9 Surprising Benefits of Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a popular spice that has a long list of associated health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation.

What is Nutmeg?

Nutmeg is one of two spices that grow on an evergreen tree with the scientific classification Myristica fragrans, also known as common nutmeg. It is native to islands near Indonesia but is now a globally used spice. These trees bear nutmeg, which is the seed of the tree, as well as mace, a less common spice derived from the dried reddish shell of the seed. This is the only tree which is the source of two distinct spices in the world. It is commonly grown in the Caribbean, other tropical areas of the world, and also in Southern India in the state of Kerala.

Nutmeg is a delicate, slightly sweet spice that is widely used in cuisines around the world, including both Asian and western recipes. The tree is also highly valued because of the essential oils that are derived from the tree and leaves, and nutmeg butter is also a popular derivative food that packs a healthy punch. The essential oils from nutmeg extract are highly beneficial to health and are frequently used in alternative and herbal medicine.

Nutmeg Nutrition Facts

While nutmeg is only a spice that is used sparingly in dishes, it can still impact your health in a variety of ways, mainly due to its nutritive content of 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. The many health benefits of nutmeg are explained in greater detail below.

Health Benefits of Nutmeg

Health benefits of nutmeg include:

Pain Relief

One of the components of nutmeg is a compound similar to menthol, which has natural pain-relieving characteristics. Therefore, by adding nutmeg as a spice in your cooking, you can reduce associated pain from wounds, injuries, strains, and chronic inflammation from conditions like arthritis.

Promotes Digestion

When you grind nutmeg into a powder, it retains its fiber content, which can stimulate the digestive process by promoting peristaltic motion in the smooth muscles of the intestine. Also, it induces the secretion of various gastric and intestinal juices that ease the digestive process. Since fiber can bulk up the bowel movements, it reduces the frequency and discomfort of constipation and other intestinal issues.

Nutmeg2Improves Brain Health

One of the lesser known benefits of adding nutmeg in any variety to your diet are the various components of its essential oil, called myristicin and macelignan. These compounds have been proven to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function that commonly afflicts people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown myristicin and macelignan slow those effects, and keep your brain functioning at a normal, healthy level.

Detoxifies the Body

Nutmeg acts as a tonic in many different ways and therefore boosts the overall health of your body. More specifically, in terms of liver and kidney, where many of the toxins are stored and accumulated from the body, nutmeg can help eliminate them. It literally cleans those organs out of all the toxins that may be stored there from alcohol, drugs, pollution, food, or natural organic toxins. Furthermore, active ingredients in nutmeg help to dissolve kidney stones, and increase overall function and efficiency of the kidney and liver.

Oral Health

In traditional medical applications, nutmeg was considered the king of spices when it came to oral health. The active antibacterial components of nutmeg means that it helps to fight conditions like halitosis, also known as bad breath. It kills the bacteria that causes this embarrassing condition and generally boosts the immunity of your gums and teeth. This is why nutmeg and its extracts are commonly found in toothpastes and mouthwashes, particularly in organic or herbal varieties.

Treats Insomnia

For generations, nutmeg has been recommended as a home remedy for sleeplessness and insomnia. A pinch of nutmeg in warm milk always seemed to do the trick. Nutmeg has a high content of magnesium, an essential mineral in the body that reduces nerve tension, 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 is a sleep inducer, relieving people of their problems with insomnia and restlessness at night. Nutmeg also has trace elements of narcotics, which have no dramatic effect unless taken in massive quantities. However, the small amount can help you release various neurotransmitters which in turn helps induce relaxation and sleep.

Treats Leukemia

Another of the lesser known qualities of nutmeg is its potential use against cancerous cells. Studies have shown that a certain methanolic compound in nutmeg and its essential oil can actually induce cell death (apoptosis) in leukemia cells, thereby stopping the spread and metastasis of this terrible variety of cancer that commonly afflicts children.

nutmeginfoSkin Care

Although the exact mechanism is not fully understood, herbal and traditional medicines have long used nutmeg to boost the appearance and health of your skin. Most commonly, it is applied as a paste mixed with water, or even honey, which is also great for skin care. It can help to reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin, promote hydration and a smooth appearance, as well as reduce the signs and marks from pox, boils, and acne.

Boosts Blood Pressure & Circulation

The mineral content of nutmeg means that it is valuable in terms of maintaining organ function. Potassium is a vasodilator, which relaxes blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and lowering the strain on the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, it facilitates the uptake of nutrients from food, making digestion an efficient and speedy process. The calcium found in nutmeg can boost the health of your bones by contributing to repair and growth while relieving symptoms of osteoporosis. Finally, the iron content can boost your red blood cell count and reduce your chances of developing symptoms of iron deficiency, also known as anemia.

Word of Caution: Nutmeg has come under considerable suspicion since the cases of accidental poisoning have increased in recent years. Once it was revealed that excessively consuming nutmeg can have psychotropic, hallucinatory, or narcotic effects on people, and so many people tried to duplicate those effects recreationally. Unfortunately, consuming a huge amount of nutmeg can seriously complicate your bodily processes, as it is a potent spice meant to be used in small quantities. Consuming too much nutmeg can result in seizures, irregular heart palpitations, and vomiting.

When used appropriately, as a spice, the benefits of nutmeg are obvious, but keep the amount under control, and find your thrills somewhere else!

What do you think? |
16 comments in this artcle's discussion
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Last night as I tossed and turned for the umpteenth night in a row I decided to get up and make a cup of tea. My normal wasn't available so I grated a small amount of nutmeg in a cup added a little honey and hot water then sipped it. I am not sure when I fell asleep but I can't recall tossing after that which is the reason I am researching benefits at this moment.
I know it is good for toothaches but didn't know insomnia can be helped. I am sipping a cup now!!

red nutmeg and white nutmeg juice.

never heard of red/white nutmeg juice

Jennifer Cournoyer Sieb

It's great to sprinkle on top of shakes or malts!!

Does anyone know how much is considered a large amount of nutmeg? I'm not trying to overdose, so I'd really like to know. Thanks!!!

You will know if you have too much. Taste by itself is not palatable

Walter Rodgers

One twentieth. Of a level teaspoon into large tea cup of chocolate or coffee, my favourite drlnk, is fine. Talk to your doctor if you want to use it everyday

Dr. will try to dissuade you. Correct just a small pinch.

more than 4a tablespoonful...but it is very potent! try grating a sprinkling on top of your treat, not pouring it out of a spice container

Thanks very informative. Last sentence made me lol!

Nutmeg is a staple spice in a Jamaican diet! I had no idea it had so many benefits. This is great. Yaay to a healthier and longer life!

how do you use it my dear i live in ghana and want to know

Bake with it, grate over warm milk, hot chocolate, gargle your mouth. My mom used it on the baby's umbilical cord where it attach to the body She would mix with a little cornstarch and sprinkle on

Why on the umbilical cord?

Jamaicans normally use it in their cocoa tea, their milk drinks for example carrot juice, sour sop juice, pumpkin juice and in their baking.

You would grate it with a fine grater for best result.