Common Name: Nutmeg
Scientific Name: Myristica fragrans
Origin: Indonesia, Grenada and Sri Lanka
Synonyms: M. officinalis, M. moschate, M. aromatica, M. amboinensis
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Nutmeg essential oil is a pale-yellow mobile liquid with a light, fresh, strong, warm-spicy and aromatic odour. The undertone and dry-out remains warm and sweet with a slightly woody aroma.
Origin and History
Nutmegs are the dried kernals of the seeds of M. fragrans, an evergreen tree to 15m with dark green leaves, yellow flowers without petals and large yellowish fruit. All parts of the tree are aromatic.
Nutmeg is a native to Banda and Amboina islands in the Moluccas, Indonesia, and is seldom found as a wild plant, because of its popularity as a spice. The use of nutmeg as a food flavouring and a medicine has a long history. It was recorded in the Sanskrit as jai phal and probably arrived by trade from the Hindu colonists of Java.
Nutmegs have long been known for their marcotic affect. The first recorded hallucinogenic effect was by Lobeius in 1576. The physiologists JE Purkinje in 1829 ate three nutmegs and described the effects as similar to cannabis intoxication, including disorientation, hallucinations and later a deep sleep. The response to nutmeg intoxication is extremely varied. It appears that freshly grated nutmegs produce the most profound intoxication.
Nutmeg has been used in herbal medicine for gastrointestinal ailments such as diarrhoea, gastric spasms and flatulance. Mace has been used as an antiparasitic and is externally used for the treatment of rheumatism.
Method of Extraction
Nutmeg oil is produced by steam-distillation or steam and water-distillation of the freshly comminated, dried nutmegs.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Nutmeg oil is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitising.
Nutmeg essential oil has soothing and comforting properties as well as being emotionally uplifting and balancing. Nutmeg essential oil is also known to be an aphrodisiac. It has a warm-spicy, rich and somewhat sweet aroma.
Nutmeg essential oil blends well with geranium, petitgrain, lavender, orange, lime and rosemary.
Source: Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003, ISBN 0-6464-2896-9