Botanical: Myristica fragrans
Family: Myristicaceae (nutmeg)
Other common names: Jatiphala, Nux Moschata, Myristica Jaiful, Black Caraway, Black Cumin,
One of the most widely-used domestic spices, Nutmeg is also an excellent tonic for the digestive tract and appetite stimulant that can relieve indigestion, ease colic, flatulent dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention and bad breath. It is also used to alleviate headaches, abdominal spasms, as well as chronic diarrhea and dysentery. No kitchen or herbal cabinet should be without Nutmeg!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Nutmeg grows on the Nutmeg tree, which is a tropical evergreen that is native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia and cultivated in the West Indies, South Africa, the Molucca Islands and other tropical areas of the world, thriving as a crop in well-drained, humus-rich, sandy soil at a minimum temperature of about sixty degrees Fahrenheit. The tree bears whorled branches of alternate-growing, dark-green leaves, pale yellow flowers and a brown, wrinkled fruit. The oval fruit is fleshy
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in appearance, like an apricot, but it may grow as large as a peach, and when it ripens, will split open, exposing the bright-red, netlike aril (from which another spice, Mace, is derived) wrapped around a dark reddish-brown and brittle shell, within which lies a single kernel. The seed, after its shell has been broken and discarded, is the Nutmeg. Nutmeg and mace are the only spices that are produced by separate parts of the same fruit. Nutmeg is made from the dried seed, while mace is the dried seed cover known botanically as the aril. Although the fragrance is spicy, it is actually relaxing and is said to lower blood pressure and create a euphoric feeling. There are claims that Roman priests burned Nutmeg as a form of incense, and it was listed as a Chinese medicinal herb by about 600 A.D. Arab traders brought Nutmeg to Europe in the first century A.D., and by the Middle Ages, it was already an expensive commodity being traded by Arabs in Indian Ocean commerce. During this period, Nutmeg was not only an important spice, but it was also being used in Europe to ward off plague. In the fifteenth century, Portugal joined into that profitable trade, but by the seventeenth century, the Dutch dominated the Nutmeg trade when it established control over the Banda Islands. When the British gained control over the Banda Islands during the Napoleonic Wars, they transplanted Nutmeg trees to their own colonies, including Zanzibar and West Indian islands, and thus worldwide cultivation began. It has been listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopœia for flatulent dyspepsia, nausea, diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism. In eighteenth-century North America, Nutmeg was included as an "intoxicating" ingredient in North American "nightcaps," and it is still thought to be an agreeable addition to drinks for convalescents. The Chinese favor Nutmeg as an aphrodisiac, and many people claim that the oil will influence dream activity; making dreams more intense and colorful. In the ancient Ayurvedic medicine of India, Nutmeg has been used for centuries as a digestive tract stimulant to treat poor digestion, as well as insomnia, urinary incontinence and premature ejaculation. As one of the most widely-used domestic spices, Nutmeg is an important flavoring for bakery products, drinks, meats, vegetables, cheese dishes, sauces, puddings and pasta stuffings. Its fatty oil is also used in perfumery, soap and candle manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry and in herbal medicines. Some of the chemical constituents in Nutmeg include an essential oil (mainly erimysisticin), which is used to strengthen and stimulate, myristic-acid, myristicin (a weak monoamine oxidase inhibitor), myrcene, oleoresin, lignin, stearin, starch, protein, gum, fiber, geraniol, camphor, glucose, iron, limonene, linalol, linalool, linoleic acid, lycopene, beta sitosterol, calcium, magnesium, manganese, eugenol, oleanolic-Acid, Oleic-Acid, palmitic acid, P-coumaric-acid, pectin, phosphorus, phytosterol, pinene, potassium, quercetin, riboflavin, safrol, salicylate, stearic acid, stigmasterol, (-)-epicatechin, catechin, potassium and zinc.
Nutmeg is a bitter, spicy herb that acts as a warming, digestive tonic. It has been used for centuries to stimulate digestion, improve the appetite, prevent gas and fermentation in the intestinal tract, treat digestive tract infections and ease indigestion, colic, flatulent dyspepsia, nausea, abdominal distention and bad breath.
As an herbal astringent, Nutmeg has been used to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and it is also thought to be effective in controlling vomiting and relaxing spasms.
Aromatic Nutmeg has been called a "nervine," or agent that nourishes, calms and soothes the nerves, reducing tension, stress and anxiety and has been used for headaches. As a nervous system tonic, it should never be used improperly, however, as it is said to produce intoxicating effects.
Nutmeg both calms and strengthens and is thought to be beneficial in cases of general debility and may also be helpful when lack of energy and fatigue are present.
When applied externally, Nutmeg has been used as an anti-inflammatory to ease rheumatism, sore muscles, lumbago and abdominal pains. It is also believed to relieve toothaches.
Great care should be exercised with the use of Nutmeg Herbal Supplement, as it is very strong. Pregnant and nursing women should not use Nutmeg, nor should those who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders. Overuse (many times the recommended dosage) may cause severe headache, nausea, dizziness, hallucinations or delirium.