IS THE FRUIT OF MYRISTICA FRAGRANS – AN EVERGREEN TREE
The nutmeg tree is evergreen, with oblong egg-shaped leaves and small, bell-like light yellow flowers that give off a distinct aroma when in bloom. The fruit is light yellow with red and green markings, resembling an apricot or a large plum. As the fruit matures, the outer fleshy covering bursts to reveal the seed. The seed is covered with red membranes called an aril. The nut is then dried for up to 2 months until the inner nut rattles inside the shell. It is then shelled to reveal the valuable egg-shaped nutmeat which is the edible nutmeg.
Improves digestion and induces calm and sleep.
One of the interesting health benefits of nutmeg oil is its ability to stimulate the brain – it relieves stress and stimulates mental activity. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a brain tonic despite the fact that it was quite rare and costly.
Nutmeg is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat joint and muscle pain. The oil works particularly well for this when it is massaged into the affected area. It is an integral herb in Chinese medicine where it is used for stomach pain and inflammation as well as reducing joint swelling.
In holistic medicine it is considered an excellent liver tonic which can help remove toxins. Nutmeg oil is also a good herb for the kidney, helping it dissolve kidney stones as well as relieve infections.
Nutmeg can help increase blood circulation and stimulate the cardio-vascular system. It is also good for digestion, getting rid of both gas and stomach aches and relieving vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence as well as encourages appetite.
Nutmeg can also help with respiratory problems such as a cough from the common cold. It is often found as an ingredient in cough syrups.
It is great in desserts, but can also be used to flavor meats, vegetables, and sauces. Nutmeg is sprinkled on eggnog during the holidays. The English love it in egg custard and it is great for other custards and heavy dishes. It is found in a variety of pies, especially pumpkin, and sometimes in apple pies.
When cooking with nutmeg, just like any other spice, get it as fresh as possible. Ground or powdered nutmeg can lose its flavor over time. To get the full effects, consider buying a whole nutmeg and grating it yourself. Use the smallest holes in any style of grater and be sure to grate up only the amount you need at the time. Store the rest of the nut in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
While there are many health benefits of nutmeg, be careful not to take it in high doses. It can be toxic and can cause serious problems.
It’s safe to grate the entire nut, which you can usually buy whole at the supermarket, but you never want to consume more than one nutmeg per day because too much of this potent spice can cause stomach pain, double vision and other uncomfortable reactions.