Nutmeg is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus Myristica. Myristica fragrans (fragrant nutmeg or true nutmeg or جلوتری (Urdu) is a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering. It is also a commercial source of an essential oil and nutmeg butter. The California nutmeg, Torreya californica, has a seed of similar appearance, but is not closely related to Myristica fragrans, and is not used as a spice. Indonesia is the main producer of nutmeg and mace.
Nutmeg is the spice made by grinding the seed of the fragrant nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) into powder. The spice has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm, slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog. The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish brown ovoids with furrowed surfaces.
Nutmeg has been shown to have antibacterial effects against potentially harmful strains of bacteria. Bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans can cause dental cavities and gum disease. Some animal studies show that nutmeg may enhance sex drive and performance. Chronic inflammation is linked to many adverse health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Nutmeg is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds called monoterpenes, including sabinene, terpineol, and pinene. These may help reduce inflammation in your body and benefit those with inflammatory conditions. What’s more, the wide array of antioxidants found in the spice, such as cyanidins and phenolic compounds, also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
One study injected rats with an inflammation-producing solution and then gave some of them nutmeg oil. Rats that consumed the oil experienced significant reductions in inflammation, inflammation-related pain, and joint swelling. Nutmeg is thought to reduce inflammation by inhibiting enzymes that promote it.
Although research is limited, studies suggest that nutmeg may have the following effects:
May benefit heart health. Animal studies show that taking high-dose nutmeg supplements reduced heart disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, though human research is lacking (18Trusted Source).
Could boost mood. Rodent studies have found that nutmeg extract induced significant antidepressant effects in both mice and rats. Studies are needed to determine if nutmeg extract has the same effect in humans (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
May improve blood sugar control. A study in rats showed that treatment with high-dose nutmeg extract significantly reduced blood sugar levels and enhanced pancreatic function (21Trusted Source).