Nutmeg is a small package with several big benefits. It’s used for prevention and healing of many known conditions. Here are some most common uses of nutmeg:
Like cloves, nutmeg contains eugenol, a compound that may benefit the heart.
Medically, nutmeg has strong antibacterial properties. It is effective in killing a number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Myristicin found in nutmeg has been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease and is used to improve memory.
It is used in small dosages to reduce flatulence [excessive stomach or intestinal gas], aid digestion and improve appetite.
In Arab countries, nutmeg is valued as an aphrodisiac [substance believed to increase sexual desire].
Nutmeg can help to combat asthma.
It is also used to relax muscles.
Nutmeg contains 10 per cent essential oil which is a colourless or light yellow liquid. The oil is obtained by the steam distillation of ground nutmeg. Besides being used in toothpastes, cough syrups, perfumes and cosmetic industry, externally nutmeg oil is mixed with almond oil and is used to relieve rheumatic pain.
Nutmeg oil is used to treat toothaches. Drops of essential oil are put on cotton swab and applied to the gums around an aching tooth, sometimes also used to control bad breath.
Drops of nutmeg oil can also be mixed with honey to treat nausea, gastroenteritis, chronic diarrhoea and indigestion.
In homoeopathy, nutmeg is used to treat anxiety and depression.
In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat impotence and liver disease.
Nutmeg should be used in moderation—a pinch or two is considered safe. However, large doses can trigger an acute psychiatric disorder. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which in large doses can cause hallucinations. Users may feel a sensation of blood rush to the head or a strong euphoria and dissociation. It can also lead to convulsions, palpitations, generalised body pain, vomiting, nausea and eventual dehydration. Followed by long, deep almost coma-like sleep, it can even cause death.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the use of nutmeg. It can cause miscarriage in pregnant women. It also inhibits prostaglandin production [involved in child birth process] and contains hallucinogens that may affect the foetus, if consumed in large quantities. It can also trigger dizziness, nausea and difficulty in urination.
Touching nutmeg can cause allergic skin reaction. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets.