, the pain and itching went away afterward…

    • Debra on May 10, 2023 at 9:41 pm

      That’s so good to know, Tamara. Thank you for sharing your experience. Not to mention how cool it is to hear from a Mescalero (Mescalera?) Apache!

      • Tamara on May 11, 2023 at 7:32 pm

        The tea tree oil relief doesn’t last long… my daughter to school to finish the Mescal Roast but her arms continued to burn & itch all day… so we used Diaper Rash Cream “Desitin” and the symptoms have gone away completely, her skin still has a rash, however the burning & itching have completely stopped… it’s been trial & error, since our tribal elders tell us to dirt to soak up the sap and then use mud to help heal the area…
        My daughters teacher has also let the college in Silver City know, since they usually take tribal members out to harvest & they can also let them know about the remedies; and to let the EMT’s who were on site know as well…

      • Tamara on May 12, 2023 at 11:43 am

        Tea Tree Oil relief doesn’t last very long, it still had a burning and itching sensation a few hours after applying… we have moved on to Desitin-Diaper Cream; it has since stopped burning & itching completely and slept thru the night… it’s really trial & error, was going to try a milk bath on just her arms…

  40. Jose on May 21, 2023 at 12:51 am

    I just had a bad experience with cutting agave with my sawsaw. I didnt have long sleeves just leather gloves. By the time i was done chopping it up, to fit in my green waste bin. My harms started burning with no visual signs of any bites or cuts. I rush to my bathroom to wash off my arms with little relieve from the cold water. But my arms continue to burned. I figure it was from the agave. So, i applied some cortizone cream and took some benadryl and in about 10mins the burning sensation calm down. But, the next day both my arms were full of rash like blisters. Its been a week now, and i still have the healing blister on my arms. Thats the reason I’m here to find out how long these scars stay on your skin? And to inform people to wear appropriate clothing to cut these plants. May 20 2023

    • Debra on May 21, 2023 at 8:51 am

      Hi Jose — You had a bad reaction that must have been frightening and painful. I’m a plant person and not a doctor, so I can’t advise you on how long it’ll take to completely recover. I suggest you read the comments posted here from others who have had a similar experience; perhaps their recommendations will help. If it doesn’t clear up soon—certainly if it gets worse—you really should see your doctor, whom I suspect will recommend you to a dermatologist. Thanks for sharing your experience, and we’d love to hear back from you with what happens next. Very helpful.

  41. Marilyn on May 28, 2023 at 9:59 am

    Wow! Yes! I had the same horrible reaction to the plant’s juice/sap. . I chopped down a huge (3 foot tall) plant last week and had a mild reaction/rash on one leg. Yesterday, I removed a smaller Aloe Agave plant on the side of my house. I was wearing heavy gloves but I had a short sleeve shirt on. I felt a little burning on my inner arm but stupidly didn’t wash it off. I just kept working. Six hours later, the inside of both arms blew up. I have rashes that extend from the inner elbow to the wrist on both arms. I am taking Benadryl every 4-5 hours and putting a steroid cream ((clobetasol propionate) that I had gotten from my dermatologist. If I ever deal with one of these plants again, I will be wearing long sleeves, long pants, andd heavy gloves.

    • Debra on May 29, 2023 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Marilyn — If you “ever deal with one of these plants again…”?! No, hon, you are NOT going near an agave again with a sharp object that could cause sap to flow. You had a severe reaction. I’m no doctor, but common knowledge is that allergies can get worse on subsequent exposures to the allergen. Please don’t take any chances!

  42. Paul Bousquet on August 8, 2023 at 7:25 am

    Well, I never heard of agave dermatitis until the other day. I have a huge blue agave in my yard that needed weeding and pruning of the lower leaves on the ground. I have pruned and handled agave before with problem, but now that I think of it, i may have had some small areas of dermatitis that were minor. Hiwever, this time I was pruning and unkowinly must have had more contact with the sap on my left arm. I immediately felt some strong burning and itching on my arms, but didn’t see anything like fire ants or chiggers or anything visual that would be causing the pain.

    I went into the house and washed my arms with ivory soap to desolve any oils that might be present like poison ivy (just in case, as I had no idea what was going on). Then I washed with bacterial soap. Then treated with cortisone ointment. I’m on day three of this event and the itchness is still pretty strong, while the rash redness has reduced some. I’m going to try calamine lotion today. Seems like the rash will be here for a while but just trying to reduce the symptoms. 🥺😬

  43. Debra on August 8, 2023 at 8:18 am

    Hi Paul, Thank you for sharing your experience. Sounds like you’re on top of it. I hope this page helped too! Debra

  44. Sadia on August 22, 2023 at 6:51 am

    Well I read great things about blue agave so while doing gardening work I decided to also cut the agave. I saw the nectar drip and thought, oh perfect I’ll put some on my face now that my pores are open. Worst decision of my LIFE! It burned and I ran to wash off and had to town down the pain with ice packs. So far 2 days later, my face is flushed red, looks horrible. I’ve always had clear smooth skin. I really hope this goes away, it’s embarrassing & my face hurts!

    • Debra on September 4, 2023 at 10:57 am

      Oh Sadia! You must have confused agave with aloe! Actually, aloe gel might help.

  45. Jacq E on September 30, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    I got pricked on the back of my leg by an agave plant and have a recurring eczema patch there. It’s been over two years now and the little patch keeps popping up!!

    • Debra on October 4, 2023 at 8:01 am

      Oh dear, Jacq, do consult a dermatologist if you haven’t already. Something that doesn’t heal really should be examined and treated.

  46. Margie Nichols on October 11, 2023 at 9:18 am

    About 4 or 5 years ago we were removing Agave from our front garden because it was taking it over with new plants popping up throughout. We did not know about the Agave juice affects, so started hacking away at it. My husband didn’t get any on him, but I did and immediately felt like I was being bit by thousands of red ants. Ran in the house and washed it off for relief. It did not go away right away – in fact it was about a month before it healed. About a year later, it came back and I didn’t understand why and read that it can come back without coming into contact with Agave again. We no longer had the plant so I certainly didn’t come in contact with it after that. Just recently, my arm started itching again and I didn’t know why. I hadn’t had any contact with anything on my arm that I was aware of. I have come to the conclusion that it has to be Agave dermatitis since there is nothing else that compares to this rash. It itches profusely and I only get temporary relief with various creams (cortisone, Benadryl, vicks, calamine, poison ivy itch spray) I can’t get it to heal. I even got a prescription steroid and it isn’t going away. This has been active for about 6 weeks. I believe my next step is going to a dermatologist to get relief/healing. It is like a nightmare dealing with this!

    • Debra on October 14, 2023 at 8:09 am

      YES see a dermatologist. I’ve never heard of an allergic reaction happening again without contact with the original source. Whatever’s going on, you need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  47. Jane on October 12, 2023 at 3:04 am

    Hi Debra, I have always had foxtail agaves that I just used to pot up the “pups” and they grew happily with no issues. We recently moved to a house and the gardens were full of Americana agaves with their spiky leaves that were routinely spiking me and the family when we would walk past so I chose to get rid of them myself.
    Afterwards I had burning on the inside of my arms and legs when I had gotten sap so I showered and washed it off… antihistamines did help settle it but I do have red welts from it on my arms and was grateful to find your information as I had also not heard of agave dermatitis! Hoping that it subsides in a day or so.
    Thank you, Jane

    • Debra on October 14, 2023 at 8:05 am

      Some people have an allergic reaction. Please don’t try to get rid of them yourself!

  48. Janet Brotherhood on October 23, 2023 at 3:25 pm

    I got spiked by Agave green glow on the middle of my finger. Blisters spread down my finger and now, 6 weeks later, they are tracking down my hand. Dr isn’t interested at all. How long will this last? How can I get this to go away? I’m right handed and my right hand is sore with these blisters. Sometimes they really itch. Only clear sticky liquid comes out the blisters if I pop them. My hands so sore now. I’m fed up.

    • Debra on October 23, 2023 at 6:42 pm

      Janet, I sympathize and wish I were qualified to advise you (or anyone for that matter) on medical issues. How can your doctor not be “interested at all”?!

  49. Michael on October 30, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    OMG do not chain saw this plant with a tank top, surf shorts, and a chain saw!! This is like something of a voodoo curse on the skin, right now my legs and arms are so burned and red callus it’s like I was burned by acid. Be aware when you cut this plant it’s can cause more than burn skin I had chills and muscle spasms as well. Good luck, cherrio

  50. Rudy Gelenter on November 6, 2023 at 10:17 pm

    I just got the Agave Dermatitis. It does sting like a bunch of ants running and biting my arms. I was cutting up an agave that was dying due to gophers eating the roots. The plant was huge of course and I had to cut it down to size so that it would fit the green can. The only way to get it in the can was to pick it up with my arms and it was about 90 pounds. I did not have long sleeves and yes, the sap got all over me and it started to burn like crazy. I thought it was poison oak but I also thought that it was weird that it would cause an itch that quick. I tried a home remedy that has worked for poison oak – sprinkling liberal amounts of Comet on my arms. For poison oak, it works by soaking up the oils and then you dust it off, and then shower. This is what I did and I felt relief in less than 30 minutes. I thought I was in the clear. 24 hours later, I woke up and saw my arms covered with red blisters but they did not itch. I hope it goes away soon! I am glad I found this site and it has helped me find out what exactly this rash is. Today is Nov 6, 2023.

  51. Tim on November 21, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    Hello from Australia:

    I took a chainsaw to agave on my property about 6 months ago. I sprayed my lower legs with sap. I am still having swelling and dark spots and blisters today. Is there any hope for me or will this be a life long problem. No pain. But my legs are ugly.


    • Debra on November 26, 2023 at 4:41 pm

      Hi Tim — Six months ago?! What did your doctor or dermatologist have to say? And do you happen to know what kind of agave? Not all have the same chemical make-up, and it would be good to tell visitors to this page about a particularly virulent one.

  52. Ed Weldon on November 24, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    I have several of these Agave americanas near my Calfornia Coast range home. I’m not allergic to them; so they are easier for me to manage. I have found that the easiest way to manage them is to cut the leaves diagonally at about a 45 degree angle to whatever shape and size I want or need for apperance or clearance. I cut them with the long blade (3″) of any of my pocket knives (which I keep pretty sharp.) I cut them up into pieces the same way; so they will fit in the green recycling bin with other brush cuttings and leaves.
    I do avoid contact with the sticky sap on the cut surfaces. But the cuts do not produce flying pieces. That’s important. I also use the same knives to cut off the tips and strip the thorns from the leaf edges if they are anywhere close to where I walk in the yard.
    I have tried all kinds of saws to cut them; but the high strength fibers in the leaves make a mess out of the job. Even a Sawsall with a fine tooth blade can’t match the sharp, thin crosscut with a knife.
    Strip three of those fibers out of dried out bottom leaf and weave then into a cord. You will be amazed at how strong it is when pulled. The dry ones are even hard to cut with my knives. Sometimes I have to resort to my sharp garden scissors.

    • Debra on November 26, 2023 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Ed — I must say it’s refreshing to hear from someone who isn’t allergic to agave sap. What a great tip about cutting the leaves with the long (3″) blade of a pocket knife, kept sharp. I wish I’d been given a pocket knife and shown how to use it as a child. Every time I see someone whip one out and dispatch some task, I’m envious. Yes, I do own one, but I never use it. Too old to learn, I guess.

      Re those tough fibers, it won’t come as a surprise to you that indigenous peoples of the Americas used them as thread. They made needles out of agaves’ tough pointed leaf tips and used them to sew animal skins together…something we could do today, if so inclined. I did a video about it ages ago.

  53. Louis on March 26, 2024 at 2:25 am

    This is gonna sound extremely stupid but I just took to a well established agave woth a chain saw I stood in the middle of it an hacked it up then all of a sudden my legs started burning an I mean burning I’ve never felt that kinda pain before was almost fainting in the shower trying to scrub it off used about 4 cups of bi carb soda as well I would literally rather have a tooth pulled out then go through that again

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