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Nutmeg

Nutmeg | Rou Dou Kou
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Nutmeg (Rou Dou Kou)

BOTANICAL NAME

Myristica fragrans

USES

Anecdotal evidence supports the oral use of nutmeg oil supplements to treat cold, fever, appetite loss, flatulence, and nausea or vomiting. Nutmeg extracts have also been used topically in folk medicine to treat skin conditions like scabies. Using nutmeg extract in an oral rinse or other dental products may have some mild pain-killing effects while also having some antimicrobial effect against common bacteria present in human mouths. This includes those bacteria most commonly responsible for cavities and periodontitis. 

Some novel research has suggested that nutmeg extract may have antidepressant properties, while other studies have indicated that nutmeg and clove extracts, taken together, may serve as potent aphrodisiacs for men (though much more study in humans is needed to confirm this). Interestingly, recent research also suggests that nutmeg seed extract may have some significant anti-obesity properties, including reducing total body fat percentage and creating a slimmer waist. Additional research has found evidence that nutmeg oil or extract shows promise for use treating both obesity and type-2 diabetes, as well as other similar metabolic disorders.

In Chinese medicine, nutmeg is categorized as an herb that stabilizes and binds, which means that it is believed to astringe diarrhea, especially early morning diarrhea.  It is classified as acrid and warm and it primarily affects the Large Intestine, Spleen and Stomach meridians.

PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION

Nutmeg or nutmeg seed supplements make use of the dried, inner kernel of the nutmeg tree’s fruits. The fruits must be thoroughly dried before the seeds are removed, then crushed into a fine powder (commonly used for cooling) or subjected to a hot water decoction to yield an extract of the volatile oils.

PRECAUTIONS

Consuming large quantities of nutmeg seeds can cause hallucinations, as well as high blood pressure, heart palpitations, delirium, facial flushing, and dry mouth. Nutmeg powder, when used in normal cooking quantities, does not cause these effects. Appropriately-sized doses of nutmeg extract should not cause any such effects, though the alkaloid compounds in nutmeg seed extract are categorically “slightly toxic.” That means that over-dosing may cause nausea, restlessness, heavy-headedness, heightened awareness, and a sense of euphoria or unreality lasting up to 36 hours.

Consult with a physician, certified herbalist, or other qualified healthcare professional before adding nutmeg or any other supplements to your diet. Pregnant women should not take nutmeg oil, extract, or other derivatives, as they may be abortifacient. Neither should people with diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

REFERENCES

Evans, William Charles, and Daphne Evans. “Volatile Oils and Resins.” Trease and Evans’ Pharmacognosy, 2009, pp. 263–303., doi:10.1016/b978-0-7020-2933-2.00022-8.

Hayfaa, Al-Shammary, et al. “Evaluation of Analgesic Activity and Toxicity of Alkaloids in Myristica Fragrans Seeds in Mice.” Journal of Pain Research, 2013, p. 611., doi:10.2147/jpr.s45591.

Moinuddin, Ghulam, et al. “Evaluation of the Anti-Depressant Activity of Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) in Male Rats.” Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075663/#__ffn_sectitle.

Nguyen, P.h., et al. “Simple Process For The Decrease Of Myristicin Content From Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) And Its Activity With Amp-Activated Protein Kinase (Ampk).” Journal of Food Biochemistry, vol. 35, no. 6, 2011, pp. 1715–1722., doi:10.1111/j.1745-4514.2010.00496.x.

Shafiei, Zaleha, et al. “Antibacterial Activity OfMyristica Fragransagainst Oral Pathogens.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, 2012, pp. 1–7., doi:10.1155/2012/825362.

Tajuddin, et al. “Aphrodisiac Activity of 50% Ethanolic Extracts of Myristica Fragrans Houtt. (Nutmeg) and Syzygium Aromaticum (L) Merr. & Perry. (Clove) in Male Mice: a Comparative Study.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1, 2003, doi:10.1186/1472-6882-3-6.

Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young. “The Nervous System.” Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition), Churchill Livingstone, 13 Nov. 2013, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780443062414000102.

Yakaiah, Vangoori, et al. “Effect of Myristica Fragrans Extract on Total Body Composition in Cafeteria Diet Induced Obese Rats.” Bioinformation, Biomedical Informatics, 13 Oct. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859705/.

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