Nutmeg is a popular spice around the world–some even call it ‘The Spice of Life!’ Join BeWellBuzz as we check out the health benefits of this fragrant spice.
The nutmeg fruit is a drupe along with its sisters the coconut, peach, almond, olive, mangoes, cherries and apricots. Drupes are also called “stone fruit” because at center, beyond the peel (exocarp) and the edible flesh (mesocarp) is a small stone that contains a seed. Inside the seed is the nutmeg kernel. The bright strips hugging the seed are another spice called mace. The two are called twin spices because their flavors, fragrance and chemical properties have only subtle differences.
7 Powerful Ways To Use Nutmeg
1. Oral Health and Hygiene
Nutmeg is famously antibacterial and antimicrobial. For bad breath, apply nutmeg oil to gums or ingest with a teaspoon of honey. It’s also a powerful analgesic. The oil contains eugenol, commonly used as a dental treatment to relieve toothaches. Apply a drop of the oil the gums surrounding the aching tooth.
2. Digestive Aid
Nutmeg has been used successfully to treat diarrhea, gas, nausea, indigestion, hiccups and to increase appetite. Dosage amounts vary according to personal health, age and other factors. For a safe start, use up to 1 tsp of nutmeg powder, increasing by ¼ tsp. increments according to taste or desired potency. Enjoy in juice (goes well with apple juice), hot water/tea, sprinkle on food, or ingest with a carrier of your choice such as honey or maple syrup. OR, add a couple drops of the oil to your choice of carrier. It’s best not to ingest or apply nutmeg oil alone.
3. Mild Sedative/Sleep Aid
To help you wind down or fall asleep, add ¼ tsp. of nutmeg powder to 1 cup of your favorite milk. Boil, cool slightly and enjoy warm. If you tend to have trouble sleeping, studies show that exposure to computers late in the day can actually keep our motors artificially revved. Turn off the device, enjoy a warm cup of nutmeg creme, and think good thoughts.
4. Heal Skin Problems
To treat eczema, make a paste of nutmeg and some water. Apply gently. Nutmeg has fantastic anti-inflammatory powers. To treat acne and help heal scars, many have seen results using a honey-cinnamon-nutmeg combo. The best way to start is to try spot treatments. Sensitive skin? Use less of the spice and more of the bee poop. Combine about 1 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 2 tsp of honey. Add more honey as needed to get a thick paste. Spot treat or apply with a fresh clean makeup applicator brush. Tingling is normal. Leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse gently with warm water as you would any exfoliator. Can be done once or at most twice per week.
5. Ease Muscular Pain & Rheumatoid Arthritis
The fragrant analgesic is also calming and anti-inflammatory, lending itself well to soothe aching joints, sore muscles, pain of arthritis and even gout. Combine a few drops of nutmeg oil with enough fixative like sweet almond oil to make your massage oil. There are dozens of wonderful recipes for this treatment. A simple and quick concoction would combine a cup of sweet almond oil with a few drops of nutmeg oil to your desired potency. Be careful. Overdoing it can cause stinging on sensitive skin. Warm slightly if you like and rub luxuriously over painful areas.
6. Chest Cold Remedy
The commonly known Vicks Vapor Rub contains nutmeg, as do many cough syrups. To make your own chest rub, mix nutmeg with equal part flour and a wee bit of water. Add an egg white to make the “plaster,” wrap with a fleece or cotton cloth and apply to chest.
7. Memory & Alzheimer’s Disease
Modern researchers discovered that an enzyme inhibitor known as myristicin, found in nutmeg, has been shown to decrease the enzyme connected with Alzheimer’s Disease and may help improve memory.
Treatment Forms Nutmeg is administered as a powder or oil, but you can also find it tablet or capsule form. Most common treatments involve the former two. Chinese Medicine often uses nutmeg powder, pills or capsules. Because of nutmeg’s potent flavor, some prefer to buy empty capsules and fill with oil or powder according to their recommended dose.
Can be taken dry (usually by the teaspoon, as directed); added to a capsule; made into a paste; dissolved in liquid; or cooked or sprinkled in food. When cooking, add only in the final throes to preserve nutrient value and flavor.
The FDA has a list of food additives Generally Considered As Safe (“the GRAS list”). Essential oil of nutmeg is included in that list. Nutmeg oil is safe to ingest, however it’s highly potent. A tiny amount, even one drop, can flavor a whole pot of soup or batch of cookies. Treatments call for small doses, such as 1-3 drops with a carrier as needed or up to three times per day. Consult with a qualified professional. Use as directed.
WARNING: Pregnant or breastfeeding women SHOULD NOT exceed the small amounts of nutmeg found in food without consultation from a qualified health professional. High doses of nutmeg can cause miscarriage. The effects upon nursing babies are unclear. Nursing mothers are urged to avoid risk and consume nutmeg minimally or as recommended by a qualified health professional. Consult with your doctor before using nutmeg. In large quantities it is highly toxic in the body. Overdose can result in vomiting, heart palpitations, hallucination, delirium and death. I hope you’ll enjoy nutmeg in a myriad ways, because variety is truly the spice of life!