Interesting Facts about Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a nut that grows on an evergreen-like tree (myristica fragrans). The nutmeg is unique because it produces two different spices. The spices are in the two layers of the nut: The inside is used whole or ground and called nutmeg, the outer shell is dried and ground and is called mace.

The nutmeg also produces an oil. The oil is the most effective part of the nutmeg. The main ingredient in nutmeg oil is called trimyristin. Nutmeg oil is used to relieve flatulence (gas), in cooking, in condiments, and in scented soap and perfumes because of its stimulating fragrance.

Nutmeg is usually used in cooking and has a distinct aroma and a sweet, yet lightly spicy taste. There are many other uses and interesting facts about nutmeg. The most common interesting facts about nutmeg include:

Extremely poisonous:

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if given through an I.V. (intravenous line). Nutmeg can also cause death if too much is ingested. There have been two reported deaths by nutmeg.


Roman priests, many years ago, used the nutmeg oil as incense. The aroma of a nutmeg is sweet and spicy, making for a pleasant incense aroma.

Pain relief:

Rubbing nutmeg oil into painful muscles and joints will decrease the pain significantly. It is also affective for arthritis, rheumatism and lumbago. The Chinese use nutmeg oil for abdominal pain and inflammation, decreasing joint inflammation. Nutmeg oil also relieves muscle pain from overexertion.


An ingredient in nutmeg called myresticin is responsible for the symptoms of hallucination. Ingesting a large amount (10 grams or more) will cause hallucinations that may or may not start right away. They can also last for hours to weeks.

Eating two grams of nutmeg will give you symptoms equal to ingesting amphetamines. Ingesting this much nutmeg will also cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fever and headache.

Nutmeg psychosis:

“Nutmeg psychosis” is a feeling of impending doom, confusion and agitation that occurs when a whole nutmeg is eaten in one sitting.

Marijuana-like effect:

Convicts and sailors used to use nutmeg as a drug because of it’s similarity to marijuana. The nutmeg, about one teaspoon, is added to water and drunk. Side effects are headaches and nausea. Nutmeg may or may not be addictive.

Even though nutmeg is a popular spice for cooking with and adding flavor, you need to be aware and mindful of these interesting facts. Nutmeg appears to be quite dangerous, even causing death, and should be used carefully. Using nutmeg in recipes and in other proper ways does not seem to produce any unwanted side effects.



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