Last Updated on May 21, 2019

What is Nutmeg?

Botanically known as Myristica fragrans, nutmeg is a hard brown seed that grows on the nutmeg tree, native to Indonesia, which has a slightly sweet taste peculiar to Asian and Western dishes. The nutmeg tree provides not one but two spices – mace and nutmeg.

Health Benefits of Nutmeg

Nutmeg is used in dishes like pies, custard, cookies, spice cakes, cheese sauces, soups and vegetables dishes whereas mace is used in light-colored dishes to get saffron-like color.

Essential oils obtained by steam distillation of ground nutmeg are used extensively in pharmaceutical industries as well as a natural food flavoring in baked goods, syrups, beverages and sweets.

Nutmeg has long been prized for its health benefits, which include strengthening cognitive functioning, detoxification, curing infertility, promoting healthy skin, reducing insomnia and improving blood circulation. It has a pungent and spicy aroma.

Health Benefits of Nutmeg

Since Roman and Greek civilizations, nutmeg has been used as a remedy for various ailments and for improving overall health. It helps clear congestion in colds, stimulates the cardiovascular system, aids in detoxification and functions as a brain tonic. For pregnant women, regular massage of abdominal area with nutmeg oil, three weeks before delivery helps in a smooth delivery.

A 2007-study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that essential oils in nutmeg induce cell death apoptosis of leukemia cells, thereby stopping the metastasis of leukemia. Another study published in the May 2005 issue of Toxicology Letters demonstrated that nutmeg promotes apoptosis of brain cancer cells.

Some of the health benefits of this wonder spice include:

Skin Health

Topical application of nutmeg paste mixed with water or honey works wonders for glowing skin. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and promote hydration as well as reduce acne and boils marks.

Oral Health

Due to its antibacterial properties, nutmeg oil is used in many kinds of toothpastes as it reduces the build-up of bacteria in the mouth, thus, treating halitosis. As it is an antiseptic, it cures toothaches and gum problems.

Nutmeg Cures Toothaches & Gum Problems

Relieves Pain

Nutmeg is used in Chinese medicine to treat abdominal pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Nutmeg oil is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps, muscular and joint pain. Incorporating nutmeg in daily cooking reduces pain associated with wounds, injuries and chronic inflammation in arthritis. External application of nutmeg powder with sesame oil relieves rheumatic pain, neuralgia and sciatica.

Digestive Health

Nutmeg helps in effectively treating digestion-related problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating and flatulence. Nutmeg powder mixed with apple juice or banana is an effective remedy for diarrhea caused by indigestion. The nutmeg mix works as a digestive tonic by promoting peristalsis and secretion of various gastric juices and enzymes.

Promotes Kidney and Liver Health

Nutmeg helps in detoxification of both the kidney and liver and improves overall functioning and efficiency of these two organs. It also reduces the incidence of kidney stones.

Brain Health

Nutmeg oil works as a brain booster by improving blood flow to the brain and improving concentration. It contains compounds like myristicin and macelignan that reduce degeneration of neural pathways and cognitive function afflicting those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nutmeg for Alzheimer's Disease

Treats Insomnia

Nutmeg is a magnesium-rich food, which reduces nerve tension and stimulates the release of serotonin, which functions as a sleep inducer, relieving people of insomnia. Drinking a glass of milk with nutmeg prior to bedtime is effective in treating insomnia.


Spiced up Yam Chips


  • 2 large yams, sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Olive oil and honey for drizzling


  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place the sliced yam pieces in an oven-safe dish. Drizzle little olive oil over it.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg. Drizzle honey over the yam pieces.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Allow the chips to cool before serving.

Pumpkin Nutmeg Dinner Rolls


  • 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 7 cups refined flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
  • An egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water


  • In a small bowl, proof the yeast with 1 teaspoon of the sugar in milk for 5 minutes, till the mixture becomes foamy.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, nutmeg, salt and the remaining sugar and butter until the mixture becomes coarse.
  • Add egg, pumpkin puree and the yeast mixture and stir the dough until it is combined properly.
  • Divide the dough into 14 pieces, and form each piece into a ball. Place the balls into a buttered pan and let them rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  • Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 - 50 minutes.
  • Serve hot.

Caution While Using Nutmeg:

  • While nutmeg plays an important role in boosting overall health, large dosage i.e., 30 grams of nutmeg can be toxic, resulting in disorientation, double vision and convulsions.
  • Side effects such as thirst, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and abdominal pain might occur in some people.
  • In pregnant women, nutmeg may cause miscarriages or birth defects and must be avoided.

Spices, nutmeg, ground

The nutritional values of "Spices, nutmeg, ground" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 525
Protein 5.8 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 49.3 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 184 mg 18.4 %
Copper, Cu 1.03 mg 51.35 %
Iron, Fe 3.04  mg 16.89 %
Magnesium, Mg 183 mg 45.75 %
Manganese, Mn 2.9 mg 145 %
Phosphorus, P 213 mg 21.3 %
Potassium, K 350  mg 10 %
Selenium, Se 1.6 mcg 2.29 %
Sodium, Na 16 mg 0.67 %
Zinc, Zn 2.15 mg 14.33 %
Vitamin A 102  IU 2.04 %
Vitamin C 3 mg 5 %
Vitamin B6 0.16 mg 8 %
Vitamin E 0 mg 0 %
Vitamin K 0  mcg 0 %
Riboflavin 0.06  mg 3.35 %
Thiamin 0.35 mg 23.07 %
Folate, DFE 76  mcg 19 %
Niacin 1.3  mg 6.5 %
Sugars 28.49 g
Fiber 20.8  g 83.2 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 6.23 g
Carotene, alpha 0 mcg
Carotene, beta 28  mcg
Choline 8.8 mg
Lycopene 0  mcg
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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