Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans): Phytochemistry

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) contains an essential oil that may confer health benefits to those who consume the plant. Consumption of the dried seed of nutmeg is common throughout the world, and consuming this dry seed provides considerable amounts of the essential oil. Studies have investigated the phytochemicals contained within nutmeg essential oil and found a number of important classes of health promoting phytochemicals including alkaloids, terpenes, flavonoids, glycosides, tannins and resins. The phytochemicals within the essential oil may explain the use of nutmeg as a treatment for conditions such as rheumatism, cholera, psychosis, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and anxiety. Sedation and improvements in mood are reported with ingestion of nutmeg, and this would suggest that some of the phytochemicals present can illicit their effects through interaction with the central nervous system. For example, myristicin is present in nutmeg and is known to be able to cause effects in the central nervous system. 

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Al-Jumaily, E. F. and Al-Amiry, M. H. 2012. Extraction and Purification of Terpenes from Nutmeg (myristica fragrans). Al-Nahrain Journal of Science. 15(3): 151-160

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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