Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a high-value kitchen spice that has been used all over the world for centuries. At one time nutmeg was one of the best trading spices in the world. Whilst it is a valuable food condiment, it also has medicinal value. Let’s look at nutmeg medicinal uses and see if consuming it is good for more than just the flavour.
Nutmeg is rich in fixed and essential oils, triterpenes, secondary metabolites and other compounds. This supports its uses in traditional medicine. The medicinal uses of nutmeg include treatment for stomach complaints, rheumatism, kidney disorders and vomiting among others.
Nutmeg medicinal uses
Nutmeg medicinal uses in folkloric medicine
Traditional medicinal uses of nutmeg
- A remedy for gastrointestinal tract problems including flatulence, colic, indigestion and diarrhoea.
- Used in traditional treatment of tumours.
- Treatment for indigestion and kidney disorders.
- Used to treat infectious diseases such as parasites and plague.
- It is used externally to treat paralysis and skin infections.
- Nutmeg can also be used to treat psychological disorders.
Nutmeg has several medicinal applications in ayurvedic medicine, Unani Tibb and folkloric medicine.
People use it for antimicrobial, antioxidant and antithrombotic purposes. This spice is also used in the treatment of digestive problems. And also in treatments of insomnia and urinary incontinence.
Some communities use nutmeg to treat several conditions including:
- Bowel movement irregularities
- Rheumatoid arthritis/ rheumatism/ rheumatic pain
- Muscle spasms
Nutmeg can be applied externally to ward off rheumatic pain, limb pains, general aches and inflammation.
In consumers nutmeg can act as an:
- Analgesic (painkilling)
- Hypolipidemic (blood lipid-lowering)
- Hypocholesterolemic remedy (lower blood cholesterol).
Nutmeg is also a good source of lignans and neolignans. These compounds have strong anticancer and antidepressant activities.
Nutmeg is used in various communities to:
- Alleviate and control vomiting
- Treat joint swelling and chronic pain
- Treat diarrhoea even for patients with medulla carcinoma
- Control flatulence
- Promote and regulate menstrual flow.
- Relax spasms
- Applied externally to reduce inflammation
- Treat toothache
Nutmeg can also act as a stomachic, stimulant and carminative. This spice can alleviate intestinal catarrh and colic to stimulate appetite.
Nutmeg as a sedative
In Malaysia nutmeg is used for its sedative properties. It helps in promoting sleep and treating nervous complaints. Mixing nutmeg with milk or banana creates a tonic that can be taken as a sleep aid.
Uses in health tonics
Nutmeg is useful in tonics for the brain and heart. It is also used in tonics for sexual debility. As a result, it can help improve your sexual performance. Nutmeg is used to make anti-high blood pressure/ hypotensive tonics. It is also utilised in making analgesic tonics.
Nutmeg for stomach complaints
Some communities use nutmeg as a medicine to treat stomach complaints. It is believed that nutmeg can treat stomach aches and cramps. Also, it can help aid your digestion process as well as dispel gas.
A mood elevator
There is no clear evidence to support this but many people believe that nutmeg is a mood elevator. Eating nutmeg regularly can help reduce stress, elevate your mood and reduce anxiety. Traditionally it is believed that eating nutmeg reduces the bitterness of your heart. Others believe that the spice helps in making your spirit happy as well as purify and cleanse your mind.
An aphrodisiac/ sex spice
Traditionally nutmeg was used to improve sexual performance. In India, Malaysia and Arab countries nutmeg is used for its benefits to sexual health. It can help in improving sexual excitation. Nutmeg improves the frequency of erections in males. It also improves the frequency of sexual intercourse. So, yes nutmeg is a sexual spice. It can help improve your sexual function and sex drive. It can be an effective remedy for the treatment of sexual disorders.
Also read: Calabash nutmeg benefits for the best health
Nutmeg medicinal uses in ayurvedic medicine
In ayurvedic medicine, nutmeg is used as a condiment and medicine. It is also used as a remedy for diarrhoea. Studies show that nutmeg has very good anti-diarrheal activities.
This spice also has stimulant, carminative, astringent and aphrodisiac uses. It is used in helping improve your sexual performance. Nutmeg is an important part of herbal ayurvedic tonics. The spice is prescribed for several ailments.
Medicinal uses of nutmeg in Ayurveda, treatment of:
- Stomach ache
- Early stages of leprosy
- Digestive problems
Nutmeg also acts as a :
- Liver tonic
- Heart-healthy tonic
- Remover of voice hoarseness
- Diarrhoea remedy
- Alleviator of delayed digestion
Ayurvedic medicine practitioners also use nutmeg to treat:
- Intestinal spasms
- General weakness
- Running nose
- Cavity disorders
- Hemiplegia and flatulence
Medicinal uses of nutmeg in Unani Tibb medicine
Unani Tibb medicine makes use of nutmeg as a medicinal spice and herb.
In Unani Tibb medicine, nutmeg medicinal uses include:
- Removal of abnormal phlegm and melasma.
- Treatment of phlegmatic diseases.
- It is also used as an antiseptic and digestive problem remedy.
- A hemosyptic, desiccant and exhilarant.
- A mood elevator
- Sexual stimulant
- An anaesthetic in large doses
- Retentive of semen
- Used as a nervine and uterine tonic.
- Eye tonic and blood purifier
- Cardiac and liver tonics
- Also a throat cleanser and mouth freshener.
- An antidiarrheal
- Used for maintaining spleen health
- Some use it as an antihelmintic
- Treat cardiac diseases
- Alleviation of cold swelling and fever
- Treatment of migraines
- Treat innate heat insufficiency
- Heal insufficiency of the spleen and liver
- Treatment for paralysis
- Treatment liver cirrhosis, tremors and vomiting
- A treatment for premature ejaculation.
- Treat dribbling urine and hearing impairment.
- And finally treating vascular keratitis.
Pharmacological nutmeg medicinal uses
There are many proven nutmeg medicinal uses. These include:
Studies show that nutmeg is an important antimicrobial agent. Nutmeg can act against bacteria that cause several diseases. These include bacteria for peptic ulcers, gastritis s dyspepsia, gastric carcinoma and lymphoma. It can also act against several pathogenic bacteria that affect the gut.
Nutmeg can also act against bacteria that cause dental caries.
It is a heart-healthy spice
Studies show that nutmeg protects the heart from myocardial infarction. This is a proven effect of consuming the spice and thus it is a heart-healthy spice.
Blood lipid and cholesterol-lowering activities
Nutmeg can reduce the levels of lipoproteins and lipids in your body. It also helps you reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Some studies show that nutmeg is effective in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood. This helps in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the liver, heart and aorta. And it also helps in the alleviation of atherosclerosis.
In other words, nutmeg is a heart-healthy spice. It can help you improve your cardiovascular health.
A herbal antidepressant
Studies show that nutmeg has potent antidepressant activities. Its antidepressant activity is comparable to imipramine and fluoxetine. These are potent antidepressant drugs. This proves the traditional use of nutmeg as a mood booster.
Nutmeg can help improve the sensitivity of your insulin. Loss of insulin sensitivity is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes. This is due to the presence of malignant. Nutmeg also improves lipid metabolism in your body. It also reduces metabolic stress which is common in diabetes patients.
Memory enhancing activity
Regularly eating nutmeg improves your learning and memory. It also reduces memory impairment and learning.
Like most spices and herbs, nutmeg can help relieve oxidative stress. It also has antioxidant, radioprotective and immunomodulatory activities. It also prevents lipid peroxidation and damage in the body. Lipid peroxidation is responsible for the development of several health problems.
Nutmeg also removes accumulated lipid peroxidation products in red blood cells. It can therefore improve your red blood cell health.
It also helps maintain the enzymatic antioxidant activities in the body.
Liver protective effects
Protect the liver from toxicity and damage. The liver can be damaged by toxins in the blood. This includes heavy metals, carcinogenic compounds and poisonous substances.
Nutmeg has potent anticarcinogenic properties. It interferes with the harmful activities of cancer-causing substances. It also interferes with the harm posed by cancer-causing xenobiotic compounds. Lignans and neolignans present in nutmeg also have anti-cancer properties.
Used as an aphrodisiac
If you have poor sexual performance, then nutmeg is the spice for you. Studies show that nutmeg can improve your mating performance. It can also improve your sexual behaviour and sexual power.
Some studies show that nutmeg can boost your libido and sexual potency. All this explains why nutmeg is traditionally used to treat male sexual disorders.
Anxiogenic, analgesic and sedative properties
Nutmeg can improve your sleeping behaviour. Studies show that it increases sleep duration.
It also reduces writhing and improves your reaction time to different conditions. This spice is also effective against grant and partial types of seizures.
Studies prove that nutmeg has analgesic and sedative properties.
Its sedative properties are potent in high concentrations. The analgesic and painkilling properties of nutmeg are weak.
Nutmeg can alleviate inflammation-induced pain. It can also help with inflammatory disorders. Inflammation is the main cause of most chronic diseases. So, spices like nutmeg can help you deal with inflammation.
Traditionally nutmeg is used as a diarrhoea remedy. Nutmeg reduces diarrhoea and also prevents watery stools. It also improves the latent periods between visiting the loo
All these pharmacological properties back up most of the nutmeg medicinal uses in herbal medicine.
Nutmeg toxicity: Is nutmeg toxic
Like all good things, too much nutmeg is harmful to the body. Research shows that large quantities of nutmeg are toxic. Taking too much nutmeg can cause convulsions, hallucinations and possibly death.
Other effects of eating too much nutmeg include:
- Dry mouth
- Cutaneous flushing
- Hypotension/ lowering of blood pressure
Eating too much nutmeg can also cause delirium and epileptic convulsions. It can also reduce your sperm count and cause the degeneration of lymphoid tissues. In addition, it can also cause fat degeneration in the liver. Sometimes it can also affect the heart. So, yes nutmeg is toxic when abused.
Ali, M.A., Hamiduddin., Zaigham, M., and Ikram, M., 2018. Phyto-pharmacological potential of Jaiphal (Myristicafragrans Houtt): A spic of medicinal importance and its utilisation in Unani medicine. International Journal of Green Pharmacy, 12 (1).
Conclusion onnutmeg meducinal uses
Spices can be potent healthful additions to our diets. Nutmeg is one of the healthiest spices available. Nutmeg medicinal uses date back by centuries. This is evidenced by its wide applications in ethno, folkloric, Unani Tibb and ayurvedic medicine. You can make nutmeg a part of your diet for a healthy life.