The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Nutmeg

Scientific Names

Nutmeg

  • Myristica fragrans L.
  • Myristicaceae
  • Nutmeg family

Common Names

  • Bishop’s wort
  • Black caraway
  • Black cumin
  • Flower seed
  • Jatiphala (Sanskrit name)
  • Nigella seed
  • Nutmeg flower
  • Rou-dou-kou (Chinese name)
  • Small fennel flower

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Parts Usually Used

Seed
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Nutmeg

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Nutmeg is a tropical evergreen tree; the brown, wrinkled, oval fruit contains a kernel which is covered by a bright red membrane. The membrane provides the spice mace, and the kernel the spice nutmeg.

Another variety: The Chinese use a nutmeg (Myristica moschata) that they name Jon-tou-k’ou. Very seldom used as a spice.
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Where Found

Native to Indonesia, and cultivated in the West Indies, South Africa, the Molucca Islands, and other tropical areas.
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Medicinal Properties

Aphrodisiac, aromatic, astringent, carminative, hallucinogenic, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic
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Biochemical Information

Volatile oil consisting of d-camphene, a-pinene, myristicin
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Mace (nutmeg tree Myristica fragrans) is the lacy dried aril or outer covering of the seed of the tropical nutmeg tree. The kernel inside the seed is the spice nutmeg. Uses in whole or powdered form: cakes, cookies, cooked fruit, chocolate puddings, and other desserts. It is often combined with bay leaves, cloves, and onions in seasoning dishes. Also, used for flavoring liqueurs and cordials, mulled cider, planter’s punch and hot punch.

First brought to Europe from the Banda Islands by Portuguese sailors in 1512, nutmeg gained the reputation of a cure-all and was widely eaten as a tonic. Was even taken erroneously to procure abortions and was claimed as a cure for the plague. Known as rou dou kou in China, it has been used there since the 7th century.

The Malays believe that nutmeg trees will not bear unless they can hear the sea and the tress must be fed with animal food. The beliefs are corroborated by the fact that trees grown near the sea and fed with animal food actually do produce the finest fruits.
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Uses

In small quantities, nutmeg improves appetite and digestion. Used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, gas, colic, nausea, vomiting, impotence, premature ejaculation, muscle spasms, and insomnia. The oil is sometimes used to dispel flatulence. It is a mild hallucinogenic drug, somewhat like marijuana. In addition to hallucinations and elation, however, eating nutmeg produces stomach pain, double vision, delirium, and other symptoms of poisoning. Eating as few as 2 nutmegs can cause death. Externally, the essential oil is used for rheumatic pain and, like clove oil, can be applied as an emergency treatment to dull toothache. In France, it is given in drop doses in honey for digestive upsets and for bad breath.
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Formulas or Dosages

Do not boil.

Nutmeg tea: pour 1 pint boiling water over a crushed nutmeg and allow to stand until cool, then strain. Take 1 cupful before retiring to aid in restful sleep.
1/2 to 6 gms. in infusion.
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How Sold

Sold as a spice in supermarkets
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Warning

It is a mild hallucinogenic drug, somewhat like marijuana. In addition to hallucinations and elation, however, eating nutmeg produces stomach pain, double vision, delirium, and other symptoms of poisoning. Eating as few as 2 nutmegs can cause death. More than 7.5 gms. in a single dose can be toxic, producing convulsions and palpitations. Use only as a seasoning in small amounts, other uses should have medical supervision.
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Bibliography

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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