Nutmeg is the dried kernel of the seeds of an evergreen tree. It has a strong aroma with a slightly bitter taste. The nutmeg tree is usually 9 to 12 metres high but sometimes attains a height of upto 20 metres or more.
Nutmeg tree grows in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. It appears from ancient records that nutmeg tree flourished in India at one time, but is a scarce plant species now.
Nutmeg contains an essential oil and saponin. The dry, ripe seeds of the fruit contains a volatile oil and a fixed oil. The dry leaves of the tree yield an essential oil consisting of myristicin.
Nutmeg was used in the preparations of various medicines in ancient times. Even today it is used in several important and widely used pharmaceutical preparations. The oil extracted from the herb is used in liniments, perfumery, hair lotions and as an antispasmodic carminative.
The powder of nutmeg, about 5 to 15 grams, mixed with apple juice or banana, is used as a specific remedy for diarrhoea 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.
The powder of nutmeg, mixed with fresh am/o, juice, is also an effective medicine 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, however, not be given regularly without medical advice as it may cause serious complications and addiction in the infants.
The herb is useful in treating dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea, particularly in cholera. An infusion prepared from half a nutmeg in half a litre of water given with tender coconut water in doses of 15 grams at a time, is an effective treatment.
Nutmeg is used 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.
A nutmeg coarsely powdered and fried in tit oil, until all the particles become brown, is very useful as an external application to relieve any rheumatic pain, neuralgia and sciatica. The oil, should be cooled and strained before application.
In case of a running nose, a paste made from this with cow's milk and 75 mg of opium should be applied to the forehead and the nose, it will provide quick relief.
Precautions: Nutmeg should be taken in very small doses; in appreciable doses it excites the motor cortex and produces epileptic convulsions and lesions in the liver. Even a teaspoon of nutmeg can produce toxic symptoms such as burning in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, restlessness and giddiness with hallucinations.
Sex Stimulant: Nutmeg, mixed with honey and a half-boiled egg, makes an excellent sex tonic. It prolongs the duration of the sexual act if taken an hour before intercourse.