A cup of hot milk with nutmeg powder, a few drops of honey and crushed cardamom is sure to keep your winter blues away. A warm spice, nutmeg powder can be used to flavour sweets and savouries, while its strong antibacterial properties help boost the immune system. High in fibre content, it helps you feel fuller when you are cutting calories. Lace your cup of tea with some ground nutmeg and keep away those extra pounds.
Originally a native of Indonesia, it comes from the seed of the fruit of an evergreen tree known as Myristica fragrans. It now grows in Malaysia, the Caribbean and southern India as well. It is also the only tropical tree in the world which is credited for bearing two distinct spices — nutmeg and mace.
Some other health benefits of nutmeg include:
1. The calming effect of nutmeg plays a key role in treating insomnia when consumed in smaller doses for a long period of time. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to a glass of warm water or milk at bedtime will give you a good night’s sleep.
2. Nutmeg contains many essential volatile oils such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole, which help in treating joint pains.
3. It aids the secretion of digestive enzymes, bringing relief, while the fibre content in nutmeg will help in bowel movement. It also helps in removing excessive gas from the system.
4. According to the study ‘An experimental study of sexual function improving the effect of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg)‘, nutmeg may enhance sex drive and performance. “The resultant significant and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats without any conspicuous adverse effects indicates that the 50% ethanolic extract of nutmeg possesses aphrodisiac activity, increasing both libido and potency, which might be attributed to its nervous stimulating property”, read the study.
5. Nutmeg oil contains eugenol, which has been used in dentistry for toothache relief.
6. Freshly prepared decoction with honey has been used to treat nausea, gastritis, and indigestion ailments.
7. A study ‘Ameliorative effect of Myristica fragrans (nutmeg) extract on oxidative status and histology of pancreas in alloxan-induced diabetic rats‘, showed that treatment with high-dose nutmeg extract significantly reduced blood sugar levels and enhanced pancreatic function.