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Nutmeg is one of two spices that grows on an evergreen tree. Native to the islands near Indonesia but is now a spice of the world. Mace is the other spice that grows on these trees. Nutmeg is now grown tropical areas of the world and also in Southern India in the state of Kerala.
Nutmeg contains fiber. Even when ground into a powder, the fiber can help to stimulate the digestive process by promoting peristaltic motion in the smooth muscles of the intestine. Researchers have found that nutmeg can induce the secretion of various gastric and intestinal juices that ease the digestive process. Nutmeg is known to reduce the frequency and discomfort of constipation and other intestinal issues.
Research has discovered that nutmeg may help with the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function that commonly afflicts people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Nutmeg contains the various components of its essential oil, called myristicin and macelignan, which are the reason for brain support. More research is being done, but studies are suggesting that nutmeg helps to slow the effects and keeps the brain functioning at a normal level.
For years, nutmeg has been a home remedy for insomnia. Researchers have found that nutmeg contains a high amount of magnesium which is an essential mineral in the body that reduces nerve tension and helps to stimulate the release of serotonin. Serotonin helps to create a feeling of relaxation. This serotonin is changed to melatonin in the brain.
Nutmeg contains many essential volatile oils such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. Researchers have discovered that the volatile oils found in nutmeg have anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for treating joint and muscle pain. Studies suggest that just a few drops of the essential oil on the affected area can treat inflammation, swelling, joint pain, muscle pain and sores. More research is being conducted.
Nutmeg has proven antibacterial properties that protect the teeth and gums. Nutmeg oil has eugenol, which brings relief from toothaches. Many natural toothpastes list nutmeg among the ingredients. Studies have shown that combining nutmeg with cinnamon helps to create a very powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial paste.
In very low doses it should be safe, but different constituents found in the essential oils contained in nutmeg may affect pregnant and lactating mothers differently. Research has found that some of these effects may be dangerous for the baby and the mother. Ask your gynecologist and pediatrician about the safety of nutmeg during pregnancy.
Nutmeg contains minerals such as potassium which is a vasodilator, which relaxes blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and lowering the strain on the cardiovascular system.
An unopened bottle in a pantry will stay fresh for 4 to 5 years. When opened, nutmeg can keep easily for 2 to 3 years in the pantry.