Nutmeg is a spice obtained from the seeds of trees of various species under the genus of Myristica. The commercially sold species is Myristicafragrans. It is commonly cultivated in Malaysia, Kerala, and the Caribbean.
In traditional medicine, Nutmeg or its oil were used to treat nervous and digestive disorders. It has a long list of associated health benefits, including pain relief, soothing indigestion, strengthening cognitive function and increasing immune system function.
Nutmeg is a spice rich in various minerals and essential oils. These are highly helpful against a huge variety of diseases and chronic conditions. Some of the beneficial components present in nutmeg are dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and copper. Due to this, nutmeg is frequently used in herbal medicine and various cuisines across the world.
The various health benefits of nutmeg are explained below.
Improves Cardiac health:
Nutmeg contains potassium, which is a vasodilator and helps in relaxing blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and lowering stress on the cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of problems like heart attacks and strokes. It also has a high iron content which can boost red cell count, and reduce chances of developing anemia. It also prevents accumulation of cholesterol and white blood cells in the blood vessels, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases affecting the mankind today. Cancerous cells grow without any control and migrate to other parts, thereby spreading throughout the body.
Nutmeg is effective against leukemia (a type of blood cancer), due to the presence of a certain methanolic compound, along with its essential oils, that induce apoptosis (cell death) in leukemic cells.
Improves Digestive Health:
Nutmeg is rich in fiber, potassium, and calcium in high contents.
Fiber helps in the movement of food through the digestive tract, by improving peristaltic movement. It also induces the release of various gastric and intestinal juices that ease the process of digestion.
The high content of potassium not only helps the cardiac system, but also the digestive system, by facilitating the uptake of nutrients from food, thereby increasing metabolism, and making digestion more efficient.
Detoxifies The Body:
Nutmeg contains active ingredients that eliminate various toxins from the body, especially the liver and kidney.
Studies have shown that nutmeg intake can help remove toxins from various sources like alcohol, pollution, drugs, or even natural organic toxins. Furthermore, it helps dissolve kidney stones and helps increase the efficiency of the kidneys and the liver.
Improves Oral Health:
In traditional medicine, nutmeg was mostly used for its capabilities of improving oral hygiene and health.
The active antibacterial properties of nutmeg prevent halitosis, also known as bad breath.
It is also used as a major ingredient in cough syrups.
Stimulates Nervous Health:
Nutmeg has high magnesium content as well. Magnesium is highly effective in reducing nerve tension and stimulates the release of serotonin, which induces relaxation and sleepiness.
Some of the essential oils present in nutmeg, such as myristicin and macelignan, also help in reducing the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function, which is highly helpful for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Myristicin and Macelignan slow these effects, and help in keeping the brain functions at a normal and healthy level.
Nutmeg also has trace quantities of narcotics, which do not have negative effects unless ingested in massive quantities but do help to induce relaxation.
Provides Relief From Pain:
One of the components of nutmeg, which is similar to menthol, displays natural pain relieving characteristics. So, by adding nutmeg as a spice in food, one can reduce the pain experienced from wounds and injuries. It is also effective against chronic inflammation derived from conditions like Arthritis.
Improves Skin Health:
Traditionally, nutmeg has been used to boost the appearance and health of one’s skin. It is most commonly used by mixing with water, or even honey, and applying the paste. It also reduces inflammation and irritation of the skin, promotes hydration, and also reduces marks caused by pox, boils, and acne.
Nutmeg contains calcium, which improves the health of the bones by contributing to repair and growth while helping against conditions like osteoporosis. The high calcium content is very helpful, especially for children and women with osteoporosis.
Contains Antimicrobial Compounds:
The essential oils present in nutmeg are useful for applications in various fields. Some of them have been shown to be effective against certain microbes, including Streptococcus mutans, although they are not currently used in any treatment.
Oxidants react with various parts of the cell, such as the DNA, proteins, and lipids. These changes to the chemical structures of these parts can be very harmful to the body. Antioxidants prevent these reactions, thereby preventing damage to the cell, and, in turn, to the body.
Antioxidants present in nutmeg have been shown to be extremely effective against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The antioxidant properties of nutmeg, which could be contributed by a variety of active chemicals like vitamins, carotenoids, terpenoids, etc. prevent deterioration of cells, and reduce oxidative stress on the body.
According to studies, high antioxidant intake helps reduce the risk of cancer, as well as heart diseases and cataracts.
Nutmeg, being rich in antioxidants, can thereby prevent such diseases.
Nutmeg has recently come under quite a bit of suspicion since a few cases of accidental poisoning have come into public view. In doses higher than that of a seasoning or spice, Nutmeg can have psychedelic, hallucinatory or narcotic effects, and many people have tried to duplicate this effect for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, consuming a high dosage of nutmeg can have many adverse effects, as it is a potent spice, meant to be used in small doses. Consuming too much of it can result in multiple problems like seizures, irregular heartbeat, palpitations and vomiting, and can seriously complicate one’s bodily processes.
When used appropriately, the benefits of nutmeg become quite apparent, but one must be careful about one’s health, and keep the amount under check.