Nutmeg (or Myristica fragrans) is the seed kernel of the nutmeg tree‘s fruit. This plant is an exotic spice condiment that belongs to the Myristaceae family. It is native to Indonesia.
The Middle Ages is when it was introduced in Europe, and it then spread to the Americas. Many health benefits have been attributed to it and it has quite a few therapeutic properties.
Health benefits of nutmeg and impact on the body
The therapeutic and pharmacological properties of nutmeg essential oil were discovered in the XVIIth century. Today, nutmeg is recommended to treat many disorders.
- Nutmeg is digestive and stimulating. It eases digestion, calms aerophagia, digestive spasms and flatulence, stimulates appetite and combats physical and nervous exhaustion, stress and risk of burnout.
- Nutmeg is reputed for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial properties. One can use nutmeg essential oil during a massage to alleviate pain in the lumbar vertebrae or joints, rheumatism, muscle contractures and sprains.
- Nutmeg is also effective to treat many respiratory disorders: viral infections, bronchitis, flu, sore throat, otitis, rhinopharyngitis, etc. It’s best then to use nutmeg essential oil in a diffuser.
- Nutmeg seeds are also said to have a beneficial impact against nausea and seasickness.
- In case of inflamed gums, dental neuralgia or canker sores, you can prepare mouthwash from a single drop of nutmeg essential oil diluted in water.
- Take care, however, because when ingested in excessive amounts, nutmeg may trigger hallucinations and cerebral function disorders. Although amounts used in cooking never reach such quantities, nutmeg essential oil must not be used by pregnant women and children under the age of 12.
Growing nutmeg for its health benefits
- The nutmeg tree requires part-sun exposure in a warm and moist environment. The soil must be rich, sandy and deep.
- Be on the lookout for scale insects that really love the nutmeg plant.
- No point in even trying to grow nutmeg in a container, you’ll never reach the point where it bears fruits.
Use nutmeg in your cooking for its health benefits
- You have to grate nutmeg if you want to use it in your cooking. It’s actually best to only grate as much as your recipe calls for, because this spice’s taste rapidly fades away when in powder form.
- Nutmeg is used for both sweet and salty preparations. It’s particularly appreciated in French béchamel sauce and dishes that involve potatoes and spinach.