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Nutmeg (Myrsitica Fragrans)

The giant netmeg tree, which grows upto 66 feet tall, is native to the Moluccas Islands in the south pacific. The tree produces a peach-shaped fruit known as the nutmeg apple, which is discarded in favour of the aromatic seed inside. When ripe, the fruit splits to expose a pecan sized nut wrapped in a bright red "netting" called an aril. The nut and aril are separated and dried. The nut is nutmeg; the aril (which turns a yellow color as it dries) yields the spice mace. Though both of these spices have a long history of use in both Chinese and Indian medicine, nutmeg is more commonly prescribed. It has a variety of health benefits. It calms, helps to lower blood pressure and soothes digestive upset. Mixed with a neutral oil and used in massage, it eases joint pain and inflammation.

A warming spice oil
Nutmeg is sold as a whole nut, a ground powder and an essential oil. The oil is of special interest because its healing properties act on both physical and psychological level: Nutmeg oil strengthens the heart and circulation, stimulates digestion, warms the body and banishes fatigue. To counteract joint pain, add a blend of nutmeg, clove and rosemary essential oils to an aromatic diffuser.

Therapeutic Effect
Regular use of nutmeg as a seasoning stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes concentration, acts as an expectorant, reduces joint inflammation and helps the liver remove toxins. It also has a warming effect on the digestive system, reduces indigestion, nausea and vomiting and calms diarrhea.

Nutmeg is a potent aromatic spice. The active ingredients in its essential oil are myristicin, elincin, camphene, geraniol and borneol. Nutmeg also contains fatty substances, starch, protein and some potassium and calcium.

Nutmeg for diarrhea and upset stomach
To provide fast relief for diarrhea, dissolve 3 pinches of ground nutmeg in a glass of warm milk. Sip the drink slowly. For stomach upset, add a pinch of nutmeg to peppermint tea or sprinkle nutmeg over 1 tsp. of honey.

Take care
In large doses, the myristicin and elicin in nutmeg can be toxic, may produce a hallucinogenic effect or cause miscarriages. Don't use more than 2 tbsp. of ground spice or 10 drops of essential oil per day.

Nutmeg cookies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 oz. candled lemon peel
  • 9 oz. ground almonds
  • 1-2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 small package graham crackers
  • Lemon cake frosting
  • 2-3 oz. chopped pistachios
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg F
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar until frothy
  3. Chop the lemon peel. Stir the peel and almonds into the egg mixture. Add some cornstarch to thicken. Fold the nutmeg into the egg mixture.
  4. Shape the dough into walnut sized balls and place each ball on a graham cracker. Bake the cookies for 12-15 mins after they have cooled, spread frosting on them and sprinkle with pistachios

For joint inflammation
Regular nutmeg consumption can relieve joint pain and gout. Put 5-6 drops on a sugar cube, or in 1 tsp of honey. Add the sugar to a cup of warm milk and sip throughout the day.

For toothache
For a toothache, place 1 drop of nutmeg oil on a cotton swab. Apply it ot the gum area around the tooth. Repeat several times a day.

Kitchen Hints

  • Ground nutmeg is available pre-packaged. However, once ground, the spice quickly loses its aroma. It is therefore best to buy whole nuts and use the fine side of a cheese grater to grind them to a powder yourself. Do this shortly before using the spice. Whole nuts will keep indefinitely.
  • When purchasing whole nutmeg, ask if the nuts were dipped in lime milk; this is a sign of high quality.
  • Nutmeg is an excellent seasoning for cooked vegetables, especially cauliflower, potatoes, spinach and winter squash. It is a delicious addition to creamy white sauce, pasta fillings and meat dishes. Of course, it is a familiar flavour in pumpkin pie and other baked goods, as well as in eggnog.
  • Nutmeg loses its flavour when heated. If possible, add freshly grated nutmeg toward the end of the cooking process.
  • The effects of alcohol are intensified by nutmeg. Limit your alcohol intake when eating foods prepared with a good amount of the spice.
  • Nutmeg complements winter drinks, such as tea and hot apple cider. Sprinkle the spice over the hot drink, it adds flavour and helps soothe colds and bronchitis.
  • In spice blends, nutmeg works well with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper.