For the reason that pre-Hispanic period in Mexico, and persevering with thus far, there have been a number of species of agave used to extract aguamiel (honeywater). As soon as this candy, coconut-milk-like liquid is faraway from the center of the succulent and thereby uncovered to micro organism and yeasts within the surroundings, it ferments and turns into viscous. Fermented aguamiel is named pulque. Over a whole lot of years, and extra probably millennia, medicinal properties have been attributed to pulque, by way of myths which have been handed down by means of generations of indigenous populations, and extra not too long ago on account of scientific inquiry (not with out contraindications relating to the latter). As could be anticipated the literature just isn’t at all times constant in each its factual underpinnings and conjecture. However a lay synthesis in a abstract trend does serve to light up.
Pulque, for a few hundred years had been related to an elixir for the plenty, a gentle intoxicant with healing powers. Buoyed by the pure/natural and to a lesser extent the sluggish meals motion, it has been elevated to trendiness. The predominantly center and higher class millennials residing in Mexico’s bigger city facilities reminiscent of Monterrey, Puebla, Guadalajara and naturally Mexico Metropolis, flock to pulquerías. Nonetheless most of what’s being served up is an adulterated type of pulque often called curados. A base of pulque, generally even canned, is mixed with a collection of processed fruits, grains and/or greens, sugar or one other sweetener, and generally milk/cream and/or a thickener reminiscent of corn starch. These curados couldn’t be farther from the actual deal, and sure by the point they arrive on the desk any helpful attributes, medicinal or in any other case, have been lengthy misplaced as a result of its business dealing with. Nonetheless pulque accessible in bars and eating places in cities near rural areas the place aguamiel is extracted (i.e. Oaxaca, from the fields exterior of the city Santiago Matatlán) is something however 100% unadulterated. The nearer proximity the cantina or comedor is to the sphere from which the aguamiel has been harvested, the larger the probability that the pulque has not been bastardized and that it has retained its constructive properties.
The vast variety of micro-climates by which the species of agave are grown means that the attributes of the resultant pulque should inevitably range, considerably at occasions. And, every specie of plant in and of itself has a singular sequence of compounds, minerals, nutritional vitamins, and so forth., that are reworked otherwise. This is determined by the sub-region of Mexico, in addition to the then prevailing micro organism and to a lesser extent yeasts within the surroundings. Species of agave used to extract aguamiel which have been famous within the literature embody salmiana, americana, deserti, mapisaga, atrovirens, ferrox and hookeri. Totally different roots, together with and specifically acacia (referred to in elements of the state of Oaxaca as timbre), have been usually used to make the pulque stronger, hotter, extra intoxicating or spicier. It additionally accelerates the fermentation course of significantly throughout colder climate months. Such additions additional alter the properties of the pulque.
The title pulque was probably derived from the Nahuatl phrase poliuhqui, that means spoiled. In the course of the pre-Hispanic period in lots of areas of the nation it was a drink reserved for prime clergymen, warriors and the clever. It was used ceremonially as a part of the celebration of the harvest, to induce the rain to fall, as a method or honoring sure gods, and through rites of passage reminiscent of marriage, delivery and loss of life. Divergent guidelines abound as to the suitable approach to imbibe, and there’s a plethora of myths as to its origins. However the nationwide thread which binds is its medicinal worth. It ought to come as little shock that populaces which drank pulque have been typically proof against the cholera epidemic of the 19th century.
Pulque has been considered nationwide as a wholesome drink, a dietary complement. In areas of Mexico the place there’s a lack of safely drinkable water as a result of human or animal contaminants, it’s used as a thirst quencher. However its constituent parts together with however not restricted to iron, carotene, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, bioactive compounds, phosphorus and ash, have probably result in its predominant healing position in conventional drugs and as a preventive foodstuff.
Ask fairly nicely any tlachiquero (somebody who faucets agave to extract the aguamiel) in Santiago Matatlán, and he (or she, since a minimum of within the state of Oaxaca producing pulque is a vocation not simply reserved for males) will inform you that pulque is 100% pure partly because the solely fertilizer, if any, used to stimulate development of the agave, is abono from cows, sheep or goats and the mulch used is bagazo (waste fiber from distilling mezcal); and that pulque’s attributes embody stimulating manufacturing of white blood cells, being good for triglycerides, and controlling diabetes particularly if consumed very first thing within the morning nicely earlier than breakfast.
The cross-cultural literature primarily based upon research from all through Mexico, gives a way more expansive story. Pulque has been used:
• within the therapy of gastrointestinal issues together with ulcers, and renal infections
• as an help in diminishing basic weak point of and within the physique
• to fight lack of urge for food and anorexia
• as a diuretic
• for enhancing leisure previous to bedtime
• as an help in foetus improvement
• to stimulant milk manufacturing for lactating moms
• as a way of kick-starting breastfeeding when touched to the lips of newborns
• for youngsters primarily based upon its means to advertise muscle and bone buildup.
Although the purported use of pulque to stimulate fertility and enhance sexual functioning doesn’t seem to have any factual foundation (besides maybe to the extent that consuming alcohol might positively affect the libido in some), a lot of the foregoing has certainly been confirmed by means of scientific investigation.
Whereas environmental yeasts play an element within the manufacturing of pulque, specifically apparently contributing to its frothiness, the literature most frequently refers to bacterium from the specie Zymomonas mobilis as the first stimulant changing aguamiel into pulque (and to a lesser extent micro organism from the genus Lueconostoc). Broadly encountered in sugar wealthy plant saps, Z. mobilis is extraordinarily efficient in producing ethanol.
A number of research have demonstrated in vitro development selling results due to numerous lactobacilli and bifidobacteria plus probiotic strains. This aids within the absorption of necessary minerals. Phytase is current, and arguably crucial. It’s a digestive enzyme. Some imagine that it will probably bind corn and improve the bioactivity of iron and zinc by means of metabolization. Phytase is a micro organism discovered within the intestine of cattle and sheep, however not usually present in human beings though there may be proof of its presence in vegans and vegetarians. Phytase breaks down into phytic acid. This has been implicated in DNA restore, clathrin-coarted vesticular recycling, management of neurotransmission and cell proliferation. Whereas analysis relating to animal vitamin has advised the worth of supplementing feed with phytase as an help within the manufacturing of calcium, phosphorus, different minerals, carbohydrates and proteins, the implications for people are nonetheless largely unknown and additional examine is required.
By way of analyzing inside the context of scientific inquiry how and why indigenous populations have been using pulque over a whole lot of years, we achieve a greater understanding of the particular validity and veracity relating to myths and beliefs as to the ferment’s healing properties.
Scientific inquiry does verify that consuming 850 ml of aguamiel satisfies the day by day human necessities for iron and zinc. As a result of it’s an alternate supply of prebiotics FOS (fructooligosaccaride) syrups, it improves calcium absorption in postmenopausal ladies and extra typically iron absorption. Consumption has been advised for colon most cancers prevention. It’s recognized that pulque accommodates steroidal saponins which have been studied for his or her medicinal makes use of together with antispasmodic exercise and toxicity to most cancers cells. They’ve been described as a very powerful bioactive compounds in yams and a number of other organic actions reminiscent of anti-cancer have been documented.
The melatonin content material in pulque assists in leisure in preparation for sleep. The probiotic potential of lactobacilli remoted from each aguamiel and pulque gives a low ldl cholesterol non-dairy supply various for many who are lactose illiberal. It’s maybe the meals product with the best dose and number of potential probiotic microorganisms. A examine within the Valle de Solís, within the state of Mexico, discovered that the consumption of pulque resulted in much less danger of inadequate hemoglobin for pregnant ladies.
However simply because the potential well being advantages of pulque consumption have been tough to guage and make sure for causes a few of which have been famous on this article, so have a few of the contraindications. We do know that alcohol consumption can have dangerous results for pregnant ladies and their offspring, even with pulque at 6%. However this ought to be weighed in opposition to consumption in areas the place there are typically poor dietary customs or unavailability of variety of nutritional vitamins and minerals by means of meals. The literature does point out ingesting pulque in low quantities helps foetus improvement and will increase milk manufacturing throughout lactation (helps mom take up calcium).
Pulque in truth does have a brief shelf life due ambient temperature and ongoing contact with yeasts within the surroundings. The longer it’s saved, the faster it goes bitter. Nonetheless as soon as it’s primarily undrinkable, in elements of Mexico reminiscent of Oaxaca it’s used as a base to supply a refreshing drink often called tepache. Sometimes tepache is made with the vinegar-like pulque, pineapple, and a sugar cane by-product often called piloncillo or panela. Whether or not this beverage retains a few of the constructive attributes of pulque is unsure.
For some one other concern is the dearth of sanitation related to aguamiel and pulque. This may increasingly grow to be obvious if one ever has a possibility to take part in extracting aguamiel from agave and/or has consumed pulque in a village market. To my pondering, having been consuming each drinks for the previous quarter century, it is a non-issue. Commercially making ready pulque on the market in cans is a doable answer. Chemical substances are added to halt fermentation. Nonetheless, it’s advised that the advantages of pulque consumption may have lengthy been misplaced by the point canned pulque is imbibed wherever within the nation, or in American states the place it’s accessible for buy reminiscent of California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Additional examine is warranted and required in an effort to higher perceive the true advantages of pulque. However for now, topic to documented dangers related to its consumption, it’s advised that the reported constructive attributes ought to be adequate to induce the reader to imbibe a little bit pulque every now and then, and for that matter aguamiel if in a area of Mexico the place it’s being harvested recent out of the agave.