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Nutmeg

Nutmeg

Description

Nutmeg is known by many names, such Myristica fragrans, mace, magic, muscdier, muskatbaum, myristica, noz moscada, nuez moscada, and nux moschata. Nutmeg

is most commonly used as a cooking spice, comes from the fruit of a 50 ft (15 m) tall tropical evergreen tree. This tree grows in Indonesia, New Guinea, and the West Indies. The bark is smooth and grayish brown with green young branches and leaves. The oblong, fleshy fruit, called the nutmeg apple, contains a nut from which nutmeg is made. The dried nut and essential oil are both used as medicine.

Nutmeg is used in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. It is most popular as a spice in food and drinks, and is also used in cosmetics and soaps. In ancient Greece and Rome, where nutmeg was rare and expensive, people thought it stimulated the brain. The Arabs have used nutmeg since the seventh century.

General use

Nutmeg relaxes the muscles, sedates the body, and helps remove gas from the digestive track. It is most commonly used for stomach problems such as indigestion . It is also used for chronic nervous disorders, kidney disorders, and to prevent nausea and vomiting . In Chinese medicine, nutmeg is used to treat abdominal pain, diarrhea , inflammation, impotence , liver disease, and vomiting. In the Middle East, some cultures are said to use nutmeg in love potions as an aphrodisiac. The essential oil of nutmeg is used for rheumatic pain, toothaches, and bad breath . In Germany, it is used for problems related to the stomach and intestines, but this use is controversial. In homeopathy , nutmeg is used to treat anxiety or depression . Although nutmeg has been used to treat many ailments, it hasn't been proven to be useful or effective for any and it can be harmful. Nutmeg is used in medicines such as Vicks Vaporub, Agua del Carmen, Aluminum Free Indigestion, Incontinurina, Klosterfrau Magentoniuum, Melisana, and Nervospur.

Preparation

Nutmeg is made from the nut of the nutmeg apple. It is removed from the fruit and slowly dried. As an herbal medicine, nutmeg is commonly used in capsules (200 mg), powders, and essential oil. As a cooking spice, the nut is ground and cooked in food. The skin of the nuts is ground to produce another spice, called mace. Nutmeg butter, a mixture of fatty and essential oil, is made by chopping and steaming the nuts until they form a paste.

Some of the suggested doses of nutmeg can be harmful. For nausea, other stomach problems, and chronic diarrhea, one or two capsules or nutmeg kernel as a single dose or three to five drops of essential oil on a lump of sugar or on a teaspoon of honey is suggested. For diarrhea, 4-6 tbsp of powder could be taken every day. For a toothache , one or two drops of essential oil can be applied to the gum around the toothache to relieve pain; a visit to the dentist care is still necessary.

In Chinese medicine, 250500 mg of nutmeg mixed with other herbs is recommended, once or twice a day. It can be taken in powder plain, capsules, pills, or infusion, and should be taken on an empty stomach. When used as a digestive stimulant in Chinese medicine, it is said to work best when ground and cooked in food.

Precautions

Nutmeg is not recommended for use as a medicine because it is too risky. An overdose of nutmeg is harmful and sometimes deadly. There are more effective treatments for all of the ailments that nutmeg could be used for.

Pregnant women should not use nutmeg because it can cause a miscarriage. Women who are breast-feeding should not use nutmeg either. Nutmeg should be used with caution in patients with psychiatric illnesses, as it can cause feelings of anxiety. Touching the nuts can cause an allergic skin reaction. In the home, nutmeg should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

Side effects

There are no known side effects from using nutmeg properly. Too much nutmeg, however, can cause serious health problems and even death. Early symptoms of an overdose of nutmeg (one to three nuts) are thirst, nausea, and feelings of urgency. There may also be experiences of altered consciousness; this can range from mild to intensive hallucinations, and results in a stupor that lasts from two to three days. Sometimes shock and seizures occur. Immediate medical attention is necessary when someone has taken too much nutmeg.

Interactions

Recent studies of the anxiogenic, or anxiety-causing, effects of nutmeg indicate that it counteracts such tranquilizers as diazepam (Valium), ondansetron (Zofran), and buspirone (BuSpar). The specific substance in nutmeg that is responsible for this effect is a compound called trimyristin. There are, however, no known medical conditions that contraindicate the use of nutmeg in small quantities.

Resources

BOOKS

Fetrow, Charles W., and Jaun R. Avila. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. Spring-house, 1999.

The PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing Therapies. Three Rivers Press, 1999.

The PDR for Herbal Medicines. Medical Economics Company, 1998.

Reid, D. A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs. Shambhala, 1995.

PERIODICALS

Sonavane, G. S., et al. "Anxiogenic Activity of Myristica fragrans Seeds." Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 71 (January-February 2002): 239-244.

OTHER

"Semen Myristicae." China-med.net. http://www.china-med.net/research_center.html.

Lori De Milto

Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

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nutmeg

nutmeg, name applied to members of the family Myristicaceae. The true nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas but now cultivated elsewhere in the tropics and to a limited extent in S Florida. The fruit is the source of two spices of commercial value: whole or ground nutmeg, from the inner seed; and mace, from the fibrous aril (seed covering) that separates the seed from its thick outer husk. It also supplies butters and an essential oil used in medicines, toilet preparations, and dentifrices. Other trees of the Myristica genus, also called nutmegs, are of a limited use commercially. Several species of the tropical American genus Virola are valuable for timber (e.g., V. surinamensis) and the red resinous sap of some others is boiled down, powdered, and made into a hallucinogenic snuff by some Amazonian indigenous peoples. Connecticut is called the Nutmeg State. Nutmeg is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Myristicaceae.

See G. Milton, Nathaniel's Nutmeg (1999).

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"nutmeg." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nutmeg." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nutmeg

"nutmeg." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nutmeg

nutmeg

nut·meg / ˈnətˌmeg/ • n. 1. the hard, aromatic, almost spherical seed of a tropical tree. ∎  this seed grated and used as a spice. 2. the evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans, family Myristicaceae) that bears these seeds, native to the Moluccas.

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"nutmeg." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"nutmeg." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nutmeg-0

nutmeg

nutmeg Dried ripe seed of Myristica fragrans; mace is the seed coat (arillus) of the same species. Both mace and nutmeg are used as flavourings in meat products and bakery goods. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which is toxic in large amounts, and may cause vomiting and hallucinations in excess.

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"nutmeg." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"nutmeg." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nutmeg

nutmeg

nutmeg XIV. ME. nute-, notemug(g)e, later notmyg (XV), note-, nutmeg (XVI), partial tr. of AN. *nois mugue, for OF. nois mug(u)ede (also musguete; now noix muscade) :- Rom *nuce muscāta ‘musk-smelling nut’ (L. nux NUT, muscus MUSK).

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"nutmeg." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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nutmeg

nutmeg. First Pointed Northern-English ornament consisting of a series of projections, with a gap between each pair, resembling half-nutmegs, of which good examples occur at St Mary's Church, Nun Monkton, Yorkshire.

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nutmeg

nutmeg Evergreen tree native to tropical Asia, Africa and America. Its seeds yield the spice nutmeg. Height: up to 18m (60ft). Family Myristicaceae.

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"nutmeg." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"nutmeg." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nutmeg

nutmeg

nutmeg The seed of Myristica fragrans. See MYRISTICA.

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nutmeg

nutmegbeg, cleg, egg, Eigg, Greg, keg, leg, Meg, peg, skeg, teg, yegg •filibeg • blackleg • peg-leg • dogleg •foreleg • Oleg • bootleg • nutmeg •Winnipeg • clothes peg • thalweg

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"nutmeg." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nutmeg