Introduction to Nutmeg
Nutmeg comes from the tropicalnutmeg tree which gives two different spices – nutmeg and mace. Mace is theshell of the fruit and nutmeg is the seed found under this outer covering.Although its name suggests otherwise, nutmeg is not a nut, so it is safe forpeople suffering from nut allergies. Howevernutmeg allergies have beenreported in some rare cases. The actual nutmeg seed is sold either wholeor ground, but it also comes in the form of oil and butter. Ground nutmeg isthe source of nutmeg essential oil, which is either light yellow or has nocolor while the smell and the taste are identical to those of nutmeg. It is usedfor culinary purposes in syrups, beverages, baked foods, soups, sauces, egg andvegetable dishes, but it is also an ingredient of perfumes cosmetics and somedrugs. Nutmeg butter is reddish brown and tastes and smells like nutmeg.
Benefits of Nutmeg
Apart from cooking, nutmeg isalso used in medicine for its numerous medicinal properties. It is knownas a potent liver and kidney cleanser, which eliminates the toxins from theseorgans but it is also effective in relieving cold induced congestion and cantherefore be found in many cough syrups. Thanks to its sedative powers,nutmeg oil effectively treats menstrual cramps and pains in joints and muscles.To alleviate the pain associated with sciatica, neuralgia and rheumatism,nutmeg powder is mixed with sesame oil and heated on the pan until it becomesbrown. Thus obtained oil can be applied externally after cooling and strainingit.
The antiseptic properties ofnutmeg found their use in oral hygiene. Since it prevents the growth ofmicroorganism, it is an effective breath remover, and is beneficial in cases ofa toothache or aching gums. Diarrhea brought on by indigestion can betreated with the mixture of 1-3 teaspoons of nutmeg powder with some applejuice or banana. Regular massages of pregnant women’s belly with nutmegoil, over a period of three weeks prior to delivery, can be helpful for childbirth. Infants, especially those crying at night sleep better after havingbeen given nutmeg paste with honey which is also an ingredient of anutmeg sex tonic. It is mixed with nutmeg powder or oil and half-boiledegg.
Nutmeg oil is a brain stimulant, so it promotes circulation andconcentration, while it gets rid of stress and mental fatigue. It also benefitsthe cardiovascular system. To keep the flavor of nutmeg longer it shouldbe stored in airtight containers away from sunlight. Doses exceeding 2tablespoons a day are potentially toxic and can lead to double vision convulsionsand disorientation.