Nutmeg is a popular spice that has abundant health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, enhance skin health, alleviate oral conditions, check insomnia, nurture immune system function, and prevent leukemia.
Nutmeg refers to the seed or ground spice of several species of the Myristica genus. The spice has a distinctive pungent scent and a warm slightly sweet taste; often used to flavour many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, sausages, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.
Nutmeg contains nutritive content like vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds related to the essential oils. These beneficial components include dietary fiber, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, copper, and macelignan that provide ample advantages to our body.
Nutmeg contains essential oil, called myristicin and macelignan which help to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function that commonly afflicts people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. it can help eliminate fatigue and stress and stimulate brain functions. Also nutmeg is used to fight depression and anxiety.
Nutmeg is also an effective sedative. Nutmeg contains many essential volatile oils such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. Nutmeg volatile oils possess anti-inflammatory properties that make it advantageous for treating joint and muscle ache. Nutmeg oil can treat inflammation, swelling, joint pain, muscle pain and sores and provide relief to the person.
Nutmeg has a high content of magnesium, an essential mineral in the body that checks nerve tension and anxiety pangs, and even stimulates the release of serotonin which creates a feeling of relaxation or sedation. This serotonin is changed to melatonin in the brain, which acts as a sleep inducer, relieving people with insomnia and restlessness at night. Nutmeg also has trace elements of narcotics,a small amount of which can help release various neurotransmitters which in turn helps induce relaxation and sleep.
Copper is an important nutrient in nutmegs which helps to balance the blood pressure and consequently helps in the maintenance of heart rate.Potassium, prenet in nutmegs, is a vasodilator, which relaxes blood vessels, hence reducing blood pressure and lowering the strain on the cardiovascular system.
Nutmeg is a good ingredient for skincare because of its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.It also acts as a potential remedy for blackheads, treatment of acne and clogged pores.Its anti-bacterial and analgesic properties help in reducing wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging.
Nutmegs have antioxidant properties that are very beneficial in smooth functioning of the body. They provide antioxidants that prevent free radical formation, which otherwise is capable of triggering unwanted reactions in the body. These reactions may lead to many serious compound formations in the body and may even turn out to be cancerous.
Nutmeg contains active antibacterial components that helps to fight conditions like halitosis, also known as bad breath. It kills the bacteria that causes this bad breath condition and generally boosts the immunity of gums and teeth, thus imrpoving the oral health. This is why nutmeg and its extracts are commonly used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, particularly in organic or herbal varieties.
Though not much is known, nutmegs have its share in curbing leukemia. It reduces hairfall by increasing blood ciculation and enhancing hair growth. It is also rich in minerals that help in keeping the immune system of the body robust. The volatile oil of nutmeg may also help to prevent or treat seizures.
High consumption of nutmeg causs people suffer severe gastrointestinal reactions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.People can suffer from heart and nerve problems as well if not checked when necessary. Long term doses of nutmeg has been linked to hallucinations and other mental side effects. It is not recommended during breast feeding.
Native to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia, nutmegs are also cultivated on Penang Island in Malaysia, in the Caribbean, especially in Grenada, and in Kerala, a state formerly known as Malabar as the hub of spice trading, in southern India. Nutmeg trees are dioecious plants which are propagated both sexually (seeds) and asexually (cuttings or grafting). Sexual propagation yields 50% male seedlings, however these are unproductive. Grafting is the alternative preferred method of propagation. Epicotyl grafting (a variation of cleft grafting using seedlings), approach grafting, and patch budding have proved successful, with epicotyl grafting being the most widely adopted standard. Air layering is another alternative though not preferred method because of its low (35–40%) success rate.The first harvest of nutmeg trees occurs seven to nine years after planting, and the trees reach full production not before twenty years.