Origins of Nutmeg:
Botanically known as Myristica fragrans, the nutmeg tree originated in Indonesia. The English word nutmeg comes from the latin nux, meaning nut, and muscat, meaning musky.
The earliest references to the nutmeg tree trace its origins to the Banda Islands (Spice Islands) in the Moluccas, the Indonesian rainforest. Nutmeg trade was mostly controlled by Portuguese and Dutch traders till World War II. The British East India Company brought the nutmeg tree to Penang, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, and Grenada, where it is the national symbol and emblazoned on the country’s red, yellow, and green flag.
Nutmeg: Two Spices in One
Nutmeg is actually a fruit with a single seed (a drupe). It’s intertwined with a softer substance- mace, another valuable spice harvested at the same time. As the seed matures, the nutmeg kernel splits from the mace in a sort of lace pattern.
TOP 16 HEALTH WONDERS OF NUTMEG:
- Brain Tonic: Nutmeg’s natural organic compound Myristicin, inhibits a brain enzyme that contributes to neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer’s. Nutmeg’s anti-inflammatory and protective effects can effectively promote brain tissue growth, stimulate your brain cells, improve memory and concentration, and eliminate fatigue, stress, anxiety and depression.
- Sedative: Nutmeg’s essential oil is used to treat inflammation, abdominal pain, aching joints, muscle pain, arthritis, sores, and other ailments. Nutmeg oil, when mixed with almond oil, is used to relieve rheumatic pain.
- Sleep Inducer: Nutmeg aids sleep by soothing and relaxing the nervous system. Drink a glass of warm milk with a dash of nutmeg–the perfect sleep-inducing cocktail.
- Anti Anxiety and Anti Depressant: Nutmeg’s constituent compounds, myristicin and elemicin, offer mild sedative, anti anxiety and pain-relieving benefits, by virtue of activation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
- Aphrodisiac: Sex therapists have long recommended cooking with nutmeg to increase sexual desire. Nutmeg has a long ancient history of being an integral part of herbal medicines, to cure impotency and increase libido.
- Liver and Kidney Detox: Nutmeg cleanses the liver and kidney of toxins, strengthening their functions, dissolves kidney stones, revs up blood circulation, and treats kidney infections and liver disease.
- Skin Care: A scrub made from nutmeg powder and orange lentil powder can help you remove blackheads. Honey or milk, work with nutmeg’s anti-inflammatory effects, to reduce marks/scars, alleviate acne, and reduce the redness and puffiness of blemishes.
- Immunity Booster: Nutmeg contains many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
- Dental Relief: Nutmeg oil contains eugenol, when combined with cinnamon makes a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial paste, protecting against cavity-causing bacteria. Nutmeg oil can directly be applied to the gums around an aching tooth and can also treat halitosis or bad breath.
- Indigestion Relief: Freshly prepared decoction of Nutmeg essential oil and honey relieves digestion-related problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence- by removing the excess gas from your intestines, aids digestion and boosts appetite.
- Cancer Prevention: Nutmeg Essential oil acts as an antioxidant and inhibits oxidation of the essential fatty acid, linoleic, and significantly reduces new blood vessel growth that feeds tumors. Myristicin, a component of nutmeg essential oil, inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells.
- Digestive Health: Nutmeg has long been used as a remedy for digestive disorders such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion and diarrhea, managing symptoms of Crohn’s disease, and in regulating your gastrointestinal tract.
- Soothes Eczema: A nutmeg paste, made by grinding nutmeg seeds with water, and smeared over red scaly patches of eczema, significantly reduce the eruptions.
- Respiratory Soother: A poultice of nutmeg powder, flour and water, when applied to the chest, cures chest cold. Studies have shown that nutmeg can help combat asthma symptoms.
- Minerals Store: Nutmeg is a super store of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases enzymes.
- Vitamins Store: Nutmeg is rich in many vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and many flavonoid anti-oxidants like beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin that are essential for optimum health.
- Nutmeg and mace are UNSAFE in doses larger than amounts found in foods. In pregnant women, they may cause miscarriages or birth defects.
- Not enough is known about the safety of using nutmeg and mace during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Overuse of nutmeg, because of its active agent myristicin, is known to cause lack of concentration, palpitations, body pain, sweating, hallucination and delirium, so do use this wonder spice in moderation.