Where nuts find their place among dry fruits, here is something which is very nutty but considered a spice. Nutmeg.
It is the fruit of a tall evergreen tree which has its Latin name “Myristica Fragrans”. The fruit has an edible fleshy outer covering, with an orange net like layer which is dried and used as spice called mace. After this is a hard shell which encases the part which is known as nutmeg.
My knowledge of nutmeg has been limited to its use in meat preparations and sweet dishes. Its benefits are varied and uses are many. When I grind nutmeg and green cardamom seeds to add to carrot halwas and milk kheers (popular in India), I just keep smelling my hands for its aroma, without washing it off.
Nutmeg is used in the forms of powder, oil and butter. It is stored in cool and dark places. As powder loses its flavor by storage it is better to grate or crush and use as needed. Nutmeg has to be added to the dishes when the cooking is completed so that its flavor is not lost.
From time immemorial, nutmeg has been used for various purposes because of its varied properties. History says it was used to treat plague, during Elizabethan times.
Let us see how it can be used, what its benefits are:
1. The antibacterial properties of nutmeg are very strong. It can help in getting rid of the germs from the body, especially in the mouth. It helps in removing bad breath.
2. Nutmeg oil is helpful in removing aches in tooth and gums. The oil can be applied on the gums around the aching tooth. It is also used as an ingredient in tooth pastes.
3. Nutmeg oil is good for the cardio vascular systems. It is a good tonic for the heart as it contains Eugenol. It lowers blood pressure. It has to be taken regularly.
4. Nutmeg is helpful in removing mental exhaustion and stress by stimulating the brain. It increases blood circulation. It helps in increasing concentration.
5. It has been used to treat depression and anxiety.
6. Nutmeg is a good liver tonic which helps in removing toxins.
7.Nutmeg can help in removing sleeplessness. Boil ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg powder in a cup of milk and drink.
8.Nutmeg is good for kidneys. It helps in dissolving kidney stones and removes infections.
9.Nutmeg oil is an ingredient of cough syrup. It helps in clearing up the congestion due to cold.
10.Rheumatic pain can be relieved by applying nutmeg oil mixed with almond oil.
11.It can also be used in the treatment of neuralgia and Sciatica. A mixture of nutmeg powder and sesame oil is heated up till it is brown, cooled and strained before application.
12.It is helpful in relaxing muscles.
13.Nutmeg oil is an excellent sedative. So it can be used to relieve muscular and joint pains and menstrual cramps.
14.It is helpful in the treatment of diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence, etc. 1to 3 teaspoons of nutmeg mixed with apple juice or banana is used as a remedy for diarrhea due to indigestion. It also improves appetite. A mixture of honey and drops of nutmeg oil can be used to treat nausea, gastroenteritis and chronic diarrhea.
15.Nutmeg is considered an aphrodisiac. It is used in treating impotence. A combination of nutmeg oil or powder, half boiled egg and honey is considered a sex tonic.
16.Nutmeg oil can be applied on the abdomen of pregnant women three weeks before delivery for a safe child birth.
17. The presence of Myristicin in nutmeg helps in inhibiting an enzyme in the brain which adds to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
18. Nutmeg oil can be used to strengthen adrenals.
19. Nutmeg is effective in the treatment of gout, arthritis and insomnia.
20. It is also a cure for acne and blackheads. Make a paste of nutmeg powder and milk. Apply it on the face after washing with warm water and drying it. Keep for 2 hours and wash it off using warm water, then cold water.
21. Nutmeg is an excellent remedy for skin infections. When one is suffering from eczema a paste of nutmeg powder and water can be applied on the affected areas for comfort.
22. Cosmetic industries have capitalized on the anti bacterial properties of this precious spice by using it in the manufacture of after shave lotions, creams, perfumes, skin lotions, soaps, etc. It is used in the manufacture of incense sticks, room fresheners, soaps, candles because of its rich aroma.
23. Nutmeg oil is used in the ointment for the treatment of piles.
24. If you want to calm a baby who is crying continuously a touch of ground nutmeg in honey on her tongue will do magic.
It can be mixed with other essential oils as needed.
Nutmeg has to be used in mild doses; the maximum intake in a day has to be limited to 3 to 6 teaspoons of its powder.
Allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, and Chinese medicine make use of nutmeg because of its medicinal properties.
Your cup of Cappuccino which you relish in a café has traces of nutmeg and cinnamon in it.
After a day’s tiredness, add few drops of nutmeg oil to your bath water to get that rejuvenating effect of aromatherapy.
You want to have that extra zing in your sweet dishes; vegetable or meat preparations; add a pinch of nutmeg.
All the readers who desire to have dreams here is a wonderful dream inducer. Take Nutmeg.
About the Author: Mrs. Thankam Scott is a post graduate in commerce, has done two years diploma in theology. Basically a home maker, she is also an educationist, social worker, and a counselor. Is a volunteer of YWCA. She in interested in reading, writing, creative cooking, gardening, and stitching. Has participated in green food program and is actively practicing it.