Since ancient times nutmeg and its oil were being used in Chinese and Indian traditional medicines for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems. The compounds in this spice such as myristicin and elemicin have been found to have stimulant properties on brain.
Nutmeg oil contains eugenol, which has been used in dentistry for toothache relief. The oil is also used as a local massage to reduce muscular pain and rheumatic pain of joints.
Freshly prepared decoction with honey mix has been used to relief of -
- Indigestion ailments
The trees which produce both nutmeg and mace are large evergreens native to the Moluccas but which are now grown elsewhere in the tropics, notably Grenada in the West Indies. The trees can reach a height of 18-24 m (60-80 ft), and are either male or female. One male per ten to twelve female trees is the norm in plantations, resulting in them being known as harem trees!
The trees do not flower or fruit until about eight or nine years old (thus cannot be sexed until then) and yield about 100 fruits; by the time they are 30 years old, they can yield an average crop of 3 – 4,000 fruit a year. Trees (Myristica fragrans) can bear for a good 70 years.
Yellowish flowers are followed by large yellow apricot- or plum-like fruits. When they split open, these reveal the black seed (the nutmeg) wrapped in its red lacy aril (the mace). Both spices are dried separately, and the major producers are the Moluccas and Grenada, the latter exporting some 2,000 tonnes to the US each year. Nutmeg has always been more available and popular than mace, which is much more expensive; this is not surprising as mace equals one-fifth of the weight of the whole seed, and only 75 g (3 oz) mace are gained from 100 nutmegs.
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