Nutmeg (Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine)
Nutmeg is known by many names, such Myristica fragrans, mace, magic, muscdier, muskatbaum, myristica, noz moscada, nuez moscada, and nux moschata. Nutmeg
is most commonly used as a cooking spice, comes from the fruit of a 50 ft (15 m) tall tropical evergreen tree. This tree grows in Indonesia, New Guinea, and the West Indies. The bark is smooth and grayish brown with green young branches and leaves. The oblong, fleshy fruit, called the nutmeg apple, contains a nut from which nutmeg is made. The dried nut and essential oil are both used as medicine.
Nutmeg is used in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. It is most popular as a spice in food and drinks, and is also used in cosmetics and soaps. In ancient Greece and Rome, where nutmeg was rare and expensive, people thought it stimulated the brain. The Arabs have used nutmeg since the seventh century.
Nutmeg relaxes the muscles, sedates the body, and helps remove gas from the digestive track. It is most commonly used for stomach problems such as...
(The entire section is 878 words.)
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Nutmeg (Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior)
Nutmeg, the common spice obtained from the aromatic seed of the tree Myristica fragrans (native to the Moluccas, the spice islands of the East Indies), has been used for centuries for food and medicinal purposes. It has some HALLUCINOGENIC activity when consumed in large amounts. Since nutmeg is found in most kitchens, including food-preparation areas found in prisons, it has been used by prisoners. Therefore, it has been removed from ready access in prisons to the tighter control of drugs of abuse; Malcolm X wrote about such use.
Nutmeg contains elemicin and myristicin, whose structures have some similarities to the hallucinogen MESCALINE as well as to the Psychostimulant AMPHETAMINE. It has been hypothesized that elemicin and myristicin might be metabolized in the body to form an amphetamine- and/or mescaline-like compound, but this has not been proven. The effects of nutmeg have been reported to have some similarities to those produced by MARIJUANA; however, the large amounts of nutmeg that must be ingested to get behavioral effects can cause dry mouth and thirst, increases in heart rate, vomiting and abdominal pain, severe headaches, agitation, and panic attacks.
(SEE ALSO: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and Psychedelics; Plants, Drugs from)
MAX, B. (1992). This and that: The essential pharmacology of herbs and spices. Trends in Pharmacological Science, 13, 15-20.
DANIEL X. FREEDMAN
R. N. PECHNICK