The nutmeg tree is usually 9 to 12 meters high but sometimes attains a height of up to 20 meters or more. Nutmeg is the dried kernel of the seeds of an evergreen tree with strong aroma and a slightly bitter taste. It is used in several important and widely used pharmaceutical preparations.
Nutmeg contains an essential oil and saponin. The dry, ripe seeds of the fruit contain a volatile oil and a fixed oil. The dry leaves of the tree yield an essential oil consisting of myristicin.
Botanical Name: Myristica fragrans
Indian Name: Jaiphal
Below are some of the medicinal properties of nutmeg:
- The powder of nutmeg, mixed with fresh amla juice is a valuable remedy for insomnia, irritability and depression. Nutmeg paste mixed with honey is given to infants who cry at night for no apparent reason, to induce sleep. It should, cause serious complications and addiction in the infants.
- It is used beneficially in the treatment of skin diseases like ringworm and eczema. The paste of the herb prepared by rubbing it on a stone slab in one’s own early morning saliva – before cleansing the mouth –is applied once daily as a specific remedy in the treatment of these conditions.
- The powder of nutmeg, about 5 to 15 grams, mixed with apple juice or banana, is used as a specific remedy for diarrhea caused by indigestion of food. The same quantity of nutmeg powder taken with a tablespoon of fresh amla juice thrice daily is effective for indigestion, hiccups and morning sickness.
- It has beneficial results in treating dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, particularly in cholera. An infusion prepared from half a nutmeg in half a liter of water given with tender coconut water in doses of 15 grams at a time, is an effective treatment.
- Nutmeg mixed with a half-boiled egg and honey, makes an excellent sex tonic. It prolongs the duration of the lovemaking if taken an hour before the act.
- In case of a running nose, a paste made from nutmeg with cow's milk and 75 mg of opium should be applied to the forehead and the nose, it will provide quick relief.
- A nutmeg coarsely powdered and fried in sesame oil, until all the particles become brown is effective as an external application to relieve any rheumatic pain, neuralgia and sciatica. The oil should be cooled and strained before application.
It should be taken in very small doses; in appreciable doses it excites the motor cortex and produces epileptic convulsion and lesions in the liver. Even a teaspoon of it can produce toxic symptoms such as burning in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, restlessness and giddiness with hallucinations.