NutmegNutmeg is the seed from a tree that used to grow only on the Moluccas in Indonesia. Despite many attempts by the Dutch East India Company to grow the muscat tree exclusively on these islands, eventually the muscat tree was spread across several Asian countries and the Dutch lost their monopoly on nutmeg. The muscat tree is the source of two spices, mace and nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed of the tree and mace is made of the outer aril covering the seed in the fruits of the muscat tree. These two spices have a similar taste, with nutmeg being slightly sweeter and mace having a more delicate flavor. Nutmeg is not a nut, as the name suggests, and therefore poses no risk for people with nut allergies.

Nutmeg fruitIn Dutch cuisine nutmeg is mostly used to spice dishes with beans, cauliflower and all kinds of other cruciferous vegetables. Worldwide nutmeg has many different applications in sweet and savoury dishes. Usually nutmeg is sprinkled on the dish after preparation to bring out the flavour. When you add nutmeg before it gets a slightly bitter taste, which is desirable in certain dishes.

Although you only use small amounts of nutmeg in cooking, it does have several positive effects on your health. This is mainly due to the fiber, mineral and vitamin content but nutmeg also contains a number of healthy phytonutrients including myristicin, a compound with many medicinal properties. Myristicin is toxic in high quantities, which are not reached with culinary use, and it produces hallucinations. Recreational use of nutmeg as a psychedelic drug is not recommended because of the many unpleasant side effects and also because nutmeg is not very appetizing in large quantities.

NutmegsNutmeg is useful in the treatment of insomnia. Many people will remember grandmothers recipe, a glass of milk with nutmeg before going to bed. Nutmeg promotes sleep because of the high magnesium comtent, an essential mineral for the body that promotes nerve relaxation and magnesium stimulates the release of serotonin, which can be converted by the body into melatonin, a compound that promotes a good night's sleep.

For problems with teeth and gums cloves are usually recommended but nutmeg also has antibacterial properties that protect your teeth and gums. Nutmeg contains, just as cloves, eugenol, a compound that brings relief from toothache. That's the main reason why you will often find nutmeg on the ingredients list of herbal toothpaste.

Sweetened nutmeg fruit from MalaysiaNutmeg is usually sold in powder form but it's best to grate the nutmeg yourself when you use it. For this you can get a special nutmeg grater. When you grate the nuts yourself you'll be assured of the most health benefits and it tastes much better of course.

Some health benefits of nutmeg in a row,

  • Nutmeg aids with insomnia.
  • Nutmeg is a source of the minerals manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium & zinc.
  • Nutmeg contains the vitamins B1, B3, B6 & B9.
  • Nutmeg helps with bad breath.
  • Nutmeg promotes the dissolving of kidney stones.
  • Nutmeg helps to remove toxins from the body.
  • Nutmeg effectively inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
  • Nutmeg stimulates the immune system.
  • Nutmeg promotes the release of digestive juices and thereby improving digestion.
  • Nutmeg helps with concentration problems.
  • Nutmeg is a natural aphrodisiac.
  • Nutmeg dissolves phlegm and provides relief from respiratory diseases.